Imagens das páginas

Drt. 17, 18, 1827.]

lature have been convened. The proposition would then
be fairly before the People, and no act would take place
in which they were not disposed to acquiesce. He sug.
gested this to the gentleman from Indiana, as a prudent
modification of this bill. Were the quantity of land
greater, he would have proposed it himself; but, the
amount being small, he only threw out this suggestion.
Mr. HENDRICKS said, that he did not distinctly hear
the gentleman's remarks; but, in relation to the sugges-
tion, he, Mr. H.] did not feel prepared to offer any amend-
ment to the bill. He should wish the bill to pass in its
present form. But, if the gentleman desired to examine
its merits, or to offer any amendment, he had no objec-
tion to laying it on the table, the more especially as his
colleague was not now in his seat. He therefore moved
to lay it on the table ; which was agreed to.


Mr. HAYNE said, he had received a communication, conveying a memorial, which he was requested to present, and to which he would call the particular attention of the Senate. It related to a subject of great importance, and advocated those principles of free trade in defence of which we had already waged two wars, and on the preservation of which, he was persuaded, the prosperity and permanence of the Union depended. The memorial was signed by no less than fifteen hundred and sixty-two inhabitants of Boston and its vicinity ; and he was assured, that there were among the names of the memorialists, many of the most enlightened, learned, and disinterested citizens of that metropolis, and not a few of the most intelligent and reflecting of her manufacturers, all of whom had here united in a decided remonstrance “against any increase of duties on imports, and especially “on the important and essential article of woollen manu* factured ” The memorial was written with great ability, and contained facts and arguments, which Mr. H. could not bring himself to believe, would be disregarded by any enlightened Legislature. There was displayed, throughout, a pervading good sense, and a practical knowledge, which, added to a tone of candor and moderation, could not fail to secure for the memorial the most respectful consideration of the Senate. Mr. H. said, he wished that it might be now read, in order that the attention of the Senate might be seriously called to a subject, certainly second in importance to none that could come be. fore them during the present Session. Mr. Hayne said, he could not take his seat without expressing the satisfaction he felt in receiving the unequivocal evidence afforded by this memorial, that the cause of “free trade and unrestricted industry” was not yet lost in the East. His colleague [Mr. Smith] and himself would, in a few days, submit to the Senate the memorials from South Carolina, on the same subject, and he could not but hope that the united efforts of the agriculturists, merchants, and “judi. cious manufacturers,” might yet save the country from the evils of the “prohibitory system.” Mr. H. then submitted the following letter, which was read :

“Boston, Dec. 12th, 1827.

*:: The committee of the eitizens of Boston, and the vicinity, op2-4 to an increase of duties on imports, have the honor, herewith, to orward to your care a memorial on this important subject, of which they request an early presentation to the Senate, and such an advocatau of its principles as shall seem to you called for, by the arguments therean eontained, as applied to the interests of the whole Nation. There are, Sir, among the names of the memorialists, those of many of or lost enlightened, earned, disinterested citizens, and not a few of root intelligent, judicious, and reflecting, of our Manufacturers *h of Cetton and Woollens. The Committee have the most entire **ietion that the best interests of the country are involved in this *tion, and will be promoted by the abandonment of any further o of this system of high duties. The Committee have the or to be, sir, with great respect, your very humble servants, **. Goddard, Lemuel Shaw, hina: Winslow, William Goddard, ***** Silroy, Thomas W. Ward, Edward Craft, Lot Wheelwright, Hrary Lee, R. D. Shipherd, Samuel Sweet, William Foster, Daniel + Parker, Jereph Baker, Samuel C. Gray, Connittee,

Duties on Imports—School Lands in Indiana.



Mr. HAYNE, then submitted the memorial of the citizens of Boston and its vicinity, against an increase of duties on importations; which was read, ordered to be printed, and on motion of Mr. H. referred to the Committee on Manufactures.

Tuesday, DrceMBER 18, 1827. SCHOOL LANDS IN INDIANA. On motion of Mr. NOBLE, the bill to authorize the State of Indiana to sell the lands heretofore appropriated to the use of Schools in that State, was taken up. Mr. BARTON said, it was not his intention to oppose this bill, or say much upon it. He, however, disapproved of the practice, which seemed to be gradually becoming general, for States to sell out the lands appropriated for specific objects, although he allowed that, in the present case, the quantity of land was small. The practice, Joe believed, had been commenced by Ohio; but Ohio was differently situated from the other Western State's. In the year 1802, when Ohio was admitted into the Union she declined acceding to that clause in the compact in relation to reserves of land for schools, which veted th. 36th section in the several towns. In 1804, a law passed in Congress, which vested those lands in Ohio in the Le. gislature, and, consequently, gave it a right, to sell them. He supposed that Ohio might have sold "...hese lands with. out applying to the United States. . Bu.tit was not so with the other States. They had not objected to the manner in which the lands had been appropriated. His view of the matter was, onat the inhabitants of all the townships must be consulted, and give their consent before the lands could be sisposed of A glance at the geographical map of those States would onvince the Senate that no satisfactory measure could be taken on that head. A great rumber of the townships, it would be perceived, were not now inhabited at aii." His objection, therefore, was, that it was impossible for the sale to be made fairly in relation to most of those townships, which were at present merely nominal. If the Legislature would provide against any future difficulties arising out of the sale, there might be no impropriety in passing the bill ; and if the Senate was willing to trust the Legis. lature, so be it. He had, however, been informed by the member from Alabama, that when a bill was formerly P*4 in Congress, for the same purpose, in relation to that State, all the townships had not been willing to accede to the disposal of the lands. .M. N9BLE said, that he should regret if the Senate withheld from the State of Indiana that which they had granted to the States of Ohio and Alabama. That the {egislature of Indiana had, by their resolution, instructed him, with others, to ask for the passage of a bill similar to the one now before the senate. If gentlemen will turn their attention to the aco of Congress, of April 19, 1816 in relation to the School Lands in question, they will find that the section numbered sixteen, in every Townsh; and, when such section had been sold, other lands *:::: to be granted to the inhabitants of the Township &r Dis trict for the use of Schools. The fact of the Legislator. applying to Congress for permission to sell the land. is an evidence that they are not productive, and the informa. tion is derived from the members of the Legislature. The bill is sufficiently guarded. The power to sell the land. and to invest the money in some productive find which is to be applied for the use of Schools in the township. solely, and for no other purpose, can never be done with: out the consent of the inhabitants of the Township. Mr N. aid, he thought that the gentleman from Missouri might be mistaken—that he was well aware that the so. gislature would never sell the lands in Townships inhabited, or partially so : their object would be, when they

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brought it into market, to obtain the best price possible, Imprisonment for Debt.


[Dec. 19, 1827.

and never to sell it for the minimum price ; that, in proportion to the fund becoming productive, so would education flourish. The reason to him was clear. To sell the land as wild lands, for less than the minimum price, would be folly ; and to offer it for sale in a township uninhabited, could not be expected, because the competition would be too great, as the section of land would be surrounded by lands superior in quality, belonging to the Government, and always in market. The sole object of the Legislature would be to protect the fund for the benefit of the inhabitants of the several townships by the con sent of each, and to sell only in the portions of the country that was strongly inhabited. It has happened that, in some instances, those, who have leased the school lands, have rendered them unproductive, instead of productive, by cutting and disposing of the timber, selling and disposing of the stone. There had been instances, that school lands were the place of resort for timber and stone, by those who had no lease. He concluded by saying, that, for the purpose of preventing, in time, the naked soil alone remaining for the inhabitants of the townships, the power had better be placed in the hands of the Legislature, with the consent of the inhabitants as to the future disposition of them.

The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading.


The bill to abolish imprisonment for debt, having been made the special order of the day for this day, was then taken up.

Mr. John SON, of Kentucky, rose, and said, that, if any member of the Senate was opposed to the bill on principle, he would willingly give way to hear the objections to it, that he might have an opportunity of meeting them at some other time, as he did not feel inclined nor prepared to enter upon the merits of the question as fully as he could wish. It was not from levity that he persisted in pressing this bill upon the Senate. It was no plaything which he had gotten up for his amusement, or the amusement of others. He presented it under a solemn sense of duty, as one of the most important, one of the gravest and most solemn subjects which was ever brought before a legislative body, at any time, in any country. His greatest object on the present occasion was, to call the attention of the distinguished men whom he saw in such numbers around him, to this subject. He would make bold to say, that, but for the prejudices which were so powerful over human reason, and which so often subdued the human mind into an acquiescence to the worst evils, imprisonment for debt would be considered as tyrannical, oppressive, and absurd, as the Spanish Inquisition. He had not risen to fatigue the Senate with reading authorities, although he had the books before him ; nor to detain the Senate with the perusal of the various letters which he had received upon this subject from every part of the United States. These letters, he said, were laden with the most painful details of the cruel operation of the law of imprisonment for debt. He alluded to them because some might tell him, as he had been told on former occasions, on the threshold of his remarks, that there was no actual suffering from this source ; that imprisonment for debt in this free and happy land was merely nominal. But I know, sir, that the evil is a crying one. It stalks among the People from Maine to Georgia with heavy and gigantic steps, spreading in its course desolation and distress. The cries of the sufferers reach us from the South, and are still louder from the North and the East. Nothing at this moment but public opinion and the charity of South Carolina saved the distinguished citizen of that State, one of the most gallant heroes of our

Revolution, [General SU wipton, from the horrors and mortification of a jail. The same barbarous law could have torn from his home and his family the illustrious author of the Declaration of our Independence. These two cases only served to place before the public the infamy of the system in more conspicuous colors. But he cared not whether the law affected the high or the low. He protested against it before God, who made men free and equal. His duty, as a Representative and as a man, was to protect the rights of the lowest as well as the highest of the community. He did not pretend to say, that the abolition of imprisonment for debt would not sometimes favor dishonest debtors. He would admit that dishonest men would sometimes be relieved by it. But was that an argument against it ! ... As well might the advocates of torture oppose its abolition, because confession of guilt had sometimes been extorted from the sufferer on the rack. One thing he knew, that the malicious and vindictive would be disarmed of this their legal weapon of persecution. He also knew that honest and unfortunate debtors would be protected against the cruel and selfish creditor. He was not disposed, however, to censure those views of the subject which differed from his own. Our Creator had so constructed the human mind, that the most highly gifted in intellect are not exempted from prejudice. In that situation was Paul, when he verily thought he was doing God service by persecuting the followers of our Saviour. It would hardly be thought that the community, and the many enlightened men who denounced this system as cruel and barbarous, were deluded on the subject. No. He was convinced in his own mind, that the delusion was on the other side of the question. But, Sir, said Mr. J. it is not sufficient for the establishment of a principle, that it is denounced by me or others. He was prepared to prove it—First, as to mesne process. The first provision in the bill is to provide against

the vexation of holding a defendant to bail upon mesne

process—that is, to abolish imprisonment upon mesne process. He had in his hand an authority to prove that holding the defendant to bail previous to the trial of the cause, had its origin in judicial usurpation. The judges in England had, by legal fiction, changed the remedy which the common law had given to the plaintiff. The defendant could not be arrested and held to bail by the capias, or any other writ; he was liable only to a summons. The plaintiff was obliged to give, topon the commencement of his suit, pledges of prosecution, that it was not vexatious, but that he had an honest substantial cause of action. He was obliged to give, not John Doe and Richard Roe, but a real and sufficient security. The judges, by a cruel

and absurd fiction, founded upon the pretence that the

plaintiff was as pure as the angels, and the defendant as dark as Erebus, substituted John Doe and Richard Roe for the pledges—supposed again, that the summons had been served upon the defendant, and that he had refused to answer to the suit, and going on still further with their malicious, malignant falsehoods, called legal fictions, the defendant was supposed to have no property, and he was preparing to fly his country, in order to take his body by the capias, as the first step in the action upon which bail was required, or the defendant put into prison, Here is a complete summerset; the plaintiff released from all

obligations on his part, viz. pledge of prosecution to se

cure the defendant against his malice, and the defendant deprived of his liberty wherein he had been always free from molestation. This practice of the ancient Britons, which secured to them freedom from arrest for debt, was changed by legal fictions and judicial usurpations. They did not deprive the debtor of his personal liberty upon mesne process. He thanked God that the foul stain was blotted from the escutcheon of his native State, Kentucky. No freeman of Kentucky can be enclosed for debt, nor *

Dec. 19, 1827.]

cast into prison. You may deprive him of his property, and that is correct, where he owes it. There was a time, not long since, when it was otherwise. I have seen honest and valiant men, who had fought gallantly for their country, looking through the iron grates of a jail, for debt. But that time is past, never to return in the State of Kentucky. It had always been his opinion, and was yet his opinion, that an honest debtor, but whose misfortunes had prevented a punctual payment of his debt, to be cast into prison by his creditor, would feel absolved from all moral obligations to that man, at whose instance he had been deprived of liberty. One day, one hour, of virtuous liberty is worth an eternity of bondage. me propose one question to you : Suppose I contract to pay a certain sum of money, or to do a certain thing, and it is entered into my bond, as a condition, that, if, upon failure on my part to pay the money, or to perform my covenant, I should be subject to loss of life, or limb, or liberty, and, farther, suppose I did fail, would not the courts relieve me from the penalty, as a violation of the constitution and the laws of the country And if I cannot, under the constitution and laws, make myself a voiuntary slave, how can I, under the same constitution and laws, be made an involuntary slave I have not language, Sir, forcibly and eloquently enough to picture to you, like Sterne, the wretched victim of civil imprisonment, lying in his dungeon on his straw bed, counting the dismal days and nights of his confinement, and pining under that sickness of the heart which arises from hope deferred. But, let me ask if such confinement be not worse than the most abject slavery It may be said, that the insolvent laws will afford relief. In addition to the other just principles and provisions of the bill, the best insolvent law which I have ever seen is incorporated into this bill, which was proposed by my worthy fricnd from Georgia, [Mr. BERRIEN.] But it is in vain to tell me of the insolvent laws as they now exist or can exist without the provisions of a bill like this. I have now before me a letter from W:1. Woon, of New York, who informs me, that, within less than two years, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-two persons have been received into the debtors' jail in that city. In some instances, men have been imprisoned for a sum as small as two or three dollars, with neither food nor bed except what was furnished by the IHumane Society, a quart of soup for twenty-four hours; whereas the crimi. nal, in Bridewell, receives three meals per day, a bed, and often clothing. While we applaud the exertions of these benevolent Societies, and rank W.M. Wood and its other members with the benevolent How ARD, to be held up to mankind as worthy of imitation, we sit here with our arms folded, without seeing that these just praises to these benevolent Societies, and worthy individuals, press more indelibly the stain of cruelty and barbarism upon our National character. It is not my object to place the debtor upon any better grounds than the creditor. I wish to place them upon a perfect equality; there is as much honesty and integrity in the debtor part of the com. munity as in the creditor part, and no more : all men, under the same circumstances, are nearly alike , give the property of the debtor to the creditor, till the debt is paid, if the property can be had but, under all circumstances, give the debtor his liberty—he never sold that. It is beyond value or price—the law does not authorize him to dispose of it. He can only forfeit it by crime, by villainy. Imprisonment for debt, by some, is supposed to be used as coercive means. Be it so ; and what then It is very evide: t that the hardships of coercion can only fall on the honest debtor. If the debtor be a villain, and refuses to pay that which

Imprisonment for Debt.

Mr. President, let


ment for debt is in satisfaction of the debtor's bond ; that the honest debtor, too, must pay the pound of flesh ; this is already answered; for 1 hold that a man cannot subject himself, without crime, to the loss of liberty. Mr. President, I am impressed with the belief, that, unless the relation of debtor and creditor in this wide, populous, and increasing Republic, be essentially changed, evils will sooner or later result from it, which, combined with other causes, will prove disastrous to our national liberty, happiness, and independence. I am not one of those who entertain the opinion, that nations, like individuals, necessarily pass through the stages of youth, maturity, and decline. It is true, this has been the case with many nations. We now read, in the pages of ancient history, of the splendid existence of Greece and Rome. But, in reality, they no longer exist—with many other renowned nations, they have all sunk beneath the all-devouring hand of time, and some latent principles of bad government. In very truth, we may say, that this is the freest Government on earth; and we might go farther, and say, it is the only free Government on the globe. These revolutions in States, Empires, and Kingdoms, have naturally made historians, philosophers, and statesmen, indulge in the remark, that States, like individuals, must pass through infancy, manhood, old age, and death. The causes which have produced, and are now producing, the same results, are to be found, not in the order of nature, but in some vice, some bad principle, inherent in their institutions. When the population of Rome, on a certain critical occasion in the existence of that renowned Commonwealth, rose in rebellion, and retired to the Mons Sacer, or the Sacred Mount, it was owing entirely to the power of the creditor over his debtor ; because the creditors exercised the power given them by the laws with cruel persecution and severity towards their debtors—citizen soldiers, who were revered for their public virtue, their gallantry, their public services, and could exhibit the deep scars which they had received in battle with the enemies of their country, could show to the populace the scars and stripes, fresh bleeding, inflicted upon them by their merciless creditors, by whom, with their wives and children, in some instances, they have been doomed to bondage. I have observed, that I do not believe that States and Kingdoms are doomed, by the decree of Heaven, to die as man dieth. I do not see how that consequence should follow. The materials of States and Kingdoms are always com. posed of the same materials at every stage of their exist. ence, of rational and intelligent beings, moral agents, and always endowed with the same senses and same capacities by nature, and at all times capable of sustaining free institutions. The inquiry becomes more important to us, why these changes I have no doubt that they arise from causes perfectly within our control, if we will it. Whatever has a tendency to degrade the human mind, or to infringe the unalienable rights of property, of conscience, of speech, of the press, and of personal liberty, in the smallest degree, has a tendency to destroy the best Government on earth. I will not pretend to say that imprisonment for debt alone will produce this result ; but it is making great inroads upon free Government in the United States. And if, after the lapse of many years, the occa|sion should arrive—and Heaven grant that ages and ages may pass over before it does arrive—when some medita. |tive Volney shall wander among the ruins, not of Palmyra and Persepolis, but of this proud Capitol, now the seat of free and enlightened deliberation, mark me, sir, if he does not trace our downfal, in part, to the fierce conten|tions arising between debtors and creditors. This is the time to apply the remedy to the evil, which is growing with our rapid growth, and increasing with the unparai. SENATE.]

he owes, and is able to pay, his money, and the friends leled increase of population. This is the time, in the

whom his noney will gain him, will relieve him from all vigor of our institutions, to free our legislation from this

the hardships of your coercion—others say this imprison- foul stain, which the law of civil improvement has stamped

Public Lands.

[Dec. 20, 1827.

upon it; and to place on a secure and permanent basis the rights and happiness of our citizens. If, Mr. President, all the Empires, Kingdoms, States, and Republics, of the earth were here met with us this day in Council, in what would we be willing to compare with them Not in extent of territory, for Russia exceeds us in that ; not in wealth and grandeur; not in commerce and manufactures, for many nations equal and some surpass us in them i nor in science and arts, nor in salubrity of climate, nor fertility of soil, for in these blessings other nations may compete with us : but it would be in our free institutions that we might proudly compare with them; in civil and religious liberty; in the freedom of speech and of the press; in the right of each citizen freely to pursue his own happiness. These principles are sealed with the blood of our fathers. Let us not prove treacherous to them in one of their most essential particulars : for imprisonment for debt is a violation of those sacred rights, and perhaps the only exception to the freedom of the citizen. In conclusion, Mr. J. said, he was unwilling, at this time, to trespass further upon the indulgence of the Senate. He had spoken without notes, and without intending to have said as much at present i, upon some other occasion, in the progress of the bill, he might attempt more fully to explain the history of imprisonment for debt, and to show that it originated in judicial usurpation and legal fictions, and had been supported by tyranny. He entreated the Senators to turn their attention to the subject, and to open their ears to the cries, which were loud to those who would listen, of the unfortunate and distresscd debtors, and to decide on the bill without delay.

Thunsp Ay, DEcEMBER 20, 1827. THE PUBLIC LANDS.Mr. HENDRICKS submitted the following resolution : Resolved, That the Committee on the Public Lands be instructed to inquire into the expediency of ceding and relinquishing, in full property, the public lands, within the limits of the new States, to the several States in which they lie. Mr. HENDRICKS said, that, in offering this resolution for the consideration of the Senate, it was, perhaps, properfor him to make a few remarks. It would be recoliected, that, at the last session, in the form of an amendment to the bill proposing to graduate the price of the ublic lands, he had offered the same proposition, though in another form. The proposition of last session was one to which the attention of the Senate had not been very much directed. It was considered a novel proposition, a bold one, and there is little doubt that, by many accustomed to look to the public lands as a source of revenue, more important than they ever yet have been, or promise hereafter to be, it was deemed an unreasonable proposition. The bill and the amendment were laid upon the table, having received a very partial examination, and, for want of time, were permitted there to rest, without discussion, till the close of the session." with a view of preventing this state of things, and that a full discussion of the principles contained in the proposition might be had at the present session, he had, at this early period, presented it to the Senate. The bill to graduate the price of the public lands would again be introduced, and, in all probability, be again referred to the Committee on the Public Lands. To this committee he wished to have this subject also referred. The Senate would then have the aid of their examinations and report, and be the better prepared for a vote upon the question. Believing, as he did, that the sovereignty, freedom, and independence of the new States were much impair. ed, and that their equality with the old States was entirely taken away by the present condition of the pub

lic lands, as the representative of a new State he could not but feel a deep interest in the proposition, and he did believe, that, when the subject should be fully can: vassed by the Senate, the constitutional argument, and the question of expediency, would alike preponderate in favor of the new States, and strongly admonish of the propriety of an absolute transfer of the public land: to the several states in which they lie. He believed that the Federal Government had no constitutional power to hold the soil of the States, except for the special purposes designated by the Constitution, such as the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock yards, and other needful buildings, and even for this purpose, the consent of the Legislatures of the States was necessary, by the express language of the Constitution. He was well aware that the cessions from the States, and the pledge that the proceeds should be applied to the payment of the national debt, were usually resorted to as the authority of the General Government to held the lands in the States; but these authorities, connected with the history of the times, which show the intentions and views of the actors of that day, instead of showing the right of this Government, might, in his opinion, be safely relied on to sustain a contrary position. It surely was the intention of Congress, and of the States, ced: ing waste and unappropriated lands to the Union, that the new states to be formed should be received into the Union as sovereign and independent States, and on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever; and nothing could be more clear than that this was the intention of the framers of the Constitution. To maintain the equality of the States, it had even extended favors to the small States. It had in some degree balanced numbers in the large States, with political power in the small States. The equality of the representation in the Senate was an instance of this. To Senators who hold to the letter of the Constitution, and who deny to the Federal Government all powers not clearly expressed, he might safely appeal. To those who deny the power of Congress to interfere with the sacred soil of a State, so far only as might be necessary for the location of a road or canal, he right speak with the greatest confidence. If, according to their dog: trine, Congress cannot thus temporarily occupy a small portion of the soil of a State, surely, they would agree with him in saying that Congress cannot permanently hold, in full property, the entire soil of the new States. If, then, the constitutional argument should be with him, that Congress has no power to become or to remain, the lord of the soil of the new States, no one would contend that the compacts ought to be binding ; for, if they are not based on the Constitution, they impose no obligation on the States. But, if even based on the Constitution, it was in the power of the new States, on the principle of free agency, to make them, or to refuse to make them. If the new States had refused to make them, then the objects attained by them would have been defeated. And what were those objects That the new States should never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil. And if this object had not been attained by the General Government, would not the converse of the proposition have been the consequence 2 would not the inference have been irresistible, that the new States might have interfered with the primary disposal of the soil Here it would, no doubt, be said, that the new States, refusing to enter into these compacts, could have been kept out of the Union. But this was ground untenable ; for the new States were, by the ordinance of 1787, guarantied admission into the Union. with a population of 60,000, on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever. Mr. H. said, that arguments of expediency, almost innumerable, might be urged in the present case. It Dec. 20, 1827.]

Public Land–-Imprisonment for Debt.


seemed to him that whenever the subject should be ful. ly examined, it would appear that an estimate had heretofore been put upon the public lands, far above their real ralue. The public lands had been in market up. wards of forty years, and the whole receipts into the Treasury had been about thirty-six millions. We had now in market more than one hundred millions of acres, and for the last years the receipts had frequently been below a million, while the whole revenue of the country, in those years, had ranged from twenty to twentyfive millions. This view would show how small is the portion of our whole revenue derived from the public lands. This million, if indispensable to the Treasury, could easily be supplied in some other way. It could be laid on other objects of taxation, which would neither be seen nor felt, and the new States would rise to a level of equality with the old States. The new States would then be relieved from what he considered an unconstitutional and dangerous dependence on the old States and on the Union. Nor had this proposition any thing to do with the great mass of these lands. The public lands in the new States amounted to little more than 200 millions of acres, and perhaps fifty millions of this had been given away in military bounties, and other donations, together with the public sales. The residue, subject to the action of the present land system, would be eight or nine hundred millions. With an unlimited control over this vast scope of country, the General Government ought to be satisfied. Surely, said Mr. H. the Legislatures of the States are better qualified than the Congress of the United States, to dispose of the public lands, as the condition of their resoective States require. possibly can know, how to graduate the price agreeably to the quality, and when to give pre-emption rights and donations to actual settlers. The people of the new States should look to their own Legislatures for the regulation of the public lands, and Congress should

be left to pursue, with undivided attention, the national

interests submitted to their care by the Constitution of

the United States. But, there was another consideration, more weighty

still. It was, that the public lands in the hands of the

General Government, offered to the new States the

strongest inducements to a dissolution of the Union, for, the Union dissolved, the lands would instantly become the property of the States, and all such inducements ought most carefully to be guarded against. He had already glided further into the discussion than he intended when he rose. He hoped, that, at the proper time, the Senate would be favored with the reflections of others, much more capable of doing justice to whis very important subject than himself. He would at this time no longer detain the Senate. A resolution submitted yesterday by Mr. PARRIS, for the erection of suitable buildings for the Courts of the United States, in the several States, was considered and agreed to, after having been amended, on motion of Mr. P. so as to embrace a provision for the preservation of the records of the Courts. Mr. PARRIS remarked, that the Courts of the United states were, in many of the States, unprovided with sistable buildings, and were necessitated to depend upon the courtesy of the State Courts for the use of their rooms. It was to remedy this evil, and to procure the requisite accommodation for them, that he proposed this tesolution. The preservation of the records of the Courts was a matter of great importance, and no regulation for that purpose had hitherto been made.

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Messrs. BERRIEN, EATON, CHANDLER, HAYNE, KANE, and RIDGELY, which were agreed to, Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, moved that the bill be made the special order of the day for Tuesday next. t Mr. TAZEWELL rose, and said that, as the bill was now open to discussion upon its details, he would say a few words, more by way of suggestion to the friends of the measure than of argument against it. Whether the object of the bill was useful or necessary, and whether the public was now displeased with the power enjoyed by the plaintiffs, were questions of great importance, and would be fully discussed at a proper stage of the progress of the bill. He did not rise to debate the question, whether the abolition of Imprisonment for Debt would be useful, necessary, or proper. It was his design only to say a few words upon the method by which it was proposed to obtain this object. His remarks would be directed to the machinery by which it was to be done. They wished to effect an abolition of Impri. sonment for Debt; and how do they propose to do it By removing from the laws of the land a certain process. Now, to every gentleman who has any knowledge of law, it is evident that this cannot be safely done. Will they say, that in taking away this single process, they can leave the laws exactly minus that process No man of legal knowledge would say so. For the various processes are so connected, that it is impossible to disjoint one from the context without injuring and disorganizing the whole system. They are so amalgamated, that, to abstract any portion, would be to decompose and destroy the whole. To do this, without producing such an ef. fect, was a scheme beyond the skill of the greatest statesman that ever lived, so were the laws under our system woven into and connected with cach other. He would state some cases, which might—nay, which, he was confident, must arise, were this measure to go into effect. In the State of Virginia we follow the English law, which we have handed down to us by our forefathers. Real estate is not subject to execution for debt. But lands can be seized to pay a debt by an indirect process, which is equally efficient, and ensures to the creditor the real property of the debtor. For instance, you take the body of the debtor, and incarcerate him : you then say to him, you must release your lands for the payment of my demand, and until you do, you remain a prisoner. This is done by the means of a capias ad satisjaciendum. Now, if the capias ad satisfaciendum is taken away, what power is there remaining over the lands of the debtor What safety will there be to the creditor, whose debtor is possessed of real estate alone The body of a debtor is, by the operation of this act, to be free of imprisonment; and, it matters not whether the debt be five shillings or five thousand dollars, still the operation is uniform. ... But, if an individual agree to do a specific act, and fail in its performance, you have jurisdiction over his body, because this Bill does not extend to Chancery cases. Then the operation of it will be this : The man is released who owes five shillings in money ; but the man who agrees to do a specific thing, not worth half that value, may be imprisoned. Is this an equal operation 2 Is it not partial in the extreme * These two statements, of what he believed would be the operation of the Bill, were merely given to illustrate the opinion which he entertained, of the operation of the Bill as it now stood before the Senate. The Bill would effect, perhaps, too much, and certainly in some respects, too little—probably more in some points, and less in others, than its friends desired. Mr. T. therefore, submitted to the advocates of the Bill, whether it would not be better to make some general arrangement to cover all the ground which the title of the Bill seemed to indicate, by making some general arrangement by which the exemption from imp"

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