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March 23, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
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great effort to communicate to the public a document in and unequal share. If this policy be pursued by the which they felt an intense interest; but if such speed as States, as it usually is, of always having individual interest this be possible by any effort, the committee will be able engaged, there is a fair prospect of the money invested to judge how much alditional time is necessary, with that producing a reasonable profit; and, in that event, through diligence, which, in the ordinary transportation of the mail, the medium of dividends, there is restored to the public is now usually practised.
treasury a sum equal to the interest of the capital ad. I have thus far been engaged in examining the sup- vanced. However this reasoning may apply to those cases posed advantages of this road. Suffer me now, sir, to in which the United States subscribe to works undertaken present the other side of the question; a view of the dis- by individuals or corporations, it surely has no application advantages, of the many mighty objections founded upon to those which the Government undertake on its own acthe injustice, the inexpediency, the injurious political ef- count to have executed; and in those works which the fects of this system of internal improvement, if persevered State themselves execute by their own means, they enin. In doing this, I shall “nothing extenuate, nor set deavor by tolls to reimburse the treasury for the disburse. down aught in malice."
ment, which, in the case of the United States, is not done. When I shall have finished this view, I shall only ask Self-interest, then, may be considered as the central you to "look upon this picture, and upon this;" and to point of economy; the State and Federal Governments as say which of the two is the most accurate representation concentric circles drawn round that centre, the States beof the case, and to decide accordingly.. I beg the coming the smaller, and the Federal Government the larger; mittee to understand, that the objections which I am now and it is not more true in mathematics that the radii which about to urge, apply to the whole system of internal im- pass from a common centre must be longer to reach the provements, embracing this road as one link in the mighty circumference of a larger than those which will touch the chain; if the system, as such, is to prevail, then I feel no one of a smaller circle, than it is that by how much the Fe. manner of interest or concern in the defeat of this or any deral Government is further removed from the point of other particular object; for though a single object may oc- self-interest than the State Governments, by so much is casionally fail, by an accidental concurrence of votes, yet economy in the expenditure of public money diminished. all the evils which I anticipate to my country would be For a practical illustration of this truth, I appeal to the realized; and in the general, nay, universal scramble for Cumberland road, which, for a distance of one hundred the spoils of the treasury, a few millions dilapidated here and thirty miles, I suppose, must have cost between a or there would be but as a drop in the bucket, and the million and a half and two millions of dollars. whole treasury of minor importance, compared with the I come, now, to another serious objection: I mean the injurious consequences which sooner or later, in my opi- inequality in the distribution of our favors. The theory nion, will follow in the train of a system calculated to of our constitution undeniably is, that the contributions of affect so fatally the destinies of the republic.
the people of the United States should, as nearly as possi. The first objection which presents itself to the action ble, be equal. Thus it is provided that direct taxes shall of this Government, has relation to the subject of econo- he apportioned amongst the several States, according to sny. A knowledge of human nature will teach us that their population; that duties, imposts, and excises, shall the surest safeguard in this respect is the keen-sighted be uniform throughout the United States; and that no previgilance of self-interest. This principle burns with an ference shall be given, by any regulation of commerce, to inextinguishable ardor in the heart of man; and if it does the ports of one State over those of another. But of what not point to its oluject withi as invariable certainty as the avail is it to secure equality in contribution, or to attempt needle to the pole, it is only because we may sometimes to secure it, if, the moment the contribution is made, the mistake the direction. If, therefore, individual means were whole effect may be instantly destroyed by gross inequality adequate to the effecting any given purpose, upon them in making appropriations. This idea may be forcibly il. we might always rely with the greatest safety; but if go- lustrated by a familiar example, drawn from common life. vernmental aid be necessary, then we may rely that the ob- Suppose, sir, you and myself being about to embark in a ject will be most economically executed under the super common enterprise, each with great accuracy contributes intendence of the States. The great advantages of em- precisely equal sums, and the very moment the fund was barking individual interest in such enterprises, are, first, thus formed, you were at liberty to apply the whole that they will never engage in them at all, unless they amount to your own use, would it not be mockery in such will probably yield a reasonable profit; and, second, that, a case to talk of any substantial equality? In the execution when they do engage in them, they will use their utmost of this system, it will be in the power of this Government, endeavors to reduce the expense to the smallest possible at its pleasure or caprice, to increase the wealth of one amount. The State of Virginia is acting mainly upon this portion of the Union, and to diminish that of another, with. principle, in her system of internal improvements; they out any restraint whatever. Let me suppose a case or two. have providedl, that when, to effect any given object, in- Suppose the Cumberland road had been extended to Bal. clividuals will subscribe three-fifths of the sum required, timore, no one will deny that the commerce of that city the State will furnish the remainder; thus securing the would have been benefited. of this, Maryland seems to guaranty of self-interest against the application of public have been aware, because she has constructed a turnpike money to any unproductive or visionary scheme. But the from Cumberland to Baltimore; but, if, on the contrary, States, without the aid even of private interest, will most that road had been conducted from some point on the probably waste less than the Federal Government; they Ohio to Philadelphia, then that city would have received have much less scope for their action, and much fewer ob- the advantage; and thus the one or the other city might be jects to which to direct their attention; they have fewer increased in prosperity, at the expense of the other, just agents to whom to confide their management, and the as the one or the other direction might be given to the supervising power is nearer the scene of operation; but, road. I will put a still stronger case. Suppose New above all, the people, for whose benefit the money is ex. York had not been able, with her own means, to execute pended, are the same by whose contributions the money her great Erie canal, and that State and Louisiana had both to be expended is raised; whilst, under our system, it may applied to this Government for aid at the same time, the one happen, and often does happen, that while one portion of to have made the Erie canal, so as to connect that lake with the community get the benefit of an improvement, they the city of New York, the other to improve the Missisfurnish no part of the means, as in the case of donations sippi and all its tributary streams; is it not obvious that, of the public lands; and even where money is advanced according as we had executed the one or the other profrom the treasury, they may have furnished a very smallject, we should have built up the city of Orleans, on the
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one hand, or that of New York, on the other? Sir, from it is true, but a very large minority of the people have these examples, it is impossible not to see that the relative calmly protested against some of the leading principles of wealth and importance of the different portions of the policy of this Government. Virginia, South Carolina, Union might be made to depend upon the favor which Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, all tell you that they they might respectively find here. Our revenue being feel themselves to be oppressed. Will you turn a deaf ear raised almost exclusively by imposts, the attention of thef.to their complaints? Will you pay no respect to the people at large is not drawn so closely to it. To test the opinion of a large and respectable portion of the commujustice and policy of this system, I appeal to gentlemen to nity? Will you, because you are a majority, feel power, say whether they would venture to impose a direct tax, to and forget right? What more could the veriest despot do? the amount of millions, and then apply the proceeds to Sir, the machine of Government may for a time be prothe improvement of particular parts of the country. I un- pelled by a given momentum, though many of its parts dertake to answer no; and, let me tell them that if they work not at all in concert; but, sooner or later, it must be were to try the experiment, the people would soon arrest worn too much by excessive friction; or, possibly, it may them in their course. We sometimes hear it said, that, as become so disordered as to be unable to perform its functhe United States are one great whole, whatever benefits tions. one of the parts is a benefit to the whole. This, sir, I What makes this system still more obnoxious is, that acknowledge, is too lofty a magnanimity, too expansive a some of the States of this Union believe that this power patriotism, for me to pretend to. Say what you will, rea- does not reside in Congress, and, therefore, they cannot son as you will, as long as man is man, the States, and the participate of the bounty of this Government, even if it people of the States, will never forget their individuality, were offered to them. Sir, I do not mean to violate my they will never consent that the fruits of their labor shall promise that I would not discuss this question; but I may, go to enrich others. Let me test this principle by a case. consistently with that promise, urge upon this House the I suppose that some five or six millions would probably propriety of a principle recommended by two distinguishimprove all the important rivers in Virginia. I call upon ed American statesmen, to abstain from the exercise of the members from Massachusetts to say whether they a doubtful power. Suppose that you may, as has been would impose a direct tax upon their constituents to effect said, “by hanging inference on inference, until, like Jathis object. If they would not, and I am sure they have cob's ladder, they reach to Heaven," come to the conclutoo much candor to say that they would, then this high- sion that the power is with you; I ask, emphatically, is it minded disinterestedness will do well “ to point a moral not reason enough to forbear its exercise, when so many or adorn a tale,” but will not do for practical life. of the States believe it to be a violation of the compact of
Nor, sir, is the objection on account of inequality at all their union with you? Will you, can you, consistently with obviated by the common remark, that our resources are to justice, proceed in the distribution of a common fund, be applied to national objects. National objects! Where when so many of the joint owners must, according to their is the criterion by which we are to decide? What comes sense of duty, either be forever excluded from their up to this standard, and what does not? We have nore equal share, or procure it only by sacrificing their solemn but the opinions of members here; and, whenever the conviction of what is right to their interest? Though you question comes to be decided, rest assured that each indi constitute a majority, yet let me remind you of this eternal vidual member will think that the project which he pre-truth, that the acts of a majority, to be rightful, must be just. sents has the stamp of nationality. And what, sir, will be We seem to have reached an interesting crisis in our the necessary result in practice? I make, now, no invidi- political history. During the war of the revolution, the ous distinctions between North and South, East and West; whole energies of our people were concentrated in supwe are all men, and have all the feelings and passions of port of that great struggle, and they went together with
Many projects will be presented at a given session; one heart and one hand. During the interval between the disposable funds will not be adequate to the comple- that and the late war, our strenuous efforts were exerted tion of them all. Then will come the “tug of war,” and to repair the mischiefs of the first war; to build up a new the struggle who shall succeed and who must be disap- government; put it into operation; restore our public crepointed. No one or two of the objects can be carried by did; and, by every means in our power, to acquire a stand themselves, but must get their passport by the company among the nations of the earth. The late war again put which they are in. Sir, the inevitable result will be com- into requisition all our civil and military energies, in vindibinations and arrangements, so as to unite a sufficient force cation of our national honor. Since its termination, a new to carry through a number of different objects, neither by era has opened upon us. With nothing seriously to disits own intrinsic weight, but all by the united weight of turb us from abroad, we are left to look at home. The all. This will generate feuds and heart-burnings in those action of the Government has now turned inwards, with who are defeated. It will, it must be so: for it is not in an overflowing revenue, and a near approach to the extinhuman nature for either States or individuals, without mur- guishment of our public debt. New schemes of policy are muring or discontent, to stand by and see a fund divided, in devised; new principles of government avowed. I fear, which they have a common interest, and of which they are sir, that we may find, as other nations have found, that a not allowed to participate. They will never be satisfied period of peace, however desirable in itself, is precisely ty telling them that their objects were not national, whilst that in which our Government is to be put to its severest the others were. They will think otherwise; and they trial. Amidst the din of arms, or in the great effort to will tell the participators in the spoil that they had decid- build up political establishments, the selfish passions are in ed the question of nationality in their own case, and then a great degree absorbed in the more important objects to enjoyed the fruits of that decision.
be effected. These causes being removed, there is now Sir, I am no apostle of disunion. I look to the confe- full scope for their action; and it calls for all our firmness deracy of these States as to the ark of our political salva- and all our patriotism to prevent the injurious effects. Sir, tion. May God grant that it may be perpetual! Sir, I if this Government would confine its action to those great go farther, and say that I come not here with any language objects, which, in my estimation, its founders intended, of menace; but as the representative of a portion of the such as war, peace, negotiation, foreign commerce, &c., people of this country, I have a right to use the language and leave every thing municipal in its nature to the States, of expostulation. In that language, then, let me warn this we should go on in Harinonious concert; and peace, concommittee that there are already points of difference tent, and happiness, would prevail throughout our borders. amongst the States of this Union, enough to inspire us all In relation to these great questions, there is a community of with a spirit of moderation and forbearance. A minority, interest throughout the Union; as, on the one hand, these
MARCH 23, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
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must be acted upon by the Federal Government, so, on the which charms and captivates our people. Until this shall other, its action upon them is not, in its nature, necessarily be dispelled, they can never be brought to dispassionate calculated to create strife and conflict amongst the differ- reasoning on the subject. I wish the gentleman had held ent parts of this great whole. Sir, it is when we pass be- up to our view, on the same canvas, the thousands of yond this line, and intrude upon the field of municipal le- miles of turnpike in England, and the tens of thousands gislation; when we act on subjects in which the different of people, who either go supperless to bed, or are driven States have different and opposing interests, in which the by taxation to live on the least sustenance which will supbenefit we extend to one is at the expense of another, and port human life; and the seven thousand Irishmen, the in which each State can best act for itself; it is by this most brave and the most persecuted people on earth, who course that we are converting content into discontent, har- subsist, as O'Connell tells us, each, upon three half-pence mony into discord, and bringing into direct conflict those per day: so, on the French canvas, he should have predifferent interests which, if acted on internally by the sented the roads, the canals, the bridges, and, at the same States, and externally by this Government, would afford time, the ruinous, grinding, and oppressive gabelle and the strongest cement to the Union. The natural pursuits corvee: so, on the Roman canvas, he should have presentof the North, for example, are those of commerce and na-ed the splendid aqueduct and the paved ways, and, at the vigation; that of the South is agriculture. Let each be same time, he should have told us, in the eloquent lanmanaged at home--I mean in their internal operation and guage of a modern writer, “ that the pavement and ruins they are the allies of each other; the northern merchants of Rome are buried in dust shaken from the feet of barbaand ship owners are the buyers and transporters of south- rians.” Let it not be supposed that I am hostile to good ern produce; and the South purchases the imported goods roads and canals; the gentleman may exhaust himself in of the North; but the moment this Government attempts their eulogy, and I shall not object; by rightful means, let to control and regulate the whole, then the conflict be- mountains be levelled, valleys filled up-even the Appalagins; for then the regulation which advances the interest chian mountains, if you please, subdued by the hand of of one, by the same operation injures that of the other.
The value of all this concludes nothing against my There are strong objections to this system, arising from argument; it does not at all touch the question at issue bethe difficulty of executing it. If a road is to be construct-tween the gentleman and myself; that question is, not ed by our authority, we must have power to deinand the whether these things are useful for that nobody denies-land for its site-timber, stone, and gravel for its construc- but it is how, and by whom, these improvements shall be tion. How are these to be obtained? The constitution made? The gentleman says, they should be made here; forbids us from taking private property without just com- I say, they should be made by the States, when thus made. pensation. To inake this, we must, by our officers, sum- We shall enjoy all their and that only. When mon juries, condemn the requisite land, value the stone, made by this Government, I fear, I believe, for the reatimber, &c. Is this not municipal legislation? The bill sons I have already stated, and others, which I shall here. in question makes no provision for this. Suppose the after urge, that the system will eventually destroy the inowners of the soil to refuse, hy contract, to supply these dependence of the States; that the States, in their erect things, you must go into this whole process. Again, sir, independence, are the pillars which support our great poafter the roads shall have been constructed, they must be litical fabric; that, if these be weakened, the whole fabric kept in repair. Shall it be done by a perpetual drain upon will crumble into atoms, and fall with a tremendous crash; the treasury, or will you proceed to erect toll gates? Sir, that, with it, will fall our political liberty, which, in the this has been attempted in the case of the Cumberland language of Cato, I value more than houses, villas, statues, road, but we have not yet screwed our courage up to this pictures—and I will add, roads, canals, and bridges. Give point. Here let me remind you of the solemn conviction me a people who are free, bappy, and not oppressively of some of the States, that you cannot erect these gates. taxed; though in the plain garb of republican simplicity, Will you, in the face of this, press on, and put such States rather than one weighed down by oppression, though surin the painful dilemma of restricting your authority, or rounded by all the monuments of the arts. A nation in yielding up what they believe to be their rights? God this last condition may be aptly represented by the deforbid that the experiment should be made! I would not scription which has been given of a splendid city, that, when have one serious conflict with a single State for all the viewed at a distance, you behold only lofty turrets, magroads which you will ever make.
nificent steeples, and superb edifices; but when you shall There is one argument addressed to the States, which have entered in, and taken a closer view, you find wretchcharms like the siren's song, which I beg leave to exa- ed hovels, dark and narrow alleys, which shut out the Inine closely, and to expose to the people at large. I wish light of heaven, and, I will add, many of those who inhabit to prove to them, and think I can, to demonstration, that these abodes, with famine in their eyes, and ragged mise; they are under utter delusion in relation to it. The gen- ry on their backs. tleman from Pennsylvania has given us a glowing descrip I now beg leave to address myself to the sober sense, tion of the value of good roads, and other channels of com- the interest, nay, the pride of the States, and the people munication; they enhance the value of land, they diminish of the States, and to say, as I will clearly show, that if, inthe price of transportation, they almost annihilate time and stead of heaping up their treasure here, they will keep it space, and, in the fashionable figure of speech, they are to at home, they can execute for themselves all their splendid the body politic what the veins and arteries are to the body works, so eloquently described by the gentleman, without natural. The gentleman, not content with a mere de coming here, in the language of supplication, to beg us to scription of their value, has held up to us, in bold relief, the do it for them; and that they will then maintain their indethousands of miles of turnpike constructed by Napoleon; pendence, and continue to occupy their place as a respectthe splendid bridges, &c.; he might have added the eigh- able constellation in the political firmament, and not, like teen thousand miles of turnpike in England; he might little twinkling stars, be so eclipsed by the meridian blaze have gone further back, to the time of Louis XIV, the of the federal sun, as not to emit light enough even to Grand Monarque, and described the canal of Langue. make “ darkness visible.” doc; he might have gone further back, to Henry IV of I ask the attention of the committee, whilst I exhibit to France, and spoken of the splendid road constructed by them some plain and practical proofs of this proposition. Sully from Paris towards Brussels, adorned with triple The revenue of the United States, which is the fund by rows of elms; nay, sir, he might have gone back further which these improvements are to be executed, is derived still, and spoken of the magnificent aqueduct of Rome, her by the contribution of the people of the States. It unAppian and Æmilian ways. This is the splendid illusion questionably cannot be good policy for the States to fur
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nish it to this Government, to be re-distributed by us, in the six and seven times the whole amount; that, in a few years, form of internal improvement, if that re-distribution be that excess, if kept at home, would pave all her roads, made in proportion to the respective contributions; for and improve all her rivers; and that, if you would even let then it is apparent that the portion which each State her people drink their coffee duty free for one year, would thus receive back, would be less than that which it when you do not want the money, even that duty on col. had advanced, by the amount of the expenses of collection. fee would be equal to the mighty boon which she bas What, then, is the only remaining part of the alternative? received. Why, sir, that the re-distribution must necessarily be un. Let me say a word to my Kentucky friends, whom I vaequal. To those States which may receive more than lue for their own good qualities, and on account of their their proportionate share, I propound this solemn question: descent; they are indeed well descended, coming, as they Is it reconcilable with the principles of justice, for them do, from the loins of the Ancient Dominion. She, too, to make such a demand? To those which, on the contrary, sees as in a glass darkly,” in relation to this subject. may receive less than their due share, I put this question: For the sake of three or four cents per yard on cotton Are you prepared thus to sacrifice your own interests, to bagging, and a duty on hemp, which in practice does not give up the fruits of your own labor, to gratify the cupidity much aid her, (for still Russian hemp drives hers for cord. of those who, in the distribution of a common fund, clutch age out of the market,) she has gone in support of the at more than the eternal principles of justice authorize tariff; though, by its operation, I think her members here them to ask? The demand of the one class would be as must admit that she does not receive more than three incompatible with the immutable principles of right, as hundred thousand dollars, and pays animport duty of near the sacrifice of the other would be at war with their self- a million. I ask pardon for mentioning the tariff; but it preservation. Sir, the force of this argument is infinitely crossed my current of thought, and I could not forbear to increased by the consideration, that, as it has already bap- advert to this fact. But to come to her supposed great inpenel, so it would most probably hereafter happen, that terest in internal improvement, education, &c.; she has the States which contributed the least, would be precisely gotten, I believe, one hundred thousand dollars for her those which would receive the most-thus presenting the Portland canal, and is begging now (I hope the term injustice of such a course in the most vivid lights of con- does not give offence) for another hundred thousand doltrast. And will the States which are to be the losers by lars, for that object, and some land for the Transylvania this operation, continue longer blind to the plainest dic. university. Suppose, by importunate solicitation, in the tates of interest, and act as willing instruments in the pro- general scramble, first for the loaf which adorns the fedemotion of the very scheme which is thus to injure them? ral table, and then the crumbs which fall from it, she sucDo they not, must they not perceive, that it can only be ceeds in her application, and thus, in two years, squeezes pressed for by those states which are to profit by it? If through with three hundred thousand dollars, or four hunthey were to receive their fair portion, they would, at least, dred thousand dollars: does not she perceive, do her as I have said, suffer the loss of the expense of collection; members here not perceive, that one year's excess of the if they were to receive less than their due share, this loss revenue, contributed by her alone, is equal to, nay greatwould be greatly increased; it is only, then, because they er, than all she has, and will be able to get here, by two expect, and intend to receive more, that they can desire years' supplication? it; but whatever they receive more than that share, some What shall I say to the State of New York-yes, mighother State or States must receive just so much less. ty New York-the strongest pillar of them all, upon wbich
But, I now beg leave to bring this question still nearer this Government rests for its support? If she were to home, as to the interests of the States.
contribute in proportion to her population, which may As soon as the public debt shall have been paid, if the now be estimated at near a sixth of the whole people of present revenue shall continue, there will be an excess be- the Union, her whole contribution would approach four yond the current disbursements of the year, probably of millions per annum, and her part of the annual excess, twelve millions of dollars per annum. This I will suppose after the payment of the public debt, would be two mil. is to be distributed in the form of internal improveinents. lions—but call it a million and a half--and how much of Now, sir, I will, to illustrate my idea of the practical ope. the federal loaf bas she gotten? Sir, out of her own gi. ration of the system, take the case of some individual gantic means she has completed her great canal, by States. Supposing, for the present, that each State should which the astonished Atlantic, if it has not heard Lake contribute a share of the revenue in proportion to her po- Erie roar, as was said by the poet of the Euxine and the pulation, and, with the exception of the South, which con- Baltic, yet it has at least been made to communicate with tributes much more, it may serve as a tolerable basis for that lake. And what, I repeat, bas she gotten? Her calculation, Virginia, containing at least one-twelfth of that members here can best answer the question. She, too, population, would advance one million of dollars of this I believe, has some applications to us for aid. For how excess each year. If this excess were left at her own dis- much? Is it for four or five hundred thousand dollars? position, in the course of ten years she could cover her Suppose New York, too, to succeed in procuring this whole territory with turnpike roads, and intersect the mighty sum from this beneficent Government, can she whole commonwealth with improved streams and canals. be blind to the fact, that one year's excess of the reveWhat has Virginia ever received from this Government?nue, paid by her own people, would be three times the I believe the appropriation of one hundred and fifty thou- amount? I could go on, and multiply similar examples, sand dollars to the Dismal Swamp canal. Now this is less and propound similar questions; but these are sufficient than one-sixth of one year's surplus of the revenue advanc- to illustrate my views in relation to this branch of the subed by her people. Sir, let me put the case stronger. The ject. And now, Mr. Chairman, let me ask Virginia, annual amount of duty on coffee is about one million eight Kentucky, New York, and, through them, all the States hundred thousand dollars, of which the twelftlı part, the of this Union, are you willing blindly to give away your share paid by her, is almost precisely one hundred and fifty own means by wholesale, and then come here, and bumthousand dollars, the amount which she has received; and bly ask that a small part may be given back to you by yet I doubt not many of my fellow-citizens in Virginia, retail? Are you willing to exchange the certain inde. and especially near Norfolk, seeing an immediate advan- pendent command over the whole excess of your own tage from that single advance, have been charmed with the revenue, for a doubtful hope, that, by addressing the cabeneficence of this Government, and its wonderful liberali- pricious will of this body, you may have a small part ty; though, as I have said, it is obvious that one year's ex- returned in the form of charity or beneficence! Every cess of the revenue paid by that State alone, is between consideration of interest, of pride, of State sovereignty,
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[H. of R.
conspires to forbid such a course. Must it not be humiliat- ment of which they received no benefit, though they caning to such a State as New York, instead of dispos- not call the members representing the majority to acing of her own resources, by a sic volo, sic jubeo, to count, yet find their equivalent in this: that, whenever come here with an humble petition? Let us see how it the States do (what they do not often undertake) conwould read. The petition of the State of New York struct a road or canal upon public account, they impose humbly represents, that whereas she has tamely and blind- tolls which are equal to an ordinary profit upon the sum ly poured forth her treasure into the federal lap, by the expended, and thus there is returned into the treasury, contribution of millions, she begs that Congress will be through the dividends, what is equal to the interest of the pleased to restore her some three or four hundred thou- capital. The minority are thus indemnified; and though, sand dollars ex speciali gratia, and the petitioner, as in du- occasionally, improvident schemes may be engaged in, ty bound, will ever pray, &c. &c. Would she follow my which fail to produce this result, yet this is the principle counsel, I would say to her, that she owes it to her own on which they act. character and dignity cheerfully to contribute to the Go Another objection to this system is, that it has a direct vernment, of which she is a part, her just share of the sum and almost irresistible tendency to perpetuate upon us a required to meet its necessary demands; that all beyond revenue, having no reference to the ordinary demands that she should retain, to be disbursed at her own sove upon the Government, but one which will always afford a reign will, and under her own exclusive control. Thus large excess for the execution of these projects. she would assume that lofty attitude for which God and What State, or States, which expected to derive aid nature designed her; and I would say to each and every from the federal treasury towards the improvement of of the other States, “go ye and do likewise.”
their territory, would ever be found ready to reduce the When gentlemen talk to me about the beneficence of taxes? Would not the inevitable effect be, that they this Government, in this behalf, I tell them that their cha- would thereby defeat the very means by which, and by rity is at the expense of others: I tell them I cannot un- which only, their objects could be effected? And would derstand that beneficence, which, by evaporation, draws all we not, therefore, as soon expect that a hungry man the moisture from one portion of a common country, (I would destroy the only food by which his hunger could say moisture without a figure, because the taxes are de- be satisfied, as that these States would contribute, by their rived from the sweat of the brow,) and then pours all its votes, to dry up those fountains from which they expected fructifying showers upon another, thus converting the one copious streams to flow for their particular use? Shall into a waste of barren desolation, and imparting to the we, then, by a perseverance in this course, hold out a conother extraordinary fertility. If they would take their stant motive, which shall operate directly against any rerule of beneficence from the highest of all authorities, duction of the taxation of our people? There are already they would learn that the rain is made to fall equally upon motives enough of this kind. I hope and trust that we the just and the unjust. They might surely so far emulate shall do nothing which will either add to their number, or this great example, as to let their showers fall upon those increase their force. portions of the country, the evaporation of whose moist Strong as are the objections which I have already urgure produced them.
ed, there are others yet stronger, arising from the probaAnother objection to this system is, that it utterly de- ble, I had almost said inevitable, political effects which stroys the whole principle of representative responsibili- this system is calculated to produce. ty. The whole etticacy of that principle, in relation to From the moment that the present constitution was the disbursement of public money, consists in this: that formed, the public mind was divided between two oppowe are to render an account of our stewardship to those site opinions as to the practical operation and tendency whose money we expend. Is that the case in this system of our complicated scheme of government. The great of internal improvement? No, it is one of its most un object had been so to distribute power between the State happy, nay, fatal attributes, that the majority of the mem- and federal authorities, that each should be able, by its bers here, by whose fiat the revenue is drawn from the own intrinsic energy, to maintain itself, unimpaired, withminority of the community, owe no responsibility to that in its own sphere, and thus preserve the equilibrium of minority, but to the majority whom they represent. of the political balance. The one party feared, that, notwhat avail then is it to make complaint of oppression? Will withstanding the strength infused into the new Governthat complaint be regarded, though it be uttered in a tone ment, which was partly federal, and partly national, yet, of the deepest indignation? No, because the members who that the States which composed it would, in the progress may practise the oppression owe their accountability to the of time, become an overmatch for it, and, by encroachvery people who are benefited by the oppression, and who ments upon its rightful power, produce, first weakness, constitute the majority. The prospect of relief, then, then anarchy, and, finally, disunion. They reasoned from rests only upon this hope: that the people thus benefited history, which, as they supposed, proved the weakness of will discard from their service their benefactors, for the all former confederacies, in every shape; and from what single reason that they are their benefactors. They who they considered the advantages which the States would live upon such hope, must, indeed, in the language of the possess in any contest with the federal head. The other adage, die of despair.
party took the opposite ground. They argued, that, in Let it not be said that the same objection would lie the distribution of powers, all that were great and formiagainst the action of State legislation: even if it did, 1 dable, including, amongst others, the great powers over wouki say, that, because the people of the States must the purse and the sword, had been given to the Federal submit to possible injustice on a small scale, it cannot be Government; and that, therefore, the danger was, not of right that, therefore, this Government will force them to encroachment, on the part of the States, upon the head, submit to it upon a much larger scale. But the argument but of usurpation, on the part of the head, of the residuais wholly fallacious. There is this striking and character-ry powers reserved to the States. Let us now consult istic difference between the cases. The General Govern- the oracle of experience, and see how its response settles ment, where it makes donations for this purpose to the this great question. Let not the committee be alarmed States, or, as in the bill now before us, constructs the with an apprehension that I am going to violate my proroad itself, draws the means from a fund belonging to all mise, and discuss the question as to the constitutional powthe States, and applies it to the benefit of one or more, er over this subject. No; I have no such purpose. .y without even pretending to offer to the others any equi-purpose is, to show how even the great men of other days valent; whilst, on the contrary, in the case of a single were in error, as to the advantages which they supposed State, whilst the minority, who contribute to an improve the States to have in a struggle with this Government; and