Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

DECEMBER 17, 1832.]

Turif Duties.

(SENATE.

and give it to another; whether it would not be better to fer, as proposed by the resolution. It would give mote insert an amendment, providing that thie work should be power of public patronage to one of the Heads of Departe executed by the printer of one of the two Houses of Con- ments, which they already possess to a disproportionate gress. He presumed this arose from an inadvertence in amount. The Secretary may give the printing of the dodrawing the resolution, and had made the suggestion, in cuments to any printer he chooses; thereby releasing him order to avoid the idea, that might otherwise be formed, from that responsibility to Congress which rests on their that the object of the resolution was to take so much work own public printers. I move, then, to amend the resolu. from the public printer. He regretted that the resolution tion, by inserting after the word printed, " by the printer did not go a little further, (as in its present shape it was of the Senate or House of Representatives." not, in his opinion, calculated to reach the object in view,) The question was then, taken, and Mr. P's amendment and do something that would tend to procure for them the was carried without a division. doeuments a little sooner, which would make some provi Mr. BIBB said, he could not see the necessity of this sion of law necessary, by whic'i the public printer would be resolution. He would read to the Senate the law of Conallowed more time to expedite the work.' He did not be gress providing for the transmission to Congress of these liere, however, that any sanction of a penalty by Con- statements at each session. (Mr. B. here read the law.] gress would be necessary to prevent any remissness on Now, said Mr. B., dlowe mean to change this law of Conthe part of the collectors, as the Secretary of the Trea-gress by the passage of a resolution, and provide that the sury undoubtedly had it in his power to report any dere statements shall be sent ready printed, by the Secretary of liction of duty to the President, with a view to the removal the Treasury, to the members at their respective homes, of the offending officer. This woull bave the effect to and in lois own time, instead of laying them before Congress? let those officers know that their returns must be made When the statements are sent to us, said Mr. B., we have in time to comply with the requisitions of the law. them under our own control, and can dispose of them as we

Mr. Foor said, that he had an objection to the resolu- please; but it will be quite otherwise should the resolution tion itself. It was calculated to release the custom house pass. He believed that the Secretary of the Treasury had it officers from. making their returns. Some do not make in his power to send in the statements in time for Contheir returns in time. If the Executive cannot enforce gress to print thein before its adjournment; and he should the law on this subject, there ought to be an enforcing like to know who were the persons not perforining their act.

It is of great importance to have the documents in respective duties, in time to enable bim 10 do so. Sir, season. Sir, I am entirely opposed to the resolution in itself. said Mr. B., I, for one, am covetous of that portion of

Mr. SMITH observed, that it was unimportant to himn patronage of the Government possessed by the two Houses individually, whether the resolution passed or not, be- of Congress, and am not disposed to deprive them of it, cause he expected hereafter to have no participation into bestow it on any of the Exccutive departments. the subject of it. His sole object was the future conve. Mr, SMITH said, the resolution is not opposed to the nience of the Senate, and to expedite the public business. law. The only difference from the usual practice, proHis attention bad been called to this subject, by the reposed by the resolution, is, that the documents shall be marks of the Senator from Maine, of the last session, and submitted to the Senate, not in manuscript, but in print. the acknowleriged inconveniences resulting from the late The whole object of the resolution is to suve time. The receipt of this important document referred to. Now his reports of collections must be made up after the 20th of resolution went to remedy completely the inconveniences September. If the documents were placed before the complained of; for a part of the returns embraced in this Senate by the 1st of January, their action upon them very document, were already received by the Treasury could not be completed by the 1st of March. The public Department, and could now be put to press if the depart. printers, from their numerous engagements, are not able ment had the power to print it; and then the remaining to print them in time. It is difficult to collate and copy parts could be printed as received. The public printer, the documents. Two men could not do it in less than two Mr. S. said, had much to do, and of an important nature, weeks. The Secretary could have them printed as they at the very time this document usually came in, (1st Ja- were made out. The only difference would be, that they nuary.) It would take much time even to examine the would be submitted to the Senate in print, and not in maproof sheets, as consisting of nice and great calculations, nuscript: not to the individual members of Congress, as in figure work; and indeed he did not believe that two the gentlemail jaci intimited, but to the two Houses of proof readers could do it in two weeks. Now all this Congress. Last session an extra number was printed; could be avoided by the adoption of the resolution.. It they were not delivered 10 members, but to the House. was, as he said before, no object to him; his only object There is no power transferred to the Secretary. He is was the convenience of the Senate hereafter.

bound to present the usual number. The resolution Mr. FOOT again remarked, that the honorable Senator cannot intefere with the law. The Secretary is required had said well, that we ought not to legislate for ourselves by the law to subunit his report by the first of December, as individuals. Sir, I do not aim to legislate for myself, or as soon after as possible. The Senate want to have but for my country: and this is a duty which I will not the documents early, no matter whether in print or mayield or abandon while I have a standing on this floor, Duscript, so that they can act upon them during the seş,

Mr. SMITII said, he had not intended to convey the sion. He saw great inconvenience in the present mode: idea that they were legislating for themselves. When be he only wished for convenience. It is difficult to get the spoke of the convenience of the Senate, it was in refer- documents from manuscript in less than two weeks. ence to the expediting the public business.

Mr. POINDEXTER said, the resolution seemed to inMr. HOLMES said, that lie too never had any idea of volve some difficulties, and he, for one, wished for time legislating for himself, though he did not expect to be for further consideration. Ile would, therefore, move to here again. There are many of us, he said, not legis- lay it on the table. lating for ourselves but for posterity, except, indeed, The resolution was then laid on the table, without a some bachelors, who could not legislate for their pos- division, terity,

TARIFF DUTIES, Mr. POINDEXTER said, there is no necessity for this The Senate then proceeded to take up the orders of measure. It is the custoin of the Senate sometimes to the day, print the usual number, and sometimes an extra number, The following resolution, offered by Mr. SMITH, on On this point the Secretary of the Treasury is not compe- Thursday, being under consideration; tent to decide. But there is another objection to a trans- Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be direct.

SENATE.]

Reduction of Duties.

[DECEMBER 24, 1832.

ed, with as little delay as may be, to furnish the Senate

MISSOURI CANAL. wiih the projet of a bill for reducing the duties levied The bill to grant a quantity of land to the State of Mis: upon imports, in conformity with the suggestions made souri, for the purpose of enabling said State to open a by him in his annual report.

canal in the Big Swainp, between the counties of Cape Mr. TYLER said that he had been chiefly instrumental Girardeau and Scott, to connect the waters of the river in prevailing on the Committee of Finance to adopt the St. Francois, and the river Mississippi, was read a second resolution now before the Senate. It had been adopted time, and after a brief explanation by Mr. BUCKNER, of without opposition, and seemed to meet the entire appro- the condition of the lands through which the canal was bation of all the members, save one. Under these cir- proposed to be made, was reported without amendment. cumstances it had come before the Senate. He intended MR. SPRAGUE put a question to the Senator from it for good. He thought a speedy action on the subject Missouri as to the quantity of land which was proposed to of the tariff was indispensably necessary; that it was due be given to the State, and whether the whole of it came to the country, to the condition of the finances, and de under the denomination of a swamp? manded by the fearful crisis into which our affairs hac Mr. BUCKNER replied that it was intended to give been unfortunately plunged. A great crisis had arrived, two and a half miles on cach side of the canal, and that and definitive action-powerful, well sustained, and effi- the swamps extended six miles. There was very little cient action--was necessary to save the country. The good land which was not inundated, and most of that was subject could not be blinked, and he, for one, resting settled by public or other grants. These persons were upon the principles on which he had all his life acted, protected by the bill. was ready for action. He was not for shedding blood in On motion of Mr. SPRAGUE, who wished tiine for civil strife, but for prompt legislation, which would heal further information, the bill was, for the present, laid on the wounds of the country. He found himself, however, the table. differing with some of those with whom he commonly

PUNISHMENT OF CRIMES. acted, and without whose aid the resolution could not be The bill supplementary to an Act to provide for the carried. Some objected for one cause, and some for more efficient punishment of certain crimes against the another. He hoped that those objections would yield to United States, &c. was read a second tiine. better reflection, and that those wlio agreed in the main, The bill being in committee, some discussion took would not differ about unessentials. For the present, he place in reference to its various details, in which Messrs. declined to press the subject, and moved to lay the reso- DALLAS, CHAMBERS, EWING, HOLMES, WILlution on the table.

KINS, TYLER, MANGÚM, and BIBB, participated. The resolution was accordingly ordered to lie upon the The discussion chiefly related to that clause of the bill table.

which prescribes the punishment of solitary imprisonOn motion of Mr. SMITH, the Senate then proceeded ment, from one year to five years, at the discretion of the to the consideration of Executive business. After which, Court, for persons convicted of having counterfeit notes The Senate adjourned.

in their possession. This discretion was, on one side,

dcemed too great to be vested in any court, because five TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18.

years solitary confinement is a punishment equal to death.

On the other hand, it was insisted that, in such case as THE TARIFF. The resolution offered yesterday by Mr. POINDEX- was provided for by the clause, the inception of the TER being taken up,

offence ought to be punished as severely as its consunMr. Smith requested that the resolution might lie mation. Some amendments were made in the details of

the bill. over for the present to allow time for examination. Mr. POINDEXTER said that he had no objection to

The bill, on motion of Mr. BIBB, was laid on the table. suffer the resolution to lie over. But as it was necessary, on account of the labor it would impose on the Depart.

TAURSDAY, DECEMBER 20. ment, that it should be specdily acted on, he gave notice

FRENCH SPOLIATIONS. that he should eat the resolution up for consideration on

Mr. CHAMBERS, from the Select Comınittee on the day-ifter to-morrotka After forwarding a number of bills, and disposing of the Senate at the last session, with a verbal emendment,

French Spoliations, reported a bill similar to one before sundry minor matters,

which was real and ordered to a second reading. The Senate acljourned.

Mr. CHAMBERS took occasion to state, that, as the

chairman of the committee was absent, it was not the inWEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19.

tention of the committee to call up the bill for consideraREVENUE FRAUDS.

tion until they should have the pleasure of seeing him in The following resolution, offered yesterday by Mr. his place. SPRAGUE, was taken up:

After disposing of a number of petitions, resoluResolved, That the Committee on Finance be instructed tions, and private bills, to inquire into the expediency of making further provi Adjourned to Monday. sion for the protection of the revenue, by prohibiting oficers of the customs from trading in articles not subject

MONDAY, DECEMBER 24. to duty. Mr. SPRAGUE, in a very few words, stated that he

REDUCTION OF DUTIES. had been induced to offer this resolution in consequence After the Senate had disposed of some other morning of letters which had reached him from sources entitled to business, the highest respect, communicating the fact that great Mr. POINDEXTER moved that the Senate do now frauds were committed by: officers of the customs, carry- consider the following resolution, which he offered on ing on a traffic in articles not subject to duty. Having the 17th instant: received this information from quarters entitled to weight, Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be dihe wished it to be referred to the Committee on Finance, rected to report to the Senate with as little delay as practo examine and report whether some legal provision to ticable, a detailed statement of the articles of foreign prevent these frauds might not be expedient.

growth or manufacture, on which, in his opinion, the The resolution was then agreed to.

present rate of duties ought to be reduced, specifying

DECEMBER 24, 1832.)

Reduction of Duties.

(SENATE.

particularly the amount of reduction on each article sep- now state that he had a particular objection. It asked for arately, so as to produce the result of an aggregate reduc." an enumeration of articles deemed to be essential to our tion of the revenue of six millions of dollars, on such national independence in time of war, and which, theremanufactures as are classed under the general denomina- forc, ought, in his opinion, to be exempted from the opetion of protected articles; and that he also append to such ration of the proposed reduction of duties.” He con. report an enumeration of articles deemed to be “essen- tended that this part of the requisition ought not to go to tial to our national independence in time of war;" and the Treasury Department, but to be addressed to the Se. which therefore ought, in his opinion, to be exempted cretary of War, within whose province it would naturalfrom the operation of the proposed reduction of duties. ly come to answer such interrogatory. He wished that

Mr. SMITH said, that as the Senate was now thin, he this resolution might lie until the House bad come to hoped the Senator from Mississippi would suffer his reso- some action on the subject, and then both the resolutions lution to continue on the table, until after the holidays. before the Senate could be taken up and disposed of

Two of the Committees of the other House, as he together. was informed, had been for some time past engaged in Mr. POINDEXTER again rose to reply. He had the preparation of a bill on this subject, and had received hoped that no Senator would, on the present motion to the aid of the Secretary of the Treasury in their work, consider, have touched the boily of the resolution; but as having had repeated conferences with that officer to the Senator from Alabama had done so, in order to preascertain his views. He hoped, therefore, that the reso- vent the Senate from agreeing to the consideration, he lution would be permitted to lie on the table a few days, felt himself bound to say a word or two. The Senator until the Senate should be fuller than at present. from Alabama was of opinion that the latter part of the

Mr. POINDEXTER stated that it had been his inten. resolution ought to be addressed to the Secretary of War. tion, pursuant to notice which he liad given, to call up It might be so, but if it was, the course was new to him. this resolution for consideration on Thursday last; but it He would briefly give the reason which had induced him woull be recollected that, on that day, the Senate went to give to the inquiry the direction which he had chosen. very early into the consideration of Executivc busi- He then referred to the message of the President, in ness, and that, in this way, his intentions had been frus- which it was suggested that it would be found expedient trated. If this resolution involved any important prin- to reduce the duties to the necessary wants of the Governciple, he should have no objection to acquiesce in the sug- ment. The Secretary of the Treasury, following up this gestion of the Senators from Maryland, and to suffer it principle, after a variety of views, had echoed this sento lie over for the present. But it was nothing more timent of the Executive. As to the technical objections, than a call for information constructed in the ordinary therefore, which had been taken to the reference to the manner, involving no principle, and asking for informa. Treasury Department, he thought it was disposed of by tion, the importance of which at the present moment was the suggestion made by the Secretary. How was the obvious to every member of the Senate. If the Senate Senate to decide what articles, “essential to our national were to have any of the information called for by his independence in time of war, ,” were deemed by the Seresolution, it ought to be in their possession immediately cretary as entitled to exemption. If the views of the memafter the holidays, if possible, in order that they might bers of the Senate were to be substituted for those of the proceed to action upon it without delay, as this was Secretary, one gentleman might tell you that he consithe short session. He did not apprehend that there could dered woollens as one of these “essential articles,” bebe any opposition to the resolution itself. It would be out cause they enter into the necessary clothing of the soldier of place, while considering it, to go into a discussion of in time of war. Another gentleman, would, with equal the great principles involved in the tariff question; and truth, and on equally good reasoning, tell you that cotton the only views which could present themselves would be was one of these articles "essential to our national indewbether it would be expedient or not to call for the infor- pendence in time of war." Now, he wished to know mation, whether such course would be at all disrespectful what the message and the report of the Secretary meant! to any branch of the Government; and whether the infor. He wished to see the scheme of the Secretary. And the mation required would be useful in aiding the Senate to information could be furnished under the eye of the Exform just conclusions on the great questions. All other ecutive, and by any officer he might select. debate would be entirely premature.

And why was all this difficulty thrown in the way of He hoped the Senate would now agree to consiiler the lis resolution? One gentleman had said that the other resolution: and if there shoul:l be found any thing ob- House ought to act, in the first instance. Another stated jectionable, either in the language of the resolution, or in that the Senate ought to let the Secretary of the Treasury the details of information for which it asked, the Senate communicate his views sub rosa. Now, he wanted to see could dispose of it in such way as their wisdom should di- what the Secretary meant by his generalities. He wantrect. At all events, he trusted that his motion to take up ed the Secretary to show his hand. He desired to know the resolution would prevail.

what he meant when he talked of a reduction of six milMr. KING said that he did not ordinarily object to the lions of duties. The situation of the country at this moconsideration of resolutions calling for information, but ment was very imposing, and demands the early action of he could not avoid expressing his hope that this resolu- Congress. It was necessary that it should be known tion would not now be considered.' The subject itself whether the existing law is to be abandoned, or whether properly belonged to the House of Representatives, and it is to be adhered to. if the decision shall be to adhere a committee of that branch were now ready with a report to the present tariff law, let it be quickly made, that the on the subject, which would have been probably made public attention may be fixed. But now, since the isto-day, had the House been in session, and would not, suing of a certain paper, the proclamation of the Presihe presumed, be postponed beyond Wednesday. A re. dent, all was confusion and uncertainty. The Secretary solution very similar to the present had been laid on the of the Treasury, he presumed, would give the informatable by the Senate but a few days since; and the under-tion wbich was required, without hesitation; and the Sestanding was, that the subject should not be again laken nate would then be in possession of materials for a just up until the other House had acted upon it. This reso- decision. To himself it was matter of some surprise, lution appeared to him to differ from that in no essential that when one honorable Senator wanted information on point, and ought also to lie over, and then the two reso. a particular subject, another honorable Scnator, who may lutions could be considered together.

have had greater facilities for obtaining the knowledge, To the latter part of this resolution, however, he would and who, therefore, did not require the lights asked for,

SESATE.)

Reduction of Duties.

(DECEMBER 24, 1832. should rise in his place to start objections to the inquiry. another time; but if the information were to be asked for Discussion of the subject was now out of place. In or- from the Department, in the form of a bill, it would carry der to test the sense of the Senate on his motion, and to an appearance as if no member of the Senate, or any one see how gentlemen voted, he would ask for the yeas and else, could draw a bill, in terms of technical accuracy, but ways.

a clerk of a Department. He was unwilling to let it A sufficient number rising to sustain the call, the yeas go forth to the world that a Senator could not frame a bill; and nays were then orslered.

and would prefer that the necessary information should be Mr. SMITH said that it devolved on him to state some asked for informally. of the reasons which had induced him to vote against the The question was then taken on the motion to consider consideration of this resolution at the present time. The the resolution, and decided as follows: Senator from Mississippi had said that he wished to draw Yras.-Messrs. Bell, Bibb, Clayton, Dickerson, Ew. from the Secretary his scheme as to the reduction of the ing, Foot, Frelinghuysen, Hendricks, Holmes, Knight, duties. Now, the Committee on Finance had presented a Miller, Moore, Poindexter, Prentiss, Robbins, Ruggles, resolution expressly calling for this scheme, in the most Seymour, Silsbee, Tipton, Tomlinson–20. plain and practical form, that of a bill. The honorable Nays.—Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buckner, Dudley, Senator had objected to that resolution, because it called Grundy, Lill, Kane, King, Mangum, Robinson, Smith, for a bill.

Sprague, Tyler, White, Wilkins-15. Mr. POINDEXTER explained that he thought bills So the Senate agreed to consider the resolution. should originate in the legislative branch, and with the The resolution was then again read, and Mr. POIN. Executive departments.

DEXTER modified it, by inserting after the words “sis Mr. SMITH resumed. If that resolution had been millions of dollars," the words “as expressed in his annuadopted, the Senate would have been furnished with a al report,” bill, embracing every item on which a reduction of duties Mr. KING considered the modification which had just was contemplated. He then adverted to the distinct cha- been made as rendering the resolution still more objecracter of the message of the Executive, and the reports tionable. There was no such expression in the annual from the Secretaries, and contended that the views in the report of the Secretary, as was attributed to it by the moformer, did not, of necessity, control those in the latter.dification. The resolution referred solely to what were A call, in reference to articles essential in war, might be termed "protected articles.” Such was not the language directed to the President or to the Secretary of War, but of the report of the Secretary. The language of the letcould not be properly addressed to any other department. ter was principally on protected articles, and did not con

The Senator from Mississippi had stated that this reso- vey the idea of reduction on protected articles exclusively.. lution embraced no important principle. Now, he (Mr. He did not understand what the Senator from MississipS.) thought it touched one of great importance. He re-pi meant by persons having information in their possession, collected that Congress called on General Hamilton for which other gentlemen did not possess; and that the Sehis opinions. The opinions of that gentleman had, at cretary would give his opinion sub rostt. He was certain that time, great weight on a certain portion of the peo- there was nothing in his language to warrant the impres. ple; they had great influence on almost all the opposition. sion that any gentleman were in possession of exclusive He recollected that Mr. Giles protested against calling on information. Ile knew of none. And as to the Secretathe Secretary for his opinions, and the call was also op- ry of the Treasury, he felt assured that that officer would posed by Mr. Madison, John Nicholas, and others. The not shrink from an arowal of his opinions; but that he ground taken was, that it was the duty of the Secretary was ready at any moment to show his hand. to furnish only facts when they were required, and that it The Committee of Ways and Means of the other House was for Congress to construct opinions out of these facts. had been laboring, with the aid of the Secretary of the The information which was now asked by the resolution Trcasury, to frame a bill, and were now rçady to make would have no influence on bis mind, or on his course, their report. So also the Committee on Manufactures had although it thight have its weight with other Senators. been occupied in a similar labor. He thought that the He was opposed to calling on any head of department for Senate ought to wait for the result of their labors, before his opinions. It was only for them to furnish the facts. they proceeded to act on the subject. The resolution involved the principle which had been dis But he had another, and a still stronger objection to the cussed in 1797. He would not consent now to call on the resolution. It was a call on the Treasury Department for Secretary for his opinions, any more than he did then, information which was not within its province. Why when he opposed the practice on principle. He was in-should a call be made on the Treasury Department for an disposed to array the opinions of the Secretary against his enumeration of munitions of war, small arıns, and similar own, or those of other Senators. He was, therefore, necessary articles, when there was in existence a Depártagainst the motion to consider.

ment of War? Let the call be made there. Mr. HOLMES expressed the difficulty he had to com The resolution, he regarded, as not doing justice to prehend precisely what had fallen from the Senator from the Secretary it imputed to him expressions for which Maryland concerning opinions. That Senator, it appear- he was not to be held responsible, and was calculated to ed, although he would not call on the Secretary for his produce erroneous impressions. And it called on him opinions, would have no objection to call on him for a bill. for information which was not within his reach. The reNow, what was a bill but opinions.

solution might, with more propriety, be addressed to the Mr. SMITH. “ Facts.

President, and he could send it to a proper officer for a Mr. HOLMES resuined. A bill was framed in consc reply. quence of opinions, and to embody them. And when a When the report of the Secretary of the Treasury was distinction was taken between an opinion and a bill, it received last session from the Department, it met with opseemed to him to be a distinction without a difference, position on every side, and was finally defcated; and it unless the bill called for was not to be received as the opi- was probable that his communication now would meet with nion of the framer. In reporting a bill an opinion was a similar fate. lle would now make a proposition which given on the principle on which it was founded, so that, would free the resolution from the objection which he felt as regarded the requisition for the opinions of the Secre- to it as it now stood. tary, the present and the previous resolution were the Mr. KING then moved to strike out the following same thing. If the Senate was to act at all on the resolu- words: tion, he thought it not material whether it was now, or at "And that he also append to such report an enumera.

Dec. 24, 1832.)

Reduction of Duties.

[SENATE.

tion of articles deemed to be 'essential to our national in- and the Secretary of the Treasury follows out the idea. dependence in time of war,' and which, therefore, ought, He desired to act in conformity with the views of the in his opinion, to be exempted from the operation of the President and the Secretary on this point. But he must proposed reduction of duties."

first ascertain what these articles were. If the Secretary Dr. BROWN then asked for the reading of the resolu. were to furnish the specifications called for by his resolution which was offered some days since from the Commit- tion, would not the Senate act more understandingly and tee on Finance

harmoniously? Certainly they would. But any discusThe resolution being read,

sion which might be gone into, to determine these artiMr BROWN then said that he should vote against the cles, would be something like the consultation of the citiresolution of the Senator from Misssissippi, even if the zens of the besieged town in the fable; one declared his amendment of the Senator from Alabama should succeed. preference for iron, as the best material for fortification; He preferred the resolution of the Committee on Finance. (a second insisted on the superiority of wood; while a He felt assured that the Secretary would not shrink from third declared that there was nothing like leather. So the responsibility of giving his views. In the report which it would be found, that among the Senators there would he had already sent in, he had exhibited candor, frank- be found as great a diversity of opinions. He knew that ness, and an admirable system of doctrines, which enti- the President and the Secretary would not shrink from tled him to confidence. He could not agree with the the avowal of their opinions. He stood forward the adSenator from Alabama, that the Senate ought to suspend vocate of their opinions; and he found himself placed in their action on this subject because the House had not yet a singular position, inasmuch as he was opposed by those acted. At a moment of such deep importance, when the who were the friends of the administration. harmony, and, perhaps, the integrity of the Union are in The present crisis was one which demanded action: danger, he thought that there should be no delay, but the people wished to know what course Congress were that the Senate ought to act at once.

about to pursue; and he hoped they should proceed to Mr. POINDEXTER said the Senator from Maryland act without delay, so that this now distracted country seemed to object to a call for opinions on this great sub- might once more repose in peace and serenity: ject. Did that gentleman recollect that, in the reports Mr. SMITH said iwo or three words in explanation of of Mr. Hamilton, as to the condition of the finances, he what he had said concerning the distinctness between the confined himself to statements of facts principally? It was opinions of the President and those of his Secretaries; thought, by some members of Congress, that he should and added, that the Secretary had confined himself to a be called on to communicate his opinions. The demo- general expression, and that the details which were now cratic party were opposed to a call for opinions. But demanded did not lie within his reach. now it had become a fashion with the departments to Mr. SPRAGUE stated that this was not, in his opivolunteer their opinions. The report of the Secretary of nion, a resolution calling for information as to facts. It the 'Treasury contained opinions expressed in general was only calling for opinions in a more specific form than terms, and the Senate had a right to call for specific that in which they had heretofore been given. He was cations.

opposed to this practice. He thought that the DepartIt woull be recollected by the Senate, that this was not ments had already influence enough, and he would not a new practice. At the last session, they had called on magnify that influence still further by calling on them for the Secretary of the Treasury for bis opinions as to the their opinions. The facts were already before the Sereduction of duties. The call was made, as it appeared nate: The fact that the revenue was now greater than on the Journal now before him. The call might with as the wants of the country demanded, was before the Semuch propriety be made now, and he had no doubt that nate. They also knew the amount of the duties on prothe Secretary would be as ready as he was before to give tected articles, and they knew what the articles were on his opinions on the subject.

which duties were collected. The amount of the reveThe Senator from Alabama had raised an objection to nue and expenditures, the amount of the duties which the latter part of the resolution, because the Secretary of accrued, and the names of the articles, were all before the Treasury had not carried out the views of the Presi- the Senate. And what more was required? They prodent on this point, but had confined himself to the pro- pose to ask the Secretary of the Treasury his opinion tected articles. He would read what the Secretary had on what articles reductions should be made? He would said on the subject, because if he had not touched this not consent to do this. He thought the Senate were point, it might be improper for the Senate to meddle competent to do it for themselves. It might be true that with it.

he would be willing, in this instance, to draw out the Se[Here Mr. POINDEXTER read a paragraph from the re- cretary on the subject of the reductions which he had in port which advertel to the propriety of giving especial view; but he was against the general practice, and not protection to articles which were necessary to the preser- for it. If the Secretary had volunteered certain opiration of our national independence.)

nions, he (Mr. S.) was not disposed to ask him for Thus it appeared that ihe Secretary proposed to ex- more. Ile objected to this resolution for substantially the empt articles which were “ essential to the national inde- same reasons which had induced him to oppose the resopendence in time of war,” showing that there existed a lution calling on the Secretary for a bill. But he was, strict coincidence of opinion on the subject, between the in fact, more opposed to that resolution than to the prePresident and Secretary. It was said that the Secretary, sent, because it called for the opinions of the Secretary in the construction of his annual report, acted indepen. in a still more emphatic manner. It had been predicted dently of the views of the President. He did not so un- that the Senate would become merely the recorder of the derstand it." He had always supposed that the Cabinet decrees of the Executive, but he had never yet heard acted in subservience to the President, more especially the suggestion that laws were to be prepared at the dein the suggestion of any new views. Would it not ap- partment, and merely sent to the Senate for passage. It pear strange if one of the Secretaries should assume the had been said that the plan was a convenient one. He right to declare war? Had not the President a right to knew it was convenient, and it might be still more concontrol their opinions? Could he not remove them when venient to have the laws prepared by one man. But he he found that they were no longer disposed to act under thought it would be much better to submit to the inconhis control?

venience of the established practice, than by concenAs to articles which are necessary in time of war, the trating all business in one, to concentrate all' influence President had declared that they ought to be exempted, there also, and thus to prepare the way for the introduc

Vol. IX.--2

« AnteriorContinuar »