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[Jan. 17, 18:33.
them your agents, you expend it upon objects which the therefore, instead of reducing the public burdens, instead most zealous friends of internal improvements by the Ge- of doing away the just causes of complaint which exist in neral Government would never dream of. Is this not the country, you are fastening them upon the commudoing, as I have said, that indirectly which you cannot do nity. Make, if you please, the most liberal allowance for directly? Would you not, by the instrumentality of the the support of the Government of the United States-a State Legislatures, be doing acts which you have not the tariff, producing twelve millions, added to the three milconstitutional power to perform yourselves? The second lions arising from the sales of the public lands, will supobject to which the money is to be applied by this bill, is port the Government; but give these three millions away, education. I admit the full value of this object; but has and you create the necessity of adding three millions to the it entered into the mind of any public man, that Congress tariff; this, therefore, is a tariff measure. It is to create could establish a system of education in the different a demand or necessity for more money; and when this neStates? Such a proposition has never been made, and, if cessity is created, I should myself feel bound, if it demade at any future period, it surely can meet with no favor pended on my single vote, to fix the rate of duties high in this body; and I ask Senators to reflect and consider enough to produce the requisite amount. I have been whether there be any substantial difference, in point of compelled to give my opinionin reference to the tariff, constitutional power, between this Government's doing it because it is connecied with the subject matter of this itself, and giving the money to the States, and directing bill. There is another reason why I object to this meathem to do it?
sure: it will operate deceptively; it looks like a gift upon As to the third provision in the bill, which is to expend its face to the States, but at the same time the people of the money in transporting the free people of color to Li- the States are taxed to make up the amount; it looks as if beria, on the coast of Africa, I consider it perfectly vi- the States were getting something from the General Gosionary; and this provision in the bill would be harmless, vernment; but when it is recollected that a tax is imposed were it not for the infraction of the constitution involved in to supply the deficiency in the treasury, occasioned by it, because I do not believe that the State Legislatures this measure, the deception is at once discovered, and the would so apply the money; they would expend it on objects delusion vanishes. in their own States. From what part of the constitution The politicians of the United States have been speakis the power thus to expend money derived? How can ing and writing about State rights and State independence it be contended that this Government can furnish money from the very foundation of this Government; and, acto better the condition of the free man of color, when it is cording to my humble judgment, nothing that could be admitted that you cannot give money to a poor man to invented by Congress would operate so fatally against better his situation--no, not even to remove him from these doctrines as this measure. If the States are to reone part of the United States to another?
ceive annually from this Government large sums of money I will now proceed to another branch of this subject. which may be withheld at pleasure, can you expect that If I were in favor of this measure; if I believed it author- manly spirit and strong language of remonstrance from ized by the constitution; if I believed it wise and State Legislatures which we have sometimes witnessed? politic, I would not at this time give my assent to it. It It is with communities as with individuals, that a man loses is, and it cannot be concealed, a tariff measure. It is to bis independence who is in the habit of living upon the keep up the duties on imports; and here I wish to be dis- bounty of another. He knows that to incur the displeatinctly understood, I have contributed nothing by any sure of his benefactor may produce a withdrawal of that vote or act of mine to produce the present state of excite- bounty which be has enjoyed; and the fear of this lessens ment which exists in the country, I will do nothing to his independence; he loses bis own will, and adopts that increase or aggravate it. I will yield nothing to intimi- of another as the rule of his conduct. The true mode upon dation, or to that hostile array which is displaying itself which to administer this Government is, to keep the opein the South. I will neither go faster nor slower. I will rations of the Federal and State Governments distinct and neither be accelerated nor retarded in my movements by separate. In this way, that confliction which produces any occurrence of that kind; but there are considerations discord is avoided. The State Governments possess certo which I am prepared to yield much. To that deep tain means of raising revenue to enable them to persense of injustice, long continued, which is felt by the form their respective functions; and the State Governwhole South, and by a great portion of the West, I would ments should never depend upon the General Government yield much. To the apprehension that oppression, long for the means of acting upon the subjects confided to them. persisted in, which is heavy, and cannot be always borne, so long as each Government depends upon its own means, might weaken, and in time alienate, the affections of any it is independent, and no longer. We already see the great portion of the community from this Government, 1 effects produced in some of the States by this anticipated am ready to gield any thing which will not produce in reliance upon the national treasury. Pennsylvania and justice to others. However, whether the tariff be re. Ohio have contracted large debts for internalimprovements, duced or not, I am in favor of executing the laws and pre- and they are now pressing this measure with a view to observing the Union; and so far as my voice will go, the tain money to meet the annual interest falling due upon Executive shall be furnished with all the means ne- their State treasuries. Is there not danger that you will cessary to accomplish these objects. Under this view place all the states in a similar condition, if you encouof the subject, let us examine the effect to be pro- rage them to undertake expensive internal improvements. duced by the passage of this bill
, and ascertain whether, beyond their own means of payment? instead of alleviating the public burdens, and removing the Further, I am opposed to this bill, because it will regrievances now felt and complained of, we are not giving tard the improvement and settlement of the Western a certain assurance that they never shall be removed. The country. In what I say upon this subject, I know I feel, public sentiment seems now settled, and we scarcely hear and shall speak, as a Western man. There is a greater a voice to the contrary, from any quarter, that the public portion of my affections, of my regards, than can exist revenue must be brought down to the wants of the Gov- elsewhere. If you say that the price of the public lands, ernment; if you, however, give away annually nearly three (which is evidently the design of this bill,) even of poor millions of your money, arising from the sale of the pub- quality, shall never be reduced, but at all times remain at lic lands, you thereby create the necessity of keeping up the sum now fixed by the laws of the United States, for a tariff to that amount, higher than would be necessary the purpose of distribution among the several States, you if the proceeds of the public lands were placed in the thereby prevent a dense population, and the cultivation treasury, to defray the expenditures of the Government; of soil of inferior quality. It cannot be expected, under
Jas. 17, 1833.]
this new system, that any favors or indulgence will ever of Indians. It has been said that these preference or ocbe extended to the settlers in the new States; a feeling cupant rights have not proved beneficial to the early adin opposition to a liberal spirit towards the inhabitants venturers of the Western country. Gentlemen wlto make of new States will be engendered in the different States; this statement possess less knowledge than I do, or a difand avarice, the most unfeeling passion that inhabits the ferent language would be used by them. The State of human breast, will forbid the distribution of favors amongst Virginia gave to each of the early settlers of the now State those who most need them. I readily admit that the shift- of Kentucky four hundred acres of a settlement right, ing of population from one section of country to another and a pre-emption of a thousand acres adjoining, at a price cloes not increase the population; but I by no means ad- merely nominal. The State of North Carolina, actuated mit that it may not increase the national strength and pros- by a similar liberal spirit, gave a pre-emption of six hunperity. The Government owes it to its citizens, as a duty, dred and forty acres to each of the early settlers in what to furnish all the means in its power to render them col- is now West Tennessee; and although it is true that but lectively and individually happy and independent. When few of these men remain at the present day, having been you put it in the power of every man, however poor and slain by the hostile savages, or having died by reason of humble he may be, to acquire à freehold of forty, eighty, great exposure and hardships, and from other causes, yet or one hundred and sixty acres of land, the Government i will venture to say that the descendants of no class of has done its duty; and if idle and dissipated men will not men in that vast region of country are more respected, take care of themselves and household, will not embrace or have more distinguished themselves in the learned proand enjoy the bounty of their country, the Government is fessions, or have been greater ornaments to the benches not responsible for their failure.
of justice, or have acquired more fame in legislative halls. At the last session I was told that my argument upon In regard to what is called the Green River country, in this subject was not sound, because those who worked in the State of Kentucky, it was settled upon the principle the manufactories were as good citizens as those who of occupancy; and there is no portion of that State, consicultivated the soil: that may be so. My principle, how- dering the quality of the soil, which contains a better or ever, is this: make your citizens independent--and no more substantial population. As to Tennessee, this bas man is so independent as he who gets his own livelihood been her uniform policy; and by its wisdom we have upon his own soil, and is not dependent upon the will of changed tenants and day-laborers into independent freeothers. A man thus situated is dependent upon Provi- holders. I am inclined favorably to the amendment prodence and his own exertions alone; he is not subject to posed by the Committee on Public Lands, and will vote the whim and caprice of others by whom he may be em- that each settler upon the public domain shall be entitled ployed: his livelihood cannot be endangered by the failure to a preference right at fifty cents per acre, upon condition of capitalists, which is the case with all those employed that he reside on it for five years in succession: this latter in manufacturing establishments. I therefore prefer that provision will prevent all fraud and peculation, and sethis Government should provide by its laws that every cure to him who needs it a home at a cheap rate. man of industry may acquire, at a cheap rate, a portion Upon a full view of the whole subject, my reflections of the public domain. With respect to the policy which result in this: that the new States have no exclusive claim I advocate-taking off a portion of the population of the to these lands, and that the States, as such, taken altoold States -- I can fully appreciate it. Tennessee will be gether, have no other claim to them or their proceeds deprived of many of its most valuable citizens; with me, than they have to moneys arising from other sources of however, this forms no objection; I will never legislate to revenue; and, of course, Congress has no power to give it keep men where they are, that others may be benefited to the States, or to apply it to any other objects or purposes by their labor. Should any of my fellow-citizens consult than those conferred on Congress by the constitution. me upon the subject of their removal
, my language to By giving this destination to this fund, we fulfil the dethem would be, *We should be glad if you could find it sign and expectation of the original donors, as well as the to your interest to remain amongst us, because we are un intention of the old Congress, to whom the donations willing to part with you; but if you can make yoursels were made. By the constitution of the United States, more happy and independent, if you can better provide the title to these lands is transferred to the new Governfor yourselves and families by going to a new country, ment, on which, by that instrument, the burden is placed go, and prosperity attend you." This is the way I feel, of paying the national debt; of carrying on our foreign and this is the way I incline to act towards the citizens of intercourse with all nations; of raising and supporting my own State: and why should we feel any prejudice the army and navy; of sustaining the Executive, Judicial, against this policy? The now waste lands are to be the and Legislative branches of this Government. These are homes of our children, and childrens' children; let us then legitimate subjects of public expenditure, and to these adopt a liberal policy for their improvement. It should should this fund be applied; they are for the common also be recollected that we have a very extensive expos- benefit of all, and therefore within the meaning of the ed frontier in the West; we have gathered all the Indian deeds of cession. Upon the subject of graduating the tribes together; we have concentrated that which makes price, I think the Government should adopt the same a formidable force, which may, at some future period, be rule which any prudent man, who owned a large quantity employed against the United States. How can we pro- of land, and was anxious to sell it, would pursue; that vide against attacks from that quarter in any way so effec- would certainly be to lower the price, whenever all the tually as by having a dense population in the immediate lands of first quality were sold, and he could not find neighborhood? By this means you will also lessen the ex- purchasers who would buy lands of inferior quality at the penditures of the Government, and give security to those price originally fixed, after the public lands have remainwho are now most exposed to danger. Another consi- ed in market at the minimum price for ten or fifteen deration of great weight upon this subject is, that New years. Surely it would be sound policy to offer them at Orleans, the great commercial city of the West, will al- a lower rate; this would not only be beneficial to the ways be the point of attack aimed at by a powerful fo- General Government, but the advantage to the new reign enemy with whom we may be at war. The best states would be incalculable, as thereby the whole lands security you can afford it will be found in thickly lining within their respective limits would become subject to the banks of the Mississippi, and filling up the adjacent State taxation. 'I, therefore, am willing at this time to country with freemen interested in the soil. An oppor- vote for giving settlement rights to occupants at fifty tunity to do this is now presented by the recent acquisi-cents per acre, and to graduate the price according to tions of territory from the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes the different qualities of land, and to reject at once the
Public Lands.-Cumberland Road.
[JAN. 17, 18, 1833.
proposition contained in the original bill. Still, my impression is that this is not the proper time to act finally upon the subject. At the next session of Congress the new States will have a full representation in the other House. They are more particularly intercsted in this subject than the other States. I am willing they should have the benefit of their additional numbers. It has been urged that this subject has been before Congress at the last session; that it was then amply discussed; that the different able reports of the Committee on Manufactures and the Committee on Public Lands have been published and submitted to the people for their consideration. This is all true; but has the subject been considered? Has it been decided by the people? I think not. It was lost sight of in the all-absorbing topic of the Presidential election. That, like Aaron's rod, swallowed up every other consideration. I am, therefore, prepared to vote for an indefinite postponement of this bill, whenever that motion shall be made. Mr. POINDEXTER then, with a view to perfect the original bill before the question was taken on the amendment, proposed to add several additional sections, providing for a gradual reduction of the price of the public lands remaining unsold for a specified period after being brought into market; granting pre-emptions under certain circumstances; providing for continuing the surveys and guarantying to the new States that the present minimum price of the public lands shall not be increased during the existence of the proposed law. Mr. CLAY opposed this amendment, with the exception of the latter clause. After a few observations by Messrs. BLACK, POINDEXTER, BUCKNER, and KING, the Senate, without taking the question, adjourned.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18. CUMBERLAND ROAD.
On motion of Mr. BUCKNER, the Senate proceeded to consider the bill providing for the continuation of the Cumberland Road, from Vandalia, in Illinois, to Jefferson City, in Missouri. The question being on the amendment offered by Mr. BExton, to insert the words, “and thence to the Western frontier of Missouri, in the direction of the military post, near the mouth of the Kansas river”— Mr. SMITH suggested the propriety of authorizing the continuation .# the road from Vandalia to “ some point” in Missouri. He had no objection to the contemplated military road, but he thought that the provision which required that the road should be continued to Jefferson City might endanger the passage of the bill. Mr. BENTON rose to advocate the amendment which he had proposed when the bill was last under consideration. The bill proposed to extend the road to the seat of Government in Missouri; the amendment which he had offered proposed to continue it to the Western frontier of the State of Missouri, in the direction to Fort Leavenworth, and to the intersection of the route for the caravans from Missouri to Santa Fé. He exhibited a map which he had obtained from the War Office, showing the osition of the military post, Fort Leavenworth, on the eft bank of the Missouri river, a few miles above the mouth of the Kansas, and proximate to the State line, and the course and bearing of the Santa Fé road, as marked out under the authority of the Federal Government. He showed, also, the course of the proposed road. by the seat of Government in Missouri, and considered the part which the amendment proposed as a link in the chain of the great road from Washington City to Santa Fé, the two ends of which had been either made or marked out by the Federal Government, and only the
link in Missouri remaining to be filled up to complete the longest line of road made by any Government since the time of the Roman empire. The part of the road which would extend to the Western frontier of Missouri was strictly and correctly a military way, leading to a frontier covered by Indian tribes which the Government was accumulating there, and to a fort at which a garrison of regular soldiers and a company of United States’ rangers were now stationed. It was the principal fort on that frontier, and intended for a permanent position.” A road to such a frontier, and to such a post, was a military road in fact as well as in name, and was better entitled to the care of the Federal Government than the military road in Maine to the Hill of Mars, imposing as that road might seem, from leading to an eminence which imported to be the residence of the ancient god of war. The Indians at this day, on the frontiers of Missouri, . were once more formidable to the people of that State than Mars could be to the people of Maine; and the Mars Hill road had been deemed worthy of repeated appropriations of public money. In 1828, the sum of $15,000 was voted to make it; in 1829, the sum of $42,932 was voted for completing it, in 1830, the sum of $47,451 to complete it; in 1831, $500 more were granted to complete it; and in 1832, the sum of $21,000 was voted for repairs and improvements upon it. Mr. B. said there was another view to be taken of these two roads: that of Maine traversed no public lands belonging to the United States; that of Missouri would traverse the centre of a State containing thirty-six millions of acres of federal land, paying no tax to the State, and receiving an increased value from all the roads which the State made. It was an acknowledged principle with the Federal Government, that, as the principal landholder in the new States, it should contribute to the construction of their roads and canals; and, on this principle, about one million of acres had been granted to the State of Ohio, and nearly half a million to each of the States of Indiana, Illinois, and Alabama. Missouri was one of those which had received neither land nor money from the Federal Government for the construction of her highways, and the bill which he (Mr. B.) had brought in at the last session to make her a grant of half a million of acres was snatched out of his hand, and clapped into that universal combination bill, commonly called the land bill, which was to pay its way through the two Houses of Congress by dealing out land and money to the right and left, till an interest was created strong enough to carry it through. Mr. B. hoped it never would get through, although his own bill was now in it, and trusted that his bill would be allowed to come out from the company into which it had been pressed, and take its fate in a separate vote upon its own merits, as all the bills for granting lands to the other States had done. Mr. B. said that Missouri had received nothing in money for the construction of roads or canals. She had been equally unfortunate in her applications to Congress for grants of money or land. ‘About a million of dollars were annually voted for objects of internal imprevement: no part of it went to Missouri; very little to any part of the South or West. The Northeast was the grand absorbent of the whole; and the system of internal improvement, invented for the benefit of the West, and proclaimed to be the true means of getting a portion of the public money disbursed in the West to counterbalance the enormous expenditure on the sea-board for lighthouses, navy yards, ships, and fortifications, had turned out to be nothing but an illusion to the West, and a new and enormous drain of money to the Northeast. Another bill is now presented in favor of Missouri; the reasons for it are numerous, cogent, and unanswerable; and it restel with the friends of internal improvement to say whether it should be passed. This bill proposed the extension of the road to the seat of Government in Missouri; the
Jax. 18, 19, 1833.] Cumberland Road.-Public Lands.-Evidence of Claims.
(SENATE amendment which he offered proposed to continue it to
PUBLIC LANDS. the frontier of the State, covered with insidious savages, to a military post which needed a communication with
The Senate then proceeded to the special order of the the centre of the State, and to the intersection of the day, being the bill to appropriate, for a limited time, the Missouri. The fate of this application would depend POINDEXTER to amend the original billSanta Fé road, annually travelled by the caravans of proceeds of the sales of the public lands, &c.
The question pending being on the motion of Mr. upon those who were the advocates of internal improvement. Many members denied the power of Congress to
Mr. MOORE moved to postpone the further consideramake these improvements; of course their votes could lion of the bill until Monday, on account principally of not be looked for; to those who admitted the power, and who was desirous to record his vote against the original bill.
the indisposition, and consequent absence, of a member advocated the system, and voted a million annually for improvements in other quarters, the fate of this applica- the other side absent; but that he would rather hazard the
Mr. CLAY suggested that there was also a Senator on tion must be committed. Mr. CHAMBERS thought the views of the gentleman for the yeas and nays on the question of postponement,
loss of the bill than postpone it any longer. He asked from Missouri (Mr. Bexton) conflicted with those advanced yesterday by Mr. GRUNDY. The argument of the
and they were ordered. latter gentleman was more in unison with what was con
Mr. ÞOINDEXTER stated that he had not been as yet sidered orthodox in a certain quarter, than that of the enabled to obtain all the information which he had ergentleman from Missouri, on the subject of the nationality, refer. It was a subject of great national importance, and
pected to acquire from documents to which he desired to &c. of a particular class of internal improvements. He regretted that the gentleman from Tennessee was not in
he thought it improper to hasten a decision. In addition his seat, as he might feel bound to vindicate his views on of it, but was at this moment laboring under a violent
to these considerations, be much wished to give his views this subject. There was a measure pending before the Senate, however, (the land bill;) which, if adopted, would would be postponed till Monday, as it was known that the
attack of cold. He hoped, therefore, that the subject relieve gentlemen from the necessity of making nice other House would not go into an examination of this matdistinctions on the subject of the nationality of this or ter until the tariff question should be disposed of. that improvement. Until that measure was disposed of, be considered it unnecessary to act on the bill now before
The question was then taken on the motion to postpone, the Senate, and he therefore moved to lay it on the table and decided as follows: Mr. SMITH would vote to lay the bill on the table for Calhoun, Forsyth, Grundy, Hill, Kane, King, Mangum,
Yeas.-Messrs. Benton, Bibb, Black, Brown, Buckner, a different reason; he wished further time to examine the Miller, Moore, Poindexter, Rives
, Robinson, Smith, Tipsubject, particularly the amendment of the gentleman ton, Tyler, White, Wright.--22. from Missouri, (Mr. BENTON.] Mr. BUCKNER requested that the motion to lay the
Nars.--Messrs. Bell, Chambers, Clay, Clayton, Dickbill on the table should be withdrawn for a moment; which Holmes, Johnston, Knight, Naudain, Prentiss, Robbins,
erson, Dudley, Ewing, Foot, Frelinghuysen, Hendricks, being done dir. BUCKNER expressed a hope that the bill would Ruggles, Seymour, Sprague, Tomlinson, Waggaman,
Webster.--22. not be further postponed. It had been some time before the Senate, and contained a plain proposition, involving
So the motion to postpone was lost, (the Senate being no new principle. He could see no reason why this bit equally divided upon it.)
Mr. KING then addressed the Senate, at length, in should be made to give place to the land bill, or any other favorite measure. There seemed to have been a species of opposition to the original bill, and in support of the
amendment. discipline and training connected with this land bill, which was disreputable, and at war with a free and fair course
Mr. CHAMBERS spoke in reply. of legislation. Every important measure which came up deration of the subject until Monday, in order to have an
Mr. BUCKNER moved to postpone the further consiwas drawn within the vortex of the land bill, which ap- opportunity to move that, when the Senate adjourns, it to rivet upon the country the present tariff. He warned adjourn to meet on Monday.
Mr.CLAY asked for the yeas and nays, which were gentlemen that this course might be attended with a dif
ordered. ferent effect from that which was intended. He had himself been an advocate of the tariff; but when an effort was
Mr. POINDEXTER said a few words in favor of ad
journment. made to sustain it by an unjust, and sordid, and corrupt course of legislation, he warned gentlemen to beware of than from day to day, in the present state of the public
Mr. WEBSTER objected to any other adjournment the consequences. Was it desired that the present bill business. At the same time, he felt a strong disposition should be postponed, in order that gentlemen might re: to give every indulgence to the gentleman from Missisvenge themselves for the vote which its friends might sippi. He then moved that the Senate do now adjourn. think proper to give on the land bill? This was certainly an unjust course of proceeding. If the bill now before
The motion was agreed to, and the Senate should fail, he wished it remembered that it
The Senate adjourned. had perished by the hands of those who had given birth to the principles upon which it was founded. Shall those
SATURDAY, JANUARY 19. who first stood forth the advocates of internal improve
EVIDENCE OF CLAIMS, ments be the first to destroy their own offspring? This On motion of Mr. SMITH, the previous orders were was unnatural. He preferred that every measure should postponed, and the Senate proceeded to consider the be tested by its own merits, unconnected with any other joint resolution authorizing the Secretary of State to desubject. A different course of legislation was unwise and liver to the commissioners under the French treaty the improper, if not dishonest.
evidences of any claims 'delivered to and rejected by the He had no objection that the bill should lie on the table, commissioners under the Spanish treaty. to allow any gentleman an opportunity for examination; The resolution having been read a second time, it was but protested against postponing it, for the reasons which taken up as in Committee of the Whole. had been assigned by the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. SMITH then stated that the Committee on Finance Mr. CHAMBERS.]
bad, in reporting this resolution, departed a little from The bill was then laid on the table.
the regular rule. The committee had been instructed
Evidence of Claims.-Public Lands.
[JAN. 19, 1833.
to inquire into the expediency of employing clerks to make copies of these documents. They had made inquiry of the Secretary of State as to the cost of making these copies, and are told that it would amount to $10,600. Other inquiries which were made resulted in a conviction that the mode suggested by the resolution would be the most convenient and the most prompt, and one which the Secretary had stated as giving him sufficient authority to deliver over the originals. Mr. FORSYTH said that the committee seemed to have forgotten the instructions which had been given to them. They were required to make an appropriation for the necessary clerks. It was true that there would be a considerable saving of expense if the originals were handed over to the commissioners; but the question was whether this could be done consistently with the treaty with Spain? If it could, the Secretary had the power of handing over the papers; if he had it not, the Senate could not give it to him. He should, therefore, vote against the resolution. Mr. SPRAGUE said he had always been of the opinion that the construction of the treaty which required these apers to be kept in any particular building was a very imited one. He did not understand that they were papers over which Spain could have any control. They are the documents relating to claims which had been disallowed. Spain could hardly expect that we should retain documents of this character forever. She could have nothing more to do with them. If the narrow construction to which he referred was to be adhered to, why could not the commissioners sit in rooms in the Department of State? He presumed that there could be no dif. ficulty in this. But believing that there could be no necessity for this, he should vote for the resolution." Mr. KANE thought the only question was, whether it is necessary that these documents should be where they would be submitted to the personal inspection of the commissioners? If so, and if copies would not answer, and the Secretary could not let the originals go from his custody without this resolution was passed, it ought to pass. Mr. SMITH and Mr. FORSYTH reiterated what they had before stated. -w Mr. SILSBEE expressed his inability to discover how it was possible that the treaty of Florida could have any more effect on these papers than on any of the claims put in for indemnity against spoliations committed by the French previous to 1800. The documents referred to captures condemned in French ports, and the claims founded on them had been rejected. Now, to establish these claims against France, it was necessary to produce these documents. The Secretary does not feel himself at liberty to give them up. This was very hard on the claimants, and in some way or other they ought to be relieved. He should therefore vote for the resolution. On motion of Mr. FOOT, the resolution was amended by adding the words: “Which evidences shall be returned to the Department of State when the commission shall expire.” The resolution was then reported as amended, and the amendment having been concurred in, the resolution was ordered to be engrossed, and read a third time.
The Senate then proceeded to the consideration of the bill to appropriate, for a limited time, the proceeds of the sales of the public lands, the question being on Mr. Poi N DExtER’s amendment.
After the failure of a motion to postpone the bill to Monday—
Mr. POINDEXTER rose and said: Mr. President, I should not have risen to partake of the debate on the interesting question brought before the Senate by the bill on your table, especially after the very able view which has been taken of it by the honorable Senator from
Kentucky, who introduced the bill at the last and the present session of Congress, but for the deep interest which my immediate constituents have in the final disposition which may be made of the lands of the United States, in common with all the new States of the confederacy, and the high obligation which devolves on me, as a Senator from one of these new States, to windicate their interests and advance their prosperity, on all proper occasions, not inconsistent with justice to the other members of the Union. I am admonished by the state of my health, as well as by the anxiety which has been manifested by the Senate, to bring this discussion to a close, of the propriety, and I may add the necessity, of confining my remarks within the narrowest limits which the importance of the subject will permit. The President, in his annual message, brings the great question of the public lands distinctly before Congress; and, besides the notice which he takes of the various propositions heretofore submitted for an equitable and proper disposal of these lands, he recommends for our consideration a specific plan, resulting from his own reflections on the subject, which I shall, in the progress of my remarks, take occasion to contrast with the provisions of the bill on the table, and endeavor to show the gffects of each system on the general welfare and future tranquillity of the country, in reference to this most important branch of national wealth and internal policy. But, sir, I cannot consent, in the arrangement of this difficult and perplexing question, to stop at the mere point of distribution, however much I may approve the measure. I desire to go further, and provide at once for the poor emigrants, by securing to those who actually inhabit and cultivate a tract of land of a limited quantity, for a number of years, to be specified, the right of pre-emption, at a moderate price, to the land so inhabited and cultivated. I wish also to incorporate in any bill which may be passed a provision for an equitable graduation of the minimum price at which the public lands are now directed by law to be sold, and thereby place lands of inferior quality at a rate which may induce men in moderate circumstances to purchase and cultivate them. With these salutary modifications, the system of distribution proposed will be acceptable not only to the old but the new States of the confederacy. It will do justice to every portion of the Union, and on that foundation alone can we hope to inspire confidence and give durability to the plan which it is proposed to carry into effect, by the passage of the bill now under consideration. The origin of the title of the United States to the eminent domain seems to be generally conceded. On this point there exist but slight shades of difference in the opinions expressed by honorable Senators who have preceded me in this discussion. The sources from which our title has sprung may be divided into the three following classes: 1st. Voluntary cessions from the States having within their chartered limits a large extent of waste and unappropriated territory. 2d. Cessions from the States, founded on purchase, for a valuable consideration. 3d. Cessions from foreign nations since the adoption of the federal constitution, founded on purchase, for a valuable consideration. In this latter class I’do not include purchases from the Indian tribes or nations, because the right of soil in the United States existed prior to these purchases. and no other title has ever been recognised in the Indian tribes but the right of occupancy, which has from time to time been extinguished by the numerous indian treaties which are to be found in the archives of the Government. I shall proceed to examine these various cessions, and the conditions in which they were made, in connexion