Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors]

DECEMBER 13, 1832.)

Public Lands-Commercial Statements.


ON THE JUDİcrans--Messrs. Wilkins, Webster, Fre- lain; and on the fourth balloting the following was the linghuysen, Grundy, and Mangum.

result: Ox THE Post OFFICE AND Post ROADS-Messrs. Grun

For the Rev. Mr. Pise,

22 dy, Hill, Ewing, Tomlinson, and Buckner.


12 Os Roans and Canals--Messrs. Hendricks, Sprague,

Rey. Mr. HATCH,

4 Dallas, Hill, and Buckner.

So that the Rev. Mr. Pise was declared to be elected. Os Pensions--Messrs. Foot, Chambers, Dickerson, [He received nineteen rotes on the first ballot.) Sprague, and Poindexter.

After the consideration of Executive business, Ox tux District of COLUMBIA--Messrs. Chambers, Adjourned. Tyler, Holmes, Clayton, and Miller. Os THE CONTINGENT Fuxn--Messrs. Knight, Dudley,

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12. and Tomlinson.

PUBLIC LANDS. Ox EngrossED BILLS-- Messrs. Robbins, Robinson, and Ewing

Mr. CLAY, agreeably to notice, asked and obtained After distributing the various subjects of the Presi- leave to introduce a bill to appropriate, for a limited time, dent's Message to the appropriate committees, and dis- the proceeds of the sales of the public lands in the Uniposing of some minor business, adjourned.

ted States and for granting lands to certain States.

The bill having been read twice, and being before the

Senate, as in Committee of the whole.

Mr. CLAY said that this bill had been before two

committees of the Senate, and that it had been passed at Mr. CLAY rose and said, it would be recollected that the last session by a considerable majority. He thought, during the last session a bill had passed the Senate, which therefore, that there would be no necessity for its referoriginated in the Committee on Manufactures, to appre-ence to any committee at this session. The bill was prepriate, for a limited time, the proceeds arising from the cisely the same as the one which had passed the Senate sales of public lands. At a very late period of the session last year, with the exception of the necessary change in this bill was sent to the other House; and owing, proba- the time when the bill would take effect. If, however, it bly, to that circumstance, and probably to some other was the wish of any Senator that the bill should be referred causes, the bill had not been definitively acted on by he had no objection. He would prefer to have the bill that House. Rather, he would say, there had been no made the order for some convenient but not very distant express decision of the House for or against the bill. It day, when it might be taken up and discussed. If agree. was indefinitely postponed. He was desirous of again able to the Senate, he would say the fourth Monday in obtaining the sense of the Senate on this question, and, this month, or the first Monday in January. He did not should it be in accordance with the vote of the last ses- see that it was necessary to send the bill to a committee, sion, to afford the other House the opportunity of a more but if any gentleman wished that course to be taken, he full examination and discussion of the bill.

repeated, he should not object to it. He therefore gave notice that he would, to-morrow, Mr. KANE said that it would be recollected that this ask leave to introduce a bill to appropriate for a limited subject had recently been referred to the Committee on time the proceeds of the Public Lands.

the Public Lands, by the reference to that committee of ? FRENCH SPOLIATIONS.

so much of the President's message as relates to the public Mr. WILKINS, pursuant to notice, asked and obtain. had come from the Executive on the subject of the pub

lands. An important proposition, indeed a new one, ed leave to introduce a bill to provide for the satisfaction lic lands generally. That proposition was now before of claims due to certain American citizens for spoliations the committee; and he hoped that the gentlemen from committed by France on their commerce, prior to the Kentucky would consent to a reference of his bill to the 30th September, 1800. The bill was then read twice, and on motion of Mr. same committee. Mr. K. concluded by moving this refer

ence. WILKINS, ordered to be referred to a select committee

The motion was agreed to, and the bill was referred of five members. Mr. WILKINS said that previous to the balloting for

to the Committee on the Public Lands. the committee, he wished to remark that, as it was pro

INTEREST TO STATES. bable the usual courtesy of the Senate in appointing the Mr. CHAMBERS asked and obtained leave to intromover to be on the comınittee, might be extended to him duce a bill providing for the final settlements of the claims in this case, he wished it to be understood that he did not of States for interest on advances made to the U. States desire to be on the committee. He would rather that, during the late war. in his room, some gentleman might be appointed who was The bill was read, and ordered to a second reading. more conversant with commercial buisiness. He desired, After notices for various bills, and receiving sundry however, that it might be understood that he had in no resolutions, adjourned. way changed his original opinions on the subject of these claims.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13. The PRESIDENT replied that he believed it was the duty of the Chair to appoint the committee.

Mr. SMITH, instructed by the Committee on Finance, Mr. WILKINS. Then I wish the Chair to consider my offered the following resolution: remarks as addressed to himself.

Resolved, that the Secretary of the Treasury be diMr. SMITH. I do not think it very proper to appoint rected, with as little delay as may be, to furnish the Sencommercial gentlemen on this committee. They might ate with the projet of a bill for reducing the duties levied be interested in the result.

upon imports, in conformity with the sugestions made by The conversation here ceased.

him in his annual report. ["The following members were appointed by the Chair This resolution lies on the table on day. to compose the committee: Messrs. WEBSTEN, CHAMBENS,


A joint resolution offered by Mr. SMITH, to provide ELECTION OF CHAPLAIN.

for printing the annual statements of commerce and naviThe Senate then proceeded to the election of a Chap-gation was then taken up.

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

Mr. SMITH briefly stated the reasons which had induced him to offer this resolution. Referring to the act which directs the Secretary of the Treasury to report these statements anually to Congress in the first, meaning, perhaps, the first Monday of December, or as soon after as possible—he complained that the document did not very frequently find its way to the members until the session had terminated, and they had returned to their homes. He did not get his last statement until the end of October or the beginning of November. He referred to the great but unsuccessful exertions which had beca made by the Secretary to obtain the statements, at an earlier period, from the officers who had to prepare the details. The Secretary hoped to send in the next statement, by the 1st of February; and after that time, it would be long before it could be printed, and presented to the members. The object of his resolution was to give authority to the Secretary to have the document printed so that it might be printed, sheet by sheet, as the matter was furnished from the Department, and under the supervision of the Treasury. The difficulty arose out of the impossibility of getting the reports of the various officers in proper time. The Secretary complained that he could not get them in time; unless some penalty could be inflicted for neglect and delay, he did not see how the officers could be coerced into greater diligence.

Mr. HOLMES admitted that there was ground for complaint as to the delay in furnishing these annual statements. It often happened that they were not received until long after the termination of the session; perhaps not before May or June, instead of early in January. The report has to be delivered to the Secretary of the Senate, and afterwards to be printed. The adoption of this resolution would lead to the printing of the statements beforehand, but the evil would not thereby be remedied. The report of the Secretary of the Treasury gives the returns up to the 30th of September, and he saw no reason why the report should not be made before the 1st of January. It was said that there was no penal sanction to the law, and that the officers could delay their returns without incurring any penalty. It is so; but he should suppose that neglect could be prevented; that if the Secretary could not remove an offender, he could report his neglect to the President. He thought the subject should be further con. sidered, and with this view, he moved to lay the resolution on the table.

The motion was agreed to.
On motion of Mr. FolkSYTII, the Senate then pro-

ceeded to the consideration of cxccutive business.


When the doors werc re-opened, a motion had been made by Mr. POINDEXTER to re-consider the order of the Senate to adjourn till Monday, for the purpose of giving an opportunity, to-morrow, for the adoption of the resolution offered to-day by-Mr. SM1th, from the Committee on Finance. When Reporters were admitted, Mr. HOLMES had just opposed the motion. Mr. POINDEXTER succecded him in a few remarks in opposition to any call upon the Head of a Department for the projet of a bill. In his opinion, the Senaté ought to look to their own committees for draughts of bills, and to the Departments merely for information. He had a strong objection to sending either to the President, or any one of the Departments, for a bill. He would look to the re. ular committees for the bills, and the committees would ook to the Departments for such information as they might require. He could not consider this resolution, therefore, in the light of an ordinary call for information; and whenever it should be taken up, he would record his name in ‘. to it. Not that he was ever opposed to call on the Departments for information, but that he re

garded the calling for a bill as derogatory to the character
of the Senate.
Mr. TYLER regretted that on a mere motion to recon-
sider the order for adjournment, the merits of the resolu-
tion should be brought up for discussion. Notwithstand-
ing what had fallen from the Senator from Mississippi,
however, he should still calculate on having his vote in
favor of the resolution. He reminded that gentleman that
the existing law required of the Secretary of the Treasury
to communicate to Congress all the information concern-
ing the finances of the country. In obedience to this
law, the Secretary had stated that there might be a reduc-
tion in the revenue to the amount of six millions. This
was the broad proposition of the Secretary. Was not the
Senate justified then in calling upon the Secretary to state
in what manner this reduction could be effected? Are
we not to call on him to furnish a bill of particulars which
we may make the basis of our legislation? The resolution
did no more than call on him for such bill of particulars.
He considered that the objection of the gentleman from
Mississippi would apply with great force to any other of the
Departments; but for the reasons he had stated, he did not
think it applicable to the Treasury. He expressed his hope
that the Senate would reconsider the motion to adjourn.
Mr. MANGUM said a few words against the motion to
reconsider, and against the resolution itself. Unlearned
as he was in these matters, and untutored in the precise
course which had been customary, he was not disposed to
call on any body but the regular committees of that body
for the draught of a bill. The Secretary, it was true, was
required to furnish all information concerning his Depart-
ment, and he could see no impropriety in his furnishing
the Senate with details; but he would prefer that the com-
mittees should examine the facts, and if they agreed with
the Secretary as to the main points, it was for them to go
to him for such details as they might require: as a matter
concerning the dignity of the Senate, he should feel him-
self called on to oppose the course which was now sug-
gested. He would not call on any branch of the Govern-
ment for the projet of a bill.
The question was then taken on the motion to reconsi-
der; which was decided in the negative—ayes 17, noes 18.
And the Senate adjourned to Monday.

[ocr errors]

Mr. PolNDEXTER offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be directed to report, to the Senate, with as little delay as practicable, a A.ii. statement of the articles of forcign growth or manufacture, on which, in his opinion, the present rate of duties ought to be reduced, specifying particularly the amount of reduction on each article separately, so as to produce the result of an aggregate reduction of the reve-_ nue six millions of dollars, on such manufactures as arc classed under the general denomination of protected articles; and that he also append to such report an enumeration of articles deemed to be “essential to our national independence in time of war,” and which therefore ought, o in his opinion, to be exempted from the operation of the proposed reduction of duties. - o

On motion of Mr. POINDEXTER, the resolution was ordered to be printed. |


On motion of Mr. SMITH, the Senate proceeded to the consideration of the joint resolution offered by him relative to the printing of the annual statement of commerce and navigation.

Mr. HOLMES remarkcd, that he had no intention of opposing, nor did he intend to propose amending the resolution. He would suggest, however, to the mover to. avoid the supposition that the intention was to take this portion of the public printing from the public printer,

DECEMBER 17, 1832.]
Turiff Duties.

[SENATE. and give it to another; whether it would not be better to fer, as proposed by the resolution. It would give more insert an amendment, providing that the work should be power of public patronage to one of the Heads of Departexecuted 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 resolufrom 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. documents a little sooner, which would make some provi Mr. BIBB said, he could not see the necessity of this sion of law necessary, by which 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., do we 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 stry 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 would have the effect to and in his 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. FOOT 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 them 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 performing their act. It is of great importance to have the documents in respective duties, in time to enable him to 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 him patronage of the Government possessed by the two Hcases 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 Executive 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 had been called to this subject, by the re-posed 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 acknowledged inconveniences resulting from the late The whole object of the resulution is to save 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 trent 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, puscript: not to the individual members of Congress, as in figure work; and indeed he did not believe that two the gentleman had intimated, 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 to 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 submit 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. nuscript, so that they can act upon them during the ses

Me, SMITH 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 he 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 he 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. He 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 custom of the Senate sometimes to the day, print the usual number, and sometimes an extra number. The following resolution, offered by Mr. SMITH, o

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


Reduction of Dutics.

[DECEMBER 24, 1832, ed, with as little delay as may be, to furnish the Senate

MISSOURI CANAL. with the projet of a bill for reducing the duties levied The bill to grant a quantity of land to the State of Misupon 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 Swamp, 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 had Mr. BUCKNER replied that it was intended to give been unfortunately plunged. A great crisis had arrived, two and a half miles on each 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 time 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. lle hoped that those objections would yield to United States, &c. was read a second time. better reflection, and that those who 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, MANGUM, 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,

deemed 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 consamMr. Smith requested that the resolution might lie mation. Sume amendments were made in the details of

the bill. over for the present to allow time for examination. Mr. POINDEX TER -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

Turisday, DECEMBER 20. ment, that it should be speedily. acted on, he gave notice

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

Mr. CHAMBERS, from the Select Committee on the day after to-morrow.

French Spoliations, reported a bill similar to one before After forwarding a number of bills, and disposing of the Senate at the last session, with a verbal amendment, sun<lry minor matters,

which was read and ordered to a second reading. The Senate adjourned.

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 officers 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 Scnate 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 ML. 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 nol 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 praç. to examine and report whether some legal provision to ticable, a detailed statement of the articles of foreign prevent these frauds might not be expedient.

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

present rate of duties ought to be reduced, specifying

Deckx ben 24, 1832.]

particularly the amount of reduction on each article sep

arately, so as to produce the result of an aggregate reduc. tion of the revenue of six millions of dollars, on such manufactures as are classed under the general denomination of protected articles; and that he also append to such report an enumeration of articles deemed to be “essential to our national independence in time of war;” and which therefore ought, in his opinion, to be exempted from the operation of the proposed reduction of duties. Mr. SMITH said, that as the Senate was now thin, he hoped the Senator from Mississippi would suffer his resolution to continue on the table, until after the holidays. Two of the Committees of the other House, as he was informed, had been for some time past engaged in the preparation of a bill on this subject, and had received the aid of the Secretary of the Treasury in their work, having had repcated conferences with that officer to ascertain his views. He hoped, therefore, that the resolution would be permitted to lie on the table a few days, until the Senate should be fuller than at present. Mr. POINDEXTER stated that it had becr his inten. tion, pursuant to notice which he had given, to call up this resolution for consideration on Thursday last; but it would be recollected that, on that day, the Senate went very early into the consideration of Executive business, and that, in this way, his intentions had been frustrated. If this resolution involved any important principle, he should have no objection to acquiesce in the suggestion of the Senators from Maryland, and to snffer it to lie over for the present. But it was nothing more than a call for information constructed in the ordinary manner, involving no principle, and asking for information, the importance of which at the present moment was obvious to every member of the Senate. If the Senate were to have . of the information called for by his resolution, it ought to be in their possession immediately after the holidays, if possible, in order that they might proceed to action upon it without delay, as this was the short session. He did not apprehend that there could be any opposition to the resolution itself. It would be out of place, while considering it, to go into a discussion of the great principles involved in the tariff question; and the only views which could present themselves would be whether it would be expedicnt or not to call for the information, whether such course would be at all disrespectful to any branch of the Government; and whether the information required would be useful in aiding the Senate to form just conclusions on the great questions. All other debate would be entirely premature. He hoped the Senate would now agree to consider the resolution: and if there should be found any thing ob. jectionable, either in the language of the resolution, or in the details of information for which it asked, the Senate could dispose of it in such way as their wisdom should direct. At all events, he trusted that his motion to take up the resolution would prevail. Mr. KING said that he did not ordinarily object to the consideration of resolutions calling for information, but he could not avoid expressing his hope that this resolution would not now be considered. The subject itself properly belonged to the House of Representatives, and a committee of that branch were now ready with a report on the subject, which would have been probably made to-day, had the House been in session, and would not, he presumed, be postponed beyond Wednesday. A re. solution very similar to the present had been laid on the table by the Senate but a few days since; and the understanding was, that the subject should not be again taken up until the other House had acted upon it. This resolution appeared to him to differ from that in no essential point, and ought also to lie over, and then the two resolutions could be considered together. To the latter part of this resolution, however, he would

[blocks in formation]

now state that he had a particular objection. It asked for “an enumeration of articles deemed to be essential to our national independence in time of war, and which, therefore, ought, in his opinion, to be exempted from the operation of the proposed reduction of duties.” He contended that this part of the requisition ought not to go to the Treasury Department, but to be addressed to the Secretary of War, within whose province it would naturally come to answer such interrogatory. He wished that this resolution might lie until the House had come to some action on the subject, and then both the resolutions before the Senate could be taken up and disposed of together. Mr. POINDEXTER again rose to reply. He had hoped that no Senator would, on the present motion to consider, have touched the body of the resolution; but as the Senator from Alabama had done so, in order to prevent the Senate from agreeing to the consideration, he felt himself bound to say a word or two. The Senator from Alabama was of opinion that the latter part of the resolution ought to be addressed to the Secretary of War. It might be so, but if it was, the course was new to him. He would briefly give the reason which had induced him to give to the inquiry the direction which he had chosen. He then referred to the message of the President, in which it was suggested that it would be found expedient to reduce the duties to the necessary wants of the Government. The Secretary of the Treasury, following up this principle, after a variety of views, had echoed this sentiment of the Executive. As to the technical objections, therefore, which had been taken to the reference to the Treasury Department, he thought it was disposed of by the suggestion made by the Secretary. How was the Senate to decide what articles, “essential to our national independence in time of war,” were deemed by the Secretary as entitled to exemption. If the views of the members of the Senate were to be substituted for those of the Secretary, one gentleman might tell you that he considered woollens as one of these “essential articles,” because they enter into the necessary clothing of the soldier in time of war. Another gentleman would, with equal truth, and on equally good reasoning, tell you that cotton was one of these articles “essential to our national independence in time of war.” Now, he wished to know what the message and the report of the Secretary meant! Ile wished to see the scheme of the Secretary. And the information could be surnished under the eye of the Executive, and by any officer he might select. And why was all this difficulty thrown in the way of his resolution? One gentleman had said that the other House ought to act, in the first instance. Another stated that the Senate ought to let the Secretary of the Treasury communicate his views sub rosa. Now, he wanted to see what the Secretary meant by his generalities. He wanted the Secretary to show his hand. He desired to know what he meant when he talked of a reduction of six millions of duties. The situation of the country at this moment was very imposing, and demands the early action of Congress. It was necessary that it should be known whether the existing law is to be abandoned, or whether it is to be adhered to. If the decision shall be to adhere to the present tariff law, let it be quickly made, that the public attention may be fixed. But now, since the is: suing of a certain paper, the proclamation of the President, all was confusion and uncertainty. The Secretary of the Treasury, he presumed, would give the information which was required, without hesitation; and the Senate would then be in possession of materials for a just decision. To himself it was matter of some surprise, that when one honorable Senator wanted information on a particular subject, another honorable Senator, who may have had greater facilities for obtaining the knowledge, and who, therefore, did not require the lights asked for,

« AnteriorContinuar »