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JAN. 14, 1829.] Distribution of the Rerenue.
fence of the country, would be confided to the General Government ; but then there would be a restraint imposed upon Congress, which will never permit the public money to be appropriated for the benefit of one State in preference to another. Each Member of Congress will be watched over by his constituents, and it will be his interest, as well as that of the State he represents, to keep up the fund for distribution as high as possible. Mr. D. further observed, that the bill provided for the distribution of no specific sum among the States; it merely proposed, if the money was in the Treasury, and could not be applied to the extinguishment of the public debt, that it should be distributed; and concluded by saying, that as he was not very anxious that the second section should be retained, he had no objection to its being expunged. Mr. HAYNE said, as the gentleman from New Jersey was not strenuous about the adoption of the second section of the bill, he should not again go into an argument against it. But the gentleman was under a strange misapprehension as to the provisions of his own bill. He said yesterday, and he repeated to-day, that the bill only provided that there should be distributed among the States the funds that could not be applied to the payment of the debt, and remaining in the Treasury unappropriated. Now, said Mr. H., it will be seen that the first section expressly provides that there shall be unconditionally taken from the Sinking Fund the sum of five millions of dollars, annually, to be divided among the States, and that only five millions (if so much remain in the Treasury) shall be applied to the Sinking Fund. He did consider the Sinking Fund as of a sacred character. It was set apart and appropriated to the discharge of the public debt. He was rejoiced that the gentleman from New Jersey had brought up this subject so early, because it would be a means of attracting the public attention to it, and public opinion would be known. It was well known that there was a party in this country who was opposed to having the public debt redeemed, and who were contriving all the means in their power to perpetuate it. He believed that it was a darling object with some people to have the debt forever unpaid. He hoped that, by a decisive vote of the Senate, they would strike out the second section of this bill, and thus solemnly settle the point, not to touch the Sinking Fund. The gentleman from New Jersey had accused him of using hard terms. He certainly intended no disrepect to the Senator from New-Jersey. He had called the bill what he believed it to be. Could it be supposed, either here or any where else, that the idea of imposing taxes, merely with a view to give the money back again to the people (and the bill proposed to do nothing more), could be tolerated The gentleman had now admitted that this would be the only effect. He [Mr. Dickerson] perhaps did not intend to make such a declaration, but he had, in debate that morning, substantially admitted that such was the fact. The gentleman had distinctly admitted that, even if this bill should pass, Congress would still go on, as usual, making special appropriations for what he is pleased to call “great national improvements.” Had Congress (Mr. H. would ask) ever appropriated money for works admitted to be of a different character? Had they ever voted money for improvements confessedly of a local character? Had not every work, from the greatest to the least, been called a great national work And so will it ever be. It appears, therefore, that, after the passage of this bill, every thing is to go on just as before. The distracting question of Internal Improvements is to remain unsettled. We are still to witness the disgraceful scramble which the gentleman has so forcibly described ; and "then, if any fund should be left undisposed of, it is to be distributed among the States. Mr. H. believed the practical effect of the bill would be to postpone indefinitely the payment of the national debt, by taking from the Sinking Fund five millions of dollars a-year. If it
should have any effect beyond this, it could only be to levy taxes upon the great body of the consumers of the country, in order to pay them back again, with this additional injustice, that what is to be levied on some people, and on certain sections of the country, would be paid to other persons, and different sections. Such was the end to be attained by this bill. The system of high duties was to be kept up forever, when it was known to bear most unequally on the different parts of the Union. The States were to be bribed to perpetuate this injustice. Mr. H., in conclusion, said he would not even anticipate, much less dwell upon, the consequences of perverting the powers of the Federal Government to the purpose of levying taxes for the States ; of raising vast sums of money by the most unequal of all modes of taxation, in order to distribute the same among the States in a ratio wholly different from that in which it was paid. He would content himself at present with merely calling for the yeas and nays on his In Otion.
[The yeas and nays were ordered accordingly.]
Mr. DICKERSON was quite pleased that the yeas and nays should be taken on the question, and he thought, from appearances, the decision would be by an unanimous vote. Gentlemen, it seemed to him, had misapprehended the second section of the bill. It was true, that it provided for an application of a portion of the Sinking Fund; but he had stated yesterday, that he had no great partiality for this section, and was perfectly willing that it should be stricken out. All that Mr. D. wished to retain of the second section was, a provision to place into the fund for distribution, all the public money that could not be applied to the payment of the public debt; because, the money thus going into the Sinking Fund, could not be considered as unappropriated, and must, therefore, remain locked up in the vaults of the Treasury. The gentleman from South Carolina said, that every object of Internal Improvement, for which the funds of the General Government had been appropriated, was a great national concern. [Here Mr. HAYNE said, “so called.”] Then, said Mr. D., called a great national concern. Now, he did not consider the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, the Louisville Canal, and Dismal Swamp Canal, to be objects of great national concern; these were rather the peculiar concerns of the States which were alone interested. But breakwaters, and works of that nature, connected with commerce and navigation, Mr. D. considered as objects of great national concern, and properly belonged to the exclusive prerogative of the General Government. Mr. D. was confident, that Congress could draw the distinction between objects of great national importance, and objects belonging exclusively to the States ; that Internal Improvements within the States should be left to the care of the States; while breakwaters, improvements of harbors, &c., would appropriately come under the consideration of Congress. Mr. D. again observed, that the appropriating a fund for distribution to the States, would lead to economy in the expenditures of the Government; in these, every member of Congress would look to the interests of his constituents, and would find it his interest, as well as duty, to aid in keeping up the fund for distribution, as high as the general good permitted.
Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, was opposed to the second section of the bill, or any proposition to divert any portion of the sum now appropriated to the payment of the public debt, to any other object. The second section proposes to take five millions of the ten annually set apart for the payment of the interest and capital of the national debt, to be distributed among the States. The present debt is fifty-one millions, and the interest about two millions and a half; so that about half of the remaining five Inillions will be absorbed in the interest ; which will leave a sum of two and a half millions, (increasing as the capiSENATE.] Distribution of
tal is paid) to extinguish the debt, which will require fifteen or sixteen years. He was opposed to violating the fund of ten millions, or to the postponement of the payment of the debt. Certainly, for two years, while we had a large debt at six per cent. greatly above the market value of money, there was no motive, either of policy or of finance, to Justify the postponement of the payment. Mr. J. said, that, by the steady application of the ten millions, with the surplus revenue, we shall totally extinguish the debt in 1833, certainly in '34; without some unforeseen event. This was a most desirable object, and to which all parties looked with interest. He wished to be explicit on this point, from what had been alluded to in debate. He did not think there was any party in this country disposed to prolong the debt. He knew of no public man, or any public writer, who advocated such a policy; on the contrary, he believed it the most popular topic of the day. There may be, perhaps, some of the stockholders, large capitalists, who prefer a safe investment in the public stocks; but they are neither numerous nor influential, and have certainly used no means to direct public opinion on this subject; and while the Bank of the United States, and all the local Banks, discount at six, there can be no great interest in an investment at four and a half per centum, sufficient to create a party, in any sense of the word. Mr. J. said, in regard to this proposition, he would make the same reply he made to the gentleman from Missouri—it is premature. For two years we have had full employment for all our means; and he had no doubt we should be able to apply our surplus, in 1831, to the public debt; but it is time enough to provide for that. Mr. J. said, when the public debt is paid, Congress will be called to the consideration of several highly interesting questions. The ordinary expenses of this Government will be reduced to less than nine millions. The question will then occur, how much, and on what articles, the duties may be repealed; and whether, after all the reductions that can be made, there will not still be a considerable surplus revenue. To enable Congress to decide these questions, we want the experience of the effect and operation of this tariff upon the industry and the revenues of the country. One gentleman contends, we may take off ten millions—but still there would be a surplus: while another contends that we can make very little deduction from the revenue, and that we shall be obliged to draw this immense sum from the people. These are grave considerations, which require time, reflection, and experience. If we cannot liberate ourselves from a portion of the taxes, we must provide for a distribution of the fund among the States; there is no alternative. With regard to distributing the surplus of one or two years, after the payment of the public debt, rather than reduce the duties at once to the lowest point, if that was practicable, he did not mean now to commit himself. It was a subject upon which, whatever opinion he might entertain, he ought to consult his constituents. The internal improvement of the several States, as well as the education of the people, were very great and interesting objects. Many of the States had engaged already extensively in it, and contracted large debts. They might find a temporary application of this fund the most convenient mode of carrying their plans into effect. The State which he represented had also objects, of great public utility, in contemplation, for which it was difficult to provide the means. They may think it advisable, for one or two years, to avail themselves of this distribution ; and he was bound to consult them. Mr. J. said, he objected to acting on great questions, to take effect at so distant a period as five years, which will more properly belong to those who come after us, and who will have better information. It seemed to him to violate the spirit of the Government. We make annual appropriations for the expenses of Government; the ba
the Revenue. [JAN. 14, 1829.
lances are, every two years, carried to the surplus fund ; and, although Congress have the power to appropriate indefinitely, and in anticipation of the revenue, yet there are certainly limits, on which Congress should exercise a sound discretion. The power rightfully to appropriate for an unlimited time, and to commence at a distant period, may well be questioned ; for, although a future Congress may repeal, yet the power to repeal is very different, and may be much more difficult, than to enact a new law. He said, he doubted the propriety of adopting a prospective measure at this time, as much as the expediency of it. Mr. J. said, he wished to make one remark upon the subject of Internal Improvements. There were very false opinions in the public mind in relation to this subject, which the debate here is well calculated to confirm. It has been heretofore often said, that it was a system, that it was of vast extent, and would require hundreds of millions to execute. This does not come from the friends of National Improvement, but is urged by those who would create a prejudice in the public mind. He did not believe any such system was contemplated, by any eminent men, or by any party. There were men, and, he believed, a majority of both Houses of Congress, as well as of the States, and of the people, who honestly believed Congress had power to appropriate money for those objects; that they were of great public utility, and as essential to the connection of the Union, and to the internal trade of the country, as other works were to the foreign commerce. They believed it of the highest concern to the well-being of the Government to facilitate the intercourse between the great geographical divisions, to which the powers and the means of the States were entirely inadequate. These embraced only a few great works; and they would, in most cases, be executed by private companies, requiring small additional aid from the Government. The canals along the coast are nearly completed. A canal and a railway, to connect the Atlantic with the Ohio, is already commenced, and which will not require very great aid from Congress. The extension of the Cumberland Road through the Northwestern States is in progress, requiring small annual appropriations. To complete the “system, as it is called, of roads, will require a road from the capitol to the Lakes, and from the capitol to New Orleans; and a road through the capitals of Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, . and Mississippi; the annual appropriations to which will not be large. Some subscriptions, from time to time, to the stock of some few canals, of a national character, will complete all that is at present contemplated. The whole system, carried to its greatest extent, will not require two millions a year, and that perhaps, for no great length of time. The distribution of the surplus revenue among the States, if that should be resorted to, will effect every thing else which is desirable. It is not the intention of the friends of this measure to enter into any scramble for the public money, but to ask from Congress, from time to time, moderate and suitable appropriations to these objects. Mr. J. said, it was our first duty to pay the public debt, with such small and judicious applications to other objects, as we had been in the habit of making ; then to reduce the duties, so as to relieve the people from all unnecessary burthens, so far as is consistent with the great interests of the country. There will still remain, in all probability, a considerable surplus, after providing for the National works, for distribution among the States. Mr. J. said, he had heard, in the course of the debate, to his great surprise, that the honor of paying off the debt would be ascribed to the administration under which it was to be completed. We have, said he, for twelve years, and through two administrations, labored in this work, the merit of which is greatly magnified. We have paid one hundred and forty millions, and now the honor of the achievement is to go to swell the tide of popularity of the
JAN. 14, 1829.
Distribution of the Revenue.
man who shall happen to be President when the last dollar shall be paid. Where, said Mr. J., is the man who drew your Sinking Fund act Where are those who devised the plans and levied the money And where are those who have faithfully applied it ! Sir, said he, this honor, whatever it may be, belongs to all those who, at any time, have had a part in it. Mr. J. said, there was a tendency here, as well as among the People, to ascribe all the merit of our legislation, and all the wisdom of our measures, to the Executive, and to concentrate all the honor and glory of the country upon what is called the administration; the effect of which is to degrade the Legislative branch of the Government. Mr. J. said, before he concluded he would make a remark in reply to what fell from the gentleman from Missouri, relative to violating the British Sinking Fund. He seemed to consider that the present enormous amount of the British debt as attributable to diversions of the Sinking Fund. Mr. J. said, the British debt was to be ascribed to her long and expensive wars. Since the period to which he alluded (1732), England had been engaged nearly half the time in war; during which, her expenses greatly exceeded her income. This excess constitutes her debt, and the Sinking Fund is inoperative—if the money is applied, it only extinguishes an old debt, while they are creating a new one, or pays off an old loan by contracting another. During the Revolutionary war, she increased her debt, in seven years, one hundred and thirty millions; at the beginning of this century her debt had increased to four hundred and fifty millions of pounds sterling, and now it is double that sum, after applying all her vast revenues What could both of her Sinking Funds, amounting to seven millions a year, do with such a debt, so rapidly created? It is only in time of peace, when the expenses are reduced below the revenue, that funds can be applied effectually to the discharge of the debt. We have diminished our debt, because we had a surplus of revenue. But, during a war, no nation expects to raise, by taxes, an amount equal to its expenses. The intervals of peace have been too short, and the accumulation of debt too great and too rapid, to free them from this load of debt. The true moral of which is, to teach us to avoid war, as the true cause of her debts. Mr. BENTON rose, to do what, he said, he had never done before—to quit the debate and engage in an episode, of which the subject was of no more importance than the answer to the question whether he himself had a modicuin, more or less, of political information on a particular point. The Senator from Louisiana had undertaken to correct him, somewhat at length, on a point of history. Gentlemen who undertook to correct others, should take care that they themselves were right in the correction, and also in stating the error imputed to the other. Of both these rules the Senator from Louisiana had been unmindful. He had erred in attempting to repeat what he (Mr. B.) had said of the origin of the British National Debt. That debt had its origin in the Revolution of 16SS, as we had learnt, when apprentices to the law, in Blackstone. He (Mr. B.) had not treated the violation of the Sinking Fund, by Sir Robert Walpole, as the sole cause of the frightful amount of the British debt; he treated it as the cause why the debt was not paid, under the long, and peaceful, and timid administration of that minister. Subsequent wars ran it up to what it is—the war for the Dutch Barrier, for the Protestant succession, for the balance of Europe, the wars of the American and the French Revolutions. Mr. B. had quoted a piece of history, to have the benefit of its warning example against the danger of delay in paying a public debt. Our debt was now small, and we could pay it in four years; instead of slackening payments, he would accelerate thein. He would consider himself as engaged with a monster, a giant—and,
getting the upper hand of him, and able to destroy him
by a few more blows, instead of staying his hand, and let the monster go, to recover his strength, and come at him again, he would redouble his blows, and finish him while he could. We can pay our debt in four years. Let us do it, and astonish the world with the spectacle of a great nation without a national debt | Such a spectacle would make us more formidable to Europe than the exhibition of an hundred thousand men under arms, and an hundred ships of the line at sea. As to a party in the United States in favor of continuing the public debt, Mr. B. could not say there was a political party which could be so characterized ; but he knew there were many in favor of it— large interests in favor of it; and he had himself heard a gentleman say, that he could not conceive of a greater calamity than the payment of the debt. Lord Castlereagh said the same thing in the British House of Commons just before his death. Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, said, the gentleman from Missouri yesterday occupied, for a considerable time, the attention of the Senate, on the danger of touching the Sinking Fund, which he attempted to illustrate by the example of England, where, he said, the debt had increased, in one century, from forty millions to nine hundred millions pounds sterling, by violating the Sinking Fund. He read, at some length, from speeches in the British Parliament, and seemed to attach much importance to that which he now considers unworthy of my notice. By the explanation which had just been given, he said he should find himself in an awkward dilemma, which must preclude him from noticing what might fall from him in debate. He deems it unworthy of me, said Mr. J., to reply to any errors of opinion, or of argument, because they are errors; and he could not answer what was sound in principle, or correct in inference, because they were unanswerable. He thought he did not misunderstand the scope of the argument which the gentleman had used yesterday. He was discussing a bill to take five millions from the Sinking Fund. He read from the Parliamentary debates, on the same subject, to show the danger of touching the funds provided for the payment of the public debt. He said the debt in England had increased, since the time of Sir Robert Walpole, from less than fifty millions to the enormous and almost incalculable sum of nine hundred millions pounds sterling ; and he added emphatically, “ in consequence of not attending to the warning voice of her statesmen.” He said, this immense debt, and the evils brought upon the country, arose from the misapplication of the Sinking Fund. The end of the gentleman's argument seemed to be, to warn us of the danger, by the example he cites. Mr. J. said, while he agreed with the gentleman in the inexpediency of diverting any portion of our funds to any other purpose, he believed the true moral which this country shall learn from the example of the British debt was, to avoid her policy, which led to long expensive wars; to cultivate peace, friendship, and commerce, abroad ; industry at home ; and a wise and proper economy in the Government. Mr. J. said, he had not objected to the debate on this subject; on the contrary, he was glad to see the propositions discussed, and sent among the people, and for that reason he had taken part in it; but he objected to the decision upon any of them now, before they can be understood by the people, and before there is any necessity for the action of the Government; and he therefore said; the passage of these bills was premature. Mr. KANE did not rise to discuss the bill. His only object was to give the Senator from New Jersey an opportunity to modify the bill, so as to render it more acceptable to the Senate. The course proposed by the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. HAyne), if his motion prevailed, he thought, would not do justice to the Senator from New Jersey. He was of opinion that the plan proposed in the SENATE.]
Distribution of the Revenue.
[JAN. 14, 1829.
second section of the bill, for disposing of the revenue of the United States, was injudicious; and he should object to such a disposition being made of the revenue, until the period arrived when no other disposition could be made of it; yet he was disposed to give the Senator from New Jersey every opportunity to free his bill from those objections which had been made against it; and, for that purpose, he would move to lay it on the table. The question being taken on the motion of Mr. K., it was negatived, by a large majority. Mr. DICKERSON expressed his willingness to have consented to lay the bill on the table, if it had been desired by the Senate. They had thought proper, however, to negative the motion, and he was content. Mr. WEBSTER said, he voted against laying the bill on the table ; but his only object was, that he might have an opportunity to vote on the bill, especially after what had passed in debate during the morning. The gentleman from South Carolina had said there was a party in the country disposed to violate the Sinking Fund. He considered the Sinking Fund as sacred as the other gentleman did ; but he knew of no party, or combination of individuals, for any such end or purpose. He had never heard of any such party, nor could he think that any such existed. He must be allowed to say, that, neither the remarks of the gentleman from New Jersey, nor the elaborate discussions of other gentlemen, had at all shaken his faith in the utility of the Sinking Fund. Too much, however, had been frequently attributed to the Sinking Fund. His own opinion had always been entirely in concurrence with that expressed by the gentleman from South Carolina, that the Sinking Fund should be held sacred as an appropriation, and that it should not be violated. He had voted against laying the bill on the table, for he was desirous of recording his vote in favor of striking out the second section. Upon any other part of the bill, he had not, at present, any thing to say. Mr. HAYNE said, that the gentleman from Massachusetts seemed to take exception to the term “party,” which he had used. He knew not what meaning that gentleman might attach to the term. He certainly did not intend, in using it, to convey the idea that the persons alluded to, belonged exclusively to any of the political parties of the country; but he did intend to express his belief that there were a number of persons in the United States—men of wealth, intelligence, and influence, too— who were wholly opposed to the extinction of the national debt. If it was necessary to designate those whom he meant, he would say, that he meant all those who had an interest, direct or indirect, in preserving the system of high duties—who share, in any way, in the profits derived from those duties—the men who received, under that system, more than they paid. These were those to whom he had referred as a “party:” for, wherever they may be found, they are united by common views, and a bond of common interest. Mr. H. said he was glad to hear that the gentleman from Massachusetts concurred in the necessity of speedily extinguishing the national debt. He hoped that it might be found to be the general opinion in the part of the country even where that gentleman resides. Mr. WEBSTER said, the explanation of the gentleman from South Carolina was perfectly satisfactory. He did not suppose, because there were persons in favor of delaying the payment of the public debt, that they were to be considered “a party,” politically speaking; the gentleman had explained, that he meant, by the use of the term, that there were gentlemen in favor of duties upon imports, and also in favor of the necessity of those duties. Now, he [Mr. W.] supposed the gentleman from South Carolina, in using the word “party,” intended to apply it to those who were interested in the public debt, and, for himself, he had no doubt that there were individuals who were interested in keeping up the stock, and in delaying the re
demption of the debt; they were those who had loaned money to the country, and who found in the Government a regular and solvent debtor; they were those wealthy citizens, who were disposed to loan money to the Government, and such as must have connection with all Governments. But they belonged to no “party,” politically speaking, although there might be many of them. Mr. BERRIEN rose and said, the second section of this bill has for its object to prolong the blessing of the national debt; to delay the return to the public creditors of that mass of capital, which is now vested in the Government securities, and which, when returned, must find employment somewhere—either in manufactures, which are said to be already overcharged ; in commerce, which we know is enfettered by restrictions; or in agriculture, which is languishing under your repeated exactions. This project is to be permitted, with the assent of the mover, to go quietly to rest ; and I will not disturb its repose, nor prolong the memory of its brief and fleeting existence. It was most natural, however, that such a proposition should have excited the discussion which it has produced ; and, individually, I rejoice that it has taken place. It is understood now, that the progress of the Government, in the payment of the public debt, is not to be arrested; that the funds specifically set apart (and, I trust, all the other resources of the Government which can be rendered applicable to it), is to be faithfully applied to its redemption; and I cannot avoid the expression of my gratification, at hearing these declarations from all the various quarters from which they have proceeded. I wish it accorded with the views of the Senator from New Jersey not to press the consideration of the remainder of his bill; but since it is not so, I have a brief remark to make, and before I sit down will submit a motion, which may, perhaps, relieve him from further embarrassment. As the bill now stands, in connection with those other acts of legislation, of which it is a very natural sequel, it is simply a proposition that a tax which has been levied on the people of the Union, shall be employed to render the people of the States subsidiaries of the Federal Government; to employ the unwieldy machinery of that Government in the collection of a revenue for the use of the States. I will not stop to consider what appears to me to be a most extraordinary doctrine—that the framers of the constitution, in creating a Government, for external defence, and the regulation of commerce, would have designed also to make that Government the tax-gatherers and bailiffs of the States, in the collection of a revenue for their domestic purposes. The objections to such a doctrine are multiplied; but I am content with the view which has been taken of this part of the subject by the Senator from South Carolina. A passing remark will serve to show why I cannot accept, for my constituents, the boon which this bill is supposed to tender to those who, like them, do not believe that this Government do possess the power to appropriate its resources to the purposes of lnternal Improvement, in the participation which it offers to them of that, in which they are not now permitted to share. Here is the proposition. Take this bill, and you will get a share of the public treasure, which is now denied to you, and you can appropriate it at your pleasure ; and this offer comes from that Senator, who was one of the most zealous advocates of that measure, under the operation of which, our treasures are now wrested from us, for the benefit of others. I confess, sir, I am reminded of a quotation, which is not the less strong, because of its triteness. Yet, in general, I do not fear a gift. I can give sometimes, I hope, in the spirit which becomes me, and, therefore, I can take, without an apprehension that what is offered to me is tendered in a contrary spirit. A moment's reflection, however, might have suggested to the Senator from New Jersey,
that this project would leave the constitutional difficulty JAN. 14, 1829.]
Distribution of the Revenue.
where it found it. Our objection extends to the raising of money, for purposes not warranted by the constitution, as well as to the appropriation of it for such purposes. Repeal those laws which we deem unconstitutional—confine yourselves within your chartered limits, by restricting to the purposes of revenue the taxes which you impose, and you will have no surplus treasure to distribute. It is not my purpose to consider that principle of the bill which proposes to distribute, according to the ratio of direct taxation, the proceeds of a tax levied on consumption, the effect of which, so far as we of the South are concerned, would be to give us back a part of that, all of which we will enjoy, if you will let us alone. This is felt in that quarter now, and I hope it is beginning to be undorstood here that it is felt. Nor will I urge the Senate —certainly not to the Senator from New Jersey—that, veiled as it may be, this is nothing more than a proposition to perpetuate the present high protecting duties, by creating a new interest, which, combined with that of the manufacturers, shall indefinitely postpone their repeal. But there is one aspect of this bill, to which I desire to call his attention. The fact, which lies at the foundation of the scheme, is this—that we shall have an annual surplus of revenue, which will not be applicable to the purposes of this Government which creates it, and which, therefore, he would give to the States. It assumes that the present tariff will increase, and not diminish the revenue, as some had predicted. Sir, this may be so, and for the reason given by the Chairman of the Committee on Finance—because the capacity of the home manufacturers will not keep pace with the growing exigencies of the country, from the increase of its population, and from other causes, and consequently the deficit must be supplied from abroad, notwithstanding the present high rate of duties. Yet, it is difficult to reconcile this reasoning with other assertions which are uttered by those who profess to be conversant with the subject. For example, it is said that manufactures even now are languishing ; that they are already overcharged; that there is a mass of capital in the country which cannot find profitable employment. But if it be true that the exigencies of the country exceed its manufacturing capacity, then manufactures cannot be overcharged ; and, if this be so, it is curious that
this unemployed capital does not find its way to the man
ufactory. This, however, is not to my present purpose. What I desire the Senator from New Jersey to consider is, whether he has not at length found a most conclusive objection in principle, in constitutional principle, to the whole system of which he has been so zealous an advocate. He has himself furnished the fact from which that principle may be deduced. It is this: the present tariff will produce an income beyond what is required. That income will not be wanted for the army, for the navy, for the civil list, for the payment of the national debt after 1833, for any of the expenses, ordinary or extraordinary, of the Federal Government. There will be an annual surplus, not applicable to any of the legitimate purposes of this Government, and, therefore, it is to be given to the States. This fact must be admitted, or the substratum of the scheme is taken away. So long as the income of this Government is wanted for its own purposes, it must be so applied, and cannot be diverted to any other purpose. The Senator from New Jersey must, therefore, not only admit, but is moreover bound to contend, that the present tariff will produce an income of which there will be an annual surplus, not applicable to any of the legitimate purposes of this Government; which, therefore, must remain unappropriated in the Treasury, or be applied to some illegitimate purpose. Does he require any more conclusive evidence, that this Government possesses no power to lay a tax beyond the purposes of revenue for the mere protection of manufactures, than this: that it results, by his own confession, in taking money from the Vol. W.-6
pockets of the people, which cannot be applied to any legitimate object Those who believe that this Government possesses the power to employ the public treasure, in vast or in little schemes of what is called Internal Improvement, may escape this dilemma, since they can furnish an object of legitimate expenditure, if that be legitimate which is sufficiently large to absorb all the possible resources of this Government. But the Senator from New Jersey believes, with me, that the Federal Government possesses no power to apply the public treasure to these objects. He asserts that the tax which he has so zealously contributed to impose will annually produce a surplus of revenue, not applicable to any of the purposes of the Government, which he considers legitimate, and for him, therefore, there is no escape. It is the purpose of this bill to create an object, to which this surplus may be applied, to make it lawful to give the money of this Government to the States, without any specified object, but to be expended at their discretion, that we should continue to tax the people for the protection of a favored class, and the States have the distribution of what we don't want. It is the consummation, sir, of the great American System, and ought to be discussed in connection with it. It seems agreed, that that disastrous measure must slumber during the present session, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the South against its exactions; and this will, I trust, repose with it. I move that the further consideration of this bill be indefinitely postponed, and on this question I ask the yeas and nays. [They were ordered accordingly.] Mr. FOOT had hoped that he should have an opportunity of voting upon the bill, and he still hoped that he might record his vote on the question upon the second section. He wished the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. BERRIEN) had delayed his motion until after the decision upon the second section: for the same object might be attained afterwards. Mr. McLANE did not rise to enter into any argument on the general principles of the bill; but to express his hopes, that the motion of the gentleman from Georgia would prevail. He was opposed as well to the first as to the second section of the bill; both being in his opinion equally objectionable. Those gentlemen who were desirous of recording their votes in opposition to the second section, could show their disapprobation of diverting any portion of the Sinking Fund from its legitimate object, by voting for an indefinite postponement of the whole bill. Mr. M'L.'s opposition to the bill was on principle; the objections which applied to one section applied radically to all the others. He could conceive of no circumstances, under which he would consent to make the General Government the collector of taxes for the States. It would be a measure unconstitutional, and one subversive of the very foundations of the Union. Mr. M'L., after various arguments against the policy of diverting any portion of the Sinking Fund from the purpose for which it was destined, expressed his belief that it was the interest of the people, that the capital now vested in the public debt should be unlocked and thrown into new channels. The employment of the capital thus confined, under the auspices of individual industry, sagacity, and foresight, would lead to the best results; it would hasten that era, when all the questions which have agitated the country for so many years, would be harmoniously settled, and forever put at rest. Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, said, the remarks of the gentleman from Delaware were perfectly correct, with a single explanation. It is clear, that nothing can be drawn under the first section of this bill; all the money in the Treasury is appropriated, with the exception of the two millions, of which the gentleman speaks, but that is