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FER. 17, 1831.]
wants; but he could not consent to give away millions to
be told, in the evening of their days, that they were less
sands and tens of thousands upon those who have no legal
claim upon us? Let the American people avoid the re-
Mr. CARSON was against the bill, as at present advised, (having been detained from the House by indispo. sition yesterday, during the discussion,) and was in favor of the commitment, to ascertain, as near as practicable, what it would cost.
Mr. RICHARDSON said the session now drew very near to its close; there were many subjects of great importance yet to be acted on; and as, after the full discussion and the decisive vote of yesterday, further debate could answer no purpose, he felt it a duty to the House and the country to move the previous question; but he withdrew the motion at the request of
Mr. VERPLANCK, on a promise that Mr. V. would renew it when he had made an explanation in reply to some of the statements of Mr. Taezv ANT, which Mr. V. proceeded to do, giving it as his opinion, from the best data in possession of the committee, which he stated in detail, that the bill would require an additional expenditure of not more than from 800,000 to $1,000,000, and this rapidly decreasing, and soon, in the course of nature, to be entirely discontinued. He concluded, according to promise, with moving the previous question.
The motion was sustained; and the question being put on the passage of the bill, it was decided in the affirmative--yeas 132, nays 52.
So the bill was passed, and sent to the Senate for concurrence.
The House then went into Committee of the Whole on the several remaining appropriation bills. The committee spent three hours in discussing various amendments to these bills, as they successively came under consideration, and on motions to fill blanks with particular sums, or to reduce appropriations. The following were the chief questions decided: To the navy appropriation bill, Mr. DRAYTON moved an amendment to restore the pay and emoluments of the officers of the marine corps to what they had been prior to 1829, when they were reduced by the construction of the Fourth Auditor; and, after some opposition by Mr. WICKLIFFE, and remarks by Messrs. DRAYTON and McDUFFIE in its favor, the amendment was adopted. In the military appropriation bill, Mr. DRAYTON moved to increase the appropriation for fortifications from 100,000 to $200,000. The motion was very strenuously opposed by Mr. YANCEY, and was negatived. Mr. McDUFFIE made an unsuccessful motion to appropriate $2,000 for the purchase of medals to be distributed to Indian chiefs; and Mr. BATES made an unsuccessful motion to insert an amendment directing that the Indian annuities be hereafter paid in the manner which had been pursued previously to the last year—the yeas being 53, nays 61. Mr. VERPLANCK moved to insert an appropriation in the harbor bill (conformable to an existing law) of $50,000, for improving the navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi; and the motion was agreed to. Mr. WICKLIFFE moved an amendment to appropriate an additional sum of $150,000, to be expended, under the direction of the present superintendent, in the improvement of the navigation of the Ohio river, from its mouth to Pittsburg, in removing the obstructions in the channels at the shoal places and ripples, and by the erection of wing dams, or such other means as, in the opinion of said superintendent, will best answer the purpose of deepening the channels of said river. Some debate arose, in which Mr. CARSON opposed the appropriation. Messrs. WILDE and McDUPFIE objected to inserting it in the present bill, which was intended only to appropriate for objects already authorized by law; and Mr. WICKLIFFE defended it. Mr. VINTON said that he would not, at that late hour,
give his reasons at large upon the proposed amendment, but he would state, in a few words, the ground upon which he thought it ought to be adopted. The improvement of the navigation of the Ohio river was, in truth, nothing more than an extension of the canals of Ohio and Pennsylvania. These two States were incurring an expense of ten or fifteen millions of dollars; the one in opening a canal from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, and the other between Lake Erie and the Ohio river; thus opening a continued communication from Philadelphia to New Orleans by the Pennsylvania canal, and from New York to New Orleans through the Erie and Ohio canal. Owing to certain shoals in the Ohio river, its navigation was almost wholly suspended for about two months every autumn; and that, too, at the very best season of the year for business on these canals. The loss of business on this account must be very great. It is of little consequence that the Ohio canal enters the Ohio river, unless the produce of the interior can descend to New Orleans, or other place of destination. So of the Pennsylvania canal; it is in vain for that State to think of participating to any considerable extent in the trade of the Western country at that season of the year, unless the navigation of the Ohio is opened to Pittsburg, so that produce may ascend and merchandise descend the river, on their way to and from Philadelphia. The making of these canals, which will now be finished in a year or two, renders it of vast importance to keep the navigation of that river always open while business can be done upon them. We have a report lying upon the table, showing that the shoals in the river can be deepened at a very moderate expense. The improvement of its navigation properly belongs to the General Government. And he hoped, considering the vast expense the States of Pennsylvania and Qhio were incurring in opening avenues of trade to the Ohio, that the comparatively small sum of $150,000 would not be denied in aid of their great efforts. Mr. DENNY said, as i come from the borders of the Ohio, I may be permitted to say a word or two on this subject. It is one of great importance to the Western country. The Ohio river may with great propriety be considered a great national highway; it forms the boundary between several of the States; it is the great channel of their commerce, and, to some portions, the only outlet for their trade; and, in my opinion, is as deserving of the attention of the Government as any portion of the seaboard. Much has been done to facilitate our commercial intercourse along the Atlantic; large sums of money have been expended for improvements in the boys, clearing the harbors, opening channels, and removing obstructions to navigation, along our extensive seacoast, wherever the tide flows, from north to south. But, sir, it seems to me that some gentlemen are seized with a kind of hydrophobia so soon as we leave the salt and propose improvements in the fresh water region. I am willing with them to vote millions for the improvement and protection of our harbors and seaports, because it is for the benefit of the commerce of our country. The whole Union is benefited by such expenditures, because the whole Union has an interest in the commuerce of every port; and certainly to facilitate our internal commercial communication, particularly among the great and flourishing Western States, is equally worthy our attention, in a national point of view. I can perceive no difference between this commerce and our coasting trade, which enjoys so largely the favorable consideration of the Government. To the Western States, the Ohio is the most important channel of their intercourse; and it is true, as remarked by the gentleman from North Carolina, [Mr. CAItsos, ) they will be immediately benefited by the proposed appropriation. But, sir, the advantages to be derived from the improvements under this appropriation will not be felt exclusively in those States; the whole nation will ex
Feb. 18, 1831.]
perience the beneficial effects in the additional facilities
FRIDAY, FEBRUAny 18.
INLAND PORTS OF ENTRY.
Mr. CAMBRELENG, from the Committee on Commerce, reported a bill allowing the duties on foreign merchandise imported into Pittsburg, Wheeling, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, Nashville, and Natchez, to be secured and paid at those places; which was twice read, and Mr. C. moved that it be ordered to a third reading.
Mr. McDUFFIE opposed the motion, because it was a subject which belonged to the revenue, and ought to have been before the Committee of Ways and Means. It, moreover, was a novel principle—one involving a great expenditure, in the number of custom-house officers which would have to be appointed; and if the principle were adopted, every large town in the Union situated on a river would be entitled to the same privilege. He moved the reference of the bill to the Committee of ways and Means.
Mr. WICKLIFFE and Mr. PETTIS defended the bill against the objections urged, and argued to show its ne: cessity to the convenience of the large and thriving commercial places comprised in the bill. Before the question was taken, the hour elapsed.
The several appropriation bills, which yesterday passed through the Committee of the Whole, were taken up, and the several amendments agreed to by the House.
Mr. DRAYTON renewed his amendment, proposed yes. today in Committee of the Whole, for the appropriation of two hundred thousand dollars, instead of one hundred thousand dollars, for the armaments of fortifications. He supported his proposition at length, referring, in the
course of his argument, to the defenceless condition of
many of the fortifications on the seacoast. Should the vast continent of Europe, he remarked, be involved in the flame of war which at present there were too many reasons for apprehending, the United States might, and in all probability would, be drawn into the vortex. Should a contest ensue, (and, considering the combustion which at present prevailed amongst the great Powers of the old world, who would say that it was not daily expected?) would not the consequences be of so tremendous a nature, ** to require the utmost caution on our part to avoid being
involved in it, in the first instance; and, in the next place, if we should unfortunately become entangled in the complex web of European politics, to be prepared with the necessary means of extricating ourselves from the entanglement? Surely so; and the only means of enabling us to do so, in the event of such a disastrous occurrence, would be to prepare for war in time of peace; at least so far as to provide for the arming of those fortifications upon which alone the nation could rely for the security of its seaboard. The defence of the coast of the country was, it would be admitted by all, necessary for the preservation of public liberty; and how could the coast be defended, without the fortifications being put in an efficient state? Mr. D. referred next to the expression of Mr. Canning, in the British Parliament, as to the probable results of the next war in Europe. That able statesman, that eloquent orator, that accomplished man, said, a few years ago, that the war which might next occur would probably be a war of opinion—a war of liberal principles against despotic Governments—in the contest of which, the victors would be, in the end, the vanquished. The clouds which lowered at present over Europe threatened to involve all civilized countries in the storm which it was apparent was gathering. No portion of it could be exempt; and how, then, could the United States keep aloofin such a contest? Great Britain owed its existence to its naval strength; it had declared that its power depended on its maritime supremacy; and how, asked Mr. D., could that supremacy be sustained, should a war ensue, but by the renewed exercise on her part of the system of impressment? After some further remarks on this subject, as connected with the rejection of a former treaty by President Jefferson, on account of its not containing a provision against the impressment of American seamen, and some observations on the inadequacy of the present means of national defence in the fortifications on the seaboard, Mr. D. concluded. Mr. McDUFFIE trusted that, if a war should unhappily occur in Europe, this country would adopt the system which was called in England that of non-interference: God forbid, said he, that the settled policy of the United States should be so entirely changed, as to lead to the entanglement of this nation with the politics of the other hemisphere! Let us finish the fortifications, which we have begun to construct. This is all that the bill provides, no more; and, let me ask, of what use are the shells of these buildings, erected at a great expense for the pur: poses of national defence, unless they are finished and properly armed? - Mr. HOFFMAN opposed the amendment, conceiving the navy perfectly competent for the purposes of defending the coast. The power and strength of our navy were, it would be borne in mind, very different from their condition ten or fifteen years ago; and besides, he, for his own part, if he might be permitted to express an opinion, saw no prospect that we should be engaged in a war with Great Britain. Mr. YANCEY, of Kentucky, said he had not expected, after the vote of yesterday rejecting the appropriation an additional hundred thousand dollars for fortifications on the seaboard, that there would have been a proposition to-day to reinstate the item in the bill, and he regretted that it was made. I, said he, am a plain farmer, and ro" present constituents, a majority of whom are farmers, an of course, make their living in that highly laudable mode, by the sweat of their brow; and when laddress them, and am amongst them, I advocate frugality and economy." the public expenditure, in order that labor may be lightly burdened. Although i have to encounter eloquent low: yers here, sir, yet I do and will fearlessly advocate the same principles, and make every Practicable exertion that the bread which labor has earned shall not be taken from
its mouth to support exorbitant and extravagant appropriations. Sir, the poor laboring men, who are, in fact, the very main pillars of society, ought not to be burdened with these exorbitant appropriations; and little do they think, when they are bcdewing the earth with the sweat of their brow, and when night comes, and they go to bed, they are so fatigued with their daily labor to support their families that they frequently cannot sleep—I say, sir, little do they think that such profuse and lavish appropriations of money are made, as frequently are; and I should consider myself unworthy of their confidence, if I did not boldly and fearlessly exert my best faculties here to keep off the oppressive hand of taxation from them and their families. They are that to society that a main spring is to a gun lock; and I am resolved to let them see that I am not less their advocate here than at home. Sir, I will look to the influence, the salutary maxims, policy, and advice of the illustrious Jefferson, who was in favor of the sacred preservation of the public faith, and the honest performance of our duties, of frugality and economy in our public expenditure. Sir, I most cordially unite with that great and patriotic sage, and hope that we shall be frugal and economical in our public expenditures, and not imitate the magnificent pomp, splendor, and profusion of Eastern monarchs and potentates; but that we shall zealously and aidently endeavor to realize our professions, and bring the ship of State back to its republican and Jeffersonian principles; that we shall thoroughly cleanse the Augean stable, and get back to the good old whig principles of ’76, and the promotion of the equal interest and inalienable rights of man. And, sir, I regretto see some of those gentlemen, who are such strong advocates of this appropriation, opposing an appropriation of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars for clearing out obstructions and otherwise improving the navigation of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers—those two great streams which traverse such a vast extent of country in the great valley of the Mississippi, and on which the surplus produce of one of the greatest countries on earth is wafted to New Orleans, the grand emporium of the West. Sir, I most cheerfully unite with the honorable and patriotic Fo of South Carolina, in every proper defence of the country, and would meet at the beach the enemy that should dare to pollute our republican soil with his tyrannical and unhallowed feet. I would dispute every inch of ground, burn every blade of grass, and exire in the last ditch, before I would see the foot of an invader trampling in triumph upon my native land. Yes, if he did enter my country as a foe, I hope it is not a useless vaunt to say that it should be over my lifeless corpse. Let us, I say, teach our sons-—let us urge upon our friends and fellow-citizens, the brave boys of the mountains, and of every other section of our beloved country, to exert their patriotism, and bravely defend the land in which they live. In that case--I mean in the event of our being attacked—we can, I doubt not, successfully resist the combined attacks of a world of despots. If we are frugal, virtuous, and united as with the bonds of indissoluble union, as I trust we are, and ever shall be, and put our faith in the great omnipotent God of battles, we may expect to be free and happy, and to transmit to our latest posterity, pure and uncontaminated, the equal and inherent rights of freemen, with which we are so eminently blessed. And if we do, sir, act and unite on these prin. ciples of virtue, economy, and frugality, and trust in the great sovereign Arbiter of the universe, we shall stand as a pillar of fire amidst a world of benighted despotism, lighting the path of unborn millions to the temple of liberty. Mr. WILDE argued that, however the country might be indifferent to the contests of Europe, however indisposed the Government might be to engage in those contests, yet, from the very nature of things, it was impossi
Indian Medals.—Internal Improvements.
[FE.B. 18, 1831.
ble to avoid an involvement in them. He said, after some further remarks, that he was therefore in favor of the proposition, conceiving it to be absolutely necessary for the defence of the seacoast, and the security of our military and naval forces.
The amendment was lost by yeas and nays—yeas 69, nays 90.
Mr. McDUFFIE moved to insert an appropriation of $3,000 for the purchase of medals, to be distributed amongst Indian chiefs. Mr. VANCE said the object was a proper one, as it was well known that such presents to the Indians were very useful, and had been always customary. He could not forbear, however, reminding those gentlemen who now saw the expediency of the measure so clearly, that an expenditure under the late administration of one-third of the sum now proposed, filled about a page of the famous report of the Committee on Retrenchment, in setting forth its enormity. The appropriation was agreed to; yeas 85, nays not counted. INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS. The bill making appropriations for improving the navigation of rivers, removing obstructions from the mouths of rivers and harbors, &c. next coming up, Mr. LEA wished to know the sense of the House on this measure. He wished to know what was meant by this sort of external internal improvement. He wished to know how high up a river it was considered constitutional to go without coming in conflict with the objectionable principle, and how far the House could carry a distinction which he himself could not see or approve. He could see no difference between appropriations for harbors and the mouths of rivers, and appropriations for the improvement of the interior of the country. He therefore asked for the yeas and nays on the engrossment of this bill. Mr. CARSON said he felt that on the subject of internal improvement it was perfectly ugeless to say a word. The bill proposed various objects of expenditure for harbors, &c. What evidence was there of their necessity– not to speak of their constitutionality, that he would not mention; it is scoffed at; we have no constitution—it is dead and gone. But he knew of no evidence that the improvements were needed, admitting their legality. He went throught all the items, to show that many of them were unworthy of legislation, and some of them contemptible. He protested against them, and said that the items for his own State should not seduce him to vote for the bill. Nothing, however, which he could say, he was aware, would have any influence on the House; he therefore called on his friend from Kentucky, [Mr. YANcey,) to make a speech against it. Messrs. IRVIN and WHITTLESEY defended the appropriation in reference to the waters of Lake Erie, showing their importance to the commerce of the West, the great extent of the commerce of the lake, the deficiency of natural harbors on it, and the necessity of forming them, &c. Mr. SILL, of Pennsylvania, said, the principal objections he had heard against the passage of this bill, appeared to be directed against the appropriations for improving the navigation and opening the harbors on the lakes. I, said Mr. S., have had an opportunity of witnessing the improvements already made in that navigation, by means of former appropriations, and can truly state, not only as my own opinion, but that of others, who have examined them, that no part of the public money has been more judiciously and beneficially expended. - - These appropriations are objected to because, as it is said, the objects to which they are to be applied are not
of a national character, and, therefore, that the National Government cannot, with propriety, appropriate money for their improvement. Some particular object of improvement is selected and adverted to, for instance, the removal of a sand bar from the mouth of a certain creck or river, which falls into Lake Erie, with a view to the improvement or construction of a harbor upon the shore of that lake; and it is said that such improvement cannot be of general or national importance, because such stream or river is, of itself, so obscure and unimportant, that even its name has scarcely before been heard of Gentlemen seem to consider that the character of an improvement of this kind depends on that of the particular spot where it is contemplated to be made, without taking into view the importance of the general object which each particular improvement is calculated to advance. It appears to me that this view of the subject is not a correct one. In estimating the character and importance of any work of public improvement, we should consider the general design and object intended to be effected, and not confine our views to the particular objects of an appropriation, which is frequently only the means of effecting some great national improvement, or a part of some plan of general and public utility. The removal of a sand bar at the mouth of a river, or the shore of Lake Erie, considered solely with reference to the importance of the particular place where such improvement is to be effected, may appear to be a local and unimportant object; but when it is considered as a means of opening or forming a harbor, whose benefits are extended to the thousands of our sellow-citizens whose lives and property are exposed on those waters, its general and national character at once become apparent. No one doubts that the Atlantic seaboard is an object of general and national importance. The propriety of af. fording all reasonable facilities to its commerce and navigation, by the improvement of harbors, the removal of sand bars, and the erection of beacons, buoys, and lighthouses, I believe, is not disputed. Now, I would ask, why is an improvement of this kind, when made along the seaboard, considered to be of national character and importance? It is not on account of the local importance of the particular point where such an improvement may be made, but because it is connected with, and constitutes a part of that great national object, the facility and security of the commerce and navigation of the Atlantic coast. It is true that both those objects, that is, those of general utility and local importance, may happen to be combined in the same rule. An improvement of the harbor of a great commercial city, for instance, that of New York, would present a case of this kind. But suppose an extent of barren and desert coast, without inhabitants, and destitute of any objects to attract attention, except the dangers and shipwrecks which awaited those who sailed along or approached its shores, might not the national in. terests require some improvements to be made, even in such a spot as this? And if the removal of a sand bar would afford an improvement materially promoting the security of our commerce, would it not be proper for this Government to effect it? Such an object would be strictly national; not by reason of any importance in itself, but by its connexion with that great national object, the security and facility of navigation and commerce, it partakes of that character, and becomes itself an object of national concern. The same principles apply to the improvements on our great Northwestern lakes. No one, I presume, will profess to doubt that the commerce and navigation of the great chain of lakes, extending along our Northwestern borders, and forming a connected navigation of more than one thousand miles, is, of itself, an object of great national importance. They may be called, with much propriety, the Mediterranean of America. Those inland
seas afford a great highway for the commerce and navigation of a very important portion of the people of these United States. The citizens of the northwestern parts of New York and Pennsylvania, probably one-half of the State of Ohio, the whole territory of Michigan, the northern parts of Indiana and Illinois, to say nothing of the almost illimitable regions bordering on the upper lakes, and extending far towards the Mississippi, are dependent on the navigation of these waters for the transportation of their produce to a market, the importation of all their supplies of foreign merchandise, and, in short, for all their commercial intercourse and transactions. Nor are the benefits of this inland navigation confined to those who inhabit the interior of our country. The intercourse thus opened is equally beneficial to the commercial and manufacturing interests of the Atlantic States. The commerce of Lake Erie is rapidly increasing, and already of great importance and amount. Previous to the late war, its commerce was of small amount. Probably eight or ten small vessels were sufficient for all the transportation that was then required. During the war, that commerce was entirely broken up and destroyed. Some of the vessels were captured by the enemy, the remainder were purchased by our Government, and fitted for the purposes of naval warfare. But with the return of peace, the settlement and improvement of that country rapidly advanced, and with it the trade and commerce of the lakes. The completion of the New York canal constituted a new era in the trade of that country. It gave to those lakes the character and advantages of an inland sea, with a navigable outlet to the main ocean, and afforded the means of transportation to the seaboard, for the agricultural products of the vast and fertile regions bordering on and communicating with their waters. There are now nine steamboats, and seventy or eighty vessels, which during seven or eight months of the year are employed in an active commerce on Lake Erie. The number of entries at the custom-house at Buffalo, up to the 30th of September of the past season, was six hundred and thirty-seven. Should we add to this the probable number of entries during the remainder of the season, the aggregate number for the whole season would probably cxceed eight hundred. The number of arrivals and departures at and from the port of Presque Isle, during the same period, was three hundred and sixty-six; the probable number during the remainder of the season would probably increase the total amount to upwards of five hundred. The quantity of merchandise transported to Buffalo on the New York canal, up to the 30th of September of the past year, and shipped on the lake from that port, amounted to fifteen thousand tons. The two remaining months of navigation are the most busy season of trade; and, should we include the probable quantity shipped during that period, it is believed that the total amount would not be less than twenty-five thousand tons. It should be borne in mind that the whole of this vast amount consists of merchandise the produce and manufacture of our own and foreign countries, for the supply of the northwestern sections of the United States. A great proportion of the country between the lakes and the Ohio, including sections of five States, and the whole of the Territory of Michigan, receive their supplies by this route. In the last annual message of the President, the propricty of making appropriations for increasing the ... and promoting the security of commerce, is admitted. Our revenue, it is stated, arises principally from the collection of duties imposed on foreign merchandise. These duties increase the price of the article, and are ultimately drawn from the pockets of the consumer. Appropriations for the improvement of our commercial intercourse are paid out of the same fund. These improvements, by facilitating the means of transportation, cheapen its price, and