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benefit from the mines without obtaining a permit and planting himself upon the rocks or the sands from which the gold is to be extracted. When he has done that, he is deriving the subterranean wealth from the soil ; just as the farmer is deriving his gains from its surface. The policy is the same in both cases; it is to cover the earth with population as fast as possible, and to distribute the wealth acquired as broadly as possible.
But the honorable Senator from Georgia fears that foreigners admitted to these mines will extract the wealth and leave the country, carrying away the spoils. Sir, such as this has not been the history of this country or of any part of it. It is a country which invites foreigners by the exposure of new and virgin sources of wealth, and by the inducements of peace and of all political blessings. It has invited them for two hundred and fifty years past, and we are all here by reason of these inducements. Does any senator know an alien who has ever recorded a declaration of his intention to become an American citizen, and then turned back to his native allegiance?
But it is said by the honorable Senator from California, (Mr. FREMONT] that the people of the countries bordering on California, and who would go from these countries to the mines, are of very doubtful character. But I beg leave to say to that honorable senator, that from the first hour that an American state or colony was planted here, it has been continually said of all foreigners who followed them, that they were of doubtful character. And yet it has happened that a period of five years has always been enough to dissipate these doubts and fears, and we are made up a whole homogeneous nation of such accessions. Some five
years ago, when ascending one of the lakes, I went on board of a steamboat at Detroit, at night, and made my way through six hundred emigrants sleeping on the decks; they were all foreigners of doubtful character, and they constituted a population sufficient for a township. This was the freight of only one of half a dozen steamers equally burdened with just such doubtful foreigners. They are quietly dispersed through the West, and now they are all loyal American citizens. The only difference that I can see between a citizen by birth and one by adoption is, that the one was made a citizen by his ancestors, and the other by his own voluntary action.
The honorable Senator from California will excuse me for say
ing, with the utmost deference to him and to the generous new state he represents, that I think that the legislature of that state, by making a discrimination between native citizens and foreigners, acted unwisely in regard to the permanent welfare, peace, happiness, and prosperity of the whole country. It is because I consider that provision detrimental to the interests of the state, and consequently to the interests of the whole republic, that I have offered this amendment for the purpose of repudiating the policy of exclusion of foreigners.
My honorable friend from Georgia [Mr. Dawson) will now permit me to say that I have never, here nor elsewhere, put the broad policy of naturalization which I advocate upon the ground merely of charity, or on the ground of humanity. These, indeed, are considerations which are by no means foreign to the question. I shall not deny that they have their weight in my judgment. Nihil humanum puto alienum. But I have advocated that policy here and elsewhere, because I regarded the interests of the whole American family as demanding the practice of not only the largest civil liberty, but also the opening of the door to the privileges of citizenship widely and freely to all who may desire to enter.
COMMERCE OF THE PACIFIC.
SEPTEMBER 28, 1850.
The argument in favor of striking ont this portion proceeds upon two grounds-one that the United States have not as high a responsibility to discharge toward the mercantile marine as they have to discharge toward the national marine; and the other that it has not as much interest in the former as it has in the latter. Now, I understand it to be the duty of the United States to regulate commerce, and that the government is charged with the responsibility of providing all that is necessary for the repair of vessels on the Pacific, as well of the commercial as of the national marine. It certainly has as high an interest in it; for it connects itself immediately with the revenue of the country, upon which the governe ment depends for its subsistence. If this be so, then it is right for Congress---there being no other provision for the merchant marine -to open their dry dock for that purpose, especially if it can be done without serious inconvenience to the public marine. Now, we know the fact that there is no such provision there for the merchant marine ; and is there any immediate prospect that there will be one made by private enterprise ? No! What, then, will be the consequence of refusing the advantages of this dock to our merchant vessels ? Not only our commerce on the Pacific coast, but our navigation to China also, will be deprived of the benefits growing out of such an establishment.
No one, I think, can deny that a dry dock at a navy yard is necessary, whenever one shall be required upon our Pacific coast. If it be begun now, it cannot be accomplished too soon, because no one can foresee the necessities of political events which will render it necessary. I assume, then, that a dry dock is to be built, and a navy yard to be built somewhere upon the Pacific coast. think it is clear that it ought to be begun now. Then, the only consideration remaining is, whether there is anything to be saved by postponing this matter until another session of Congress. The economy, if there be any, must consist in getting better terms at another time. I know of no reason to suppose that that can be done. The delay will not be merely from this time until the commencement of the next session of Congress ; but, by the experience we have all had, we know that it will be a delay until the end of the next session of Congress, because bills of this class never pass until just at the close of the session. It will, then, be a postponement of the commencement of this operation from now until next spring. We shall have lost nearly six months.
In regard to the location, in any event, that is to be determined by the Secretary of War. In regard to the estimates of construction, that, in any event, is to be determined by his discretion, and not by the discretion of Congress. This, then, refers to him now what must, in any event, be referred to him, and anticipates, if possible, the period when we may suffer for want of a dry dock upon the Pacific coast. I see no reason why the appropriation should not pass.
A MINT IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK.
MAY 24, 1850.
CERTAINLY, I am of opinion, Mr. President, that it is very desirable there should be a branch mint in California, and that it should be established as speedily as possible. I have no doubt that a great loss is sustained by the youthful community rising there, which, struggling with so many embarrassments, can ill afford the loss resulting from the necessity of shipping bullion and gold dust to other parts of the world, for the purpose of coinage. I shall, therefore, be most happy on all occasions, after the state of California shall have become a member of this Union, or even before that time, while she remains a part of this empire, to vote for a branch mint, whenever a bill for that purpose shall come before the Senate.
The question of establishing a mint in Charleston, is one upon which my mind has not been engaged. I am not prepared to say that I would vote, or ought to vote, for the establishment of a mint at that place; but I am not prepared to say, on the other hand, that I ought not so to vote. I am not particularly informed at this time, of the state of mining operations in South Carolina, in Virginia, in Georgia, in Alabama, and elsewhere in the southern portion of the Union, without which knowledge my vote could not be given. But I submit to those who have offered these amendments, whether, if it be their object, as it undoubtedly is, to obtain the separate institutions which they propose, it is not as prudent and as wise—as it certainly is fair and just—to detach them from this bill, which may be overpowered by a combined opposition to the whole three measures, when at least one, and perhaps all of them, might, severally, obtain the favor of the Senate? I hope, therefore, that this bill may be put distinctly upon its own proper merits. And I confess that the very learned and elaborate argument submitted to us some time ago, by the honorable Senator from Missouri, [Mr. BENTON] has so far fortified my own objections to the process of legislative “tacking," as to make me more unwilling than ever to combine several different and discordant propositions in one bill.
Mr. President, what is the necessity for a mint anywhere? It is for the sole purpose—or, at least, chiefly for the purpose
of saving our mercantile community, and, through them, the whole people, the loss and expense incident to the transportation of bullion to foreign mints, for the purpose of being coined, and thus
nverted into money, in which shape only the metal is adapted to the uses of commerce as a medium of exchange. The expense of assaying and coinage, is an expense which the government ought to bear, and ought to bear freely and fully. It is the duty of the government to perform the function of coinage for the citizen, because it assumes to furnish to the citizen the currency which he needs, while it excludes him from furnishing it himself. Our government undertakes to perform this function without seigniorage or chargestipulating only, that the citizen shall supply the metal to be assayed and coined. Since the government has assumed it exclusively, they ought to perform it in that way which will be least expensive to the mercantile community, and which, of course, will devolve the least burden upon the country.
Now the commerce of this country and of this continent is concentrated in one port. It is there that money is to be used and employed; it is there that bullion and money are to be imported and exported; and it is there that coin, first and principally, is to be used as the medium of exchange of the productions of all countries and of all climes. Where, then, ought to be the mint which furnishes this medium of exchange? If anywhere, it ought to be as near as possible to the wharves from which it is to be exported, and where it is to be imported, and where the exchanges of which it is the agent are to be made. It ought to be there, instead of being, as it now is, at a distance of one hundred miles from the place where its functions are to be performed. Every argument which can be brought for maintaining that the mint of the chief commercial port of the Union should be located at a distance of one hundred miles from its wharves, would apply with equal justice and equal force in favor of transferring the seat