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The Public Lands.
DEC. 30, 1829.]
hese miserable remnants? They are worth something to be necessary to institute an inquiry to discover whether any those who are there, to farmers whose plantations they offices existed in our Government which were sinecures, adjoin, to settlers who have made some improvement upon in order that they might be abolished. It was not [he them; but they are not the object to attract emig ration. said] his motive, in supporting the adoption of this resoluThe man that moves to a new country wants new land; he tion, to check emigration to the West. When the peowants first choice; he does not move for refuse, for the ple go there, they are still our people; the Western States crumbs that remain after others are served. The reports are a component part of our common country, and he trustof the registers and receivers show the character of these ed in God they would always remain so. He was not an seventy millions to which the gentleman refers, and which advocate of the exclusive or sectional legislation. But alone would be in market under his plan, to be such as I the fact here developed is, that there are seventy-two milhave represented it; the good land all picked out, inferior lions of acres of land at present in the market, of which and broken tracts only remaining, such as may be desirable it appears that only one million a year can be sold. We for wood, or outlet, or to keep off a bad neighbor, to the have, therefore, from these calculations, enough to supply farmer whose estate they adjoin, or to a poor family, but the market for seventy-two years to come. If, then, at no object to induce emigrants to come from other States. the end of seventy-two years, a similar inquiry to that So much [said Mr. B.] for checking emigration. But I now contemplated is proposed, it might then be said that have another objection to the gentleman's plan. It will the motive which induces it is a desire to check emigration operate unequally and partially among the Western States. to the West. Suppose, according to the reasoning of the It will fall heavily upon some States and not touch others. gentleman from Missouri, [Mr. BENTON] that it is all reHow would it operate in Ohio? Not at all. It would have fu se land--all poor land; then certainly there is much no effect there; all her lands have been surveyed, all have need of inquiry; very much indeed. How, he would ask, been offered for sale, all would, therefore, still be in mar- has it happened that these surveyors have surveyed land ket, under the gentleman's plan; every acre within her which is good for nothing? How has it happened that so limits would be open as ever to sale and settlement. How many thousands of dollars have been appropriated to surwould it operate in Louisiana? I wish the Senators from vey lands which no one will inhabit? Does not this state that State would answer the question. It would stop the of things indicate the necessity of instituting an inquiry? surveying where millions are yet to be surveyed; it would If this office of surveyor is a sinecure, he hoped the docstop the sales where millions are yet to be sold; it would trines of the day would be extensive in their operation, lock up twenty-five millions of acres of her soil! it would and that all sinecures would be abolished. If officers have prevent twenty-five millions of acres from being surveyed surveyed seventy-two millions of acres of bad land, of and sold! Such [said Mr. B.] would be the difference of which one million only is sold every year (whereby it will the operation of this plan in the two States of Louisiana last for seventy-two years) should we not inquire why it is and Ohio. The Federal Government has done nothing so? Should we not inquire why this state of things has towards settling Louisiana, for I count as nothing the two come to pass? He would ask, was it not important to inhundred thousand acres which she has sold in a quarter of stitute the inquiry, even for this cause alone? He never a century. The Kings of France and Spain gave the five changed his views as to the propriety and necessity of millions of arpents which compose its settlements. For all making inquiries; he was always in favor of them; he that the Federal Government has done, that State would would prune wherever it was necessary; he would nenow be a desert; and the effect of this resolution would ver spare the knife. He was an advocate of "reform" be to crown the policy that has held her back, by locking in the true and legitimate sense of that term--not of that up twenty-five millions of her soil from further use. This, species of "reform" which reforms a good man out of however, is a subject of too much moment to be disposed office and puts a bad one in; which removes an opponent of in this brief way, or to be sent to a committee of inquiry. for the purpose of substituting a favorite. When we do I have not risen to speak to it, but to make a motion-not not want officers let us discharge them. a motion to lie on the table, for I dislike that mode of get-| ting rid of a subject-but to move to place the resolution upon the calendar, to make it an order for some future day, that the Senate may discuss and act upon it after the holydays, when the members are all present.
Mr. H. said, he recollected being a member of a committee in 1817, in the House of Representatives, to inquire into the abuses which, it was thought, had crept into the Executive Departments. That committee was supplied with large powers; they could call for persons and papers, Mr. NOBLE said it was unusual to vote against a resolu- and could issue subpoenas ad testificandum. So "searchtion simply of inquiry, but the object of the one now being" were their "operations," that they were repeatedly fore the Senate was too palpable to be misunderstood. obliged to exercise their powers. The result of our labors When [said Mr. N.] I see such a disposition manifested on was, [said Mr. H.] that the different heads of the Dethis floor, as that which dictated the resolation of the gen-partments united together and gave us the basis of the tleman from Connecticut, I cannot be silent. He well act of 20th April, 1818. He was, he said, in the Senate recollected, and he supposed it was within the memory of in 1821, a member of the Committee on Finance, which many members of the Senate, when the governor of a was then employed in reforming abuses in the customs, State in that region of country, (alluding to New England) and exerted his humble talents in passing the act of the submitted to the Legislature of the State over which he 7th May, 1822. He recollected, also, being once associatpresided, a message urging a measure similar to that em-ed with the gentleman from Missouri, [Mr. BENTON] on braced in the present resolution; and we as well recollect other subjects of reform; he meant the control of Exethe feelings of public indignation with which it was treat-cutive patronage, and the abolition of useless offices. The ed. If gentlemen were detemined to press the resolu- gentleman from Missouri was chairman of the committee, tion forward in its present form, they might do so; it will and made the following able report, to which he [Mr. H.] still be a legitimate subject for discussion after the com- would beg leave to call the attention of gentlemen for a mittee shall have reported. But, as it had been observed, few minutes. Mr. H. then read the following passage: he would prefer to meet it at the threshold. He would "Mr. BENTON, from the Select Committee to which move, therefore, that it be laid on the table, and made the was referred the proposition to inquire into the expedienorder of the day for Monday next. cy of reducing the patronage of the Executive Government of the United States, made the following report:
Mr. HOLMES expressed his regret, at so early a stage in the new administration, to see symptoms of an inclina- That, after mature deliberation, the Committee are of tion to prevent inquiry. He supposed that the operation opinion that it is expedient to diminish or to regulate by of inquiry would be certain; he had expected that it would law the Executive patronage of the Federal Government,
The Public Lands.
[DEC. 30, 1829. whenever the same can be done consistently with the pro- ple have been promised this, and we must fulfil that provisions of the constitution, and without impairing the mise. We should inquire whether there are any useless proper efficiency of the Government. Acting under this officers; and if there are any, they ought to be discharged. conviction, they have reviewed, as time and other engage. It would seem the land surveyors had nothing to do; not ments would permit them to do, the degree and amount at least for seventy years and upwards. He wished to see of patronage now exercised by the President, and have ar- whether the land was valuable or not, and whether surveyrived at the conclusion that the same may and ought to be ors were any longer required. If the land is not valuable, diminished by law." why has it been surveyed? If these officers are useless, we ought to prune, and not to spare the knife. These facts [said Mr. H.] imperatively demand inquiry.
He would not, he said, detain the Senate any longer, as it seemed probable that the subject would come up again. He hoped that no feeling to prevent inquiry would deter gentlemen from voting for this resolution. He was against employing officers who had nothing to do: he was opposed to sinecures. Mr. H. concluded by stating, he was willing to facilitate emigration to the West, but that he was opposed to the increase of the Executive patronage, and he hoped that in this respect the gentleman from Missouri retained his former sentiments.
Executive patronage! From all this, and what else he had observed, he had come to the deliberate conclusion that the Executive patronage "has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished." Mr. H. proceeded to read a few other passages from the same report, as follows:
"The King of England is the fountain of honor:' the President of the United States is the source of patronage He presides over the entire system of Federal appointments, jobs, and contracts. He has 'power' over the support' of individuals who administer the system. He makes and unmakes them. He chooses from the circle of his friends and supporters, and may dismiss them, and upon all the principles of human action will dismiss them, as of- Mr. BENTON immediately rose, when Mr. HOLMES sat ten as they disappoint his expectations. His spirit will down, and said that he had seen all that before; that a animate their actions in all the elections to State and Fede- newspaper had been sent to him last summer, containing ral offices. There may be exceptions, but the truth of the extract from his report, which the gentleman had read; general rule is proved by the exception. The intended also a train of remarks similar to the gentleman's, and an check and control of the Senate without new constitution- interrogatory like his. He had not given any answer to al and statutory provisions will cease to operate. Patron- an anonymous writer; but since the same process was gone age will penetrate this body, subdue its capacity of resist- over in the Senate, and by a Senator in his place, he would ance, chain it to the car of power, and enable the Presi- reply to it, and say that the two years which followed the dent to rule as easily, and much more securely, with than making of that report, were not favorable to his object-without the nominal check of the Senate." that it was an unpropitious season for enlarging the rights "Your Committee have reported the six bills which have of the people. If this answer was not sufficiently explicit, been enumerated. They do not pretend to have exhaust- Mr. B. would be more particular. [Mr. H. said the aned the subject, but only to have seized a few of its promi-swer was sufficient.] Mr. B. proceeded to remark upon nent points. They have only touched in four places the the suppression of inquiry. He denied that there was any vast and pervading system of Federal Executive patron- attempt to suppress on his side, but rather on the other. age: the Press, the Post Office, the Armed Force, and the He was for discussion, ample discussion in full Senate, and Appointing Power. They are few, compared to the whole upon an appointed time. Does that look like suppresnumber of points which the system presents, but they are sion? Does it deprive the Senator from Maine of any right? points vital to the liberties of the country. The Press is On the contrary, does it not enlarge the exercise of his put foremost because it is the moving power of human ac- rights? For, if the resolution goes to the Committee namtion: the Post Office is the handmaid of the Press: the Arm-ed for it, he not being a member of that Committee, will ed Force its executor: and the Appointing Power the di- have no share in the inquiry; but if it is discussed here, he rectress of the whole. If the Appointing Power was itself takes his full part in the discussion. Does he call that supan emanation of the popular will, if the President was him- pression? Mr. B. returned to the resolution, not for the self the officer and the organ of the people, there would purpose of debating it now, but to say that he would debe less danger in leaving to his will the sole direction of bate it hereafter. That he would trace the progress of all these arbiters of human fate." these measures to check emigration to the West through a series of forty-four years. Since all that time a system of measures had been pursued-he did not speak of their design, but their effect-to check emigration to the West. He was able to trace these measures, and would do it. It was time to arrest them-time to make a stand-to face about; and to fight a decisive battle in behalf of the West. He acquiesced in the motion of the Senator from Indiana [[Mr. NOBLE] but wished a longer day. The young West, [he said] had been saved from an attempt to strangle it in the cradle, forty years ago, by Virginia and the South. The Senators of Virginia are now absent, engaged in par
These six bills were reported in the session of 1826, and in that session it was too late to act upon them. During amount duties at home. He wanted their presence again, the next session they were not called up. The succeed-now that the old and persevering policy which would
ing session [Mr. H. said] he was not here, but he under- check emigration--not to Ohio, but to the further West stood they had not been called up since. and South West, was to have a formal decision. He would, therefore, move a longer day, to allow time for these Senators to arrive; he named Monday week.
Mr. H. said he was pleased that any subject occurred in the Senate, which enabled him to call their attention to this able report of that able chairman. He presumed that Mr. NOBLE acquiesced in the day named. that gentleman, as he himself did, entertained the same Mr. HOLMES added a few remarks. The subject in views now as at that period. The Executive patronage is his opinion imperatively demanded inquiry; and as he saw increasing, and, do what we will, it always will increase: and knew something of surveys, he thought it required a for the more power a President assumes, the more popular thorough examination. He wished that a Select Commitwill he become. Mr. H. was desirous that this inquiry tee should be appointed for the purpose. It was absoluteshould be instituted, especially in these days of reform, ly necessary, since it was seen that surveys had been made when the people are expecting retrenchment. The peo-and large appropriations of money; and such a large quan
Solemn language, this, said Mr. H. The Committee reported six bills, in one of which is this extraordinary provision:
"SECT. 2. And be it further enacted, That in all nominations made by the President to the Senate, to fill vacancies occasioned by an exercise of the President's power to remove from office, the fact of the removal shall be stated to the Senate at the same time that the nomination is made, with a statement of the reasons for which such officer may have been removed."
Internal Improvement.-Indian Affairs.
JAN. 4, 1830.]
THURSDAY, DEC. 31, 1829.
The bill authorizing a subscription of stock in the
tity of the land remained unsold. He would call the attention of the Committee to another fact. There was a district in Ohio, where the surveyor general lived three or four hundred miles from the land which he is employed to survey. He [Mr. H.] was desirous to have an inquiry made into Washington Turnpike Road Company was read the sethis matter; for, he was of opinion, that the object of hav-cond time, and considered in Committee of the Whole. ing a surveyor general, required that he should be where Mr. HENDRICKS having explained the nature and obthe land to be surveyed lies. He hoped, therefore, that ject of the bill, the importance of a speedy completion of an inquiry would be instituted, and a full report, upon the road, in a national point of view, and the prospects of which the Senate could act, would be made. the tolls remunerating the holders of stock, by liberal dividends
Mr. DICKERSON desired more time for deliberation, and for affording to absent Senators an opportunity of voting. After some conversation between Mr. HENDRICKS, Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, and Mr. DICKERSON, the bill was postponed to Monday week, and made the special order for that day.
[The bill authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to subscribe for four thousand five hundred shares of the stock, and appropriated ninety thousand dollars for the purpose.] Adjourned to Monday.
MONDAY, JANUARY 4, 1830.
Mr. WOODBURY said he deemed it an act of comity to accede to the motion made to postpone the consideration of this resolution, especially as the mover and supporter of it had expressed a wish to have the subject debated again. But if the time required is refused, he would, with his present knowledge, be disposed to vote against any proposition tending to stop the surveys. He would treat the subject as an individual private owner would. The public lands belonged to the Union at large, and were deemed valuable property. The Indian title has now been extinguished to about one hundred millions of acres, which have not been surveyed, and individual buyers cannot make a selection out of them until the surveys are made, and the lands put in the market; with a wider field to select from, purchasers could accommodate themselves better, and would give a higher price. In addition, he considered it an act of justice to the States: for, in some, these surveys have been nearly completed, and the citizens of the city of New York, asking the protec in others much less done. To stop now would be consi-tion of the United States for the Indians against injustice dered favoritism. It was due to the new States equally and oppression; and on motion of Mr. S. the petition was to survey the lands: for, if they are not surveyed and of ordered to be referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. fered for sale, how are they to increase their population, Mr. BURNET moved that the memorial be printed. their wealth, and their resources? The public, also, have Mr. FORSYTH called for the reading of it. a deep concern, from considerations of sound political economy, that the best lands should be occupied first. Then the same quantity of labor will produce larger crops Mr. BELL rose, and objected to the further reading of it. and income. Poor lands ought not to be occupied till Mr. TROUP hoped the memorial would be printed, if they are the very worst uncultivated in the country. The the reading of it were discontinued. He wished to know same information which he had on this subject, and which, the contents of this document; to become acquainted in a like case, would govern his private conduct, would with the manner in which it was written, and with the now govern his public conduct, as an agent for the pub-matter which it contained, before any disposition was made
Mr. SANFORD presented a petition from a meeting of
The Secretary proceeded to read the memorial to the Senate; and had gone on for some time, when
But further debate might throw new light upon the of it by the Senate.
question, and, from courtesy to those desiring it, he should Mr. BELL said he asked the discontinuance of the certainly vote for the postponement. reading of the memorial merely with a view to save the
Mr. BURNET said he would withdraw his motion to print the memorial, for the purpose of enabling the Senate to dispose of it as they might think proper.
Mr. FOOT said he had not the least objection to post-time of the Senate. He thought that the printing of pone the consideration of this resolution, although it was the document would enable gentlemen better to underan unusual motion to postpone a resolution for inquiry stand its contents than the cursory reading of it by the merely, and make it the special order of a day. He agreed Secretary. with the gentleman from Missouri, that the Southern and Western States were greatly inferested in this question. The States of Illinois, Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana, were; and from these States are all the members of the Committee to which the inquiry would go. As to preventing emigration, or any hostility to the West, he disclaimed any such intention; but he objected to this mode of disposing of the resolution. Mr. BARTON said he approved of the suggestion to ap-He now understood it, from what had been read of it, to repoint a Select Committee. The question now was, whe-fer particularly to the conduct of certain States towards ther we should go on with the surveys; whether the of the Indians. If that were the purport of it, he should ficers were properly arranged, or whether there were move a reconsideration of the vote referring it to the too many of them. As to going on with the surveys, the Committee. He then moved to discharge the Committee officers are already appointed for that purpose. The from the further consideration of the memorial, as this exploration of the country, the making of correct maps appeared to him to be a better mode of effecting his object. of it, rendered it important to go on with the surveys, Mr. SANFORD said he would not oppose the motion whatever might be decided as to the details of the public of the gentleman from Georgia, although he did not wish lands. He said he would not vote in favor of the post-to move the printing of the memorial until it was examponement of the resolution, but he hoped that a Select ined by a Committee.
Mr. FORSYTH said that he believed the memorial had been ordered to be referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. From the manner in which the memorial was presented, he was not aware of its real character. He had supposed it to be a memorial on the subject of Indian affairs generally.
Committee would be appointed, instead of sending the Mr. FORSYTH repeated that he was not aware of the inquiry to a Standing Committee. peculiar character of the memorial when it was first pre
The motion to postpone the consideration of the reso-sented. He understood the gentleman from New York lution till Monday week, and to make it the special order [Mr. SANFORD] to say that it had a general reference to all of the day, was then agreed to; and the resolution was the Indians. If he now understood the memorial correctly, postponed accordingly. it was the memorial of a meeting held in a particular part
JAN. 4, 1830.
The question on discharging the Committee from the further consideration of the memorial was put, and ried in the affirmative; and
On motion of Mr. FORSYTH, the memorial was laid on the table.
of the country, whose object was the vindication of the an act forbidden by the laws of the United States: it sancalleged rights of the Southern Indians; if he understood tions intruders on the public lands, and it will sanction this it correctly, it impeached the character and conduct of as a precedent for future intruders to act likewise. How the Southern States; and it did not relate to the Indians many will it not tempt to follow the example, thus to give generally, but to the Indians within the Southern States them a title to the public lands, at the minimum price, and on alone, to the condition in which they are placed by the a year's credit? He would ask whether this law would not Southern States. It might be that the memorial was ex- encourage other intruders to enter upon the public lands, pressed in terms to which he could have no objection; when they can purchase them at the minimum price? We but all he wished for was, that it should lie on the table, cannot, and we will not refuse them the same privilege, that he might have time to examine it, in order to see when they ask us, which we now propose to grant. Any whether it was the case or not. If it impeached the cha- person who has witnessed the effect of precedents in this racter or conduct of the Southern States, he should ob- body, must see that this precedent will be acted upon ject to its reference to the Committee; if not, he could hereafter. Thus by holding out this encouragement, the not of course have any objection. As to the printing of effect will be to induce other intruders to enter upon the the memorial, he was opposed to it till he examined it, public lands, with the hope of finally being allowed to and knew whether it was worthy of being printed. When, purchase them at the minimum price. This is the natural, therefore, the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. BURNET] moved the probable, and certain effect of the measure proposed. to have it printed, he [Mr. F.] called for the reading of It would be better to repeal all laws on this subject, and it in order to ascertain whether it was worthy of it-whe- to permit a general scramble, than to pass the present law. ther it was deserving of being spread upon the records of Mr. BARTON said, he would state briefly the reasons this body. He called for the reading, in order to ascer- which influenced the Committee in reporting the bill. tain its contents, which he thought was more respectful There had been, heretofore, some difficulty with the and becoming than to ask the gentleman who offered it to Committee on this subject of pre-emption rights; but he explain its matter. He hoped that the motion to discharge believed no difficulty on that subject existed at present. the Committee from the further consideration of the me- With respect to the prohibition of settlements on the morial would prevail, and that it should be laid on the public lands, contained in the old act of 1807, and alludtable, that he might have an opportunity of examining it. ed to by the gentleman from New Hampshire [Mr. BELL] After having examined it, he [Mr. F.] would inform the that act did indeed prohibit such intrusions, (and it was Senator who presented it whether he had any objection to proper enough for any government intending to sell the the disposition of it which had been proposed. whole of its lands to make such provision) but the more particular object of that act was to prevent any difficulty car-in relation to the batture at New Orleans. The act, how ever, although intended to apply to that particular case, must necessarily have been general in its effects; and for this reason, and because of the many cases of hardship which arose from it, Congress had on various occasions deemed it necessary to depart from the provisions of the act of 1807, and grant pre-emption rights to actual settlers on the public lands. Inasmuch, then, as these various grants, made at different periods, in different sctions Mr. BELL said that this bill, in its operations, would of the country, together with the operations of the old produce this effect: the encouragement of future viola- law above alluded to, created great inequality in the contion of the laws which regulate our public land system. ditions of the various settlers on the public lands, the obThis bill gives the right of pre-emption to all those who ject of the committee was to destroy that inequality, and have violated our land laws by entering on the public place all the new States and Territories on the same footlands, and now have actual possession of them. It gives ing. So far from its being the settled policy of the Gothe right to those who have thus entered these, to purchase vernment to prevent intrusions on the public land by them at the minimum price. It will confer the right on a others than actual purchasers, the general prohibition of large portion of those intruders who have entered on those the law of 1807 had been, as he had just observed, denew tracts of land which have been surveyed, but which parted from in various instances, so that the bad precehave not been as yet offered for sale. It will confer the dent of reward in violation of the law, objected to by right on those who are in possession of the most eligible the gentleman from New Hampshire, had in fact been portions of land in the new country, and the effect will be, often set, and long ago. As to the policy or expediency of that when those lands are offered at public sale, the in-the measure recommended by the Committee, they were truders who are in possession of them, will deter pur-chiefly induced to report the bill in consequence of the chasers from bidding for them. There are many and obvious operations of the public land system at the present time. reasons, [said Mr. B.] why purchasers who already have If the gentleman from New Hampshire would turn to the lands, will decline interfering with the possessors of these documents on the subject, he would find that, for the last lands when offered for sale, however eligible they may be. thirty years, the sales of the lands had netted to the GoCompassion for the situation of these people and their vernment but little more than the minimum price, while families, will prevent competitors from interfering with the actual settler had paid more; and that result was prothem. There are, in fact, many other reasons to convince duced in this manner: among other causes, not necessathem of the imprudence of purchasing such tracts of land ry to detail, there was a kind of intermediate power inover those who have taken possession of them. These in-terposed between the actual settler and cultivator, and truders then will remain in posssession, and this bill gives the Government. Speculators formed a combination, and them the right to enter these lands at the minimum price, run up the price of the lands under sale, in some instances, although they might be worth four times as much. This but in a great many more cases, formed combinations bill, besides, allows the purchasers time which is not allow-to intimidate that class of purchasers who usually till the ed to others; it, in effect, gives them a credit of one year. If soil, and bought up large bodies of land for but little he understood the bill, [Mr. B. said] its operations would more than the minimum price; which they afterwards not cease here. Ifits operations would end here only, the ob- sold to them at a great profit. On consulting with the jection he had stated to the bill would still be conclusive with Commissioner of the General Land Office, and learning him; but its effects extended farther; it sanctions, [said he] that this system of speculation had been carried on to a
The bill to grant pre-emption rights to settlers on the public lands, was read the third time, and the question was stated on its passage.
JAN. 5, 1830.]
very great extent, particularly in the Southwest, the ques-sales. He hoped the Senate would consent to postpone tion presented itself to the Committee, whether it would the further consideration of this bill. Mr. H. concluded not be the better policy for the Government to give to the by moving to that effect, and to make the bill the special actual settler the tract cultivated by him, at the minimum order of the day for Thursday week.
Mr. McLEAN named to-morrow week, instead of Thursday week.
price, than to give it, at the same price, to those who only purchased with a view to ultimate profit; and they had come to the conclusion that it was as much for the interest of the Government as of the cultivator and settler, that this combination of speculators should be disarmed and put down, by thus preferring the occupant. No injury could possibly accrue to the Government: for, if the only object be to put dollars into the treasury, the actual settler, under the provisions of this bill, would pay as much as the speculator; while, on the other hand, encouragement would be given to a most interesting and meritorious class of our fellow-citizens, the cultivators of the soil.
Mr. HOLMES acceded to this modification of his motion.
Mr. NOBLE said that, as the subject had been brought under the consideration of the Senate, he could not remain in silence, especially on account of the expressions uttered by the gentleman from New Hampshire, that it would be better to leave the public lands to a general scramble than to pass this bill. The entering wedge [said Mr. N.] has now been introduced, and the citizens of the new States are to be left at the mercy of the tomahawk
By the pre-emption policy, we would be sure to place and scalping knife. The surveys of the public lands are the lands in the proper hands of those whose occupation to be checked in the first place, [alluding to Mr. Foor's it is to cultivate them. These are usually a class of men proposition] and now pre-emption is denied to actual setwho have not much money or other means of competitiers; a scramble for the lands is next proposed. The histion at the public sales. Wherever this can be done with- tory of the sale of the public lands commenced at the out injury to the public, it should be done by every Go-Congress held in New York. These lands were at one vernment. As a source of revenue is by no means the time sold at twelve and a half cents per acre, and although most important view of our public lands, they ought, in the possessors of them have risked their lives in settling his opinion, to be considered as a fund, with which to ele-them, yet we are told that it would be better to have a vate the numerous non-freeholders of our country to the general scramble for these lands than to pass the proposed proud rank of freeholders; and to give them new interests bill. He hoped that we would feel for the people thus in their country, and new motives to promote its prosper- situated, and who have risked so much in making the setity and protect its existence. In that view, our public tlements which they ask the privilege of buying. Withlands were the most important to the United States. out money, without clothes, without bread, they have setThe supposed objection that pre-emption laws, as they tled this country, and now they are told that the surveys are termed, gave encouragement to violators of the law, of the land must cease. The partition of these lands was and enabled them to choose the best tracts of the public first commenced by forming townships, and now they are domain, was sufficiently answered [Mr. BARTON said] by narrowed down into eighty acres. But now surveys are to the notorious fact, that it was their poverty and love of cease, emigration to be checked, the actual settlers to be liberty, and not their disregard of the laws, or their want turned off; the plough and the ickle are to be broken inof patriotism, that drove them to encounter the privations to pieces. We [said Mr. N.] will resist this attempt. It of a pioneer life, and by the equally notorious and record is said that the people are violators of the public land ed fact, (which the gentleman from New Hampshire could laws, and would, if this bill were passed, injure the sale see, by perusing, at leisure, the land documents of the of these lands, by deterring purchasers from bidding for United States for thirty or forty years past) that, under the them. He, [Mr. N.] on the contrary, asserted, that, inoperation of our land laws, our public domain had pro- stead of diminishing, they augmented the value of these duced but a fraction over the minimum price. So that no lands. He was willing that the motion to postpone should practical injury could be done by laws which tend to prevail, but he could not remain silent when the subject of place the lands in the hands of those whose occupation it the bill was even remotely touched upon; for our people, is to till them, and who are generally least able to buy [said Mr. N. ] whether they have schools or no schools, them, rather than in the hands of those who already have have common sense, and they will not suffer their memnot only lands, but the means of buying more, and specu-bers to sleep at their posts, but will call upon them to relating upon the more poor and more interesting part of sist such measures as he had adverted to, as far as they are mankind, who actually cultivate the earth.
The bill was then postponed to Tuesday week.
TUESDAY, JAN. 5, 1830.
Mr. HOLMES said he hoped that the further consideration of this bill would be postponed, and brought up on another day. He said he would make a motion to that ef fect. He fully coincided in the sentiment expressed by the gentleman from Missouri, [Mr. BARTON] that the object of selling the public lands was not so much to raise Mr. SILSBEE rose and said, that, agreeably to notice givrevenue as to obtain settlers in the country. He could en yesterday, he was about to ask leave to introduce a bill, not, however, help expressing his belief that this bill, at entitled "A bill to authorize the payment of the claims of some future period, would encourage depredations of the the State of Massachusetts for certain militia services durpublic lands to a greater extent than the Committee seem-ing the late war;" but as this claim, which had been so long ed to be aware of. This bill will give to the possessors in Congress, had never been before this branch of it, he the same right to the land, and at the same price, without was induced to accompany its introduction here by a reregard to the condition in which the land may be placed, mark or two in relation to it. The subject of this claim, to the quality of it, or to the improvements which may he said, had been embraced in every annual message of have been made upon it. He need not, he thought, state the Chief Magistrate of Massachusetts, and had occupied to the Senate that land was worth in one place ten times a portion of the attention of every successive Legislature as much as in another; yet the bill had no regard to this of that State, for some time past; that this consideration, consideration. He wished to inquire-and it was for that in connexion with the interest and the feelings of the peopurpose he chiefly rose--whether the Committee was able ple of Massachusetts upon the subject, made it the duty to ascertain what was the area of these lands, how many of their Representatives here to press it upon the early conacres they embraced, how many sections were thus to be dis-sideration of the Senate, without waiting longer for the posed of at the minimum price. He was afraid that little action of the other House upon it. Massachusetts, one encouragement would be held out to purchasers at the public of the oldest States of the Union, had presented a claim