Page images
[ocr errors][merged small]




MARCH 24, 1830.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[H. of R.

works, demanded of it by the strongest principles of du-the shackles of high, disproportionate, and prohibitory ty, interest, and equality, an opportunity is offered to us, duties, we will see the agricultural interest springing for in common with others, of getting a return of something ward to meet it with redoubled animation and vigor, and like the interest upon our taxes. And if no adequate re- these improvements will be the highways of their commuturn is made in this way, in what other way can it be nications. made? There is no other. This, sir, is the only method by which any approach to equality and fairness in the disbursement of the revenue can be gained in practice. The principle of equal distribution is in its nature general. An exact application of it cannot always be made; but it has found in the system of internal improvement the best means of attaining the end, and under the prudent operations of that system it will be a powerful auxiliary in working out the salvation of this country.

If any one branch of industry or enterprise can have more at stake in these improvements than another, it is the great farming interest of the interior. That is closely connected with, yet primary to all others. Who would toil through the summer's sun for more than a subsistence, without the means, either by land or water, of carrying his surplus to a market? Or who would tug the heavy produce of his land, through the mud and mire and rains of winter, to a distant market, without the prospect of bringing I do not mean to say that every thing done upon the tide something back that should more than repay the cost and water is wrong: very far from it. I might confidently ap- drudgery of taking it there? Let but the truth be toldpeal to the recollection of those with whom I have acted the deplorable condition of this neglected part of the comfor the last seven years, to bear me out in saying that Imunity be known, and I envy no man the heart that canhave generally voted for such appropriations. I would not feel for it, nor the hand that will not relieve it. not now stop them if I could; I say to gentlemen go on; We have heard urged against this, as all other measures of finish your fortifications and other national works with rea- the kind, the effects of expending the public resources in sonable despatch, and, as heretofore, I will go with you. the improvement of the country. These effects are fancifulBut while you are making all safe and convenient without, ly, and I think falsely, described as pernicious to morality, I beg of you to turn your eyes within, examine the region and dangerous to liberty. What, sir! is it immoral or unof the interior, and extend to it the benefits of your equal just to lay out a portion of the money paid by the people care. Allow even to the West a share of the surplus mil-in accomplishing something that shall be permanently us lions, for an annual surplus, with proper economy, there ful to themselves and the nation? Is it wrong to encourage will be, which might likely be increased by some diminu- industry by removing the impediments that lie in its way tion safely made from objects which have received more to the comfortable enjoyment of life, and the education of than equal munificence. rising generations? No, sir; morality is not to suffer in

Again: It is said that any improvement at one place will produce dissatisfaction at others, because that or something else is not done there. I tell you, sir, the dissatisfaction will be much deeper, and more universal, if they are not done somewhere. It is no objection to this, or any other course of profitable legislation, that every thing cannot be done at once; nor is it any excuse for not doing all we can, and doing it as fast as we can. These, with the whole class of forced objections to which they belong, should rather stimulate to exertion and uniformity in our progress to ultimate success.

The gentleman from Virginia says, he would take care this cause, unless, indeed, the virtue of this people is only that there should be no surplus revenue. That when the to be preserved in a state of w.etchedness and ignorance. national debt shall be paid, which we are alike desirous of And how is liberty to be in danger from this system? Phihastening, and which this bill cannot delay, he would re-losophers may admire liberty for its own sake; but that duce the revenue to the annual expenditure. But could liberty which the mass of mankind understand, the free inwe do it? Would it not baffle the skill and experience of stitutions which they love, and would die to defend, must, even that gentleman, great as they are, to draught a revenue with its other blessings, afford the security of equal laws, law that they should exactly meet the annual expenditure and the full participations of equal benefits. On reflection he must admit that it would, for it is impossible to foresee either the amount of imposts or appropriations, and graduate the one with the other. They both depend on too many contingencies. And to avoid the danger of suffering your revenue to fall below the demands upon it, you must necessarily make it go above. In reducing and equalizing the tariff, I would go a great way with that gentleman; but I would stop considerably short of the point to which his theory would lead him, and which I must think he has pushed faster and further than practical convenience and real safety will warrant. If the public debt were now paid, the book's balanced, and closed, Let me say, in conclusion, that this is no new experiand sealed with seven seals, I would not if I could to-day ment. It commenced a few years after the adoption of reduce the duties to the point of current expenditure. And the constitution, and has been gaining ground ever since. why? To do that suddenly, to do it otherwise than by the But its principles, as now maintained by a great majority gradual indications of time and experience, perhaps to do of the nation, were not firmly settled till the eighteenth it at all, would convulse this nation through all its essential Congress. Then (without going farther from home the interests. I would not reduce the revenue to that point, Representatives of Kentucky and Tennessee were found because extraordinary occurrences in the world, and the acting together with equal unanimity in both Houses of exigencies of the Government, may often render it a mat- Congress, in support of this great measure. And whatter of the first necessity to have a surplus at command. ever Kentucky may have expected from it, a little help at And I would not do it for another, and to my mind a bet- the Louisville canal is all the immediate advantage she has I would have a surplus to expend in the gra- yet achieved. As for Tennessee, these dispensing showers dual improvement of the country. For that improvement have all passed her by. The first dew has not yet reI would tax its commerce, because that tax is in a great freshed her fields. But our time has now come, and it bemeasure voluntary; because it will relieve the property hooves us to be consistent with ourselves, true to our own of the citizens of the State from a direct and indiscrimi- principles, and alive to the prosperity of our country; nate levy of contribution for these purposes; and, above and not ours only, but every other where the hand of imall, because it is the very interest which, acting in unison provement should be laid. That country and this cause with the great farming interest of the community, is to deserve higher efforts than I can exert; yet, whatever on reap the benefits of these works. It ought to bear the my part can be supplied by devotion and perseverance, charge of making them, and it can do it without feeling shall be continued, regardless of intervening obstacles, as the pressure. If we can look forward to the time when long as there is hope of success. commerce shall again raise its languid head, freed from [Here the debate closed for this day.]

ter reason.

VOL. VI.-84

[blocks in formation]


The House resumed the consideration of the resolution offered by Mr. SWIFT on the 18th instant--the question being on the amendment offered by Mr. DRAYTON. The said resolution, at the instance of Mr. WICKLIFFE, and by consent of Mr. SWIFT, was modified so as to read as follows:

the corps.

[MARCH 25, 1830.

in accomplishing it, in this or any other mode. But he would suggest to the gentleman whether his object would not be more certainly attained by accepting a modification that he would mention. The gentleman from South Carolina has given it as his opinion that the business of Congress may be done in four months, take one session with another. Mr. W. said, he thought if members would faithResolved, That the Secretary of War be requested to fully discharge the trust reposed in them, that it might be We have heard much said of orcause the necessary survey to be made on or at the outlet done in three months. of Lake Champlain, near the Canada line, in order to as-ganizing a business party in this House, and gentlemen certain the expediency of erecting a fortification for the have patriotically tendered their services as privates; but defence of that frontier of the United States, and report there appears to exist a great reluctance against officering a plan and estimate at the next session of Congress. He said he was one who was disposed to put Mr. DRAYTON withdrew his amendment, and the re-the party under complete organization. And he would solution as modified was agreed to. propose that forty-five members enter into a solemn stipulation that they will sustain a call for the yeas and nays whenever a motion shall be made to adjourn before four o'clock. He would have this corps persevere in keeping the House in session; and if one should prove treacherous Resolved, That the Committee on Retrenchment be and desert, he would have him tried and shot. instructed to report a bill providing that whenever the withstanding what we have heard said about a business first session of Congress shall continue for a longer period party, it was no longer than last Saturday that a motion than one hundred and twenty days, the pay of the mem-was made to adjourn at about two o'clock, and, on a mobers shall be reduced to two dollars per day from and after tion to call the yeas and nays, only thirteen were found the termination of the said one hundred and twenty days; to sustain the call, when it was known to gentlemen that and that whenever the second session of Congress shall there was public business of great importance to be acted continue for a longer period than ninety days, the pay of on, and it was also known that there are claimants here, the members shall be reduced to two dollars per day from who will be inevitably ruined unless bills for their relief and after the termination of said ninety days." pass. We have been in session one hundred and nine


The following resolution, laid on the table some days since by Mr. McDUFFIE, was taken up:

[ocr errors]


Mr. McDUFFIE said that the resolution spoke its own days, during which time the House has met only seventyimportance, and superseded the necessity of any argu-nine days. We have enacted thirty-four laws, where the ments in its support. He would, however, say one or two bills originated in the House, and five where they origi words on the subject. The adoption of the resolution, nated in the Senate; sixty-one bills are before the Senate while it would not impair the legislative efficiency of the that have passed the House, and fifty-four are before the House, would save at least one month of the time now House that have passed the Senate. The whole number consumed by Congress at every long session. He had of bills reported to the House is three hundred and sevenmade an estimate of the saving which this would produce, ty-nine, and the number of resolutions adopted is four hunand had ascertained that it would save the sum of seventy-dred and eighty; and this mass of business is to be left unfive thousand dollars each year of its operation; and at the acted on, or so hastened through, that very few members same time the public business would be well done. He had will know what provisions the bills contain. The correct made another estimate-that if Congress sat five months, the mode of legislating is to commence the session with a deaverage pay of the members would be seven dollars a day; termination to attend to business--to prolong the daily sesthis was an adequate compensation; but, if the members sion of the House, and not adjourn from Friday to Monchose to attend assiduously to the public business, and day. The excuse offered by gentlemen for adjourning complete it within the time prescribed, they would still has been that they have business at the departments. Mr. receive eight dollars. The effect of this resolution, he W. said he came from a section of the country where sonte was confident, would be to increase attention to the dis- claims remained unsettled, and that he found he could charge of public business, without diminishing the pay generally transact the business confided to him better by while here. It was universally agreed [said Mr. McD.] writing than by a personal attendance. The business of that the "compensation law" contained at least one wise the departments was interrupted by the calling of the principle--that of a salary compensation instead of a per members, and the officers, he did not believe, had any dediem one. The only objection urged against it, and the sire to see them. It was very rare that an answer could cause of its unpopularity, was, that it was enacted by be given at once, and it was generally transmitted through those who were to receive its benefit. He, however, dif- the post office. He said he considered the excuse for adfered from the general opinion on the advantage of the journing over as groundless, and that the time was spent salary principle. He thought it would operate as too in amusement. The proposition of the gentleman from powerful a stimulus on members to get through the public South Carolina will punish the industrious with the neglibusiness, and that it would be done too hastily. His propo- gent and inattentive. He was one who believed, with the sition combined both principles, and the advantages of Hourishing condition of the treasury, that eight dollars a both without their defects. In every view of the subject, day was not too much for a member to receive for his sertherefore, he conceived it would be one of the most effect-vices, if his time was faithfully bestowed on the business ive measures of economy ever proposed by Congress, in of the House. He knew there were members who deregard to itself. voted day and night to mature business, and to attend to it

Mr. DWIGHT concurred most cordially in the princi-in its progress through the House. He was unwilling that ple and expediency of the proposition. The business of these should be curtailed in their daily allowance because Congress could be as well done by the first of April as others were remiss in their duties. The modification he the first of June; and when once the limit was fixed for would suggest to the gentleman is this: that no member the earlier day, there would be no difficulty in completing all the business which it was proper to perform. He hoped the resolution would pass.

Mr. WHITTLESEY said, the object of the gentleman from South Carolina was to hasten the business before the House, and that he would most cheerfully unite with him

who is not in attendance on the House when it is called to order in the morning, or who shall not be absent during the calling of the yeas and nays, without rendering a satis factory excuse for his absence, shall be entitled to per diem pay for that day. Gentlemen need not apprehend that there is any thing humiliating in rendering an excuse to

« PreviousContinue »