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MARCH 25, 1830.]
Pay of Members.
[H. of R.
Mr. TUCKER said, it had been his object to fix the day of adjournment. He was gratified with the resolution offered by his colleague. The gentleman from Ohio said he believed the business of the House could be done in three months. Why, then, did not the gentleman vote for the proposition, and introduce his own plan afterwards?
Mr. GOODENOW made some remarks, which he concluded by moving the previous question-yeas, 42. So the bill was not seconded.
the Speaker, if they are detained from the House by busi- we are surrounded, that have goaded on the people to a ness that could not be dispensed with; much less is there state of desperation. This Government, from having been any thing objectionable to the most delicate sensibility in confined to our external relations chiefly, and a few intermaking such excuse, if the detention arises from sickness|nal regulations, has undertaken to regulate the whole laHe would go further: he would have a list of the absentees bor and industry of the country, and thereby drawn withpublished in the papers that published the laws, so that in its vortex a sum of legislative powers properly belong the constituents of any member might know how he spent ing to State jurisdiction. his time here. If the people were apprised of our neg The great evil of this Government, as of every other, lect of duty, they would correct the evil. The object of and of which the people are convinced more and more having the House composed of two hundred and thirteen every day, having experienced it in a greater degree, promembers, is to unite the intelligence of that number on bably, than any nation under the sun, is the immense mass every proposition that is acted on; but whoever will take of legislation with which they are afflicted. Besides four the pains to examine the list of yeas and nays, will find and twenty State Governments, acting directly upon them that in most cases, unless it be on a political or on some once a year, they have an annual Federal Legislature, great national question, we rarely have more than a with all its ramifications and corruptions, preying upon bare majority for doing business. He would throw the them with a cormorant's appetite, to a degree beyond hu responsibility on every member, and ensure his constant man endurance. While I admit in theory it is perhaps attendance. He said he was willing to unite in any mea- the most beautiful in the world, when confined within its sure that woull despatch the business; but he feared the proper limits, in practice, I am not sure, without reform, present resolution would not accomplish that object--that it will prove the most tyrannical and oppressive that the we should waste the time of the session until we came to ingenuity of man could have devised. What does it matthe allowance of two dollars a day, and then that we ter, whether the people are taxed in a republic or a desshould leave the business undone; and for that reason hepotism? It is all the same to them: and it seems that inexpressed a hope that the modification suggested would justice, violence, and rapine can be as well exercised in be accepted by the mover of the resolution. the one as the other. Nay, more securely, because it works by stealth under a false denomination. Now, sir, as I have no well grounded hope of an amendment in their condition-as I perceive the same legislative course which has been pursued for several years past, is likely to be continued-the same system of taxation and unequal distribution of the funds of the nation to be kept up as heretofore, I must look out for the best protection for them that I can, against what I conceive to be their own worst enemy--too much legislation. And this, I think, will be found Mr. ALEXANDER said, that, from his experience here, in the reduction of the pay of the members. I know it to and after much reflection upon the subject, his mind had be a delicate subject, which touches the nervous sensibilibeen brought to the conclusion that some such principlety of every one. But if we are in earnest in the professions as the one proposed in the resolution was necessary to be that were given to the people at the coming day of a readopted by Congress to enable us to do justice to the in- form in the abuses and extravagance of the administration terests of the nation with which we are charged. When of affairs, and which they have so much right to expect at [said Mr. A. I first had the honor of a seat here, I was of our hands, let us go into the good work, and show a devoan opinion that the compensation allowed was but a rea- tion worthy the cause in which we are engaged. After sonable pay, considering the extravagance at that day, the example set us by the Executive head of this nation, and the depreciation of money. But the case is now dif- who has gone forward with a firmness and decision that ferent; the value of money has appreciated, and every bespeak his character, holding this language on his elevathing become proportionably cheaper; and I believe the tion, that "the recent demonstration of public sentiment only corrective against the abuse of the time of Congress inscribes on the list of Executive duties, in characters too and mischievous legislation of which the people have so legible to be overlooked, the task of reform;" relying upmuch right to complain, will be found in the remedy pro- on our co-operation, we should be unfaithful to the trust posed, which carries along its own limitation as to the pe- reposed in us, were we to halt and hesitate in so eventful riod of our sessions. What [said Mr. A.] has been the a crisis. What has been done in this respect after the lafact of late years in regard to the history of our proceed-borious and faithful investigation of the Committee on Reings, and of which there seems to be no prospect of a dis- trenchment the last session, and the parting voice of the continuance? Why, the first three or four months of the able chairman who committed to his successors the charge, first session of Congress, sufficient for all the necessary with the hope that it might be prosecuted to a successful purposes of legislation, have been usually consumed in idle issue for the benefit of the people? Nothing but the disand unprofitable debate, connected with one's own per- continuance of the draughtsman of this House, while the sonal aggrandizement, or in projecting schemes for party other measures rest silently on your table, or sleep the sleep or political purposes, little calculated to promote the pub- of death within the bosom of the committee itself. This is lic interest. We find, during the late war, when the in- one of the measures they recommended to our attention. terest of the country was concerned in conducting it to a I take it, sir, there are two principles connected with successful conclusion, amidst the most violent opposition, this subject, which must always enter into the character Congress rarely ever sat the first session beyond what is of every legislative body. The one of interest, the other now the usual period of the termination of our labors. of honor. If it were possible wholly to attain the latter, We are necessarily led to inquire into the causes, and see it would, no doubt, be the best and safest for the country. if there exists a necessity for it or no. I can perceive but But as it is considered with us that the "laborer is wortwo, and two only, neither of which, in my judgment, will thy of his hire," and it is not expected that any person longer justify a continuance of the practice. can serve here without a reasonable compensation, the great object, it seems to me, should be to produce the happy combination of the two, in such manner, that while the one offers a sufficient inducement for talents and virtue, the other destroys the temptation. This, I think, will be accomplished by the proposition now before us.
The attention of Congress having been withdrawn from the theatre of war, it was thrown upon the domestic concerns and relations of the country, with many of which it had nothing to do; and hence have sprung up all the unhap. py differences, local divisions, and calamities, with which
H. of R.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[MARCH 25, 1830. Moderate salaries are consistent with the spirit and prin- fident of my own opinion upon constitutional questions, ciples of our institutions; and in proportion as the value to trouble the House with the reasons upon which they of our own pay is enhanced, does it regulate every thing are founded. Yet, as I am the representative of an intelelse connected with the operations of Government. I con- ligent and most excellent community, and as I have to act fess that I have no faith in any improvement being made under the obligations of an oath to support the constiin other respects, until we direct our attention here. I do tution of the United States"--that charter under the not say that it will be proper to follow up this example in guaranties of which we can alone act here--it is incumregard to all the other officers of Government, as propos-bent upon me to look into that charter, and well examine ed by a resolution now on your table, because these, in the powers which it extends to us, and to act in accordsome respects, depend upon entirely distinct principles. ance with my own views, however crude; for, sir, on all If they are faithful and vigilant in their respective places, questions in which conscience is involved, the decision it is but right that they should receive a just and adequate must be made by that tribunal, from which there is no compensation for their services. appeal; and however great our respect and deference for
But the nation expects, and has a right to demand, some- the opinions of others, in cases of this kind, we are thrown thing at our hands, in relation to those great and import-back upon ourselves, and must alone depend upon our ant expenditures which have been so wastefully and extra-own views of right or wrong. vagantly lavished away; and there seems no likelihood, at But, whatever my views may be of the constitutional present, of any change for the better in this respect. powers of Congress, or however adverse to bills of this As the hope is a vain one which I entertain of any thing kind, I feel that it would be wholly useless to urge them like a recurrence to the original principles of the Govern- here; and if I should not be suspected of an attempt at ment, the only safety and security for the people, that I rhetorical flourish, I would say, that you might as well can see, will be in the economical administration of affairs attempt to dissolve those marble columns which support in every department thereof. And I rather think this will the canopy of this hall, by blowing upon them the breath at last be found the only distinction between a republi- of your nostrils, as to convince, by force of argument or can and monarchical form of Government. Whether even powers of eloquence, those who have made up their opithis shall be accomplished, we have yet to learn. From nions, or who, from the force of circumstances, will not the disposition that has been manifested, the progress of be convinced. measures before this House, and the character of some Yes, it would be worse than idle; for all the experience that have passed from before us, we are met with despair which I have had upon this floor but strengthens me in even here; in what, then, I ask, have the times differed the conviction, that if ever constitutional arguments are from those that have gone by? and how can we stand jus- argued with effect, it will be in other halls--not this. But tified before the people, who were led to expect import- do not infer any thing like a spirit of disunion in me, from ant and radical changes? I say nothing of the head of this this remark--far from it. I look upon that as the last readministration, from whom we have the assurance that, as sort, resulting from insufferable oppression, which a mifar as depends upon him, he will not be behind us in the nority may be forced or driven to, when it would cease great work of reform. The defect is here, and he can do to be patriotism to submit. But, should that ever arrive, but little without our aid. It is, I conscientiously believe, (which may God of his infinite mercy avert!) may we not sir, in the pay of the members, offering an inducement to justly fear that the world may then bid a long farewell to continue here longer than is necessary for the transaction all republics, and to the rights of man? of the real business of the nation, doing, as they always But, whilst I disclaim any thing like a disposition to dismust, mischief, when good is unattainable. I am, there- union in the remark, it may be proper here to say that it fore, for striking at the root of the evil, and making a seat partakes something of the nullifying doctrines, which, become here what it ought to be, rather the post of honor while they are more pacific in their nature, will be found than of profit. I, therefore, shall give my cordial support to be, in my opinion, as effectual in their results. Upon to the proposition now before the House, with a hope that a more proper occasion, I may give my views fully upon it may be referred and acted upon. this subject of "nullification," as it has been denoininated in the other branch of this Legislature. But, as I am somewhat the creature of impulses, I shall be governed, in this particular, by subsequent feeling and reflection.
Mr. COULTER then rose, but the SPEAKER having announced that the hour had elapsed, the discussion was arrested.
My design is to speak of the expediency, or rather inexpediency, of this measure; not that I can add any thing to the powerful argument of the justly distinguished gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. P. P. BARBOUR] for the grounds which he took were so fully and ably occupied, that he has left little to be said by others. I shall, however, take the same side of the question; not that I shall be able to shed a new ray of light upon the subject, but for the reason that the bird of more humble flight may sometimes see what the eagle overlooks.
BUFFALO AND NEW ORLEANS ROAD. On the motion of Mr. HEMPHILL, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, Mr. HAYNES in the chair, and resumed the consideration of the bill "to construct a national road from Buffalo, by Washington city, to New Orleans."
Mr. CARSON said, the supporters of this bill urged the importance of its passage upon four general considerations, to wit: Commercial, Political, Military, and the Transportation of the Mail.
The supporters of this bill do not claim the power under which they act, as expressly delegated by the constitution, but as an incidental power; or, in other words, as a mean necessary to carry into effect some of the expressed powers.
The constitutional powers of Congress to act upon this and similar subjects, have been assumed and maintained by the supporters of the bill. Upon all subjects of this kind, [said Mr. C.] involving constitutional questions, which have been discussed since I occupied a seat in this Admitting this position to be correct, and which I do House, I have studiously avoided entering into the de- to a certain but limited extent, the question then naturally bates upon them. I have done so, for the very plain rea- arises, does the exigency of the country demand at our son that my vocation is that of a farmer; and well know- hands the exercise of those incidental powers, or the use ing that it required professional science and deep re- of those means, to effect any of the objects contemplated search to elucidate and give satisfaction upon those criti- by those powers expressly delegated? And if so, another cal points upon which men of eminence, patriotism, and question will also arise: Will this road meet those exidistinction differ. Under these circumstances, I may well gencies, and effect the object? To both of these propobe permitted to be, if not without hope, at least too difsitions, I answer in the negative most positively.
MARCH 25, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[H. of R.
is no necessity which demands at our hands the applica- man, if I did not believe that a remedy is within his reach; cation of the public funds for purposes of this kind. Nei- that is, to give up his exploded canal system, and embrace ther the "common defence," nor the "general welfare," the railroad plan; and a most happy opportunity now demands it. And if the security of either of the points, awaits him. Let him unite the interest of the company to which this road is contemplated to be constructed, did over which he now presides, with that of the Baltimore demand the exercise of those powers, and the application and Ohio Railroad Company, and, by a unity of action of our treasure, I ask in the name of common sense, sir, and community of feeling, they will find their interests if this road, a mere paltry earthen way, would afford the mutually advanced, and the most happy results growing security desired? out of the arrangement. I hope I shall be pardoned for this digression. But let me ask the honorable chairman who introduced this bill, [Mr. HEMPHILL] how he can reconcile it to his vast notions of grand and magnificent internal improvements, and the resources and capacity of this Government to prosecute them, to an indefinite exIt shall be my object to show that not one of those tent, as he set forth in his speech? But what is more, how considerations requires that this road should be made. I can he reconcile it to himself, to fall so far behind the shall take them up in the order in which I find them in advance of the age in improvements, as to propose an the report of the engineers made to this House at the earthen" road as a means to facilitate commerce, and first session of the nineteenth Congress. And the first promote the "common defence and the general welfare?" in order is its commercial advantage. Now, if the gentleman had proposed a plan for the con
It has been gravely maintained that this road is all im-struction of a railroad, on some plan commensurate with portant as a line of intercommunication between distant the greatness and resources of this nation, there would points for the facilities of commercial intercourse, and have been some plausibility in his arguments. But, upon the transportation of produce and merchandise. Now, what have we heard his beautiful theories and high wrought sir, admitting the constitutionality and the propriety of figures exhausted? Why, upon an earthen road--a_road making roads for commercial purposes, is there any one of mud, liable to be washed by every shower, and subwho seriously believes that this, or any other road, can ject to the vicissitudes and casualties incident to every possibly be brought to compete, successfully, with the season.
mighty father of rivers, and its tributary streams? What, Before I take leave of this branch of the subject, I ask sir! change the channel of produce from the finest rivers leave to `read a brief passage from the report of the enin the world, with the powerful agency of steam, propel-gineers; we shall then be able to judge of their views as ling boats hundreds of miles in the twenty-four hours, to the commercial importance of this road. with a mere "earthen" road! When the mighty Mis- I read from the report of the engineers, which may be souri shall turn her current back upon her source, and found in the 9th volume of Executive papers, session of force a passage through the Rocky Mountains, and empty 1825-1826, document 156, page 22. "In relation to exher vast tribute of waters into the Pacific, and the beau-ternal commerce,' say the engineers, "it appears to us tiful Ohio shall be brought through the tunnel proposed that a road from Washington city to New Orleans will not to be cut by the gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. MERCER] afford, as to transportation, advantages of national importand pour her waters into the Chesapeake, then, and not ance; for the road will cross generally all the main watertill then, let the gentleman propose the construction of courses perpendicular to the coast; and in the directions roads through that region of country for commercial and by means of which all the transportations are effective purposes. which relate to operations of external commerce."
But what kind of road have we proposed to us by this "However, we have remarked in the foregoing part of bill? "An earthen road," sir. Yes, sir, a miserable, pal- this report, that the main watercourses were crossed by try, earthen road. The honorable chairman and his com- the eastern route at the head of sloop navigation, and by mittee have not only fallen far in the rear of the march the middle route at the head of boat navigation, therefore of science and the arts in road making, but they have a road in the direction of either will accommodate the disgone entirely back to olden times. Earthen roads were tricts through which it passes, for the transportation of the first system of intercommunication known to man. their products to the navigable streams. Under this local They were superseded by turnpikes, as they are called, (mark the words, gentlemen, local, not general) point of which consisted in the application of stone, gravel, and view, the external commerce will become benefited to a other materials, which improved the foundation, and made certain extent," &c. it capable of bearing greater weight. Mr. McAdam has improved upon those roads, by a peculiar and regular method of preparing and applying the stone; and from his celebrity in his improvements, has arisen the name of McAdamized roads.
But, four general considerations have been urged in support of the bill, and they may truly be said to be most pliant considerations; for they are brought to bear upon all subjects of internal improvement, requiring the public lands or the public money.
But, above all, is that highest effort of the human intellect, in perfecting a system of road intercommunication, which, for ease, safety, and expedition, challenges the astonishment and admiration of the world.
Thus we see that, in the view of the engineers, this road would not ensure benefits general in their character, but such as are merely local; and even that, no further than to afford districts through which it may pass the advantage of transporting their produce to the navigable streams.
This being the case, is there any one who will press the application of the national treasure (which should never be disbursed only with a view to national objects, wherein all the parts are equally benefited) to purposes local in their character, and that to a limited extent? It would be merging the "general welfare" into local welfare, and, against all principle, the greater into the lesser.
That system which has outstripped canals, and ruined their stocks in England; and that system which will supersede canals here, as well as all other systems of the kind, which have been devised by human ingenuity-yes, Next in order are "political considerations." I shall be sir, the honorable gentleman from Virginia [Mr. MERCER] brief upon this branch of the subject, as there is only one must hear the appalling, the heart-rending fact, that this prominent consideration, in a political point of view, which mighty monument, (Chesapeake and Ohio Canal,) which, can be urged, which is, that roads and canals will operate for years, he has been laboring with a zeal and exertion to as bonds of union, and more strongly cement us together, erect to his memory, and which, no doubt, he had fondly and prevent e falling off of the parts. Without stopping hoped would transmit his name down to the latest posteri- to controvert the correctness of the position, it certainly ty, must fall, and must give place to the superior improve- presupposes one of two things: either that there is a disment of railroads. I could sympathise with that gentle- position in the States to fly off from the centre, or a re
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
H. of R.]
pulsive action at the centre to throw them off, and hence the necessity of these additional bonds of union.
Nothing, in my opinion, is to be apprehended from the former; would to God I could say so much for the latter? If ever the calamities of disunion should be experienced by this nation, the causes, proximate and remote, will be traced to the action of the Federal Government.
[MARCH 25, 1830.
So far from New Orleans being in an exposed situation, I do say, and I say it without the fear of contradiction, that it is the most strongly fortified place in the nation. Every pass leading from the Gulf of Mexico to the city, is well secured by the best and most costly fortifications. There are no less than five forts (I believe I am not mistaken in the number; if I am, the gentleman from Louisiana [Mr. WHITE] will correct me) erected for the security of that city against maritime or other invasion from the Gulf. These forts are capable of mounting some hundred pieces of ordnance, at least enough to sink any fleet that would ever attempt a passage up the Mississippi to the city. We have already expended near two millions of dollars in defending the territory of Louisiana by permanent fortifications, and estimates are now before us for a continuation of those works.
The mismanagement of this central machinery, so beautiful in its conception, and so perfect in its structure, and which worked so harmoniously whilst kept within the legitimate sphere prescribed by those rules expressly laid down for the government of its action, will alone produce those fatal consequences. By overleaping here the constitutional boundaries so clearly defined, by throwing the whole machinery out of gear, and giving a looseness to our operations, propelled on by the force of combined interests, composing a majority, against a minority, the latter will be compelled to take refuge under the old relation litely furnished at my request by a gentleman of the Enin which the States stood to each other; that of separate, gineer Department. (Mr. C. then read the following distinct, and independent sovereignty. The States them-letter:) selves will cling to the Union whilst there is a hope left to rest on; the oppressions of this Federal Government can alone drive them off.
The following is a statement of those expenditures, po
"To the Hon. S. P. CARSON,
DEAR SIR: The following statement will show you pretty nearly the cost of defending the territory of Louisiana by permanent fortifications, viz.
Fort Wood, at the Chef Menteur
77,810 79 $1,850,584 30"
Perhaps if there were ever a crisis in the affairs of our Government which required additional bonds to hold us together, that crisis is now at hand. But if this road is to be the remedy, the committee have certainly mistaken its proper location. Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee are not about to fly off from the Union, and therefore do not require this work; if danger is to be apprehended, it is from another quarter. The South is the point to which we should direct our attention. Certainly every political consideration would direct us to the metropolitan route. We must encircle South Carolina with some band, or she, from report, will be off at a "tangent," and that suddenly. But let me seriously ask of every member of this committee, what stronger bonds of union do freemen need, or the States require, than those forged out, wrought, and put in order by the master workmen of the revolution? Link connecting link, forming a chain of Government more beautiful in its principles, and beneficial in its results, (whilst acting within the limits of the original design,) than The estimate for one of those works, (Fort Jackson,) any ever devised by the wisdom of man. What was this for the present year, is eighty-five thousand dollars. Thus design? It was, that all the parts should share in equal we see, sir, that the attention of the Government has been proportion the benefits or injuries resulting from the com- directed to the defence and protection of that point, and pact; a perfect reciprocity was to be observed and preserv- that the fact, as stated by the honorable chairman who ined. Under a strict observance of those sacred principles, troduced this bill, with regard to the "exposed situation" sir, what have we to fear? I answer nothing, either from of that city, does not exist. Now, as regards the necessity external or internal causes. If fears are to be entertained, of this road for the transportation of troops and munitions they are upon the other side of the question; and let me of war, I here take upon myself the responsibility of prohere admonish gentlemen who are seeking to provide ad-nouncing, although in contradiction to the position of the ditional bonds of union, by cutting canals and constructing gentleman who introduced the bill, [Mr. HEMPHILL] that roads, to beware lest they by their operations cut the liga- no such necessity exists; and I further say, that it would ments of the constitution which now binds us together, and not only be idle, but the extreme of folly, to expend mowhich forms the only sure and certain ties by which we can ney upon this road with a view to military advantages. remain united. No political consideration, therefore, in my What say gentlemen who urge this branch of the opinion, does require the construction of this road; but, on subject? Why, "that New Orleans must always look to the contrary, eminently demands the rejection of the bill. Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, &c. for men and provisions "Military considerations" are the next in order, and to to protect and feed them in time of war. Well, I grant which I shall ask the attention of the committee. this; but what further do they urge? Why, "that this The honorable chairman [Mr. HEMPHILL] set out by tell-road must be made to transport these troops and provi ing us that the two points to which this road is contem-sions upon." Now can it be possible that any man, in his plated to be run, are dangerously situated, and eminently sober senses, and under the influence of reason, can, for exposed in case of invasion, &c., and that this is important one moment, entertain the belief that, if this road were as a military road for the transportation of troops and mu- made, even one soldier or solitary barrel of provisions, nitions of war. With regard to the exposed situation of from Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, or any other State north New Orleans, I beg leave to differ entirely with the honor- of those, would travel over it? What! bring men from the able chairman. As to Buffalo, I know but very little about State of Ohio across the States of Kentucky and Tennesit, nor have I sought to know, because I looked upon that see? Aye, and across the Ohio river, too, with its current end of the road as having been tacked on by the commit- teeming with steamboats, ready to waft the soldiers and tee, mearly as a means of buying up votes, and not that provisions to the point of destination. But no, they must the necessity of the nation required the work. I shall trudge through the muds of Kentucky and Tennessee, by leave that end, therefore, in the hands of others. marches of from ten to fifteen miles per day, till they in
Fort Pike, at the Rigolets Pass,
Add for a fort on Grand Terre,
For a fort, in place of Fort St.
$411,673 11 359,393 14
MARCH 25, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[H. of R.
tersect this road (after crossing navigable and inviting by roads, for they might lead to defeat as well as victory. rivers) at Florence, Alabama; and then they will have the And here let me remark that those facilities to military peculiar advantage of travelling this superb national earth- operations are always occupied by the strongest; and such en road from thence to New Orleans. a work might prove a curse, instead of a blessing, (as was I invite gentlemen who think despatch and saving of proven, said a gentleman standing near Mr. CARSON [Mr. time important in military operations, to calculate how DAVIS, of South Carolina] upon the Bladensburg course long it would take troops to get to New Orleans by this last war.) Yes, [resumed Mr. C.] but I would rather lose "national road" from Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, &c., the argument afforded by the mention of that disagreeaand compare it with the ease, convenience, and despatch, ble subject, than wound the pride of the House by recallafforded by steam power on the navigable rivers which ing their recollection to it.
pass through those States and empty into the Mississippi. The "transportation of the mail" is the next and last It cannot be denied that troops from any part of Kentucky consideration to which I shall ask the attention of the comor Ohio could get to New Orleans by steamboat convey-mittee. ance before they could reach Florence, in Alabama, the point of intersection with this road. Under this view of the case, the positions laid down by the honorable chair man, Mr. HEMPHILL] with regard to the "exposed condition" of New Orleans, and the necessity of this road as affording means of defence, fall to the ground, and the whole superstructure of argument based upon them falls
I feel that my strength is failing me too much to go into this branch of the subject to the extent I had desired. I will lay it down as my opinion, however, that the framers of the constitution did not intend, by the words "establish post offices and post roads," to confer the power to construct roads, &c., but only meant that Congress should designate the roads over which the mail should be carried, and the points at which it should be opened. I shall not attempt an argument, sir, to prove the correctness of this construction, but it being mine, it is sufficient to govern me.
The first inquiry which suggests itself with regard to the expediency of constructing this road for the transportation of the mail, is, does any necessity for impediment exist to the transportation of the mail, which requires the application of this sum of money to remove or remedy?
Has the Post Office Department complained of a want of facilities in this particular, and asked the construction of a road at our hands? Or have they even suggested the propriety of the appropriation of any sum of money for
[Mr. C. read the following extract from the report of the Postmaster General:]
If further arguments were necessary to show the impropriety, nay, the excessive folly, of making this road for military purposes, they would be found by a recurrence to the history of our last war, particularly in the operations in the southern section of the Union. There was a time when New Orleans was "dangerously situated and eminently exposed;" there was a time, sir, when that city was invaded by a powerful and well disciplined army; an army, too, stimulated to action by the "booty and beauty" which were promised them. This was a case of great emergency-this was a time of deep and dreadful anxiety; but sufficient for the occasion were the spirits convened, purposes of the kind? and hastily convened, for the defence of the city. Yes, They have not; but, upon the contrary, we are informed an army was convened, defeated the enemy, and saved by the very able report of the distinguished gentleman who New Orleans. What military road, made at vast expense presides over that department, that the facilities are now of time and treasure, were those troops transported over? ample, and will be increased as the means of the departNone; yet they got to New Orleans, fought the battles of ment will justify, or the public interest shall require. I their country, and got home again; and thus will it be ever; ask the attention of the committee while I read part of that this country will always find security in the strong arm of report, which treats of the very subject now under conher "citizen soldiers." Dangers may stand thick around sideration. them; they only stimulate to exertion. The noblest deeds are done upon the most dangerous emergencies, and the glory of achieving them is the strongest incentive to action. Need I say more? Does the history of all ages that have gone before us, present a solitary example of a nation, at peace with the world, and whose policy it is to cultivate and maintain those pacific relations, preparing for the transportation of troops by large expenditures of public money for the construction of roads in this time of profound peace? But, on the contrary, does not all history prove that the first generals the world has produced, asked "Lines of four-horse post coaches will also be establishnot roads over which to transport troops for the advance-ed, from the first day of January next, to run three times ment of their military operations? Let me ask, what engi- a week, both ways, between Nashville and Memphis, in neers designated the route, or what nation appropriated the Tennessee. This improvement was deemed important to funds, to construct a passage over the Alps for Hannibal keep a regular and certain intercourse between the Westand his Carthaginians, when he pushed his conquests to ern States and New Orleans--Memphis being a point on the very walls of Rome? Or who directed Cæsar to the point the Mississippi to which steamboats can come at all seasons at which to pass the Rubicon, when he pronounced that of the year; it being contemplated to extend this line to "the die was cast," and struck the fatal blow at the liber- New Orleans by steamboats, so soon as the means of the ties of his country? department will justify, and the public interest shall require it. To give greater utility to this improvement, a weekly line of coaches will also be established at the same time from Florence, in Alabama, (where it will connect with the line from Huntsville,) to Bolivar, in Tennessee, at which point it will form a junction with the line from Nash
"The mail communication between New Orleans and the seat of the General Government, by way of Mobile and Montgomery, in Alabama, and Augusta, in Georgiawill, from the commencement of the ensuing year, be effected three times a week, affording comfortable convey, ances for travellers, and the whole trip performed in the period of two weeks, each way, through the capitals of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
But to come down to the present time--to things which transpired but yesterday, on the other side of the water. Did Nicholas tax his subjects to raise a revenue to open those passes through the Balkan, over which Diebitsch led that army which shook the Ottoman empire to its centre? and which, had they not been stopped by pacific measures, ville to Memphis.” and, I might add, by the interposition of other European Now, what more can be required? Does not this report powers, jealous of the rising greatness and resources of also prove that steam navigation will supersede roads for all the Russian empire, the christian flag would this day have purposes, wherever it can find water for the boats to run been waving on the walls of Constantinople? It is by the on? The despatch and quickness of steamboat passage energy of powerful minds and capable commanders, that from Memphis to New Orleans has drawn the attention of armies are led to victory and glorious achievements; not the Postmaster General to that point; and it is already