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MARCH 29, 1830.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[H. of R.

which must present themselves in the construction of this ping. Now, I would say to the gentleman, that he ought road through the States. Commissioners are to be ap- to be certain, in the first place, that the disease exists. In pointed to receive releases from the owners of lands over my opinion, he has mistaken the symptoms. But, if it which the road is to pass. But, suppose the owners are does exist, I have understood that tapping is a very danminors, non-residents, or beyond seas, how are you to pro- gerous operation, and ought never to be undertaken but cure the release? Suppose the owner is unwilling to give by senior physicians, and then not until all other means to it to you, will you extend the arm of the federal power, save the patient had failed. The honorable chairman of and coerce him? You have not ventured to put such a pro- the committee, [Mr. HEMPHILL] who reported this bill, is vision in the bill. That would be too bold. It might alarm a senior; but even he should not hazard so perilous an the State sovereiguties, and create resistance-constitution-operation, without a regular consultation of political docal resistance, I mean. It might produce collisions, difficult tors. There is, I believe in some of the colleges, such a to manage, between the federal and State authorities. degree as bachelor of medicine; and those who take it are The same power that would enable you, by force, and accounted junior members of the profession. The genagainst the consent of the owner and the State, to run your tleman from Virginia, and my two colleagues, have taken road through a man's plantation, would enable you to cut this degree, but are not yet entitled to be ranked as sedown his orchard, to demolish his houses, or to tear down niors. The junior members of the profession ordinarily court-houses if they stood in your way. Will you assume enter upon the practice by dealing in simples. They comexclusive jurisdiction over the road, and punish offences mence by drawing teeth, blood-letting, and administering committed upon it, by the federal judiciary ? These are simple sudorifics; but it is contrary to all rule for them to weighty considerations, worthy of much deliberation. If use the knife in difficult surgical operations. And I would this road crosses the mountains at Rockfish Gap, it will say to my two colleagues, and to the gentleman from Virintersect a State turnpike road, constructed by a company ginia, that they ought to be exceedingly cautious how they incorporated by the State of Virginia. Can this Govern- enter upon the operation which they are about to perform; inent and the State of Virginia both exercise exclusive ju- should take care that they do not draw off from the body risdiction, at one and the same time, over the same space, politic too much of its substance, and thereby leave the and on the same subject matter? This turnpike company patient in an enfeebled and sickly state. It might linger have vested rights under their charter, and the State of and die on their hands. Sir, to be serious, you are about Virginia is pledged to guaranty them; and if their private to tap the treasury with a vengeance. I have taken some interest should be affected by the construction of this road, pains to ascertain the amount proposed to be appropriated and they should appeal to Virginia to make good her gua- at this session of Congress for objects of internal imranty, is there no danger of serious collision? I merely provement. The amount proposed to be appropriated throw out these things for the consideration of gentlemen, by the bills already reported upon this subject, and now without intending to enter into the argument. upon the table, including the two and a quarter millions But my colleague [Mr. BLAIR] says that the question contained in this bill, amount to four million two hundred is settled; the constitutional question, I suppose, he means. and thirty-nine thousand dollars for the present year. How Without admitting the fact, suppose, for the purposes of many more projects are under examination in the Comthe present argument, that it was, is that any reason whymittee on Internal Improvements, I do not know; but we we should vote for every visionary and extravagant pro- know we have a new bill reported to us almost every day. position which shall be presented, under the guise and li- Have gentlemen looked to the state of the treasury to sec very and name of internal improvement? Is it any reason whether it will bear these heavy appropriations? Will why we should beggar the treasury, or postpone the pay-they invade the sinking fund, and check the payment of ment of the public debt? But my colleague says that he the national debt? We all know, that, besides the annual would have the Government to do as he himself would do sinking fund of ten millions, whatever surplus may at any as an individual. If he had plenty of money, he says, he time remain in the treasury, over two millions, is applicawould buy a new coat; but if he had not, he would do ble, by the act of 1817, to the payment of the interest and without it. And if the Government has a full treasury, extinguishment of the principal of the national debt. And he would make a road. Let me ask him if he had plenty whatever appropriations are made for objects of internal of money, as he calls it, and was indebted, if it would not improvement, or for any other purpose other than the nebe the part of prudence first to pay the debt, and then cessary expenses of the Government, is so much subtractconsider whether he could afford to get the coat? And ed from the payment of the debt. I was sorry to hear if the nation is indebted, let me ask him if it is not the part one sentiment fall from my worthy colleague, [Mr. BLAIR.] of prudence first to pay the national debt, and then consi- In his zeal to pass this bill, he said he need not be told der of the propriety of making the road? that the public debt must be paid before we go into this I would next call the attention of the committee to an system. I differ from my colleague in opinion. We owe argument of an extraordinary character, used in support a debt of more than forty-eight millions of dollars, upon of this bill by a gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. CRAIG.] which we pay an annual interest. And although our pubThe gentleman, if I understood him, denied the power of lic debt is small, and indeed very trifling, when compared Congress to make roads through the States, without the with the British debt, and perhaps that of every other ciconsent of the States; but, as this road passed through his vilized nation in the world—I look to its total and speedy district, and addressed itself to the local interests of his extinguishment as an event devoutly to be wished for. A constituents, he concluded to vote for this bill, without part of it is a debt, not only of obligation, but of gratithe consent of the States. The reasons assigned for the tude; a debt of the revolution; a part of the price of the vote were singular enough. They were, that the money liberty we enjoy. I am gratified that it is a part of the was already in the treasury; and whether it got there con-policy of the present administration speedily to pay it. I stitutionally or unconstitutionally, it was the people's mo- would make none but the necessary appropriations for the ney, and we should not keep it on hand, useless and idle, support of Government, and thus leave in the hands of the but should distribute it amongst the people. The gentle- Executive all the means which the receipts into the treaman takes for granted a fact which does not exist. We sury would furnish, to enable him to accomplish it. If, have not a dollar on hand but what we have immediate use by large and extravagant appropriations, we absorb a large for, either in defraying the expenses of the Government, portion of the revenue in objects of internal improvements, or in paying the debt. He seemed to suppose that the its payment, pro tanto, must be retarded. I wish to see treasury was overflowing; that it was laboring under a this nation exhibit to the world the rare spectacle of a dropsical affection; and he proposes to relieve it by tap-great and a powerful people freed from her pecuniary

VOL. VI.-88

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Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[MARCH 29, 1830. obligations; of a nation possessing vast resources, without or about twelve millions of dollars, is required to pay the a debt of a dollar. My colleague complains that large dis-necessary expenses of the Government. For the necesbursements are made on tide water in fortifications, in sary support of Government, the people, every where, building ships, in supporting a navy and army, in prepar-will cheerfully submit to any amount of taxation. The ing the means of defence, and in protecting commerce; other half, or about twelve niillions of dollars annually, is and he wishes to distribute a portion of the public money applicable to the payment of the principal and interest of in other quarters of the Union. He does not expect an the public debt, unless it is diverted from that application equal distribution under the operation of this favorite sys-by appropriations such as this. After the debt is paid, actem of his, but he would have it so as nearly as may be. cording to the present rates of taxation, the people will pay It is idle to talk about equality in this general scramble twelve millions of dollars per annum, or a dollar a head for for the public crumbs. We will never get it. The sys- every soul more than is required for the support of the Gotem itself, if it goes on, is unequal and unjust, and we can vernment. When the debt is paid, will the people of this never expect to receive our due proportion. We had country submit to pay this enormous and unnecessary tax, better pay off the debt first, and then reduce the taxes, merely for the purpose of enabling their representatives modify the tariff, and leave in the pockets of the people here to scramble for it, and waste it by unequal disburseall that is not absolutely necessary for the support of Go-ments in wild projects of internal improvements, or for vernment. My colleague candidly admitted, in the course any other purposes? or will not public opinion force you of argument, that if the money was collected by a direct to reduce your taxes, and thus leave in the pockets of your tax upon the people, he would not vote to appropriate it people a great portion of what they now are compelied to for this or any other object of internal improvement. Now pay? Sir, let me apply these palpable facts to my own what is the difference? Do not the people now pay every State, to the districts of my two colleagues, and to my own dollar of the revenue by a tax imposed upon them, and district, and see how the account stands. The constitupaid by them, in a different mode? The tax collector, it ents of my colleagues and myself, and the mass of the peois true, does not go to their doors, and demand and re-ple of Tennessee, are agriculturists. The population of ceive the portion of each. Each individual does not see that State is about six hundred thousand souls; and upon the amount of tax which he pays go into the hands of the the supposition that they pay their ratable proportion of collector; but, notwithstanding, he pays the tax in the in- the annual revenue, (and no one doubts the fact,) they then creased price that he pays upon almost every article of pay annually, in the shape of indirect taxation, one million necessity which he eats, drinks, or wears. He pays it up-two hundred thousand dollars. Half this amount, or six on every bushel of salt he uses, upon every pound of iron, hundred thousand dollars, goes to the support of the Goupon coffee, tea, sugar; upon every blanket and great vernment, leaving the other half, or six hundred thousand coat that protects him from the inclemency of the season dollars annually, to pay the public debt, and, after the debt in winter. In short, every head of a family, whether rich is paid, if the taxes are brought down to the necessities of or poor, pays a tax, and a heavy tax, in the increased the Government, leaving in the pockets of the people of price he pays upon every article himself or his family buys that State six hundred thousand dollars per year, no longer or are compelled to use, and which he does not furnish required from them in the shape of taxes. Suppose this himself by his own labor or the domestic industry of his system of internal improvement should be persisted in affamily. The revenue of the country is collected by a tax ter the debt is paid, and the people should continue to upon the people of the country. The tax is an indirect be taxed to raise money to carry it on; let me ask either one. It is a tax on consumption; but it is as much a tax, of my colleagues if they believe that Tennessee, in this and is as oppressive upon the people, as if it was a direct general scuffle, when all will be contending for as much tax. According to the admission of my colleague, if the as they can get, will ever receive six hundred thousand tax was paid directly by the people, so that each indivi- dollars per annum for her share? Will she ever receive dual could see, and feel, and know, the precise amount back as much as she pays in? She will not. And if she which he did pay, he would not vote for this or any other did, upon what principle of sound political economy is it, appropriation for similar objects; but as the tax, although that you will collect a tax from your people, for the mere paid by the people, is collected in a different mode, and purpose of re-distributing or returning it back to them? the people do not so well see and know the amount they It will be impossible, under any system that you can adopt, do pay, he will vote for this and all other similar proposito re-distribute the money to the different sections of the tions; the argument is, in fact, this: If the mass of the peo- Union in the same proportion that it is contributed. ple saw and understood the amount of taxes they pay, my Is this system of excessive taxation to endure forever? colleague, and others who favor this system, would not, And must this system of internal improvement be kept up and dare not, vote to waste and squander public money for the mere purpose of absorbing the surplus revenue? in projects like this. There are not a dozen members up- Does any thinking man suppose it will, or can? There is on this floor-I doubt whether there is a single individual, one point, I believe, upon which tariff men and anti-tariff who would dare to support this system in the wild and vi- men are agreed, and that is, as soon as the debt is paid, at sionary extent to which it has been pushed, if the revenue all events, gradually to reduce, and finally to repeal, the was collected by a direct tax, or if the amount of taxation actually paid under the present mode of collection, by imposts and duties, could be brought home to the knowledge of each gentleman's constituents.

duties on all those articles which do not come in competition with our own manufactures. This will reduce the taxes upon all sections from seven to eight millions per annum. The surplus would then be from four to five The whole annual revenue of the United States, paid millions per annum. Must this excess of taxes be kept up by the people in the shape of indirect taxation, may be to carry on internal improvements? Will you still keep put down in round numbers at twenty-four millions of dol- this surplus in the treasury, to wrangle and contend about lars; it is about that amount. The aggregate of federal here? Did any wise Government in the world ever tax population, including three-fifths of the slaves, taken into its people more than the exigencies of that Government the enumeration by the constitution, is about twelve mil- required? I know it is the policy of the friends of a cerlions of souls. Double the number of dollars, then, are tain system to keep up the high taxes; to procrastinate collected than there are souls in the United States; so that the payment of the public debt; and, when it is paid, to every man, woman, and child, in the country, pays an have a plausible pretext to expend the surplus that is not average tax of two dollars per head. Each head of a fa- needed for any necessary purposes of the Government. mily probably pays, upon an average, an annual tax of fif- Sir, it is as well to speak out plainly what I think of this teen or twenty dollars. About half the annual revenue, policy. The "American system," as it is falsely called,

MARCH 29, 1830.]

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consists of three things: it is a tripod, it is a stool that stands the legitimate reserved powers of the States; a constant upon three legs; first, high prices of the public lands, to tendency to assume the exercise of doubtful constructive prevent emigration to the West, or, as the late Secre- powers, and to build up here a splendid Government, diftary of the Treasury, [Mr. Rush] in his report two years fering, if this tendency shall continue, only in name from ago, said, to check by high prices the system of bounties a consolidated empire. I was glad to hear my friend and which he supposed were held out to agricultural pursuits colleague [Mr. BLAIR] Say that he cherished the sovereignin the West by the low prices of public lands. Or, in ty of the States; and that he would have the Federal and other words, the policy of this branch of the system is, to the State Government each to move in their respective sell your lands high, prevent thereby the inducements to orbits, neither invading or encroaching upon the rights of emigration, retain a population of paupers in the East, the other. I heartily respond to this sentiment; but how who may, of necessity, be driven into manufactories, to my colleague reconciles it to the vote which he intends to labor at low wages for their daily bread. The second give for this bill, I shall not undertake to decide. Upon branch of the system is high duties, high taxes, the conse- the preservation of the rights of the States depends the quences of which are twofold; first, to protect the manu- perpetuity of the equipoise of powers between the Federal facturer, by enabling him to sell his wares at higher prices, and State Governments, intended to be observed at the and next to produce an excess of revenue. The third adoption of the constitution. The States will be the last branch of the system is internal improvements, which is citadels of your liberty; and so long as the wholesome check the sponge which is to suck up the excess of revenue which they were intended to constitute upon the Federal which you collect from your people. These constitute Government remains, it will last forever. We are in no the splendid system by which the people of a great por- danger from a foreign enemy, who boldly shows himself, tion of this Union are to be taxed, and oppressively taxed, and lands upon our shore; we will meet him at the water's in all time to come, unless the policy is changed. The edge, and mark his approach by the blood of his soldiery. people of the West will soon see, if they do not already It is by slow and imperceptible assumptions of power on see, their true interest. The speedy sale and settlement, the part of this Government, that the balance of the at low prices, of the public lands, is the paramount inte- constitution may be disturbed, and the liberties of the rest of the West, and it is the true interest of the whole country undermined. I am not discussing the constitutionUnion, with the exception of the particular interest I have al question involved by this bill. It has been my whole mentioned. I would sell out the public lands at low prices purpose throughout to avoid that, and to oppose the bill -at much lower prices than they ever have been sold. upon the ground of its expediency alone. I have been led I would have them speedily settled by a hardy race of en-into this digression by the sentiment that fell from my esterprising freemen, who would feel that they had a stake teemed colleague, [Mr. BLAIR.] I shall not be provoked in the Government. I would impose no unnecessary tax- to depart from my original purpose by the broad doctrines ation upon them, to support any particular interest. I laid down by my colleague, [Mr. ISACKS.] This is not the would relieve the burdens of the whole community, as far time nor the occasion to go into any examination of the as possible, by reducing the taxes. I would keep as much money in the treasury as the safety of the Government required, and no more. I would keep no surplus there to scramble for, either for internal improvements, or for any thing else. I would bring the Government back to what it was intended to be-a plain, economical Government.

nullifying power of the State authorities alluded to by him, nor to inquire how far the States may constitutionally resist the operation, within their limits, of powers assumed by this Government, which the States may suppose it does not possess. I only mention it now, for the purpose of saying that I cannot go with my colleague to the extent of the doctrines which I understood him to lay down.

We had a party in this country and in this House a few years ago, who were proud to be called radicals, and who Before I conclude, I beg leave to call the atttention of assumed to be almost the exclusive friends of a plain and the committee to a part of the message of the President cheap Government. We find but few of them here now. at the opening of the present session of Congress. And Many of them, I fear, have changed the red jacket for the if this system must go on; if we who are opposed to it are white, and have hoisted a new flag. Many of them, I fear, in a minority; if its friends are determined to press it; I have mounted this delusion, this splendid "American system,” this grand scheme of spending millions of the public money in internal improvements, as a political hobby upon which to ride into power.

call upon them to stay their hands for the present. Take the suggestion contained in the passage which I shall read as preferable to the present plan; husband all your means; pay off the public debt first; and then, if you are determined not to reduce the taxes, and there be a surplus in the treasury, "apportion it among the several States according to their ratio of representation." The passage to which I allude is as follows:

The history and present practical operations of the constitution may be dated at the peace of 1815. Before that period, the Federal Government performed the functions, which it was chiefly intended to perform, by the States who were parties to the compact, and who created it. "As, then, the period approaches, when the application Up to that time, the action of the Government was chiefly of the revenue to the payment of debt will cease, the disexternal; the attention of its rulers was mainly taken up in position of the surplus will present a subject for the serious attending to our foreign relations. In the early history of deliberation of Congress: and it may be fortunate for the the Government, and during the long continued wars in country that it is yet to be decided. Considered in conEurope, it required a most vigilant attention to preserve nexion with the difficulties which have heretofore attenda strict neutrality on our part. We were threatened with ed appropriations for purposes of internal improvement, war, our commerce and our rights were invaded upon the and with those which this experience tells us will certainseas; we were driven to an embargo, to a system of non-in-ly arise, whenever power over such subjects may be exertercourse, and finally into the war of 1812. During this cised by the General Government, it is hoped that it may whole period, the action of this Government may be said lead to the adoption of some plan which will reconcile the to have been external. At the restoration of peace in diversified interests of the States, and strengthen the bonds 1815, our difficulties abroad were at an end, our rights which unite them. Every member of the Union, in peace came to be respected by all nations, and the attention of and in war, will be benefited by the improvement of inthe Government was turned internally. Since 1815, the land navigation, and the construction of highways in the action of the Government has been internal and essentially several States. Let us then endeavor to attain this benefit vicious; I repeat, sir, essentially vicious. There has been in a mode which will be satisfactory to all. That hithera constant tendency increased and daily increasing, to ac- to adopted has, by many of our fellow-citizens, been decumulate power in the federal head, and to encroach upon precated as an infraction of the constitution; while by

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[MARCH 30, 1830. ductive of more harm than good-nor was there any thing in the past legislation of our country, or which had occurred at that session of Congress, to justify the changes suggested. I am satisfied [said Mr. W.] with the present arrangement for the sessions of Congress, and believe the House will come to the same conclusion, after mature reflection upon the subject.

"To avoid these evils, it appears to me that the most safe, just, and federal disposition which could be made of the surplus revenue, would be its apportionment among the several States according to their ratio of representation, and, should this measure not be found warranted by the The original resolution proposes that the compensation constitution, that it would be expedient to propose to the of the members of Congress shall be eight dollars a day States an amendment authorizing it. I regard an appeal for one hundred and twenty days, and, if a session shall be to the source of power, in cases of real doubt, and where extended beyond that time, that the pay shall be two its exercise is deemed indispensable to the general welfare, dollars per diem; and the amendment provides that the as among the most sacred of all our obligations. Upon commencement of the sessions of Congress shall be on the this country, more than any other, has, in the providence first Monday in November, with a limitation of both to the of God, been cast the special guardianship of the great 3d March. principle of adherence to written constitutions. If it fail The first is urged upon the grounds that there is a want here, all hope in regard to it will be extinguished. That of industry in this House, and that something is needed to this was intended to be a Government of limited and spe- coerce us to greater effort that our inertness is caused cific, and not general powers, must be admitted by all; by the mercenary consideration of daily pay-that it will and it is our duty to preserve for it the character intended save to the nation seventy-five thousand dollars; and that by its framers. If experience points out the necessity for if the first session of each Congress shall be continued to an enlargement of these powers, let us apply for it to those its ordinary length, then eight dollars per day for one hunfor whose benefit it is to be exercised, and not undermine dred and twenty days will reduce the daily compensation the whole system by a resort to overstrained constructions. to seven dollars, which is said to be an ample allowance. The scheme has worked well. It has exceeded the hopes I shall examine each of these positions in the order they of those who devised it, and become an object of admira- have been stated; and my reason for giving this formal intion to the world. We are responsible to our country, vestigation to a subject, apparently of no great importance, and to the glorious cause of self-government, for the pre- is the respectable source from which the resolution and servation of so great a good. The great mass of legisla- the amendment came, and the disposition to prevent the tion relating to our internal affairs was intended to be mischief which either may do. If apology, however, were left where the federal convention found it--in the State go-necessary, my justification would be found in the example vernments. Nothing is clearer in my view, than that we of the honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr. are chiefly indebted for the success of the constitution COULTER] whose acute and talented exposition of the under which we are now acting, to the watchful and reasons against the resolution, and of the consequences auxiliary operation of the State authorities. This is not which will result from its adoption, must have commanded the reflection of a day, but belongs to the most deeply the approbation of the House. rooted convictions of my mind. I cannot, therefore, too strongly or too earnestly, for my own sense of its importance, warn you against all encroachments upon the legitimate sphere of State sovereignty. Sustained by its healthful and invigorating influence, the federal system can never fall."

The first consideration urged in favor of the resolution by its mover—a want of industry--is the assertion of a fact, and its truth must be ascertained before it can be used as an argument.

I am told by those in whose experience I have confidence, and the examination of our statute book confirms Who can read this passage from the message without the declaration-that if the legislation of this session is yielding his conviction of the truth at least of some of the compared in kind and quantity with that of any preceding sentiments it conveys? Who can read it without admiring Congress, it will suffer no disparagement by the comthe honesty of the heart, and the soundness of the head parison. Between four and five hundred resolutions have that dictated it. Do we not all know, that, whenever been submitted, three hundred and ninety-nine bills have power over subjects of internal improvement has been at- been matured by the committees and laid upon your table, tempted to be exercised here, it has been "at the expense one hundred and twenty-three of them have been finally of harmony in the legislative councils?" Is it not, upon disposed of in this House, forty-one of which have receivthis very occasion, attempted to be exercised "at the ex-ed the concurrence of the Senate, and passed into laws; pense of harmony" in our deliberations? Without feeling seven from the Senate have been acted upon here, and fifmyself called upon now to express an opinion on the ques-ty-two from the same branch of the Legislature remain for tion of "apportionment among the several States accord- our consideration. Of the bills which have passed into ing to their ratio of representation," or whether "an ap- laws, it should be remembered, there are several of nationpeal to the source of power" would be "indispensable" to al importance, and among them, what is unusual so early the exercise of this power, I have no hesitation in giving in the session, and which should have conciliated the kindto it a decided preference over the present plan. There ness of the gentleman, [Mr. McDUFFIE] is his own bill of would be equality at least in the disbursement, if not in appropriations for the ensuing political year. With this the collection of the surplus revenue. [Here the debate closed for this day.]

TUESDAY, MARCH 30, 1830.

PAY OF MEMBERS.

formidable array of business done, it is easier to make an accusation of indolence than to sustain it. No preceding Congress has done more so early in the session; and at the termination of this on the 15th of May, the time fixed for its adjournment by this House, in quantity at least, we may anticipate enough to entitle us to the commendation of The House resumed the consideration of the resolution our constituents, and from present appearances, too, withoffered by Mr. McDUFFIE, to curtail the sessions of Con- out having the volume of our laws enlarged by any making gress by reducing the per diem after a certain period. extravagant and experimental expenditures for internal Mr. WAYNE rose, and said he was opposed to the reso- improvements which can never yield a revenue to our lution proposed by the honorable gentleman from South treasury, or by such laws as press upon the loins of nationCarolina, [Mr. McDUFFIE] and also to the amendment al industry, to encourage manufactures. However, let offered by the honorable member from Massachusetts, me not be supposed to intend any injustice to the gentleman, [Mr. EVERETT.] The adoption of either would be pro-[Mr. McDUFFIE] as it is now owing to his want of ability

MARCH 30, 1830.]

Pay of Members.

[H. of R.

or exertion that we have not been relieved from the latter; ed consequences, in their eager desire to have the honor and as to the first, without thinking, with some of us in of its paternity. For the other, the bank charter, the principle, between whom it must be admitted there are public mind had been prepared by much previous discusshades of difference, he has already manifested a strong sion; by the existence of a former bank; by its plan having desire to retain the operation of his own sentiments upon been matured in the recess of Congress; and because it was the power, strictly within the bounds of judicious and na- generally known that the then President's constitutional tional appropriations; and I cannot refrain from expressing objections to the charter had been subdued by painful rethe hope that this session will pass without a difference be- collections of the necessities of his treasury, and the rapatween us as to what works or subscriptions shall be consi- cious combinations, during the war, to depreciate Governdered entitled to his cautionary opposition. ment securities, issued in our hour of hardest trial, to supBut the charge of a want of industry in this Congress ply its deficiencies. In referring to the history of that has gone out to the world, under the sanction of the gen- time, one scandalously inclined might also say, the salary tleman's name, and upon such authority it will be believed, compensation law, an immediate operation having been unless it shall be repelled by a detailed examination of given to it, had its effect in causing an earlier spring flight preceding Congresses-not very interesting, it is true, but than had been usual. I, sir, however, make no such which may command the attention of the House from its charge; and in explaining the causes which enabled the direct application to the subject. And one other reason fourteenth and fifteenth Congresses to adjourn the first urges me to be particular. Having come into this House session of both earlier than had been done before, I disunder the political revolution which the people thought claim any intention to depreciate their industry, or assail the condition of the country demanded, it is not to be sup- their purity. I turn back to them with respect; for it posed, composed as it is of a moiety of new members, was not until then that my mind began to pursue political three-fourths of whom were chosen to sustain the present investigations, or to think of public measures, either as administration, that such a charge, involving them in a moi-to their consequences, or the principles by which they ety of its discredit, will be permitted to pass without a re- were to be sustained; and, from the reasoning of some of futation, even when made by an old member of this House, the prominent men of that day, my politics received a rathough he be one of the firmest and ablest supporters of dical tint, which, as much decried as it was afterwards, is our common cause. Such a charge may raise the maker of now the badge of many who would not then wear it, and it in public estimation, but it will throw his associates into dis- is very fast becoming the national color, fatal as it was esteem if it be not denied and disproved, and might jeopard made to some who first raised it as a banner. There was the administration itself at the ensuing election, unless it inscribed upon it, judicious impost for revenue-proper shall be shown that those who are here and its advocates are expenditures for necessary national establishments, but worthy of being continued. Our adversaries, sir, are suf- nothing for patronage, and a limitation of the action of ficiently talented and numerous, without giving to them ad- the Government to the text of the constitution--the best ditional strength by the voluntary condemnation of ourselves. and only security for the perpetuity of the Union. The The examination of our statute book will show that other exception of the seventeenth Congress is to be acevery Congress, from the beginning of the Government counted for, from a part of the business of its first session until the expiration of the last, excepting the fourteenth, having been done in the last session of the sixteenth, which fifteenth, and seventeenth, occupied more time than will was begun in November, three weeks earlier than the orhave been consumed in this, if the pressure of our engage-dinary time of meeting.

ments shall permit us to separate on the 17th of May, Such is the fact, in regard to the time occupied in legiswhich every one thinks so probable, that no one event lation, since our Government was organized, which of itself suggests an extension of its sitting after the 24th of that relieves this Congress from the imputation of any protracmonth. A reference to the forty-eighth chapter of the first tion of its sitting; and it shall be presently shown, if it is volume of our laws, which gives the periods of com- to be appreciated by the business done, it will have no mencement and adjournment of Congress from the year cause to shrink from any contrast with the past. Nay, if 1789 to the 3d March, 1815, will confirm the decla- the mere performance of duty could at any time justify ration just made, as regards thirteen Congresses, and exultation, it might be indulged by us, and those who have the journals of this House will show it to be equally ex- for some years preceded us, without any self-complacency, act as regards the sixteenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and that the time passed in legislation has not been extended, twentieth. The exception of the fourteenth, fifteenth, if it is recollected how long the sessions of Congress were and seventeenth--and to the fourteenth and fifteenth, continued after the Government had been fully organized; the gentleman [Mr. McDUFFIE] alluded as examples of when the subjects of legislation have been constantly incommendable industry, and of reproach to this may creasing with this House, consisting of a fourth less numbe accounted for, that the country having passed from a ber than it now has, for thirty years of our history, with state of war to peace, the occupation of both consisted in all the rapidly progressive fluctuations of a population repealing the taxes which had been laid to meet the exi- from three to twelve millions, living in twenty-four sepagencies of the first. More than the half of their legisla-rate sovereignties, instead of thirteen. Sir, our predecestion was strictly private and local; that which was of a sors were not drones in legislation; their labor is their mixed character, relating to our public lands, was the re- eulogium, and ours shall be as well thought of hereafter; sumption of what had been discontinued by the war, with for I cannot be mistaken in believing that there is a spirit which persons in and out of Congress were familiar. True in this Congress, revolting at the slanders of inexperience it is, then was the inception of our present restrictive com- and want of ability uttered against this administration, mercial code, by the passage of the act "to regulate du- and determined, if they shall be permitted to do so, to ties upon imports and tonnage:" and the time was made make the effort to give to it as distinguished an elevation equally memorable by the grant of the United States' in the future annals of our country, as that which is held Bank charter. The first, however, was passed with much by the administration of its father and first President. less discussion than has been had upon bills having the But it is urged, in proof of the propriety of limiting the same object in view since; though the tendency of first session of Congress to one hundred and twenty days, that, in the subsequent claims which have been based and as a reproach when it is extended beyond it, that the upon it, was foreseen and foretold by some, whose warn- second session of three months is sufficient for all the ings were unheeded, by the honest wish of many to make purposes of legislation, and that as much is done in it as our nation independent of foreign supplies, without look- is accomplished in the first. The declaration was inconing into futurity for its cost; and by others, who overlook-siderate, for such is not the fact; and I ask the attention

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