Page images

DECEMBER 13, 1832.]

Public Lands-Commercial Statements.


ON THE JUDICIARY--Messrs. Wilkins, Webster, Fre- lain; and on the fourth balloting the following was the linghuysen, Grundy, and Mangum. result:

ON THE POST OFFICE AND POST ROADS--Messrs. Gründy, Hill, Ewing, Tomlinson, and Buckner.

ON ROADS AND CANALS-Messrs. Hendricks, Sprague, Dallas, Hill, and Buckner.

ON PENSIONS-Messrs. Foot, Chambers, Dickerson, Sprague, and Poindexter.

ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA--Messrs. Chambers, Tyler, Holmes, Clayton, and Miller.

ON THE CONTINGENT FUND-Messrs. Knight, Dudley, and Tomlinson.

ON ENGROSSED BILLS--Messrs. Robbins, Robinson, and Ewing.

After distributing the various subjects of the President's Message to the appropriate committees, and disposing of some minor business, adjourned.



Mr. CLAY rose and said, it would be recollected that during the last session a bill had passed the Senate, which originated in the Committee on Manufactures, to appropriate, for a limited time, the proceeds arising from the sales of public lands. At a very late period of the session this bill was sent to the other House; and owing, probably, to that circumstance, and probably to some other causes, the bill had not been definitively acted on by that House. Rather, he would say, there had been no express decision of the House for or against the bill. It was indefinitely postponed. He was desirous of again obtaining the sense of the Senate on this question, and, should it be in accordance with the vote of the last ses¡sion, to afford the other House the opportunity of a more full examination and discussion of the bill.

He therefore gave notice that he would, to-morrow, ask leave to introduce a bill to appropriate for a limited time the proceeds of the Public Lands.


Mr. WILKINS, pursuant to notice, asked and obtain ed leave to introduce a bill to provide for the satisfaction of claims due to certain American citizens for spoliations committed by France on their commerce, prior to the 30th September, 1800.

The bill was then read twice, and on motion of Mr. WILKINS, ordered to be referred to a select committee of five members.

Mr. WILKINS said that previous to the balloting for the committee, he wished to remark that, as it was probable the usual courtesy of the Senate in appointing the mover to be on the committee, might be extended to him in this case, he wished it to be understood that he did not desire to be on the committee. He would rather that, in his room, some gentleman might be appointed who was more conversant with commercial buisiness. He desired, however, that it might be understood that he had in no way changed his original opinions on the subject of these claims.

[blocks in formation]

Mr. SMITH. I do not think it very proper to appoint commercial gentlemen on this committee. They might be interested in the result.

The conversation here ceased.

[The following members were appointed by the Chair to compose the committee: Messrs. WEBSTER, CHAMBERS, DUDLEY, BROWN, TYLER.]

For the Rev. Mr. PISE,
Rev. Mr. HATCH,

So that the Rev. Mr. PISE was declared to be elected.
[He received nineteen votes on the first ballot.]
After the consideration of Executive business,




12 4

Mr. CLAY, agreeably to notice, asked and obtained leave to introduce a bill to appropriate, for a limited time, the proceeds of the sales of the public lands in the United States and for granting lands to certain States.

The bill having been read twice, and being before the Senate, as in Committee of the whole.

Mr. CLAY said that this bill had been before two committees of the Senate, and that it had been passed at the last session by a considerable majority, He thought, therefore, that there would be no necessity for its reference to any committee at this session. The bill was precisely the same as the one which had passed the Senate last year, with the exception of the necessary change in the time when the bill would take effect. If, however, it was the wish of any Senator that the bill should be referred he had no objection. He would prefer to have the bill made the order for some convenient but not very distant day, when it might be taken up and discussed. If agreeable to the Senate, he would say the fourth Monday in this month, or the first Monday in January. He did not see that it was necessary to send the bill to a committee, but if any gentleman wished that course to be taken, he repeated, he should not object to it.

Mr. KANE said that it would be recollected that this subject had recently been referred to the Committee on the Public Lands, by the reference to that committee of so much of the President's message as relates to the public had come from the Executive on the subject of the publands. An important proposition, indeed a new one, lic lands generally. That proposition was now before the committee; and he hoped that the gentlemen from Kentucky would consent to a reference of his bill to the same committee. Mr. K. concluded by moving this refer


The motion was agreed to, and the bill was referred to the Committee on the Public Lands.


Mr. CHAMBERS asked and obtained leave to introduce a bill providing for the final settlements of the claims of States for interest on advances made to the U. States during the late war.

The bill was read, and ordered to a second reading. After notices for various bills, and receiving sundry resolutions, adjourned.


Mr. SMITH, instructed by the Committee on Finance, offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be directed, with as little delay as may be, to furnish the Senate with the projet of a bill for reducing the duties levied upon imports, in conformity with the sugestions made by him in his annual report.

This resolution lies on the table on day.


The Senate then proceeded to the election of a Chap-gation was then taken up.

A joint resolution offered by Mr. SMITH, to provide for printing the annual statements of commerce and navi


[DECEMBER 17, 1832.

Mr. SMITH briefly stated the reasons which had induc-garded the calling for a bill as derogatory to the character ed him to offer this resolution. Referring to the act which of the Senate. directs the Secretary of the Treasury to report these Mr. TYLER regretted that on a mere motion to reconstatements anually to Congress in the first, meaning, per-sider the order for adjournment, the merits of the resoluhaps, the first Monday of December, or as soon after as pos- tion should be brought up for discussion. Notwithstandsible-he complained that the document did not very fre- ing what had fallen from the Senator from Mississippi, quently find its way to the members until the session had however, he should still calculate on having his vote in terminated, and they had returned to their homes. He favor of the resolution. He reminded that gentleman that did not get his last statement until the end of October or the existing law required of the Secretary of the Treasury the beginning of November. He referred to the great but to communicate to Congress all the information concernunsuccessful exertions which had been made by the Sec-ing the finances of the country. In obedience to this retary to obtain the statements, at an earlier period, from law, the Secretary had stated that there might be a reducthe officers who had to prepare the details. The Secre- tion in the revenue to the amount of six millions. This tary hoped to send in the next statement, by the 1st of was the broad proposition of the Secretary. Was not the February; and after that time, it would be long before it Senate justified then in calling upon the Secretary to state could be printed, and presented to the members. The in what manner this reduction could be effected? Are object of his resolution was to give authority to the Secre- we not to call on him to furnish a bill of particulars which tary to have the document printed so that it might be we may make the basis of our legislation? The resolution printed, sheet by sheet, as the matter was furnished from did no more than call on him for such bill of particulars. the Department, and under the supervision of the Treas- He considered that the objection of the gentleman from ury. The difficulty arose out of the impossibility of get- Mississippi would apply with great force to any other of the ting the reports of the various officers in proper time. The Departments; but for the reasons he had stated, he did not Secretary complained that he could not get them in time; think it applicable to the Treasury. He expressed his hope unless some penalty could be inflicted for neglect and de- that the Senate would reconsider the motion to adjourn. lay, he did not see how the officers could be coerced into greater diligence.

Mr. MANGUM said a few words against the motion to reconsider, and against the resolution itself. Unlearned Mr. HOLMES admitted that there was ground for com- as he was in these matters, and untutored in the precise plaint as to the delay in furnishing these annual statements. course which had been customary, he was not disposed to It often happened that they were not received until long call on any body but the regular committees of that body after the termination of the session; perhaps not before for the draught of a bill. The Secretary, it was true, was May or June, instead of early in January. The report required to furnish all information concerning his Departhas to be delivered to the Secretary of the Senate, and ment, and he could see no impropriety in his furnishing afterwards to be printed. The adoption of this resolution the Senate with details; but he would prefer that the comwould lead to the printing of the statements beforehand, mittees should examine the facts, and if they agreed with but the evil would not thereby be remedied. The re- the Secretary as to the main points, it was for them to go port of the Secretary of the Treasury gives the returns to him for such details as they might require: as a matter up to the 30th of September, and he saw no reason why concerning the dignity of the Senate, he should feel himthe report should not be made before the 1st of January. self called on to oppose the course which was now sugIt was said that there was no penal sanction to the law, gested. He would not call on any branch of the Governand that the officers could delay their returns without in- ment for the projet of a bill. curring any penalty. It is so; but he should suppose that neglect could be prevented; that if the Secretary could not remove an offender, he could report his neglect to the President. He thought the subject should be further considered, and with this view, he moved to lay the resolution on the table.

Commercial Statements.

The question was then taken on the motion to reconsider; which was decided in the negative-ayes 17, noes 18. And the Senate adjourned to Monday.


The motion was agreed to.

Mr. POINDEXTER offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be direct-

On motion of Mr. FORSYTII, the Senate then pro-ed to report to the Senate, with as little delay as practi

ceeded to the consideration of executive business.


cable, a detailed statement of the articles of foreign growth or manufacture, on which, in his opinion, the present rate When the doors were re-opened, a motion had been amount of reduction on each article separately, so as to of duties ought to be reduced, specifying particularly the made by Mr. POINDEXTER to re-consider the order of produce the result of an aggregate reduction of the revethe Senate to adjourn till Monday, for the purpose of ue six millions of dollars, on such manufactures as arc giving an opportunity, to-morrow, for the adoption of the classed under the general denomination of protected artiresolution offered to-day by Mr. SMITH, from the Com-cles; and that he also append to such report an enumeration of articles deemed to be "essential to our national When Reporters were admitted, Mr. HOLMES had independence in time of war," and which therefore ought, just opposed the motion. in his opinion, to be exempted from the operation of the proposed reduction of duties.

mittee on Finance.


Mr. POINDEXTER succeeded him in a few remarks in opposition to any call upon the Head of a Department for the projet of a bill. In his opinion, the Senate ought to look to their own committees for draughts of bills, and to the Departments merely for information. He had a strong objection to sending either to the President, or any one On motion of Mr. SMITH, the Senate procceded to the of the Departments, for a bill. He would look to the re-consideration of the joint resolution offered by him relative gular committees for the bills, and the committees would to the printing of the annual statement of commerce and look to the Departments for such information as they navigation.

might require. He could not consider this resolution, Mr. HOLMES remarked, that he had no intention of therefore, in the light of an ordinary cal! for information; opposing, nor did he intend to propose amending the reand whenever it should be taken up, he would record his solution. He would suggest, however, to the mover to name in opposition to it. Not that he was ever opposed avoid the supposition that the intention was to take this to call on the Departments for information, but that he re-portion of the public printing from the public printer,

On motion of Mr. POINDEXTER, the resolution was ordered to be printed.

DECEMBER 17, 1832.]

Tariff Duties.


The question was then, taken, and Mr. P's amendment was carried without a division.

and give it to another; whether it would not be better to fer, as proposed by the resolution. It would give more insert an amendment, providing that the work should be power of public patronage to one of the Heads of Departexecuted by the printer of one of the two Houses of Con-ments, which they already possess to a disproportionate gress. He presumed this arose from an inadvertence in amount. The Secretary may give the printing of the dodrawing the resolution, and had made the suggestion, in cuments to any printer he chooses; thereby releasing him order to avoid the idea, that might otherwise be formed, from that responsibility to Congress which rests on their that the object of the resolution was to take so much work own public printers. I move, then, to amend the resolufrom the public printer. He regretted that the resolution tion, by inserting after the word printed, "by the printer did not go a little further, (as in its present shape it was of the Senate or House of Representatives." not, in his opinion, calculated to reach the object in view,) and do something that would tend to procure for them the documents a little sooner, which would make some provi- Mr. BIBB said, he could not see the necessity of this sion of law necessary, by which the public printer would be resolution. He would read to the Senate the law of Conallowed more time to expedite the work. He did not be-gress providing for the transmission to Congress of these lieve, however, that any sanction of a penalty by Con-statements at each session. [Mr. B. here read the law.] gress would be necessary to prevent any remissness on Now, said Mr. B., do we mean to change this law of Conthe part of the collectors, as the Secretary of the Trea- gress by the passage of a resolution, and provide that the sary undoubtedly had it in his power to report any dere-statements shall be sent ready printed, by the Secretary of liction of duty to the President, with a view to the removal the Treasury, to the members at their respective homes, of the offending officer. This would have the effect to and in his own time, instead of laying them before Congress? let those officers know that their returns must be made When the statements are sent to us, said Mr. B., we have in time to comply with the requisitions of the law. them under our own control, and can dispose of them as we Mr. FOOT said, that he had an objection to the resolu- please; but it will be quite otherwise should the resolution tion itself. It was calculated to release the custom house pass. He believed that the Secretary of the Treasury had it officers from. making their returns. Some do not make in his power to send in the statements in time for Contheir returns in time. If the Executive cannot enforce gress to print them before its adjournment; and he should the law on this subject, there ought to be an enforcing like to know who were the persons not performing their act. It is of great importance to have the documents in respective duties, in time to enable him to do so. Sir, season. Sir, I am entirely opposed to the resolution in itself. said Mr. B., I, for one, am covetous of that portion of Mr. SMITH observed, that it was unimportant to him patronage of the Government possessed by the two Heases individually, whether the resolution passed or not, be- of Congress, and am not disposed to deprive them of it, cause he expected hereafter to have no participation in to bestow it on any of the Executive departments. the subject of it. His sole object was the future conve Mr. SMITH said, the resolution is not opposed to the nience of the Senate, and to expedite the public business. law. The only difference from the usual practice, proHis attention had been called to this subject, by the re- posed by the resolution, is, that the documents shall be marks of the Senator from Maine, of the last session, and submitted to the Senate, not in manuscript, but in print. the acknowledged inconveniences resulting from the late The whole object of the resolution is to save time. The receipt of this important document referred to. Now his reports of collections must be made up after the 20th of resolution went to remedy completely the inconveniences September. If the documents were placed before the complained of; for a part of the returns embraced in this Senate by the 1st of January, their action upon them very document, were already received by the Treasury could not be completed by the 1st of March. The public Department, and could now be put to press if the depart-printers, from their numerous engagements, are not able ment had the power to print it; and then the remaining to print them in time. It is difficult to collate and copy parts could be printed as received. The public printer, the documents. Two men could not do it in less than two Mr. S. said, had much to do, and of an important nature, weeks. The Secretary could have them printed as they at the very time this document usually came in, (1st Ja-were made out. The only difference would be, that they nuary.) It would take much time even to examine the would be submitted to the Senate in print, and not in maproof sheets, as consisting of nice and great calculations,nuscript: not to the individual members of Congress, as in figure work; and indeed he did not believe that two the gentleman had intimated, but to the two Houses of proof readers could do it in two weeks. Now all this Congress. Last session an extra number was printed: could be avoided by the adoption of the resolution. It they were not delivered to members, but to the House. was, as he said before, no object to him; his only object There is no power transferred to the Secretary. He is was the convenience of the Senate hereafter. bound to present the usual number. The resolution cannot intefere with the law. The Secretary is required by the law to submit his report by the first of December, or as soon after as possible. The Senate want to have the documents early, no matter whether in print or manuscript, so that they can act upon them during the session. He saw great inconvenience in the present mode: he only wished for convenience. It is difficult to get the documents from manuscript in less than two weeks.

Mr. POINDEXTER said, the resolution seemed to in

Mr. FOOT again remarked, that the honorable Senator bad said well, that we ought not to legislate for ourselves as individuals. Sir, I do not aim to legislate for myself, but for my country: and this is a duty which I will not yield or abandon while I have a standing on this floor.

Mr. SMITH said, he had not intended to convey the idea that they were legislating for themselves. When he spoke of the convenience of the Senate, it was in reference to the expediting the public business.

Mr. HOLMES said, that he too never had any idea of volve some difficulties, and he, for one, wished for time legislating for himself, though he did not expect to be for further consideration. He would, therefore, move to here again. There are many of us, he said, not legis- lay it on the table. lating for ourselves but for posterity, except, indeed, The resolution was then laid on the table, without a some bachelors, who could not legislate for their pos-division.



Mr. POINDEXTER said, there is no necessity for this The Senate then proceeded to take up the orders of measure. It is the custom of the Senate sometimes to the day, print the usual number, and sometimes an extra number. The following resolution, offered by Mr. SMITH, on On this point the Secretary of the Treasury is not compe-Thursday, being under consideration;

tent to decide. But there is another objection to a trans- Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be direct

Reduction of Duties.


ed, with as little delay as may be, to furnish the Senate with the projet of a bill for reducing the duties levied upon imports, in conformity with the suggestions made by him in his annual report.

Mr. TYLER said that he had been chiefly instrumental in prevailing on the Committee of Finance to adopt the resolution now before the Senate. It had been adopted without opposition, and seemed to meet the entire approbation of all the members, save one. Under these circumstances it had come before the Senate. He intended it for good. He thought a speedy action on the subject of the tariff was indispensably necessary; that it was due to the country, to the condition of the finances, and demanded by the fearful crisis into which our affairs had been unfortunately plunged. A great crisis had arrived, and definitive action-powerful, well sustained, and efficient action--was necessary to gave the country. The subject could not be blinked, and he, for one, resting upon the principles on which he had all his life acted, was ready for action. He was not for shedding blood in civil strife, but for prompt legislation, which would heal the wounds of the country. He found himself, however, differing with some of those with whom he commonly acted, and without whose aid the resolution could not be carried. Some objected for one cause, and some for another. He hoped that those objections would yield to better reflection, and that those who agreed in the main, would not differ about unessentials. For the present, he declined to press the subject, and moved to lay the resolution on the table.

The resolution was accordingly ordered to lie upon the table.

On motion of Mr. SMITH, the Senate then proceeded to the consideration of Executive business. After which, The Senate adjourned.


The resolution offered yesterday by Mr. POINDEXTER being taken up,

Mr. SMITH requested that the resolution might lie over for the present to allow time for examination.

Mr. POINDEX TER said that he had no objection to suffer the resolution to lie over. But as it was necessary, on account of the labor it would impose on the Department, that it should be speedily. acted on, he gave notice that he should call the resolution up for consideration on the day after to-morrow.

After forwarding a number of bills, and disposing of sundry minor matters,

The Senate adjourned.



The following resolution, offered yesterday by Mr. SPRAGUE, was taken up:

Resolved, That the Committee on Finance be instructed to inquire into the expediency of making further provision for the protection of the revenue, by prohibiting officers of the customs from trading in articles not subject to duty.

[DECEMBER 24, 1832.


The bill to grant a quantity of land to the State of Missouri, for the purpose of enabling said State to open a canal in the Big Swamp, between the counties of Cape Girardeau and Scott, to connect the waters of the river St. Francois, and the river Mississippi, was read a second time, and after a brief explanation by Mr. BUCKNER, of the condition of the lands through which the canal was proposed to be made, was reported without amendment. MR. SPRAGUE put a question to the Senator from Missouri as to the quantity of land which was proposed to be given to the State, and whether the whole of it came under the denomination of a swamp?

Mr. BUCKNER replied that it was intended to give two and a half miles on each side of the canal, and that the swamps extended six miles. There was very little good land which was not inundated, and most of that was settled by public or other grants. These persons were protected by the bill.

On motion of Mr. SPRAGUE, who wished time for further information, the bill was, for the present, laid on the table.


The bill supplementary to an Act to provide for the more efficient punishment of certain crimes against the United States, &c. was read a second time.

The bill being in committee, some discussion took place in reference to its various details, in which Messrs. DALLAS, CHAMBERS, EWING, HOLMES, WILKINS, TYLER, MANGUM, and BIBB, participated.

The discussion chiefly related to that clause of the bill which prescribes the punishment of solitary imprisonment, from one year to five years, at the discretion of the Court, for persons convicted of having counterfeit notes in their possession. This discretion was, on one side, deemed too great to be vested in any court, because five years solitary confinement is a punishment equal to death. On the other hand, it was insisted that, in such case as was provided for by the clause, the inception of the offence ought to be punished as severely as its consummation. Some amendments were made in the details of the bill.

The bill, on motion of Mr. BIBB, was laid on the table.

Mr. SPRAGUE, in a very few words, stated that he had been induced to offer this resolution in consequence of letters which had reached him from sources entitled to business,



Mr. CHAMBERS, from the Select Committee on the Senate at the last session, with a verbal amendment, French Spoliations, reported a bill similar to one before which was read and ordered to a second reading.

Mr. CHAMBERS took occasion to state, that, as the chairman of the committee was absent, it was not the intention of the committee to call up the bill for consideration until they should have the pleasure of seeing him in his place.

After disposing of a number of petitions, resolutions, and private bills, Adjourned to Monday.


After the Senate had disposed of some other morning

the highest respect, communicating the fact that great Mr. POINDEXTER moved that the Senate do now frauds were committed by officers of the customs, carry- consider the following resolution, which he offered on ing on a traffic in articles not subject to duty. Having the 17th instant:

received this information from quarters entitled to weight, Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be dihe wished it to be referred to the Committee on Finance, rected to report to the Senate with as little delay as practo examine and report whether some legal provision to ticable, a detailed statement of the articles of foreign prevent these frauds might not be expedient. growth or manufacture, on which, in his opinion, the present rate of duties ought to be reduced, specifying

The resolution was then agreed to.

DECEMBER 24, 1832.]

Reduction of Duties.


particularly the amount of reduction on each article sep-now state that he had a particular objection. It asked for arately, so as to produce the result of an aggregate reduc-"an enumeration of articles deemed to be essential to our tion of the revenue of six millions of dollars, on such national independence in time of war, and which, theremanufactures as are classed under the general denomina- fore, ought, in his opinion, to be exempted from the ope tion of protected articles; and that he also append to such ration of the proposed reduction of duties." He conreport an enumeration of articles deemed to be "essen-tended that this part of the requisition ought not to go to tial to our national independence in time of war," and which therefore ought, in his opinion, to be exempted from the operation of the proposed reduction of duties.

Mr. SMITH said, that as the Senate was now thin, he hoped the Senator from Mississippi would suffer his resolution to continue on the table, until after the holidays.

the Treasury Department, but to be addressed to the Secretary of War, within whose province it would naturally come to answer such interrogatory. He wished that this resolution might lie until the House had come to some action on the subject, and then both the resolutions before the Senate could be taken up and disposed of together.

Two of the Committees of the other House, as he was informed, had been for some time past engaged in Mr. POINDEXTER again rose to reply. He had the preparation of a bill on this subject, and had received hoped that no Senator would, on the present motion to the aid of the Secretary of the Treasury in their work, consider, have touched the body of the resolution; but as having had repeated conferences with that officer to the Senator from Alabama had done so, in order to preascertain his views. He hoped, therefore, that the reso-vent the Senate from agreeing to the consideration, he lution would be permitted to lie on the table a few days, felt himself bound to say a word or two. The Senator until the Senate should be fuller than at present. from Alabama was of opinion that the latter part of the Mr. POINDEXTER stated that it had been his inten-resolution ought to be addressed to the Secretary of War. tion, pursuant to notice which he had given, to call up It might be so, but if it was, the course was new to him. this resolution for consideration on Thursday last; but it He would briefly give the reason which had induced him would be recollected that, on that day, the Senate went to give to the inquiry the direction which he had chosen. very early into the consideration of Executive busi-He then referred to the message of the President, in ness, and that, in this way, his intentions had been frus- which it was suggested that it would be found expedient trated. If this resolution involved any important principle, he should have no objection to acquiesce in the suggestion of the Senators from Maryland, and to suffer it to lie over for the present. But it was nothing more than a call for information constructed in the ordinary manner, involving no principle, and asking for information, the importance of which at the present moment was obvious to every member of the Senate. If the Senate were to have any of the information called for by his resolution, it ought to be in their possession immediately after the holidays, if possible, in order that they might proceed to action upon it without delay, as this was the short session. He did not apprehend that there could be any opposition to the resolution itself. It would be out of place, while considering it, to go into a discussion of the great principles involved in the tariff question; and the only views which could present themselves would be whether it would be expedient or not to call for the information, whether such course would be at all disrespectful to any branch of the Government; and whether the information required would be useful in aiding the Senate to form just conclusions on the great questions. All other debate would be entirely premature.

He hoped the Senate would now agree to consider the resolution: and if there should be found any thing objectionable, either in the language of the resolution, or in the details of information for which it asked, the Senate could dispose of it in such way as their wisdom should direct. At all events, he trusted that his motion to take up the resolution would prevail.

to reduce the duties to the necessary wants of the Government. The Secretary of the Treasury, following up this principle, after a variety of views, had echoed this sentiment of the Executive. As to the technical objections, therefore, which had been taken to the reference to the Treasury Department, he thought it was disposed of by the suggestion made by the Secretary. How was the Senate to decide what articles, "essential to our national independence in time of war,' "were deemed by the Secretary as entitled to exemption. If the views of the members of the Senate were to be substituted for those of the Secretary, one gentleman might tell you that he considered woollens as one of these "essential articles," because they enter into the necessary clothing of the soldier in time of war. Another gentleman would, with equal truth, and on equally good reasoning, tell you that cotton was one of these articles "essential to our national independence in time of war." Now, he wished to know what the message and the report of the Secretary meant! He wished to see the scheme of the Secretary. And the information could be furnished under the eye of the Executive, and by any officer he might select.

And why was all this difficulty thrown in the way of his resolution? One gentleman had said that the other House ought to act, in the first instance. Another stated that the Senate ought to let the Secretary of the Treasury communicate his views sub rosa. Now, he wanted to see what the Secretary meant by his generalities. He wanted the Secretary to show his hand. He desired to know what he meant when he talked of a reduction of six milMr. KING said that he did not ordinarily object to the lions of duties. The situation of the country at this moconsideration of resolutions calling for information, but ment was very imposing, and demands the early action of he could not avoid expressing his hope that this resolu- Congress. It was necessary that it should be known tion would not now be considered. The subject itself whether the existing law is to be abandoned, or whether properly belonged to the House of Representatives, and it is to be adhered to. If the decision shall be to adhere a committee of that branch were now ready with a report to the present tariff law, let it be quickly made, that the on the subject, which would have been probably made public attention may be fixed. But now, since the isto-day, had the House been in session, and would not, suing of a certain paper, the proclamation of the Presihe presumed, be postponed beyond Wednesday. A re-dent, all was confusion and uncertainty. The Secretary solution very similar to the present had been laid on the of the Treasury, he presumed, would give the informatable by the Senate but a few days since; and the under- tion which was required, without hesitation; and the Sestanding was, that the subject should not be again taken nate would then be in possession of materials for a just up until the other House had acted upon it. This reso- decision. To himself it was matter of some surprise, lution appeared to him to differ from that in no essential that when one honorable Senator wanted information on point, and ought also to lie over, and then the two reso-a particular subject, another honorable Senator, who may lutions could be considered together. have had greater facilities for obtaining the knowledge, To the latter part of this resolution, however, he would and who, therefore, did not require the lights asked for,

« PreviousContinue »