« AnteriorContinuar »
poured into the treasury of this Government. Can New, mittee with a long detail; the State courts decide in favor York, consistent with her bonor or her interests, submit of the toll gatherer; it is carried up to the Supreme Court to such degradation ? Is Pennsylvania, with her numerous of the United States. I need not give you the decision. cabals, prepared to surrender all to this Government ! I When did State decisions or State rights succeed in optrust not. Sir, where is the remedy? I answer here, in position to the laws of Congress, or the constructive powthis hall. We must halt in our course—we must confine ers of this Government ! Let Kentucky, Ohio, New York, this Government within its primeval legitimate bounds and other States answer. we must restore it to the powers that were exercised un I am opposed to the exercise by Congress of this disder it in the days of Jefferson's administration.
puted right on another ground: it is unequal and unjust in It is contended that the power to construct roads and its operation. During the last year, disregarding fractions, canals is given by the clause in the constitution author. there was received into your treasury twenty-four millions izing Congress to establish post offices and post roads. of dollars ; for all the ordinary purposes of Government, Great pains have been taken to give us the definition of twelve millions are sufficient; and, with proper economy, the word establish Dictionaries have been consulted that sum need not be expended. You have then a surplus Walker, Ainsworth, and others. It is defined to mean fund of twelve millions beyond the amount required for “to erect, to make," &c. We have heard labored argu- the expeuses of Government, to be serambled for in this meats to show us because the meaning of the word es- hall, and expended, according to present doctrines, in intablish is defined to be “to make,” that Congress has the ternal improvement. You have two buodred and thirteen power to make post roads. Sir, I will not say, that these members from the States, and three delegates from terwords may not be tortured into such construction, por ritories ; divide this amount into two hundred and thiroffer any argument on the constitutionality of the doctrine. teen distriots, and you will give annually to each congresYet I must be permitted to doubt that any such power, sional district fifty-six thousand dollars. By this division, under these words, was intended by the framers of the New York, with her thirty-four members, would be entitled constitution to be given to Congress. The plan and ob- annually to two millions of dollars. Pennsylvania, with vious meaning of that clause is that which is yearly ex- her twenty-four members, to one million four hundred and ercised by Congress—the establishment of post routes on forty-four thousand. Virginia, with her twenty-two memroads erected and made by the people, and on which, for bers
, to one million two hundred and thirty-two thousand. public convenience, it is thought necessary to transport the Will any course of legislation here give to these States mail
. In the remarks I have made, I have endeavored to a fair proportion of the surplus funds by way of internal show, to the committee the inexpediency of Congress ex. improvement! Certainly not. This miserable pittance to ercising all the powers which, by construction or impli- New York of a road from Buffalo to the State line of cation, are claimed as belonging to this Government; and Pennsylvania, is but a sorry return for the four millions particularly as such exercise affects the rights and interests she pays annually into your treasury: As it is the first,
of the States. As a further 'illustration of my views, 1 so for many years it will be the last boon that will be of en will suppose my colleague, who resides at Buffalo, to offer fered for her two millious annual surplus in your treasury. i to this House the following resolution :
Give to New York, to be applied by her legislature, Resolved, That the Committee on the Post Office and one-balf of her just proportion of this surplus fund. Let * Post Roads be instructed to inquire into the expediency it be placed in the treasury of her owu State, and in ten # of establishing a post route from Buffalo to Albany, by the years she will extend the blessings of her own system of way of the Erie capal.”
improvement to every village and bamlet in her State, It is referred to the committee, at the head of which is and gladden the hearts of her people; it will be expended the honorable gentleman from Kentucky. Congress baving in useful works, in pational objects, and promote the genethe right to establish post offices and post roads, and ral welfare of the people.' waters navigable or made navigable, being considered I come now to the question of the utility of this giganhighways, the reasoning follows the premises, that Con- tic project of a grand land communication from Buffalo gress has the power to establish a mail route upon the Erie to New Orleans, and must say that, to my mind, it is the
cadal. It has been decided that the Hudson "river is an most extravagant and visionary one that ever was presentthe arm of the sea, and jurisdiction has been so far extended ed to the deliberate judgment of a representative assembly. ting over the waters of New York, as to establish ports of entry It is to be made through the interior of the country, fif
on the western lakes, the Erie canal connecting the tide teen hundred miles in length, and from its commenceof waters of the Hudson with the waters of Lake Erie ; it, ment at Buffalo, the first seaboard, the first commercial be therefore, becomes necessary that commerce should be place it touches is the city of Washington, a distance of sense carried on between the States. A law is passed, in obe- some four hundred miles. Can any man believe that the
dience to the resolution; and a boat is started at Albany, trade from Buffalo, or any part of New York, will be dija on the tide waters, with the “ United States' mail,” in capi- verted from the city of New York by this road I or will til tals, upon her stern. She approaches the first lock, and Pennsylvania or Maryland prefer Washington for a mar
is hailed "what boat is that?” “ The Congress of the ket to their own Philadelphia and Baltimore i Look to the # United States." * Who is her commander ?" General improvements of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland,
Welfare." "What is the object of her voyage ?" Re- their railroads and canals, and the most visionary must be egulating commerce among the several States and with the satisfied that this contemplated road cannot be used for i Ladian tribes, transporting the United States mail
, and commercial purposes. It is said, by its friends, that it will conveying troops to the northern lakes.” The collector be useful in time of war tof march troops to the frontiers.
would say, this canal is the property of the State of New I trust we shall not need it for that purpose for many and York; it was made by the exertions of her own citizens years to come; and if we should, Now York desires
without any foreign aid, and you cannot pass without the troops from Washington to defend her frontier. No, sir, · Payment of toll. To which “General Welfare" would there is no beneficial purpose for which this road can be reply that Congress has power to regulate commerce and used; it will be a lasting monument of a nation's folly, and establish post offices and post roads ; a post route has been receive the worst curse which, an Irishman can bestow established on this canal, and you will not presume to in upon his enemy—the grass will grow upon its surface. terrupt the United States' mail
. The people of New York Again. What is to become of the road after it is made ? is look to the law for protection and decision of all disputed Do you intend to place toll gates upon it? That power en claims. On the return of “ General Welfare,” he is ar- bas not yet been assumed upon your Cumberland road. en rested in our State courts. I will not trouble the com- But suppose you should assume jurisdiction over State soil,
H. or R.)
Buffalo and New Orleans Road,
(APRIL 1, 1830.
and scatter your toll gatherers over the States; what will zeal with which its friends are hurried forward. Reluc you receive ? Not one per cent. You cannot keep it in tant as I have been to engage in this discussion, I could not repair by tolls. What next? The Government must ap- sit here quietly, and in silence see the screws turned upon propriate, appually, one million of dollars to repair it. By the people. I could not see burdens unjustly and unwar the bill fifteen hundred dollars per mile are appropriated; rantably imposed upon my constituente, without protesting but no friend of it will pretend that is all that will be asked. against it. Let the faith of the nation be pledged for its construction, I consider this system of legislation cruel, unjust, and and you will be required, annually, to appropriate money oppressive. I consider it as fraught with the most dan for its completion, until it will cost as many thousands as geroua tendency, and as leading to the most disastrous hundreds are now asked. Will the States, through which consequences. My feelings are such, that I cannot repress it passes, take it off your hands, and keep it in repair ? No. them when I see the fruits of honest industry about to be The States know it will not yield revenue sufficient to do coined into dollars and cents, and squandered by a profli 50. They will tell you it is your own sickly baptling, and gate band upon projects which are useless and idle. ! your faith is pledged to support it.
have prepared an amendment to this bill, which I intend It has been said out of this ball, that this is a part of the to offer at a proper time, if the motion to strike out the " American system;" and I have been urged, as a frievd to first section does not prevail. If gentlemen are deterthat system, to support this bill. It is called the pioneermined to force the bill through, right or wrong—if they bill, in the train of which numerous others are to follow. are determined to plunder the treasury, and pursue a
If by the “ Am can system” is meant a system of laws course of public rapine, I feel anxious that the State of which shall be for the benefit of the American people, New York should not participate in the disgrace. I beand, as nearly as may be, operate equally and justly, then lieve this is the first attempt of this Government to force am lits friend and advocate; but if by the system is meant her system of road-making into that State. The small that I am bound to support every wild and visionary road section of this road which is to be located within ber limits, project that the imaginations of gentlemen bere or else appears to be intended as an offer of earnest-money, to where may present to the consideration of Congress, I bind her to the unballowed compact. I protest against must be permitted to dissent, and enter my protest. As a the whole system, and particularly against this attempt to member of the Committee on Manufactures, I cordially contaminate that State. Should this bill pass in its present agree to the resolution submitted to the House, “that it shape, I should consider the intrusion into our territory was inexpedient at this time to revise the tariff law of as a bane to our prosperity, a poison to our happiness, and 1828.” I then believed, and now believe, that justice to the destruction of our tranquillity. As soon as an opporthe manufacturers and sound policy required the suppres- tunity shall offer, I will move to amend the bill by striking sion of further legislation at this time. There are, how. out the words “ Buffalo, in the State of New York," and ever, articles which bave become necessaries of life from inserting the northern boundary of the State of Penntheir common use, such as tea, coffee, silk, &c., which are sylvania." This amendment would exclude New York not grown or manufactured in this country, or, if so, to a from the bill and from its contamination. We ask not, nor very limited extent, and not interfering with the domestic do we need, your aid in the construction of our roads and industry of the nation. By reducing the duties on the canals. We desire you to confine yourself to your proper articles I have mentioned, you will relieve the people from sphere of legislation, and not to interfere with the internal several millions of indirect taxation, and retain in your regulations of our State. We will willingly and cheerfully treasury more than sufficient to meet the current expenses pay all the taxes and bear all the burdens which you may of the Government.
constitutionally impose upon us : we will not rebel-we There are two situations in which Governments, like jo- will raise po insurrection—we will not threaten a dissoludividuals, are frequently unjust: in adversity, with a heavy tion of the Union; but when you oppress us by your undebt hanging over them, and in prosperity, suddenly and just, unauthor and partial legislation, we will tell you unexpectedly acquired; in the one case, pressed to dis- of it. We will boldly and fearlessly protest against your charge claims out of their power to meet, they prevari- encroachments, and we will not withhold our remonstranees cate, and refuse justice when it is due; in the other, their when you extend the arm of oppression over us. We will funds are profusely squandered and their money lavished tell you of our wrongs; as an independent State, we will upon unimportant and useless objects. The latter is the assert our rights; and we will never bang about your halls present situation of this Government. You have an over- of legislation, in the character of supplicants and beggara, flowing treasury, and you know not what to do with your watching for the crumbs that may fall from your table. surplus funds. Now, sir, as I am one of those who do not Following the example of gentlemen who have preconsider a national debt to be a pational blessing, I propose ceded me in opposition to this bill
, I will refrain from disto discharge your national debt-pay off every sbilling-cussing the constitutional power of this Goveroment over take up the last bond; it will be the brightest star in the the subject of internal improvement. The arguments galaxy of your renowc. Exhibit to the world the bright upon that subject have been worn thread-bare; they have example of a nation, not sixty years old, having passed been again and again repeated; the subject has been exthrough two expensive and lengthy wars, and free of debt. hausted in the hands of abler men, and I feel myself inWhen that shall be accomplished, (and we are assured it competent to shed additional light upon the question. The will be in a fewlyears,) our manufacturers will have acquired omission to discuss the constitutional question in this destrength sufficient to compete with their foreign opponents, bate appears to have been assumed by the friends of the and will themselves upite in the propriety of a gradual bill as the giving of a cognovit to their claim of constitubut certain reduction of duties until the revenue shall only tional power. Sir, I wish those gentlemen expressly to be equal to the necessities of the Government, and the understand me as not yielding my assent to their constitupeople relieved from heavy burdens.
tional doctrines. I wish them to understand that I sigo no Mr. ANGEL said it was with great diffidence he rose to cognovit to their unfounded claim, but that I insist that if address the committee. It was his first attempt to speak this bill becomes a law, that law will be the offspring of upon that floor, and it was with much difficulty he had usurped authority. raised his courage to the speaking point. We have been Gentlemen have said that Congress, by its enactments, several days (said Mr. A.) engaged in the discussion of has settled the constitutional power of the Government in this bill. i have listened with strict and painful attention relation to internal improvements. Can Congress confer to the arguments urged in favor of its passage. I have a new power? Can Congress rule the constitution! That witnessed, with astonishment and with alarm, the ardent linstrument was designed to control the powers of Cous
APRIL 1, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(H. OF R.
gress. Can one act of usurpation be pleaded as authority of the work. From the description given of the country to justify the commission of another ? No. The constitu- over which the road is to pass, the streams that intersect tion remains what it was in the beginning-it is the same, its course, the swamps and the quagmires which lie in its now that it was at the time of its ratification by the States. way, it is evident that the cost per mile will far exceed It remains unaltered, nor can it be altered but by the con the sum per mile expended upon the Cumberland road. sent of three-fourths of the States. For that instrument The length of the Cumberland road now comple ed falls I entertain the bigbest veneration. I will not suffer my- short of one-sixth the distance embraced by the roud under self to trample upon its authority. Each infraction of its consideration, and our statutes tell us that upwards of provisions by Congress, is a sigoal for the downfall of our three millions bave been expended upon that work. liberties.
This two and a half millions is to be taken from the This bill is entitled "a bill for constructing a road from avails of tbe revenue. Nearly one balf the revenue is Buffalo, in the State of New York, by the way of Wash collected at the city of New York: the citizens of that ington, to the city of New Orleans." 'When I look into State, by the covsumption of articles subject to duties, pay the provisions of this bill-when I see the stretch of au- about one-sixth part of the whole repenue. The approthority there attempted—when I consider the profligate priation in the bill will impose a tax of at least four buodred expenditure of money it proposes—when I reflect upon thousand dollars upon the State of New York, which must the burden it casts upon the people when I view its par- be taken from the pockets of her citizens. The fruit of tiality, its cruelty, its injustice, and its usurpation, and their labor, under the screwing operations of this Governcompare all with the constitutional powers of this Government, must be taken from them, and expended upon this ment, the title strikes me as being inappropriate. The title sublime and magoificent road; a road which they will neis wrong. It should be entitled "a bill' to construct a ver travel, and which, wbilst it forms a drain upon their road from the liberties of the country, by the way of Wash- purses, will never return a farthing into them. The pasington, to despotism."
sage of this bill will say to the citigens of New York, It is not a road which the interest of the country calls" pay four hundred thousand dollars as a tribute to our for; the public good does not require it. Gentlemeu have power, and prepare yourselves to meet future exactions of said it was necessary for the safe and easy transportation a similar character, when we see fit to make them." of the mail, for the marching of troops, for commercial io The sum to be extracted from the State of New York, tercourse, for the advancement of pational prosperity, and by this single appropriation, is sufficient iu amount to enthe promotion of the general welfare; but when you con- able that State, could sbe control it, to accomplish some of trast its advantages with the principles upon which it is to be her most useful and favorite plads of internal improvement, constructed, with the cost of its construction and perpetual and this is to be bartered away for a few miles of a great repairs, it looks more like a road to ruin than a roaul to ease pational road, cutting through a corner of her territory. and safety. I have an abhorrence to this species of legislation Let any gentleman look, for a moment, at the operation that I cannot overcome; it has grown out of long reflectiou of this scheme, and then tell me whether he will have the and a careful consideration of the subject. Its tendency is bardihood to ask a New Yorker to vote for this bill. No, pernicious; it begets collision and strife; it produces heart- sir, I will not violate the public trust reposed in me: I will burping and ill blood between different States and sections not prostitute my vote to the surrendering of the rights of of the Union. These effects do and will unavoidably at the state. I will resist this attempt to force the shackles tend it. If, in estimating the consequences, I have come upon her. Were this a work of utility, and did there exto an erroneous conclusion, I have to regret it. The cor- ist a reasonable prospect of its advancing the general wel. rectness of my conclusion appears to be supported by the fare, the hardship would not be so great; but I repeat sensitiveness manifested by gentlemen in this House when what my colleague (Mr. MONELL) has said, the project is ever this subject is agitated. Do we not see the warmth wild, visionary, idle, and useless. of feeling and heat of temper it elicits Its discussion A few years ago, the State of New York applied to this calls up the image of discord, and exhibits ap acrimony of Government for assistance in constructing her canal. Her feeling and temper, which spends itself in accusing invec- then contemplated work was of a national character; it tive and keen reply. It should be our business here to was no less than the connecting, by a navigable commuharmonize, and not to distract; we should avoid those sub-dication, of the waters of the great western lakes with jects which set in motion the discordant feelings of sec- the Hudsoni river, and uniting navigable waters extending tional interests. It should be our aim to strengthen the from the Atlantic two thousand miles into the interior. cord of union, and, by a kind and conciliating exercise of what was your answer to this application | Notwithstandour legislative functions, secure the confidence and attach- ing the important link this work was to form, notwithstandment of the people and of the States.
ing the increase of commerce it was to create, and notPartial appropriations beget jealousy and distrust, and withstanding the vast facilities it was to afford, you, in destroy confidence in Government. The people will not your walike and other operations, told her that you rest quietly under oppression, when they see the fruit of had not the constitutional power to appropriate the funds their hard earnings bestowed upon objects in which they of the nation to purposes of internal improvement. New have do interest, and which are in themselves worse than York was satisfied with your answer; she neither muruseless. They will complain—their attachments will be mured por complained. She had too much patriotalienated, and the federal power become odious. ism, and too just a sense of your limited authority, to
This bill appropriates fifteen hundred dollars per mile press you to a violation of that sacred compact which for the construction of this road; the length of the road is forms our bond of union. Taking you at your word, she great enough to swell the sum appropriated to two million believed you bad decided in good faith upon her applicafire hundred thousand dollars. This is but the beginning tion, and she believed that your decision would stand as a of the expenditure. This sum bears about the same pro- controlling precedent in all similar cases. Upon the faith portion to the ultimate cost of construction, repairs, &c.
, of this understanding, she resorted to her own energies, when the whole shall be completed, as the title page of a and, through a wise, prudent, and persevering policy, she book does to the whole volume. This two and a half mil- has accomplished ber graod design, and astonisbed the liops is but a single instalment, the payment of which is to be world by her success. She has taxed herself for this imrepeated year after year, by appropriation after appropria- provement: her owu resources have met the current extion, through a series of years, to terminate the Lord knows pense, and this Government has not been annoyed by begwhere. I bave not heard it contended, even by the friends of garly applications for her relief. Whilst she has been exthe bill, that the proposed appropriation will cover the cost pending twenty millions of dollars for these objects, and
H. OF R.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(APRIL 1, 1830.
resting upon her own means to extinguish the cost, you itself is any thing else rather than wisdom. I have but a have been lavishing the national funds upon interior pro- single additional view of this case to present to this comjects in other sections of the Union; the utility of all of which mittee. Sir, my constituents, together with the growers combined, will not compare with what sbe bas effected. of two-thirds of the whole exports of this Union, have reį Since the wisdom of this Government has fathomed the garded and do regard the proceedings of the present Condepths of its power, reversed its solemn decision, and en gress with much anxiety. "Upon their minds, the convictered the field of internal improvement, New York has tion that an unequal share of the public burdens is laid been undergoing a double taxation. She has met the de- on them, is deep rooted; it is an opinion fixed as fate, it has mands for her own improvements, and been cruelly com- been well and long examined; every fact and circumstance pelled to pay for the ope-sixth of yours. Accumulating belonging to it have been viewed and reviewed, patiently burdens oppress her ; she finds her hands tied, and ber trea- and diligently, and have been presented, here and elseBury exhausted. She is compelled to impose a direct tax where, in a light so clear, that, as it appears to me, noupon her citizens, to meet the current expenses of her Go- thing but the potent effect of real or supposed interest could vernment
, and to suspend the prosecution of some of her prevent the majority (to whom I now address myself) most favorite works. In this embarrassing state of her fi- from seeing it as it is. And though I may be truly told nances, and whilst deploring her want of means necessary that interest bas as binding an effect ou one side as the for the further prosecution of her favorite plans, you threat other, the very fact that we are arranged on different sides, en, in addition to your former exactions, to rifle ber of four according to our general occupations, proves the unequal hundred thousand dollars by this bill, and to perpetuate operation of our present revenue laws. The majority, I your oppression.
know, call the protecting duties the American system, and Sir, I hope the motion to strike out the first section of say it is good; and for them it may seem so. I shall not this bill will prevail : if it does not, I will offer the amend- enter the lists against their formed, their nourished opinment I mentioned, at the earliest opportunity.
ioos, based as they are on apparent interest; it would be a As a representative from the State of New York, I pro- bopeless task indeed.' But I may, I think, safely ask this test against the power of this Government to pass this bill committee to believe, that, in the opinion of the whole into a law. I protest against its partiality, and against its southern country, (except the sugar planters,) they are prodigal waste of the public treasure. New York has pa. unequally taxed; and I said that the movements of this tiently and quietly borne all the burdens you have cast Congress were regarded by them with deep solicitude ; upon her. Her attachment to the Union forbids the thought they looked, sir, with anxiety for the President's message ; of estranging herself from you. She asks you to return they had no right to expect from him an abandonment of to those principles which governed your councils in decid- the tariff principle; they knew, wben they voted for him, ing her application.
that his opinions were with the majority on that point ; If you have a surplus in your treasury, she asks you to they, therefore, did not expect him to recommend a sysapply it to the payment of your national debt, and, when tem of taxation, by which they would be required to pay that shall have been done, if a surplus still remain, she no more than their equal share of the public burdens ; asks you for a just and equal distribution.
but they did expect bim to recommend a modification of the Should you refuse this request, and continue your pre present law on that subject; they were not disappointed; sent system of legislation, regardless of her rights, to say they had a right to demand of him, and of you, that in this the least of it, she will take it most unkindly.
modification their interests should be regarded. Yes, sir, Mr. PETTIS now withdrew the motion which he made and that their opinions, too, should bave their due weight; some days ago, to strike out the enacting clause of the here, sir, the message is also as it should be : for the sake bill, having at first made it to enable geutlemen to discuss of harmony in our national councils, an abandonment of the general merits, free of the amendments proposed. the scheme of internal improvement is distinctly recom
Mr. CRAIG, of Virginia, regretted that the motion was mended. But the indications of the temper of the House withdrawn, as he thought it desirable to see whether on these two points are calculated to increase the anxiety there was a majority for the bill, before the amendments of the South to produce alarm in their minds. A bill to were taken up.
modify the tariff in the spirit of the message, was reportMr. STORRS, of New York, renewed the motion to ed by the Committee of Ways and Means. It was kicked strike out the enacting clause, and proceeded to offer his out with indignity by this House, and by most of the same reasons for being opposed to this bill, although now and voles ; a most alarming liberality in appropriations is obalways an advocate of the constitutional power of inter- servable. Shall the entire payment of the public debt nal improvement.
give us no relief? I beg the committee to pause, and think Mr. BOULDIN said, he had no prepared speech to make of this matter ; we have no hope for justice, we look dot on the subject; he had no note of what had been said on it for equality of taxation. This inequality we have borne, by others, but the deep interest felt by those who sent me and to be applied to the necessary expenses of Goverdhere, [said Mr. B.] in the question now under considera- ment) we will bear it so long as it is tolerable: nor will I tion-an interest felt by them in common with all the grow- attempt to mark the limits to which Virginia will go. ers of cotton, rice, and tobacco, in this Union, forbids that whatsoever can be done by heroic fortitude, all that can I should give, entirely, a silent vote. The evils, both mo- be dictated by love of this Union, by her clear percepral and political
, which must and will arise from carrying tion of ber deep interest in it, will be done. But, I pray the principle of this into practical effect, from executing a you, do not declare to her that the present inequality of general scheme of internal improvement, have been set taxation shall not only remain, as it respects the proporforth so clearly by my colleague, [Mr. BARBOUR] the in- tions, but shall be kept up, as it regards also its amount. expediency of the proposed measure proved by argu: It is not sufficient to answer that this inequality is imagiments so strong and clear, that nothing would be needed nary. The legislators of this land cannot wisely, they to exemplify, extend, or apply his views, were I able to cannot safely, disregard the deliberate, settled opinions of execute such a task. And as it regards the road now pro- the growers of two-thirds of its exports. This interest is posed, from Buffalo, by the way of Washington, to New too powerful in wealth, numbers and talents, to be thus treatOrleans, if anything had been wanting to prove its inutili- ed. I ask not, I do not insinuate, that the decision of this questy, I had almost said its absurdity, when compared with tion is to be left to them. No, sir, this whole subject is to be its cost, the same has been most amply supplied by the weighed and decided by the majority, who feel not the integentleman from New York, (Mr. STORRS) who, though a rest, and partake pot of the opinions of the population allud. friend to the principle of the bill, proves that the measure) ed to. I ask that majority, in framing their own opinions,
APRIL 1, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[H. of R.
to spread out this whole country before their miod's eye. ope compact whole, and regards not the opinions, day, You know that sore restlessness exists, if you will not, and the prejudices of large compact minorities, knows nothink you cannot appease it. It is unwise, it is unsafe, to thing of the spirit in which the constitution was formed, or increase it. The arguments which the committee have the practical administration by which our Union, under it, heard from others, prove clearly that this road could get can be preserved. but few votes in its favor, upon a simple comparison Mr. W. B. SHEPARD said, he did not rise at that late public and general utility with its cost. The abstract bour, with any desire of entering fully into the discussion principle of internal improvement with its connexion with of the subject before the committee. I have said Mr. S.] the American system (as it is called) is to carry the bill, if no such uncharitable intention ; I merely wish to explain carried at all. Should this bill pass, I should regard it as the reasons why I should give the vote I intend to do on conclusive that the purpose of this Government, to keep this occasion. And this, sir, would be unbecessary; but, the present grinding oppression of the South up to its representing the section of country, and holding the opipresent amount, is fixed." I have an awful feeling on this nions which I do, my motives might otherwise be misunder. point. I know well the opinions of my own constituents, stood. Perhaps in the course of my observations I may and we all know that one common feeling, on this subject, be induced to take a short excursion along this road, with pervades the whole southern country. They cannot, for the view of picking up a few stragglers by the way side. one moment, be duped into the belief that the inequality This subject has been discussed upon two grounds—its they are subjected to, is, under any circumstances, to be constitutionality and its utility. I had hoped, sir, after made to them by the disbursements of the Government. the abandonment of the constitutional ground of objection The best, the most they could hope for, under the opera- by the honorable gentleman from Virginia, we should tion of this internal improvement system, is an effect some- have taken the question as settled, that the General Gotimes seen in the conduct of a spectator, who, finding vernment bave the right to prosecute works of improvethat the stock on band has fallen in price, goes on pur- ment within the bounds of the several States. chasing on a falling market, whereby he lowers the ave [Here Mr. BARBOUR interrupted Mr. S., and denied rage, but increases his loss. So long, therefore, as the be bad abandoned that ground.) southern country pays two dollars tax for every one dol I have no intention of roaming over the numerous realar of that tax that is paid into the treasury, will it be plain sods why the General Government has this power; but to them that, even on an equal application of the revenue would merely observe, that it is very surprising to see to all parts of the Union, they will be losers one hundred gentlemen denying this power, who admit other construcper cento; but they know they are to lose more. They lions of a more evil or dangerous tendency. It is the pracbave no warrant for the belief, that those who now see tice of those who advocate this restrictive construction of not that they are unequally taxed, will ever be less une the constitution, to appeal to Mr. Jefferson as to a pure qual in the application of the proceeds. Should any thiog fountain of truth, undefiled; they catch at the slightest be done in their country, under the name of internal im- word which has fallen from him, and regard it as an inprovement, they well do know that, for every dollar thus controvertible political axiom. And yet, sir, the most rereceived, they will pay five; and, from the manner such markable instance of constructive power ever assumed by works must and will be executed, their own contributions this Government was under bis administration, and by bis to the particular work itself will exceed its value. But, recommendation. I mean the purchase of Louisiana. I sir, if this bill passes, they see not in it a disposition to give would ask those who rely on this authority for the correct them one dollar in five of their own money. They can construction of the constitution, to show me the clause not regard the money as appropriated to open the road. which gave the power of purchasing Louisiana to the GeNo, sir; they will believe that the road is to be opened to neral Government; and, if they cannot find it expressed appropriate the money. I shall say nothing of the want totidem verbis, will they stand up on this floor and conof lawful power which should now hold our hand. Rea- demn that purchase! Will they condemn an act which sops, good, for declining to argue that question here, were brought a new world into existence, and opened the ferstated in the opening of the debate. But the deep, the tile and prosperous West to the industry and enterprise settled opinion of the South, that they are oppressed, be of our fellow-citizens? I mention this fact, with no intencomes a matter of more serious consequences, when you tion of derogating from the well-earned fyme of Mr. Jeftake into view their equally settled opinion, that the op. ferson, but as an instance of his practical construction of pression arises from the exertion of unauthorized power the constitution. If his opinion changed, I know of no reain the manner the taxes are laid. This mode of continu son why we should wander, even with the divine Plato. ing these taxes, or increasing them, is also by them re- It is unnecessary to go very remotely back for precedents garded as unconstitutional. The state of feeling and of of constructive powers-we can find them sufficiently duopinion thus entertained by the South, I wish taken up merous by daily observation in this House. It bas dot and considered as a substantive argument in itself, uncon- been many days since we construed two “ little words' nected with the idea of its being well or ill founded. You into a statute of Virginia, in order to eject one member cannot say it is capricious ; you cannot say it is entitled to from bis seat, and put another one in it. And for this we do respect ; the opinion has been long fixed, it is identified bad the efficient aid of the honorable gentleman from Virwith the soil; it is now, and alwaye has been, the delibe- ginia, who spoke so feelingly against this bill. I followrate conviction of many of the clearest heads and sound-ed bis example; for I thought his construction the right est hearts of this or any other country. It pervades a one, although the reasons for it would not be entirely satislarge, a powerful section of country, marked out by natu: factory to a plain man, who understands words by their ral boundaries. The lawgiver who acts in contempt or dis- apparent meapings. The truth is, the constitution of the regard of opioions, thus situated, acts unwisely; he treads on United States was intended to save the country from midanger's giddy brink. Mr. Jefferson is often cited as authori- sery and aparchy. It is a grant of enumerated powers ; ty here on all sides; the fixed opinion of New England caused powers which could not be very rigidly or strictly defined. him to give up the embargo. The opinion of Massachusetts The wants of a great and growing nation could not be an· was not more firmly or warmly set against the embar- ticipated or imagined ; and so long as the exercise of those go, than is that of the whole South against the tariff, and powers tends to the general welfare and prosperity, they this mode of continuing or increasing it. Our federative answer the great end for which they were designed. It system is supposed to be wisely contrived to secure as is immaterial what set of politicians are called to the admuch of energy as is consistent with the preservation of ministration of this Government--they will find themselves liberty ; but, sir, the lawgiver who acts on these States as ) compelled to adopt the construction now contended for.