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(April 23, 1836.
of the public money in their possession, with private the land bill would not have been greater than those deposites to the amount of ten or twelve millions more, now existing? He was nol, however, prepared at this with a circulation of twenty-five millions, they have time to say io the Senator from South Carolina whether about twelve or fifteen inillions of actual cash means the adoption of the measure before them would or wouki ready at any time to meet it; not more than one dollar to not injuriously affect the new States. He did not beevery six of their debts.
lieve it would have the effect to prevent speculation, The last catastrophe, the final crush of these banks, it though it might affect many of the cultivators who puris still in the power of Congress to avert. If the public chased in small quantities. This, however, was an im. funds be drawn gradually, but constantly, from its un portant measure; and they ought to be in possession of safe depositories, and divided among the States, though ihe fullest information before they acted on it. His de. a part of the money may be for many years, perhaps sire was that it might be inquired into by one of the for ever, unavailable, yet we may save the country committees of that body; and if, after investigation, it from the calamily which now threatens her. On this should be found that the measure would be productive subject, the gentlemen who brought the mischief upon of the benefits that had been predicted, why, it would us, and who are still urging it to its consummation, be proper to adopt it. if, on the contrary, it should advise us to be silent, to speak in whispers, lest a dis- be found that it would produce embarrassment to the closure of the true situation of things should bring about bonafide purchasers, it would be rejected. the crisis. They caution us not to arouse the sleep Mr. K. 'then submitted the following amendment: walker, whom they have led to and left upon the brink Strike out all after “Resolved,” and insert, "that the of the cliff, lest, when his eyes are opened, his head Committee on Finance be instructed to inquire into the reel, and he topple into the abyss below.
expediency of prohibiting the receipt, in payment for A word as to this resolution. I see its full bearing public lands, of any thing but gold and silver, after the and effect, or I think I see it, but I am not prepared to day of;thus changing the character of the vote for or against it, for I do not yet know precisely resolution from that of an order to bring in a bill to one the situation in which the western banks and the west of mere inquiry as to the expediency of doing so. ern currency are placed. I presented to the Senate, Mr. SHEPLEY said it was with extreme reluctance several days ago, a circular of the Clinton Bank in Co. that he said a word at that time. He had imposed silence lumbus, one of the three deposite banks in Ohio, claim- upon binself upon personal considerations; but he could ing to themselves, in fact exercising, a portion of the not permit the remarks of the Senator from Ohio (Mr. legislative power of Congress, requiring the other banks Ewing] to pass without notice, lest his silence might be of the State, on pain of the discredit of their notes, to pay supposed to admit their accuracy. I do think (said Mr. a price for permitting them to be received in payment s.) that he is greatly in error if he supposes that the for public lands; and on my motion you sent a resolution prediction was not made that the Treasury would be to the Secretary of the Treasury, inquiring of him unable to meet the just demands upon it. I cannot miswhether he had vested this power in any of the deposite take the import of the expressions which I heard two banks. To this we have as yet received no answer; and, years since upon this floor. They were too deeply inuntil that answer come, I am not prepared to vote on teresting; they were too forcibly impressed upon my this resolution. If that answer tell us that the people of mind to allow me to do so. I do not profess to use the the West are subject and are to continue subject to this language, but only to convey the idea, ihen so frequentmiserable petty tyranny, and thai all their financial ly and emphatically exhibited, that we were to have an operations are to be placed under such control, I will empty Treasury. The Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. resort to almost any measure, however dangerous, to WEBSTER] imputes the evils of the currency, and the rescue them from such degrading and vexatious imposi. Auctuations and speculations in business, to the refusal tion. I hope the resolution will lie over until the Secre. to renew the charter of the Bank of the United States. tary's answer is received.
Sir, (said Mr. S.,}I allege that these evils have been Mr. CALHOUN observed that he should be very occasioned by the action of that very bank, or at least much governed in the vote he should give on this occa have been greatly aggravated by it. We need only rea sion by the opinions of gentlemen coming from the new cur to the history of the last five or fourteen years to be States, where the public lands were. He saw a great satisfied of it. many advantages that would result from the measure, In 1831 the loans of the bank to the people were, if and particularly in the check it would give to that he recollected rightly, about forty-two millions. The spirit of speculation by which bank rags were given in next year they were raised to seventy millions. In 1834 exchange for the valuable public domain. If the gen. they had become reduced again to nearly forty millions; tlemen coming from the West were of opinion that and in 1835 they were again very bigh; and this year the measure would not affect the settlement and pros- reduced again. This was but the brief history of its perity of the new States, he would cheerfully give it bis operations for five years. It had been producing fluc support.
tuations in the money market, uncertainty in prices, and Mr. KING, of Alabama, said he did not intend to en. an insecurity in property, during the whole of that short ter into the discussion of this question, and would only period. The direci tendency of such a course was subremark that gentlemen seemed to liave travelled out of versive of honest industry, of regular business, and their way to discuss questions long since gone by, either breaking up all calculation for future action. No deto show that distress and ruin had not taken place, or pendence could be placed upon any state of things, that it had resulted from certain causes which were ap- present or past; for a new change is hastened on to parent to them. Now, these questions were not to be break up all of regularity that might otherwise have settled there, but were to be settled by the people of been looked for. It was to these excesses of expansion the United States. Whether the vetoes of the President and depression of its loans, four times in five years, to had, as alleged by the gentleman from Massachusetts, the amount of many millions at each time, that he chargcaused the derangement of the currency, was a ques. ed the evils which they had experienced. These were tion which the people could decide as well, and proba- | the fruits, the blessed fruits, of a national bank. This, bly better than gentlemen on that foor. With regard the practical benefit of that mighty institution which to the superabundance of the Treasury, they all knew that it would not have occurred had the land bill passed; the country, and to pour out blessings upon ibe people.
was to regulate the currency and business operations of but the question was, whether the evils resulting from | Sir, (said Mr. S.,) I do not believe there has existed a
Arril 23, 1836.]
country iipon the face of the earth where the fluctua cal to a spirit of liberty, which he preferred to all the tions in the moneyed system have been as great, and the wealth and splendor of the great cities. Banks, railroads, changes as sudden, for any term of twenty years, as stock companies of every description, might be useful; they have been in this country during the twenty years' but he was opposed to them all, because, in his opinion, time that the charter of that bank has existed. The they were inconsistent with the true spirit of liberty. Stale banks might have contributed their share. He He repeated that he would give this measure his hearty was no apologist for those which had done so. When support if, in the opinion of the western gentlemen, it the United States Bank increased its loans by millions would not retard the settlement and prosperity of the upon millions, they had naturally pursued ihe same new States. course of increase; but, compared with the United Mr. CALHOUN agreed with the Senator from North States Bank, their excesses had been small; and he had Carolina as to the appointment of a select committee, never yet noticed a State bank that bad increased and and hoped that it would be appointed by the Chair, se. decreased its loans in the proportion of fifty per cent. lecting a majority from the new States. to that of the United States Bank. The United States In reply to the Senator from Connecticut, he would Bank had been the mischief-inaker, instead of the regio observe that, during the time of the pecuniary pressure, lator, in the moneyed concerns of the country. It had he said nothing, because he believed that it would be been the instrument for putting property up, and for temporary. He never did doubt that the removal of putting it down, at pleasure. It could change the rela. the deposites would produce the greatest distress, and tion of debtor and creditor, so that the creditor might the most disastrous consequences; but he always did not obtain more than half his debt; or the debtor might believe that there would be an excess in the Treasury. be compelled to pay double, by the great changes occa We make great mistakes in supposing that certain events sioned in the prices of property.
do not follow their causes, because they do not come at He was no more for schemes or projects than the Sen
In the ordinary course of Providence, causes and ator from Massachusetts. He was for adhering to prac. their consequences are frequently remote; but tbis was tical experience; and the experience which they had no reason for neglecting the caution, that the one neceshad taught them, that they should no more trust the sarily followed the other. destinies of their country to the machinations, the Aluc The great distress that pervaded the country, the tuations, the fictitious prosperity, and the fictitious ad- changes of property, and the derangement of the curversity, occasioned by the United States Bank. The rency-all these were seen and predicted; and the presSenator, two years ago, when the bank was calling in its ent majority were justly chargeable with them. He loans at the rate of from one to three millions a month, never had any thing to do with the Bank of the United justified that course, and regarded it as the necessary States, though he opposed the removal of the deposites, and proper duty of the bank to continue to call in its as leading to a ruinous derangement of the currency by loans until the end of its charter. He took occasion the unlimited use of State bank paper. Since that then to express the opinion that there was no necessity measure, one hundred millions had been added to the for it, and that it was done “designedly, unnecessarily, currency by these banks, which would not have been to compel obedience to the bank.” And what was the the case had there been a Bank of the United States to result? Soon after the adjournment of Congress, the control them. As to the superabundance of the Treas. bank, instead of following the course alleged to be ne ury, he had always foreseen it. Ever since the fatal cessary, extended its loans, and continued to extend tariff of 1828, he foresaw the evil, and his subsequent them, until the millions which it had called in were course, which had brought on him so much opprobrium, thrown out again. And now complaint was made against (he alluded to the proceedings of South Carolina in opthe State banks that they had done a little of what that position to the tariff,) was dictated by the knowledge bank had done much.
ihat this tariff would produce an overwhelming accumuIf the measure now before them could be adopted | lation of money in the Treasury, which ought never to without injury to the new States in the West, he was be there. There was a deep responsibility on those who disposed to vote for it; but upon that subject he was had caused these evils. But let us, said, he, not look to not sufficiently advised at the time to form an opinion. the past, but to the future. Let us apply what remedies It might do something towards protecting us from those are in our power; and, above all, let'us endeavor to great and sudden changes in our moneyed concerns prevent this noble domain, the public lands, from passwhich had marked their history for the last five years. ing out of our hands into those of speculators, in ex.
Mr. MANGUM rose, not for the purpose of prolong. change for worthless bank rags. His only desire was ing the discussion, but to suggest to the Senator from that ihe measure under consideration should be approved Alabama the expediency of referring the resolution to a of by the western gentlemen, and, if it was so, he should select committee, instead of the Committee on Finance. give it bis hearty support. This measure contemplated an important change in the Mr. PORTER said he could not agree in opinion with currency of the country, and he preferred that it should the honorable Senator from North Carolina. He was be left in the charge of its friends, who better under unwilling the party should have their full swing on the stood it. He was perfectly ready to vote for it, if it currency; certainly, it would be no more than practical came recommended by the gentlemen from the new justice they should, if they were to be the only sufferStates; and he was willing to do so, because he looked But the country would be the principal victim. It upon it to be a remedy against speculations in the pub was said by the greatest of English statesmen, (Lord lic lands, and because it might possibly bring about a Chatham,) that public credil was like the sensitive sounder state in the circulating medium. He thought plani-touch it, and it dies; that public credit mainly the present debate an unprofitable one. All this bandy- rested on a sound and unfluctuating currency. The ing of reproaches tended to no good; they had better tendency of the resolution moved by the Senator from set about applying some remedy to the evils which all Missouri was to produce a great and sudden change in acknowledged to exist, than to waste time in criminating it. He (Mr. P.) thought that such an alteration, in these each other. He had taken no part in this unprofitable times of inordinate expansion, would produce a fatal discussion, because his opinions were so primitive that shock on the whole commerce and trade of the republic, he almost feared to express them, lest they should be He believed its influence would not be alone confined to scouted at. They might be chimeras; but he believed the western States; it would extend over the whole that all these wealthy corporate institutions were inimi. | Union; and he therefore saw no reason for selecting the
[April 23, 1836.
committee solely from western members. The amount was entirely unsound; and it could not be restored in a of the sales of public land last year was fifteen millions; day or week. It is the work of years to restore a healthy the whole specie in the country forty-five millions. This action to a depraved currency: all hasty and great specie, as we all know, was, or ought to be, the great changes only increase the evil. Under any management, basis on which banks discounted and made issue of therefore, the institution could not have accomplished paper. To subtract such a sum from their vaults, de such a great object at once. He, (Mr. P.,) however, posite it in land offices, or keep it in transitu between believed that the affairs of the bank were not wisely ile several points where it might be required for Gov. conducted on its first organization. The fatal spirit ernment uses, must necessarily produce an immense of speculation which had seized the whole community contraction in discounts, of a sum not less than thirty at ihe close of the late war, had full possession of the millions. Such a change, at this moment, would be minds of that portion of it which were first selected absolutely fatal to public credit, and must prove ruinous to administer the bank, and the pernicious effects of to the community.
their wildness were early seen in a derangement of its Mr. P. observed that it had been said it was im- concerns, and a depreciation of the value of its stock. proper to make the subject of our currency the subject It soon, however, righted itself, and justified public ex. of conversation and debate here, as the discussion only pectation. Institutions of this kind, from their immense tended to bring on the evil which all wished to avoid. capital, are always able to command the highest talents He did not, however, think so. It was here that, if there and purest virtue for the administration of their conwas any prospect of the mischief correcting itself, it
The bank called them to its service; and from would be better to look quietly at its workings, and the period Mr. Cheves was placed at its head to the await the return of sober and correct action by the close of its affairs under the direction of Mr. Biddle, it State banks. But the bistory of the past, and a slight fully and faithfully accomplished the purposes of its cre. knowledge of the strong principle of self-interest, which ation. Without referring to detailed statements to sus. was ever active, and often blind, forbade any such hope. tain the assertion, Mr. P. said he would first bring Nothing could avert the evil but a wide-spread convice under the notice of the Senate the state of our currency tion of the dangers which awaited us. The public mind at two periods--the one immediately after the bank beought to be instructed of the present state of things, and gan to exercise its wholesome authority over State emistheir tendency. The mass of ihe community were sound sions, the other at the period when it was assailed by in their principles on this as on all other questions; and the Executive in 1820 and 1830. At the first mentionit was our duty to warn them against the delusive ed epoch, according to the account laid on our tables schemes and wild projects by which the cunning and this year by the Secretary of the Treasury, the circulathe speculating part of society were striving to convert tion of the United States was $44,863,344; at the last the fruits of the labors of the industrious portion of it mentioned, $61,323,898, showing merely an increase of into their unclean pockets. Mr. P. said he almost de. between sixteen and seventeen millions in ten years; an spaired of a correction of the evil, yet he still hoped for increase which every one must admit was but justly proits alleviation. If the State banks would only look at portioned by the increase of our wealth and population their permanent interest, instead of immediate advan-during this space of time. I doubt (said Mr. P.) if the tage; and would act on the principle that they must history of the world can show any thing, which more finally be the victims of an excessive issue of their notes, strikingly illustrates sound management ihan this; and and consequent total derangement of the money circula- the recollections we all have of the steady and progrestion of the country, things might return to a much bet. sive improvement of the country during ihe period just ter state than they are now in; though nothing like se stated, its absence from all sur'den changes, prove tricurity could, he admitted, be found, unless in a system umphantly how well the system worked. which enabled the federal Government to regulate a Since the year 1830, however, our circulation has machine which had a constant tendency towards de doubled. The Senator from Maine says this increase is rangement.
due to it, and to it alone; at one time increasing its disReference (said Mr. P.) had been made in debate to counts, and at another time reducing them; and now the the situation of our currency previous to the expiration distress is owing to its contractions. If, said Mr. P., the of the charter of the late United States Bank. The bank is now calling in and husbanding its resources, as contrast was most humiliating; but gentlemen on the the Senator states, while, at the same time, the circulaother side need not expect that it would not be frequent. ting medium is increasing, it is not easy to see how his ly presented to their contemplation. With our impres- conclusion follows the premises he professes to base it sions, we should be faithless to our trust if we did not, on. I believe, however, (said Mr. P.,) that all the changes on all proper occasions, place it before the eye of the made by the bank during the four years' war waged American people. The cause of our present evils, and against it were only such as were forced on it by the the proper remedy for them, are best found in the con. wild and furious attacks constantly made on the institutemplation of the past. There could not be a doubt tion, and the uncertainty which they naturally produced that if the United States Bank had been rechartered, we
in all financial operations. should be in a far different and better situation than we One word, Mr. P. said, before he concluded, in relation are now placed in. It was with great surprise (Mr. P. to the hard-money currency wbich the Senator from suid) that he had heard the Senator from Maine charge Missouri was laboring to introduce. He (Mr.P.) did not on the bank that it had been the means of deranging believe it was possible to introduce it; and if we could our currency during the whole time it was in existence: be brought back to it, he doubted its utility. It could nay, more, that it was to it we now owed its unsettled not be disguised that the system, though the safest, was condition. He wished the Senator had given us his data not that best adapted to the wants of a commercial for these assertions: he should have preferred facts to people. The two most eminently commercial of all declamation on a question of this kind. Mr. P. said nations, England and the United States, had used, as a that the knowledge he possessed of the conduct of that means for becoming so, a paper circulation. Gold and institution bad led bim to a totally different conclusion. silver currency necessarily wanted the capacity of extenThe Senator had said that, for the first four years after sion, which was almost indispensable, to meet the fuc. its establishment, it had totally failed to regulate the tuations to which commerce was inevitably subject; and circulating medium of the country. Nothing was they could not be expanded to supply the wants of a more true. It was created at a time when that medium I country which, every twenty-five years, was doubling its
April 25, 1836.)
Slavery in Arkansas-- Navy Bill.
population, and more than quadrupling its wealth. them that, in presenting their memorial, he should feel should find, it was true, in a gold and silver currency, a it to be his duty to state these facts to the Senate. With complete exemption from the evils to which paper this course on his part they were satisfied, and still con. circulation was subject; but we would lose by it the tinued their request that he might present the memorial. immense advantages which that circulation conferred; He now did so with great pleasure. He hoped it might the energy it imparted; the enterprise it fostered and be received by the Senate with all the respect it so highly sustained. To it, even in its unhealthy and ill-regulated ) deserved. He asked that it might be read; and as the action, Mr. P. firmly believed, we are in a great meas. question of the admission of Arkansas was no longer beure indebted for an unmatched progress in private fore us, he moved that it might be laid upon the table. wealth and public improvements of all kinds, during the The memorial was accordingly read, and was ordered last half century. He thought a well-regulated paper to be laid upon the table. currency the best adapted to the condition of ibis grow
NAVY BILL. ing country. Experience had shown us we could regu. late it; and he trusted he would live to see the day when The Senate proceeded to the consideration of the bill it would be again well regulated. The habits of our making appropriations for the support of the navy fur citizens being now accustomed to it, he believed it would the year 1836; and the amendments reported by the be almost impossible to change them. And if we could Committee on Naval Affairs being read, change them, that change could not be brought about
Mr. WHITE said he would be glad if some member by laws making gold and silver only a tender in the of the committee would explain the objects of these fiscal transactions of the general Government, because amendments, and why so large an increase of the approthe still greater amount of private commerce would priations made by the House was deemed necessary by continue to be carried on in paper, and the State banks
them. had a constant interest to take up the specie, and substi (The amendments increased the appropriations of the tute their paper in its place. He was willing, however, Hlouse nearly two millions of dollars.] the subject should receive consideration, provided the Mr. SOUTHARD explained that the increase of the opinion of Congress could be at once obtained on it. appropriations, particularly the largest increase, (five He believed that every member of this body had his hundred and seventy thousand one hundred and sixty opinion on this subject made up, and was prepared to dollars,) was for keeping a greater number of vessels vote on it.
afloat than was recommended by the Executire at the On motion of Mr. MOORE,
commencement of the session, thereby incurring a great The Senate then adjourned.
additional expense for the pay and subsistence of the
officers and seamen. The increase of this item of ex. MONDAY, APRIL 25.
penditure had been recommended in a communication
received from the Navy Department, since the receipt SLAVERY IN ARKANSAS.
of the President's message at the opening of the session. Mr. BUCHANAN presented a petition from the So. It was also contemplated by the committee to employ ciety of Friends in Philadelphia; on the presentation of four steam vessels for the defence of the coasts, and to which he addressed the Senate to the following effect: fit up three of the ships of the line, to be used as re
Mr. B. said he rose to present the memorial of the ceiving ships at each of the three navy yards, at Boston, yearly meeting of the religious Society of Friends, New York, and Norfolk; but so far completed as to be which had been recently held in the city of Philadelphia, in a situation to be fitted for sea at a very short notice, remonstrating against the admission of Arkansas into the should the defence of the country require it. The other Union, whilst a provision remained in her constitution increased appropriations were for dry docks, completing which admits of and may perpetuate slavery. This a steain vessel, a navy hospital, and a powder magazine yearly meeting embraced within its jurisdiction the at Boston and New York, and for the purchase of sites greater part of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the whole and the erection of barracks at Brooklyn, Gosport, and of the State of Delaware, and the Eastern Shore of Ma Pensacola, not provided for by the House of Representaryland. The language of this memorial was perfectly tives. respectful. Indeed, it could not be otherwise, consid Mr. HILL said the amendments proposed by the Comering the source from which it emanated. It breatlied mittee on Naval Affairs in the Senate provided for an adthroughout the pure and Christian spirit which bad al dition to the bill as it had passed the House of nearly two ways animated the Society of Friends; and although he millions of dollars. It added simply to the pay of offidid not concur with them in opinion, their memorial was cers and seamen of the navy, more than half a million. entitled to be received with great respect.
He was unable to divine why this great addition to the When the highly respectable committee which had navy expenditures was now to be made. When the bill chargeof this memorial called upon bim this morning, was first taken up by the House of Representatives, our and requested him to present it to the Senate, he had foreign affairs, in a highly critical state, seemed to refelt it to be his duty to inform them in what relation he quire an increased expenditure, and the bill had passed stood to the question. He stated to thein that he had the House, making considerable increase. Yet this was been requested by the Delegate from Arkansas to take not enough. The chairman of the Naval Committee, charge of the application of that Territory to be admitted (Mr. SOUTHARD,] who a few days ago made a speech in into the Union, and that he had cheerfully taken upon favor of distributing among the several States twenty. himself the performance of this duty. He also read to seven millions of dollars, now recommends an addition them the 8th section of the act of Congress of 6th of other millions to the naval appropriation. How genMarch, 1820, containing the famous Missouri compro tlemen can vote for these extravagant, these uncalled. mise; and informed them that the whole Territory of for appropriations, at the same time they vote to disArkansas was south of the parallel of 36 degrees and a tribute the surplus, he (Mr. H.) would not attempt to half of north latitude; and that he regarded this com explain. lle was anxious to see who of this body were promise, considering the exciting and alarming circum. in favor of these appropriations; he wished the ayes and stances under which it was made, and the dangers to the noes to be placed on the journal on the principal amend. existence of the Union which it had removed, to be al. ments proposed by the Naval Committee. It was indeed most as sacred as a constitutional provision. That there extraordinary that the Executive should now recom. miglit be no mistake on the subjeci, he had also informed mend these increased expenditures over and above what
[Arril 25, 1836.
was recommended by the Executive three months ago, purchase by the United States. He believed the docwhen the estimates were sent from the Department to trines of the Chief Magistrate were correct. They the committee of the House of Representatives. If the were not called on to decide the question whether reve. Executive shall be thus unsteady and wavering in its nue arising out of all sources was constitutionally subrecommendations, its wishes would not be much regard-ject to a general distribution. Had they not the power, ed in any vote he (Mr. H.) should give.
he asked, to correct the mistakes of the Government in [Mr. Southand having explained that the estimates collecting the revenues? Suppose, said he, you estidiffering from those of the House resulted from a mate fifteen millions as the amount necessary for the changed view of the importance of the navy, and said expenses of Government, and when you come to collect they were derived from the commissioners of the navy-] it, it amounts to seventeen millions, must you let those
Mr. HILL continued: He would not regard commu two millions be locked up for ever? Or have you the nications coming from a subordinate bureau of any De power to correct the mistake by returning the excess partment, as executive recommendations; he could not, to the people from whom it comes? In cases where knowing their sentiments in relation to the Chief Magis- the Government took from an individual more money trate, take the recommendations of the navy commission than was due from him, where, he asked, did they get ers as his guide.
the power to refund? They had the power to assess The hour of one o'clock having arrived, Mr. CAL. and collect taxes, and to pay him out of it. It would IIOUN moved to lay the bill on the table, for the pur be thought strange if one man, in settling with another, pose of taking up the special order; which motion was should not have the power to correct mistakes; and agreed to: Ayes 16, noes 11.
why should not the Government have the same power LAND BILL.
as individuals. He agreed with the President, that
where a doubt of the power existed it ought not to be The bill to distribute the nett proceeds of the sales of
exercised. But the question is, said he, whose money the public lands among the States, and for granting lands
is it you have got in your Treasury? You don't know who to certain States, was then taken up as the special order
you received it from, and therefore cannot return it to of the day; when
its proper owners. All the public lands were acquired Mr. WHITE said the circumstances with which we
eithier by deeds of cession or by purchase. The deed were now surrounded were not only novel, but were
of cession from Virginia in 1784 contained an express different from those of former times when a debt was
provision that these funds were to be applied for the due by the nation, and no money in the Treasury be
benefit of all the States in the Union, or that should yond the sum necessary to meet ihe ordinary expenses
thereafter be admitted. of the Government. Now the nation owed not one cent, But it was said this deed was made before the new and the Treasury was full 10 overflowing. In this state
confederation, and before which each State contributed its of things, alter satisfying every ordinary demand on the
proportion to the support of the Government. Suppose, Government, every man supposed a surplus would be
said he, that form of Government had continued, and lest. For the distribution of this surplus, various pro
the national debt had been paid off, and it had acquired jects had been offered, and this among the rest. Не
a surplus, as it has now. In that case, he asked, what had compared this one with each of the others, with a
became of the question, what shall be done with the view to make a selection of that one which he conceived
surplus revenue?" They could dispose of it only by dismost advantageous to the country. The question arose,
tributing it on the same principle by which it was paid has Congress the power to make this distribution? !f | in. If ihey were obliged to appropriate, as other apit had not, then the inquiry into the expediency or poli. I propriations, that was another matter, in which the cv was useless. Some years ago it was foreseen that question of distribution was not involved. there would be a surplus; and, if he was not mistaken,
It had been objected that, in making a distribution the President had made a communication in relation to
among all the States, they would include the grantor as it. The Secretary of the Navy, (Mr. Dickerson,) when well as the other States. If his views were correct, in Congress, hid made a report on the subject in 1825
they would not only have the right to make appropria26, from which lie read extracts to show the great ad.
tions as trustees, but it was their bounden duty, under vantages he (Mr. D.) thought would result from an
the old confederation, to return the excess to the States. equitable distribution of the revenue for purposes of edu
He cited a clause in the sixih article of the constilution cation and internal improvements, which report, Mr.
to show that a change of Government was not intended W. said, was not confined to the revenue from one
to change the relative rights of any of the States, but source or another, but embracel the whole revenue,
that they stood in the same situation as before; and also and that it even recommended a distribution of a por
cited authorities to show that Congress has clearly the tion of the revenue in anticipation of the gradual ex
power over the fund arising from the public lands. Altinguishment of the national debt; and asserted that it
though they had a general power to collect taxes, yet would relieve Congress from a great source of unneces
that power was necessarily limited to the objects for sary legislation. When the present Chief Magistrate
which it was given. If, by giving a section of land along came into power, so far as he knew in the section of
a line of canal, it would increase the value of the rest, country in which he lived, it found very considerable
nobody would doubt the power of Congress to do so. favor among the mass of the people. He quoted the But it was said that Louisiana and Florida were pur. recommendation of the President to distribute the sur chased. How were the lands in these new States acplus revenue in a ratio of representation among the quired? By the avails of the public lands, which ena. States, and that, if there were any constitutional doubis,
bled the Government to purchase more lands; and these to apply to the legitimate source, the States, for their newly acquired lands in Louisiana and Florida would be removal. He cited the report of the Secretary of the decreed in a court of chancery to be held, as the other Treasury (Mr. McLane) in 1831, in favor of the con
lands were held, in trust by the Government. With this stitutional power of Congress over the revenue from view of the subject, his mind was clearly settled down public lands, to appropriate them to the purposes of that Congress had the power 'to distribute the surplus education and internal improvement. No distinction revenue from the public lands. But it was said that, was observed in the message of the President. But the after all the appropriations were made, there would be Secretary of the Treasury saw difficulties ahead, and
only four or five hundred thousand dollars to dispose of. seized upon it, and suggested how it should be met by l lusetiling this question, he doubted the propriety of going