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SENATE.)

National Defence.

(Jan. 14, 1836.

tion. I am not disposed to consider that a thing to be forward too rapidly. But if this large and sweeping done only when we have nothing else to do—a matter to appropriation be made, and the President take the spend money on, instead of a necessary duty to be per. necessary time to apply it, what is the effect? It formed. I would appropriate, not out of the surplus, places the whole surplus revenue at once in his hands but out of the revenue of the nation, so much as is ne by law. It is out of the ordinary control of Congress, cessary, and as can be applied and expended advantage or, more properly, in a situation in which Congress ously; from year to year, upon these objects; but, havo has not generally exercised a control over it, and there ing done all that was necessary, I would not by resolu- it would remain for years; the unexpended balances in tion determine to expend or to set apart all the residue the hands of the Executive rising from eight millions, of our national funds to those objects, however impor- the present amount in hand, to twenty, thirty, or forly tant, after they have been fully answered. Nor am 1 millions of dollars. This would be equivalent to a law disposed, in this matter of public defence, to thrust the that the President should deposite the public money Senate in advance of the Executive, or to lend my aid where he pleased, and the accumulating surplus should in enabling Congress to usurp this important function of remain, to an indefinite period, subject to his disposithe Chief Magistrate of the Union.

tion and control. The President is commander-in-chief of the army and It will not soon be forgotten that the ordinary appronavy of the United States; as such, it is his duty to see priation for fortifications failed the last year in the that they are at all times well appointed, and in a situa House of Representatives; for what reason I shall not tion to perform the services which the exigencies of the just now inquire. Yet, not withstanding this, the baltimes may require of them. If money is necessary to ance of old appropriations was not all expended. The finish or to repair our forts, to arm, to man them, or to whole amount of unexpended appropriations on hand is erect new ones, it is from him that this information should stated by the Secretary of the Treasury at $7,595,574. come to us, and we cannot properly act upon it coming That part of this is of the appropriations for fortificafrom any other source. Nay, the constitution enjoins tions i infer from the fact that, in the report of the on him the duty of communicating such matters to Secretary of War, he states, as an excuse for the slow Congress.

progress made in some of the fortifications, that me. “He shall, from time to time, give to the Congress in chanics and laborers could not be procured to perform formation of the state of the Union, and reconimend to the work. If we should now appropriate the whole their consideration such measures as he shall judge ne surplus revenue of twenty millions, how many years cessary and expedient.”

would it remain on hand unexpended, swelling the If, then, he deems it necessary or expedient that ap. fortunes of the favored capitalist, or ready for use as the propriations of public money should be made for our convenient instrument of corruption? fortifications or our navy, let him tell us so; and not tell But the Senator from Missouri tells us that the seaboard us, in the language of this resolution, that he wants all is defenceless, that our forts are unfinished or dismantled, we have, or all the surplus; but let him-as all his pre- and our navy unfit for service. He has drawn an apdecessors have done-let him tell us the amount wanted, palling picture of the wretched state of these our arms and which can be expended advantageously upon these of defence, which clearly indicates somewhere a degree objects—the specific objects to which it ought to be ap of shameful negligence or mismanagement; and where plied-and I, for one, will go far, very far, in the way does this beavy responsibility rest? of appropriation, to satisfy all his requisitions.

The present Chief Magistrate, and those who act I am opposed to this resolution for another reason. with him, have held the control of this Government for Its prime object does not seem to be the defence of the now almost seven full years. At the time they received country, but the expenditure of the surplus revenue. it from the hands of their predecessors, no complaint It is not offered because a fort is wanting here, or a fleet was made of the state of the defences of the country; there, to guard our coast or protect our commerce. nor do I believe there was then any reason for such is because we have plenty of money, and this is a good complaint. Tbey were in a state of steady and regular way to get rid of it. The object, then, being chiefly to improvement, gradually becoming all that was necesspend money, and but as an incident to build fortifica- sary for the security of the country. Why are they tions, it must be expected that those who shall have the now in the miserable condition described? Why have charge of it will pay special attention to their principal they been for so many years neglected by this adminisduty-spend it fully and effectually--spend much money, tration, which has been all-powerful in the nation, and though they may build but few ships or fortresses. But which has possessed a treasury full even to redundance? it seems this resolution is not of itself an appropriation; Has the Senate interposed to prevent appropriations for it merely declares that the whole surplus revenue-the these objects? No, never-never, within my knowledge twenty millions of money now in the hands of the and recollection, in a single instance. No appropriaExecutive, and the accruing surplus-shall be set apart tion which was asked for by the Executive for these for this purpose. It, then, amounts to this; that 'this objects has, as far as I know, been withheld, diminishmoney shall remain where it is, in the coffers of a few fa. ed, or given grudgingly, by this body. Why, then, is vorite banks, to be used by them to increase their divi. this the state of our country at this time, if indeed it be dends, until, some eight or ten years hence, it can be so? Sir, here is the solution: This has been an admin. appropriated, and some four or five years thereafter istration whose capacities and whose powers have been expended upon our navy or our fortifications.

fitted and directed to pulling down every thing and to Í have said that I am prepared to go very far, as far as building up nothing. Look around throughout the may be within any reasonable bounds, in voting appro- country, and see if there is a single monument, a great priations for our fortifications and navy; but to all this, and important monument, raised by it, or founded by it, however proper and necessary, there is a limit, which it to rise hereafter, and extend its beneficence to future is injurious to the very object to pass. If there be an times. But it has been successful in the works of de. attempt to apply too much money to these objects, and struction. One after another the institutions of the hasten them overmuch, you necessarily intrust their country bave been made to fall or totter before it; execution, in part, to incompetent engineers or superin. but nothing bas been built up, nothing strengthened, tendents. You have to employ inferior workmen, and save only the executive power itself. There was no to use defective materials; so that the very object of time to erect fortifications; to build, to equip, or to reour solicitude sustains injury from the effort to urge it 1 pair our ships; our foreign defences occupied no por

It

Jan. 14, 1836.]

National Defence.

(SENATE.

tion of the attention of our Executive or his Depart. | whole land, so far as a newspaper circulates, but the ments. And the consequence seems to be—what any refutation of the charge, and the admission that it was one might have predicted-our seaboard is now defence unfounded and mistaken, will never find its place in one less, and subject to the mercy of the first Power that of them—no, not one; and the honest yeomanry of the may see fit to attack us.

country, who read and believe, will be led thereby to But the Senate of the United States are charged suppose a state of things existed which did not in fact here, upon their own foor, and by a member of their exist, and be led to an unjust and injurious censure own body, with high crimes against their country, be of the conduct of some of their public agents. It is cause of this unprotected state of our maritime frontier; therefore unfortunate that the honorable Senator had as if we were to go in advance of the Executive, to not better refreshed his recollection before he made procure for him and hunt out the objects of necessity, and this accusation. This is the second specification in offer him appropriations, and ask him to expend them. his bill of indictment against the Senate; but, lastly, But the last session of the Senate was the one in which and chiefly, the loss of the fortification bill of last year, many and heavy crimes are said to have been commit- the whole blame of which he very liberally and gen. ted, in the refusal of appropriations. The Senator has erously takes upon this body. Let us look to it; it is produced here a schedule setting out, one after another, easy to make charges, with or without foundation; and a list of our misdemeanors; and first, is our refusal to in this case, fortunately, the proof is at hand, and is dipass, last winter, a resolution similar to that which is rect, clear, and conclusive. This is the history of the now under consideration. He might have spared him- transaction: The fortification bill was passed in the self the trouble of enumerating this; for, unless I am House on the 21st day of January, and on the same day deceived, he will soon have another instance, a fresh sent to the Senate. The relations of our country with repetition, of the same offence.

France were upon that day precisely the same as they Sir, anxious as was, and as I am, that the necessary were on the 3d of March, at the close of the session. defences of the country should be duly and promptly The bill at that time contained no appropriation of three attended to, I did not and I will not vote for this crude, millions for the general purpose of defence; and, if il unformed, and shapeless proposition, nor any other like had been deemed necessary, can any one doubt that it absurdity, though it may seem to tend to the effecting would have been inserted by a committee in the confi. of a desirable object. I require something more-not dence of the Executive, and hy a House devoted to his merely that the object be a good one, but that the interests? But no such thing. The bill came to this means of effecting it be appropriate. But I let this go body containing appropriations for fortifications to the for what it is worth, and proceed to the next specifica | amount of about $450,000; an amount evidently too tion. The Senate is charged with having put down an small for the energetic prosecution of the works on amendment which the Senator from Missouri proposed hand. The Committee on Finance, to whom this bill last winter to the fortification bill, containing an addi. was referred, detained it for some time, that information tional appropriation of $500,000. This matter is one of might be obtained which would enable them to supply which I have no recollection whatever. It appears that the deficiencies of the bill, and make it what it ought to the proposition was made by the honorable Senator have been when it came to us from the House. I can from Missouri by order of the Committee on Military say, sir, for I was then a member of that committee, Affairs; and my honorable friend from Delaware (Mr. that it appeared to be the anxious wish of the chairman, CLAITON) has already put that matter at rest, in the as well as of all the other members, to do every thing brief but forcible exposition which he gave us of it the that could be done to supply the deficiency arising from other day: The Senator from Missouri gave up the the neglect or inaction of the other branch of Congress, point, and admitted, most exp sly, that, though he and to make up to the public service what they had left presented the proposition, he abandoned it on a sug- deficient. The bill was reported back with various gestion; and such I see, on inspection of the papers of amendments, increasing the appropriations about two that day, was the fact. It is reported shortly, thus: hundred thousand dollars. With these amendments, it

“Mr. Benton moved to amend the bill by inserting was returned to the House on the 24th day of February, an additional appropriation of $500,000.

where it slumbered until just at the close of the session, “At the suggestion of Mr. Webster, the considera at a late hour of the last evening. Until that hour we tion of this amendment was waived by Mr. Bentox for had supposed the amendments of the Senate had been the present.”

agreed to by the House, and that the bill had become, So that, on a conversation between the Senator from or was about to become, a law, without any further acMissouri and the chairman of the Committee on Fiction on our part; but on the evening of the 3d of March, nance, the honorable Senator, in effect, withdrew his after the Senate had taken its recess, and after the proposition; and he has now charged this Senate with a chamber was lighted up for the night, in the midst of dereliction of duty, and a want of patriotism, because multifarious and pressing business, both legislative and we did not adopt the measure, which he presented, it is executive, which was then crowded upon us, this bill true, but put out of our power by virtually withdrawing was returned to us from the House, with an amendment it. What did we know of the necessity or the propriety to one of the amendments of the Senate, appropriating of his proposition? He who presented it did not ex the round sum of three millions of dollars, “to be explain it, did not press it, did not ask for its adoption, pended in whole or in part, under the direction of the but expressly declared that he would not press it, which President of the United States, for the military and naon this foor is equivalent to saying that he did not wish val service, including fortifications, and ordnance, and it to be adopted. It is most unfortunate that the Sena. increase of the navy" an amendment giving $3,000,000, tor from Missouri did not recollect the actual state of attached to an amendment making an appropriation of things before he advanced this, among the other grave perhaps $75,000—thrust in upon us here in the very last charges against the Senate. It is true, as I have already moments of the session-no time left for deliberation, said, that when this special matter was commented upon none for reference, none to enable us to modify or by the Senator from Delaware, the gentleman from amend; it involved, in the very nature of things, immeMissouri gave it up, and admitted that it was he, and diate acceptance or immediate rejection. Waiving for not the Senate, that had disposed of that proposition. a moment the decisive objection growing out of a sol. But all who understand the tactics of the party press emn requisition of the constitution, what was there as a know that his charge will be sent abroad throughout the matter of expediency which could permit us to accept

SENATE.]

National Defence.

(Jan. 14, 1836.

it? It was not recommended to us or asked for by the and arming our fortifications. The bill was still in the President; he had sent is nu message-informed us of hands of the House of Representatives, and it was no public necessity that required it-expressed no wish in their power still to have made it a law in a few that it should be made. It was not an ordinary appro. moments' time-a law with the addition of $800,000 to priation; for all that was ordinary and in the usual course the ordinary appropriations, and with a full million added of the Government had been already hunted up by the to the original bill as they had sent it to the Senate. We committees of the Senate, and inserted in that or other waited until late at night, and the bill was not named in bills, in place or out of place, wherever we could put their body again. Message after message came to us, them, so that the wheels of Government should not stop. but this came not. Before the session closed, a message This amendment was sent to us by the House, but on was sent by this body to the House, respectfully reminde whose responsibility? It was first acted on there in ing them of the bill, and the agreement of the committee Committee of the Whole on the 3d of March, and passed, of conference. It was read in the House, but no answer with little examination or discussion. We had not even was returned. There sleeps the bill, and there let it the authority of that body, such as it would have been sleep for ever. And if any evil has happened or shall had their vote passed upon deliberation, with time for bappen to the country, for the want of the appropriadiscussion. Under these circumstances, I say, without tions which it contained, let the censure of the nation besitation, it is my firm belief that those who caused that fall, I care not how heavily, on those who contrived and amendment to be inserted knew that it would not pass produced its loss. this body, and did not intend that it should pass it. The Mr. GOLDSBOROUGH, of Maryland, said, when very sum appropriated—the time which was chosen to these resolutions and inquiries were first presented to send it to the Senate,the necessity of passing it, if at the Senate, he regarded them as matters of business, as all, out of all the rules and without the application of measures designed to have a bearing upon the great naany of the guards which legislative bodies never can tional interests. But his surprise was not greater than properly dispense with in the appropriation of public the mortification he felt, when he found that the whole money-must have satisfied those who controlled this was made conducive to a vituperative and indecorous matter, and who gave it movement and direction, that attack upon this Senate. Nor were these feelings at all it must be rejected by the Senate. But, lest there allayed when he heard from the lips of the mover of the should be any doubt on the subject, lest it might have resolutions, accompanied with an air of menace, that taken it with all the objections to which it was otherwise the accusation thus made should be made known to the liable, it was sent to us in a form, and in substance too, people. That what should be made known to the peoviolatory of the spirit of the constitution. It would have ple? That the Senator from Missouri charged the Senbeen an appropriation in form, but not in fact. It would ate of the United States of faithlessness to their duiyhave been voting money generally into the hands of the of a total disregard of the national security and defence; President, to appropriate as he might think fit, provided and that it was owing to their opposition to the grant of it were applied for the purposes of national defence. three millions, sent in the last night of the session as an And it would have been putting it in the power of the amendment to the fortification bill, that the United President to raise an army, to make and to carry on States have not now a fleet upon the ocean equal to war, without the further aid or interposition of Con that which he represents as about to be sent from gress. I do not believe, sir, that any man who reasoned | France upon our coast to overawe the councils of the could think for a moment that that measure could or country. ought to pass this body; and I am yet to be convinced Now, sir, as to this unjust and gross accusation, my that the friends of the administration here would have reply is, distinctly, that it is wholly unfaithful to the given it their votes, if they had believed that their votes history of the proceedings in the Senate, and unfounded, would have made it a law. They would at least have in leiter and in spirit. weighed well the matter, much better than they could Before he made any further remark upon this accu. have weighed it during the hour that it was pending sation, and the circumstances supposed to lead fo it, he here, before they would have assumed the responsibility would advert to the paper on the table, containing the which the passage of that measure involved.

resolutions and inquiries, and would still continue to But, sir, it was rejected. I do not stand here to de. treat it as a matter of national concern. If the subject fend myself for the part I took in its rejection, nor to before the Senate is really intended for defence, he apologize for the act. I stand ready now, and at all would endeavor to make it stronger; if a matter of natimes, to proclaim the participation which I had in it-tional interest, he wished to make it more national; and to claim it as one of the good works which I have help. if it is designed to be adopted, he flattered himself that ed to perform; and to avow that the like, come when it the amendment he held in his hand, and which he would will, or where it will, before me as a subject for my read as part of his remarks, will secure it greater action, will meet a like immediate and indignant rejec strength in the Senate. tion.

Suike out all of the first resolution after the word But, sir, the bill to which this three millions is an Resolved, and insert, That the general defence and peramendment was also lost. How, sir, and where? Not manent security of the country are principal objecis of in the Senate. The bill was perfectly safe, if the House the national care, and therefore adequate and liberal chose that it should be so, after the rejection of this specific appropriations from the public revenues ought amendment. It was returned to them much better than regularly to be set apart and applied to those purposes. when they first sent it to the Senate with much more This amendment, it will be seen, has a decided advanextensive appropriations for our national defence; and tage over the resolution designed to be stricken out, as that body had nothing to do, in order to make it a law, it pledges the whole revenue, as far as it can be expend. but pass the bill when returned to them, without the ed, to the national defence, instead of confining it to a amendment which the Senate had rejected. This they surplus, which, although large now, may not be so ample did not do. They asked for a conference, which was at in future; nor is it fit that the public defence should be once conceded. The conferees met, and the chairman measured by surplus revenue. One of the chief objects of the Committee on Finance returned in a few mo. of appropriation ought to be for defence; this should be ments, and reported an agreement to strike out the made with ample but proper liberality from the public three millions, and appropriate $300,000 for the increase income generally, and not rendered dependent upon of the navy, and $500,000 additional for the repairing casual surplus. Besides, as was well remarked just now

Jas. 14, 1836.)

Nalional Defence.

(SENATE.

by the honorable Senator from Ohio, (Mr. Ewing,] we prospects of peace, and in contradiction to their own know nothing of surpluses until all the demands of the action, and the united action of all Congress, this Senate Government and country are supplied; then, when all could have plotted to prevent Congress from “clothing demands are supplied as far as can be expended, it the nakedness of the land," was, he must confess, utterseems to be unnecessary further to apply surpluses to ly incomprehensible to him. any of those purposes.

Again, sir, suppose these three millions had been Besides this, sir, there are other objections to this voted on the 3d of March last at night, without specifiapplication of the surplus revenue, not only because it cation or limit, by what magic could the Senator have is, and ought to be, made useless by amply providing transmuted these millions, in the short period of nine for all national demands before a surplus is ascertained, months, into ships equal in number to Admiral Mackau's but because it interferes with (he knew not if designed) | feet, which he represents as about to be on our coast? the proposition of the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Did not the Senator count that fleet at sixty sail; whilst Clar) to appropriate the surplus revenue from the pub- the whole of our own fleet is, in commission eighteen; lic lands to the States, which he believed to be a favorite in ordinary twenty; on the stocks thirteen; constituting object with the people in the States, and because it also an aggregate of fifty-one vessels? Yet the Senator interferes with a proposition of like import, but more

would have converted three millions into sixty ships, extensive, introduced by the Senator from South Caro- with our whole navy thus situated, and in a space of lina, (Mr. Calhoux.]

time that would have rendered it a miraculous operation. So far upon the amendment. When the Senator from We have had some evidences from the Senator that Missouri, availing himself of his resolutions, commenced he was a second Midas, who turned all he touched into his attack upon the Senate, by giving us some account gold; and now we are to presume that he intends to of a French officer who had exchanged friendly saluta amuse us with another humbug, in a miraculous augmenttions with those of our own ships on the ocean, and read | ation of the navy of the United States. an extract from a French journal, stating that a French In order that the world may see that there is no fleet was to be sent upon our coast too powerful for any

evidence before us that the Executive entertained such that our country could furnish, he represents this fleet ideas as those of the Senator, I turn you to the report as sent here to menace us, and significantly asks the from the Navy Department, of the 5th December, where question, why is it that we have not a fleet arlequate to we find that less than half a million of dollars is required meet them? Which interrogatory he as significantly an. by that Department to fit out one ship of the line, six swers for himself, by ascribing it to this Senate; that it frigates, nineteen smaller vessels, and one steam frigate, is owing to their rejection of the three millions added to for the year 1836; which last steam frigate can be comthe fortification bill, which was sent to the Senate, with. pleted, he says, in the course of the year. And from out specification, on the night of the last day of the the Secretary of War's report on the 30th November, past session; and this rejection, he insinuates, was done we learn, substantially, that new estimates are submitwith a view of preventing the “clothing the nakednessted, because no appropriations for fortifications had of the land.”

been made last year. He further states that some forts Now, sir, if such could have have been the design of have been completed, others recommended, in con. the Senate, they must have had some motive for this act tinuation of the system of defence; and that a number of of treachery, and there must have been some grounds to our important harbors are either wholly undefended or expect a condition of things when such a design could partially protected; and he then adds, as a system adaptbave been made to be felt, as in case of a war. Let us

ed to this condition of the defences, this suggestion, viz: see how the Senator and his positions agree with each

"an adherence to the general plan of defence, and a other in sustaining such an accusation. By reference to gradual prosecution of the work as the national finances the proceedings of the Senate of last session, we shall and other considerations may justify, seem to be de. find that, upon due consideration, the Senate unani. manded by a just regard to the circumstances of the mously resolved that it was winexpedient to adopt country, as well as by the experience which the events any legislative measure in regard to the state of affairs of the last war forced upon us.” with Prance." By looking at the history of the pro Now, sir, according to these reports, we see no such ceedings of the other branch of Congress, as now upon pressing emergency, no such urgent demands as the record, we find that the House, so late as the 2d of Senator sels forth. If they bad existed last session, March, after a full view of all the despatches sent by when the three millions were asked for, why are they the Executive, unanimously decided that the “Treaty

not included in the estimates now, when nothing more with France should be maintained, and its execution in- is said to be required than the usual appropriations? It sisted on," and said no more; and we see also that a is the duty of the Departments, acting under the resolution, “That a contingent preparation ought to be authority and direction of the President, to make known made to meet any emergency growing out of our rela to Congress full estimates for every specific object which tions with France," introduced by the chairman of the the national interest may demand; and to such applicaCommitiee on Foreign Relations in that House, was by tions alone can Congress pay attention. that chairman, on the same day, the 2d of March, laid But, sir, there is another document to which he must upon the table, where it quietly reposed during the

call the attention of the Senate-it is the late executive short remnant of the session. Stronger proof than this message, which speaks a language that he was scarcely we cannot have as to the unanimous sense of Congress able to comprehend; or, if he did comprehend it, he against the probability of any hostile change in our French regretted it. After stating that loss and inconvenience relations. This, it will be observed, was no party vote- had been experienced from the failure of the bill conno vote of the administration's friends--no vote of the taining the ordinary appropriations for fortifications, the opposition--but a unanimous vote of every member in message goes on: “ This failure was the more regretted, each House. By the Senator's own showing, too, the not only because it necessarily interrupted and delayed other day, from his French authorities, all was peaceful the progress of a system of national defence, projected and harmonious in France-no manifestation of a change, immediately after the last .war, and since steadily or of an intent to change, our peaceful relationships; and pursued, but also because it contained a contingent apthis state of things he dates as late as the month of April propriation, inserted in accordance with the views of the past, some four weeks at least after the adjournment of Executive, in aid of this important object." And why Congress. How, then, in the midst of all these fair were these executive views not made known? Am I to

SENATE.)

National Defenc.

[Jan. 12, 1836.

understand that they were entertained, and, being enter been procured from him, if it had been his pleasure to tained, that they were to be obeyed, without even the have sent it, in five or ten minutes; nay, if you had but condescension of being made known? It is a pity that opened the door, he might, if he had thought proper, such views were kept locked up in the executive have diffused among us all the light that was necessary bosom, which were to have come in aid of so important an for the “important object so much in accordance with object. It is to be lamented that they did not burst the executive will;" yet that light was withheld, though so bars that confined them, that they might have shed their much and so often requested; the information, so easy light here. Such intelligence was wanted; it was asked to be given, was not imparted, that might have ensured for. He distinctly remembered that the venerable the appropriation. And it is for this that we are to be Senator from Tennessee, (Mr. Wurte,] and the Senator branded by the Senator from Missouri as faithless to our from Massachusetts, [Mr. WEBSTER,) and probably duty, and regardless of the nation's security? Yes, sir, others, but those two he well remembered, said, each if we could have been beguiled and drawn off under in his place, that if the President would inform the such circumstances, and made unfaithful to our duty, Senate that three millions were wanting for the public we might have merited the reproach of traitors. (A service, and would cause to be specified the sums for call to order by the Chair.] Mr. G. proceeded. With the respective objects, they were ready to give it; and our convictions, of constitutional duty, I mean, sir; parthey went further, and said, if the beads of Departments don me, I design no imputation on others. Yes, sir, we would say that amount was wanted, and state the sum should have been justly subject to imputation, if, with that was to be applied to each, they were ready to vote our convictions, and under the circumstances we were it-but the intelligence came not at all; it was too close placed, we had taken a different course. A sense of ly penned up in the executive bosom to escape, and the duty was imperious; with it there was no compromise. linsanctioned call was rejected.

When time was sufficient throughout the whole sesHe would now take a brief review of the history of sion to make known every want of the Government, this transaction, not wishing to consume unnecessarily either immediate or contingent, and no call was made the time of the Senate, that the world, to whom it is to but those which were fully supplied; when both Houses be made known, may' more accurately understand it. of Congress had unanimously concurred in opinion that The fortification bill, as it is called, came first from the no further legisla!ive act was necessary in consequence House to the Senate at an advanced period of the session, of the state of our relations with France, the only Pow. after being duly deliberated on in the House of Repre. er with which we had any involvement at the time, it sentatives, as we are bound to presume. Much addition did seem strange that, at the last moments of the ses. was made to the bill by the Committee on Finance here, sion, a requisition should have been made for so unusual for defence, which passed the Senate on the 24th an amount of money, without any explanation or mesFebruary, and was returned to the House. Nothing sage, or information that could lead to an understanding more was heard of it here until the night of the last day of the sudden cause of the requisition, or any specificaof the session, on the 3d of March, when the bill came tion of the objects to which it was to be applied. The back to us, containing an additional appropriation of information was requested, yet it was not given; it was three millions of dollars, as a contingent fund, without any at hand, but we could not reach it; it was under such specification. This was so large and so extraordinary circumstances we felt that we could not grant away a demand upon the public treasury, so suddenly and so the public money, and we refused to do so. unexpectedly made, at the very heel of the session, that Mr. BENTON observed that the Senator from Mary. it met with a powerful and effective opposition; and, land, [Mr. Golnsborough,) who had just resumed his after rejection in the Senate, and being insisted on in seat, and himself, had some words at the last session, the House, a conference was had, the bill being then in which had placed him in a situation, with respect to the House, and on conference it was determined that an that gentleman, of the most scrupulous reserve. He additional half million should be granted for increasing believed it to be the instinct of gentlemen, whenever the navy, and three hundred thousand dollars more for any thing had happened between them of an unpleasant equipping fortifications, amounting in all to eight hun nature, to behave afterwards to each other with the dred thousand dollars. The Senate's committee return. most punctilious and scrupulous politeness. He believed ed from the conference, and reported the result to the it to be the instinct of gentlemen to feel that, from such Senale, who waited to the end of the session in vain to

a time, they must stand upon a footing towards each hear from the House of Representatives; but the com- other, in which they could no longer give and take. mittee of the House, which had the bill in possession, | Now, sir, (said Mr. 'B.,) the Senator from Maryland bas did not report the result of the conference to ihe House, repeated what lie did at the last session; he has made a and there the bill died.

premeditated attack on me. He felt (Mr. B. said) no It is for this, sir, that the Senator from Missouri has malice, nor any degree of irritation, for what was taken occasion to frame his unfounded accusation against passed; for if he was quick, he was at least free from the Senate for a dereliction of duty little short of trea. malice. The gentleman at that time (Mr. B. said) son. It is somewhat inexplicable, after all the estimates drew a picture which a thousand persons present be. for expenditure for the year had been sent in, and more lieved to be drawn for him; which he (Mr. B.) felt to than gratified, that, at almost the last hour of the ses be drawn for him; and had been informed that the gension, a call should be made upon them for three mil- tleman had then rehearsed the part he was about to lions of dollars, without a particle of information to perform,* the first part, but not the concluding part; for show why or wherefore, without the slightest intima ihe gentleman denied that his picture was intended for tion from the head of the Government, or from any of him. From that time to the present, (said Mr. B.,) the the executive officers, that the money was wanting or gentleman has no right to make a personal allusion to would be useful. And why, he asked again, if the If the gentleman chooses to wait a year, and then money was really wanting for the public service, was come forward to settle an account in which he may the necessary information not given? Was the source of authority so difficult of access that it could not be got * When Mr. Benton said, in his remarks," he had at? Nothing was more easy. The President himself, been informed that the gentleman bad then rehearsed accompanied by the heads of Departments, was under the part he was about to perform," Mr. G. responded the same roof with ourselves; he was in an adjoining audibly from his seat, "you have then been misinfurmroom in this Capitol all the time; a message might have ed,” (or words to that effect.) – Nat. Iniell.

me.

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