United States. Congress.

Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives online

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Online LibraryUnited States. CongressAbridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives → online text (page 114 of 194)
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partment, their acts and dojpgs in the premises.

It, is, moreover, enjoined on the civil magistrates
of this State, having competent jurisdiction of the
same, to be aiding and assisting in inquiring into
the causes of every such arrest or detention as afore-
said, that the person may be discharged forthwith,
if illegally or unjustly detained ; and in affording
such redress to the aggrieved or injured party, as,
by law, he may be entitled to receive.
By the Governor ;

E. H. PIEECE, Secretary.

Mr. Everett moved its reference to the
Select Committee on the subject of the Georgia
Controversy.

Mr. FoHSTTH warmly opposed this reference ;
and, after some discussion, moved to lay the
Message and documents upon the table, and to
print them.

The motion was negatived — ayes 54, noes 63.

The discussion was then farther continued
by Messrs. Drayton and Weight, when the
Message, &c., was referred to the Select Com-
mittee, as moved by Mr. Everett — ayes 68,
noes 41.

Mr. Webster moved to postpone the orders
of the day, which precede two biUs granting
certain sections of land to the States of Illinois
and Indiana, to aid those States in the con-
struction of two canals.

The motion prevailed. The bills were taken
up, and after an animated debate, in which



460



ABRIDGMENT OF THE



H. OF R.J



Cajval in Illinois.



[March, 1827.



Ifessrs. ■\Vei!stei;, IIotfman, IIaiiilton, "Woods,
GovAN, IIaile, und Mehceii, took part, Mr.
Hoffman moved to lay the bill for Illinois on
the table.

Tho motion -was negatived, and the debate
renewed by Messrs. Babsett, MEi:<'Eii, MrDuF-
riE, "Webstek, IIamiltox, Mixek, and Bueges ;
■n-hen Mr. Bueges moved to lay the bill upon
the table.

The motion -was negatived — ayes CO, noes 05.

Mr. Hatxes now moved that the House take
a recess till six o'clock, which was carried.

At the evening session, Mr. Stores moved
that a Committee of Conference be appointed
on the part of tho House to meet a similar
committee on the part of the Senate, on its dis-
agreement to the second .amendment made by
the House in the bill for tho gradual increase
in tho Navy — (for increasing the number of
Dry Docks to three.) The motion prevailed,
and a committee of three was ordered.

Canal in Illinois.

Tho bill allowing certain townships of land
to aid tho State of Illinois in the construction
of a canal being again under consideration —

Mr. iliNEE moved to recommit the bill,
" with instructions to inquire into the ex-
pediency of subscribing, on behalf of the United
States, for stock in the proposed canal, to an
amount not exceeding one-third of the whole ;
the stock to bo paid for out of the proceeds of
lands on or near the route."

Mr. M. avowed bis decided hostility to the
bill. What does it propose ? said he. To give
to the State of Illinoij^ certain alternate sections
of land, along the whole line of the proposed
canal from Michigan to the Illinois River. The
first question that arose was, what was the
extent of this grant ? how much land did we-
give? Could any gentleman tell? It was
estimated at about two hundred thousand
acres ; but as the extent of the line of the
canal was indefinite, so the grant was indefinite.
Illinois might make the canal only fifty or
sixty miles, and demand only two hundred
thousand acres ; but she might extend the
canal down the Illinois along the whole extent
of the State, and, under this hill, demand five
hundred thousand, eight hundred thousand, or
a million of acres. It is, said Mr. M., a strong
objection, to my mind, that the whole matter
is so indefinite. If we grant, we ought to
know precisely what. These uncertain in-
definite grants were extremely objectionable.
No member on the floor of the House could
tell, within several hundred thousand acres,
what amount of land he was giving.

Again, sir, why do we give ? We are told
that if this canal be made, it will enhance the
value of the public land through which it passes.
Admitted. If we give money towards making
the canal, we should know, then, exactly what
we give, and all the public land would be en-
hanced in value ; that which we propose to give,
as well as what we retain. But suppose a prop-



osition was made on this ground, to give to that
State $200,000 to make the canal, would there
be a single vote in this House in favor of such
a proposition ? But the argument would be
eciually strong in behalf of a gi-ant of money
as of land, and not liable to so many just objec-
tions. What is money ? It is not value — it
is the representative of value. Land is as
valuable at what it is worth ; and if you give
the value, it matters not whether in money or
land.' Why then will gentlemen vote away the
public property of one sort, when they would
not of another? What is the value of this
land? On the line of the canal, villages,
towns, and cities, will grow uj) ; some of the
tracts will be of great value ; take it altogether,
it will not be an unfair estimate to put it at five
dollars an acre. Suppose the canal 60 miles in
length, and the land given 200,000 acres : you
give then a million of dollars to Illinois : the
canal is estimated to cost from 600,000 to
800,000 dollars ; so that you make the canal,
and give a bounty to that State besides. Who
makes tho canal? Those who furnish the
funds. The people of the United States make
the canal, and then they are to be taxed to all
enduring time for liberty to use it. He begged
gentlemen to consider that there was no restric-
tion, no limitation, on the St^ e of Illinois, as
to the amount of tolls ; they might impose tolls
the most burdensome. He thought the matter
had not been well considered. There is no
member in this House or in this nation, more
ardently the friend of internal improvements,
(said Mr. M.,) than I am ; but, I think the better
mode to pursue is to subscribe to stock in
canals so that our expenditure shall be an ac-
cumulating fund, enabling us to do more and
more good as we advance. This seems to me
a wild waste of the public domain. I entreat
gentlemen to pause before they make this ex-
cessive grant. In my opinion, it will bring a
system of internal improvements more into
disrepute than all the arguments of its enemies.
Sir, Pennsylvania came this session, I will not
say cap in hand and with bended knee, but in
the most respectful manner, and asked the
grant of one little township for her institution
for tho deaf-mutes — poor dumb mouths — they
could not plead for themselves. What was
the answer? This petition wasTejected — this
request was refused ; and now you propose to
give to Illinois two hundred thousand acres.
I hope the bill may be recommitted.

After some further debate^ —

Mr. HoFFMAS moved to lay the bill on the
table.

On this question, Mr. Vance demanded the
yeas and nays, and they were ordered by the
House. The question was then taken, and de-
termined in the negative, by yeas and nays —
69 to 02.

Mr. Haile advocated the grant to Hlinois.

The motion of Mr. Minek was then de-
termined in the negative.

Mr. Hailb then moved an amendment pro-



DEBATES OE GONaHESS.



461



March, 1827.]



British Colonial Trade.



[I-I. OF K.



posing a similar grant to each State in the
Union, for the pi\rposes of internal improve-
ments — but the Chair decided the motion to
he out of order.

Mr. Hatden" moved to strike out 20, and
insert 10, as the number of years -within which
the canal must be completed. The motion
was negatived — ayes 59, noes 73.

The hill was then ordered to a third reading ;
and was read a third time ; and, the question
being, shall it pass ?

Mr. MoCoT demanded the yeas and nays,
and they were ordered by the House, and were,
yeas 90, nays 67.

So the bin was passed, and returned to the
Senate.

A similar bill, with respect to the Indiana
canal, was ordered to a third reading, and,
having been immediately read a third tune,
was passed, and returned to the Senate.

The House, on motion of Mr. Beent, went
into Committee of the Whole, Mr. Wickliffe
in the chair, on the bill to increase the salary
of the Postmaster General.

Mr. Long moved an amendment, going to
increase the salaries of his two assistants by
$500 each, and reduce the increase proposed
for the Postmaster General from $2,000 to
$1,000.

The amendment was negatived ; and the bill
was reported to the House without amend-
ment, read a third time ; and the question
being on its passage —

Mr. Baeeingeb asked the yeas and nays, but
the House refused to order them.

Mr. Peaece "pposed the bill ; insisting that
the merit of the present incumbent was leading
the House to an improper enlargement of the
s-alary attached to the office. He referred to
the Fifth Auditor, as performing duties equally
arduous, and expressed an opinion that $1,000
would be a sufficient increase.

Mr. Cocke warmly advocated the bill, and
spoke in high terms of the fidelity and industry
of the officer in question.

Mr. FoRSTTH said a few words on the same
side ; when

Mr. Keemeb warmly opposed the bill, as did

Mr. Peakoe, in a few closing remarks;
when, the question being taken, the bill was
passed — ayes 103.

The House then, on motion of Mr. Vance,
went into Committee of the Whole, Mr. For-
syth in the chair, on the biU to increase the
compensation of Captains and Subalterns in
the Army ; which was reported without amend-
ment, read a third time, passed, and returned
to the Senate.

The Navy Bill.

Mr. Stoees, from the Committee of Confer-
ence, appointed on the disagreeing votes of the
two Houses, on the bill for the gradual im-
provement of the Navy, made a report, by
which the Joint Committee of Conference
recommended that the following clause be



added, by both Houses, to the fourth section
of the bill, and that the amendment of the
House be receded from on its part : " and as
soon as the said docks shall be completed,
docks shall be constructed at the two remaining
places, surveyed under the resolution of the
22d of May, 1826."

A message from the Senate was received,
stating that it had refused to agree to this
clause, and adhered to its own bill.

fThe House then receded from its amend-
ment, and the bill was subsequently passed.]

Colonial Trade Bill.

The disagreement of the Senate to the
amendment of the House, to the Colonial Bill,
having been announced —

Mr. ToMLixsoN moved that the House insist
on its amendment and ask a conference.

Mr. Foesyth stated that the United States
were obliged to act with delicacy on this sub-
ject, because Great Britain has told us, in a sar-
castic, if not an insolent tone, that so long as
the act of 1823 remains unrepealed, things shall
remain as they are. The committee in its prop-
ositions, has evaded the question. The differ-
ence between the 30th of September, at which
time the committee proposed that the bill
should take effect, and the 31st December,
which is proposed by the Senate, he did not
regard as worth disputing about.

Mr. Webstee most decidedly supported the
motion for insisting on the amendment to the
bill, as made by this House, preferring that the
bill should fail altogether, rather than it should
pass without this amendment.

Mr. "Weight said, the gentleman from Geor-
gia, (Mr. Foesyth,) when he first addressed the
Chair, insisted there was no material dif-
erence between the bill from the Senate and
the amendment of this House, and he invoked
you not to sacrifice the interests involved in
this question upon mere punctilio and form.
Now the gentleman seems to think there is a
material difference in the propositions, and the
comparison results favorably, in his view, to
the bill from the Senate. It is difficult, sir, to
accord with the views of gentlemen who shift
their ground so often, and in so short a time,
and we must endeavor to inform ourselves,
from some other source, of the true state of
the case.

I think, sir, said Mr. TV"., there is a very ma-
terial difference between the two propositions,
and I will endeavor in a few words — for I will
not, at this late hour, consume your time in
discussion — ^to give you the sum of the dififer-
ence. The proposition of the House contains
specific legislative provisions, of a retaliatory
character, intended to remedy the unjust ine-
quality to which the British Government has
subjected our trade with her colonies. These
provisions are in conformity with the course
and policy heretofore pursued by the Govern-
ment, with the sanction of the country. The
bill from the Senate, to my understanding,



462



ABRIDGMENT OF THE



H. OF R.]



British Colonial Trade.



[Mabch, 1827.



makes no such provisions, but leaves every thing
at loose ends. It says to the British Govern-
ment, if you do not, witliin a given time, change
your determination in relation to our trade, we
shall do nothing, and let you take your own
course. Hero is. Indeed, an essential differ-
ence. Tlie one proposition abandons the set-
tled policy of the country, its legislation, and
its interests, to the entire control of British
legislation, and the orders of the King and his
Ministers in council. The other occupies
American ground, and seeks, by congressional
enactments, to remedy existing evils. Sir, the
agricultural, grain-growing portions of this
community liavo too much at the hazard in
this question not to be deeply sensible of the
great importance of this trade, as affecting the
almost entire markets for their surplus pro-
duce. But, sir, let foreign Governments affect
this interest as they will, gentlemen may rest
assured the farmers of the United States will
never abandon their own country, or submit
American interests and American rights to the
fostering care of Great Britain, or to British
legislation. I, for one, sir, can never consent
to give up the power of legislating for the
rights and interests of the people of the United
States, which, under the constitution, the peo-
ple have confided to us, to the control or direc-
tion of any foreign power whatever, much less
to the Parliament of Great Britain. Let us
legislate for ourselves, and preserve the rights
and interests of the people, by our own acts,
and not abandon them to our enemy and rival.
I had much rather no act should pass on the
subject of this trade, than to pass the bill from
the Senate, and I think such is the sentiment
of the people of the country. I hope we shall
insist on our amendment, and if we fail of suc-
cess in that, that the bill from the Senate will
be rejected.

Mr. Buchanan said he would have preferred
the biU of this House to that of the Senate,
because it came out boldly. But the commit-
tee had abandoned this bill, and allowed Great
Britain a monopoly until the 31st of December.
He was willing to support the dignity of the
country. He thought the only dift'erence was,
whether we should act now by anticipation, or
at the meeting of the next Congress ? He was
unwilling to act now in the manner proposed
by the Committee on Commerce, since it had
taken this bill. If Congress should not act, he,
for one, should not blame the President for issu-
ing his proclamation, and ordering an inter-
diction.

Mr. AVuRTS defended the Committee on Com-
merce for having taken the bill from the Sen-
ate, on the ground that it was so late in the
session as tx) render it impracticable to get the
original bill through. He was willing to leave
the legislation on the subject till next Con-
gress. The President had acted well in refrain-
ing from issuing his proclamation as Congress
was about to go into session, and in leaving it
to Congress. Now let Congress act, and give



its opinion. Why should it not do so ? "Why
is it to be left to the Executive? He would
rather leave the whole to Congress at its next
session, than agree to this amendment of the
Senate.

Mr. MoDdffie said, if I correctly apprehend
the true state of this question, as presented by
the conflicting views of the two Houses, the
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. "VVebstee)
is under an erroneous impression as to the sup-
posed inefficiency of the bill of the Senate. I
understand the gentleman to say that the bill
sent to us by the Senate absolutely effects noth-
ing until the 31st of December next, and that we
had as well pass no bill at all until the meeting
of the next Congress. The gentleman appears
to me to have overlooked entirely the very diplo-
matic difficulty which our present legislation is
intended to remove. It will be recollected that
the great obstacle which has heretofore pre-
vented the adjustment of this question with
England, is the pretension set up by our Gov-
ernment, under the ambiguous phraseology of
the act of 1823, to have our merchandise im-
ported into the British West India islands, with
no higher duties than are levied upon similar
merchandise imported into those islands, from
the other parts of the British Empire. The
British Minister alleges that this is in effect to
claim to have our own citizens placed not only
upon the footing of the most favored nations,
but on the footing of English subjects; and
that he will not consent to negotiate upon the
subject, while such an absurd pretension re-
mains upon our statute book. This I under-
stand to have been the ground wpon which Mr.
Canning broke off the negotiation with our
Government ; for it was not until the British
Government was informed that a proposition
to repeal the exceptionable pretensions set up
by the act of 1823, had been rejected by the
legislative branch of this Government, that Mr.
Canning refused to continue the negotiation.
Kow, sir, the object of the bill of the Senate is
to do what we were prevented from doing at
the last session, by the interference of the Ex-
ecutive, and which, if it had been done, this
whole difficulty would have been avoided. The
bill proposes to renounce, by a legislative dec-
laration, the indefensible pretension which the
British Minister seems to regard as an insupera-
ble barrier to negotiation, and which our own
Government, in their instructions to Mr. Gal-
latin, have distinctly abandoned. To say, there-
fore, that the bill of the Senate will effect noth-
ing until the 31st of December, appears to me
to be an assertion founded upon a total miscon-
ception of the causes of our present difficulty.
It is not because the British are unwilling to
accept the terms recently offered by our Gov-
ernment through Mr. Gallatin ; for they are the
very terms that Government offered to accept
more than twelve months before Mr. Gallatin's
arrival in England. It is not because our Gov-
ernment are now unwilling to grant those
terms, for, after huckstering for an unattaina-



DEBATES OP CONGEESS.



463



March, 1827.]



British Colonial Trade.



[H. OP K.



ble shadow till they lost the substance, they
are now willing and anxious to do what they
grossly neglected to do when they had the
power. The real difficulty, then, which now
remains between the Governments, is not one
affecting the honor of either, but a mere mat-
ter of diplomatic etiquette.

The British Government proposed, by the
act of Parliament of 1825, to place our trade
with their West India islands on a footing of
perfect reciprocity. Our Legislature, under the
avowed recommendation of the Executive Gov-
ernment, refused to meet this legislative tender
by a corresponding act on our part.

The British Government have chosen to re-
gard this as a disrespectful tampering with
their dignity. Whether it is so or not, I think
it is the part of a wise Legislature to avail itself
of the very first occasion to convince the Brit-
ish Government that we had no such intention.
And, sir, if the influence of the Administration
shall again defeat the attempt to remove the
existing obstacles, as present appearances seem
to indicate, I trust the nation will place the
responsibility of the failure upon the shoulders
of those who ought to bear it. The Senate
have sent to this House a bill which does
remove the existing difficulty, in the least ex-
ceptionable mode, and will enable our Govern-
ment to resume the negotiation with the strong-
est possible hopes of success. The friends of
the Administration in this House attach an
amendment to the bill of the Senate, which is
to have no effect until a month after the meet-
ing of the next Congress, and yet declare they
would rather lose the bill altogether than not
have this amendment incorporated in it ! Now,
sir, I think the amendment proposed by this
House, decidedly exceptionable, because it
holds out an unprofitable threat to the British
Government, which may prevent them from
negotiating or rescinding their Orders in Coun-
cil, but certainly can do no good before the
meeting of Congress. There is another objec-
tion to the amendment proposed by this House.
It does not embrace, in the interdict it denoun-
ces after the 31st December next, the trade
through the Canadas. Now, sir, I am clearly
of the opinion that, whenever we do resort to
a system of retaliatory prohibition, it ought to
close up every avenue through which the inter-
dicted trade may be carried on. If the British
Government perceive, from a previous legisla-
tive declaration of ours, that we intend to leave
open the Canadas, she will have all the induce-
ment to adhere to her restrictive system, which
the prospect of supplying her islands from the
United States, through that avenue, is calcu-
lated to hold out. This is a contest, not for
commerce, but for navigation. If, therefore,
the British Islands shall be supplied through
the Canadas, Great Britain will have the whole
carrying trade — the very object of the contro-
versy. The Senate therefore consider it im-
portant to exclude our proposed amendment
from their biU ; and if the friends of the Ad-



ministration in this House will pertinaciously
adhere to an amendment which may do harm,
and can do no good, with a full knowledge
that, by such adherence, they will defeat the
bill altogether, then I presume the responsibil-
ity of defeating the only measure which can
extricate us from our diplomatic entanglements
will fairly rest, a second time, upon the Exec-
utive Government. I trust, sir, the House will
not adhere to its amendment, as, in the present
stffte of the question, a vote to adhere is equiv-
alent to a determination that no legislative act
shall be passed on the subject.

Mr. Little, then, after a few remarks on the
shortness of the time remaining, demanded the
previous question.

The call was sustained by the House, and
the House having tlien determined that the
main question shall now be put.

The question was then put, " Shall this House
insist on its amendment?" and decided in the
affirmative — ayes 71, noes 47.

The question being put on asking a confer-
ence, Mr. McDuFFiB asked the yeas and nays,
but the House refused to order them.

Mr. Powell advocated a conference, as did
also Mr. McDuffie, Mr. Cambeeleng, and Mr.
ToMUNsou"; and the question being put, the
conference was asked for, and a committee of
three appointed.

Mr. ToMLiNSON, from the Committee of Con-
ference on the Colonial Bill, reported that the
Conferees of the two Houses had been unable
to agree, and moved that this House do adhere
to its amendment.

On this motion a very extensive and animat-
ed debate took place, which continued till near
two o'clock.

The main question was then put, viz : "Will
this House adhere to its amendment?" and de-
cided by yeas and nays, as follows:

Teas. — Messrs. Allen of Mass., Bailey, Badger,
Baldwin, Bartlett, Bartley, Barber of Conn., Barney,
Brent, Burges, Clarke, Cocke, Crowninshiled, Davis,
Dwight, Eastman, Evertt, Fosdick, Gurley, Has-
brouck, Hfinry, Herrick, Hoffman, Hugimin, Hum-
phrey, Ingersoll, Johnson of Virginia, Johnson of
Ky., Kidder, Lathrop, Lawrence, Little, Locke, Mal-
lary, Martindale, Marvin of New York, M'Manus,
Meech, Merwin of Conn., Metcalfe, Miller of New-
York, Miner, James S. Mitchell, O'Brien, Pearco,
Porter, Powell, Reed, Eoss, Sands, Scott, Shannon,
Sloane, Spraguc, Stewart, Storrs, Strong, Swann,
Test, Tomlinson, Tucker of New Jersey, Vance, Var-
num, Wales, Ward, Webster, Whipple, Whittemore,
Whittlesey, Williams, James Wilson, Woods of Ohio,
Wright, AVurts, Young— 75.

Nats. — Messrs Addams of Pa., Alexander of Va.,
Alexander of Tenn., Alston, Angel, Ashley, Barbour
of Va., Barringer, Baylies, Blair, Bradley, Bryan,
Buchanan, Cambreleng, Carson, Cary, Claiborne,
Conner, Crump, Davenport, Deitz, Drayton, Edwards



Online LibraryUnited States. CongressAbridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives → online text (page 114 of 194)