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

. (page 106 of 184)
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 106 of 184)
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passage of the one bill depended on the other.


Monday, June 13.
Mr. WooDBTTET presented to the Senate the
credentials of the Hon. Leonard Witoox, who
had been elected by the Legislature of New



2d Sess.]

Tlie Promsioaal Tariff.

[June, 1842.

Hampshire to fill the unexpired term of the
Hon. Franklin Piekoe, resigned.

Mr. King- suggested that, notwithstanding
the honoraWe Senator had heen heretofore
qualified under the appointment hy the Gov-
ernor, it would be necessary for him to qualify

Mr. Wilcox was accordingly again qualified,
and took his seat.


Monday, June 13.
The Apportionment Bill.

Mr. Everett moved to suspend the rules for
the purpose of taking up the apportionment
bill, which had been returned from the Senate
with amendments ; and the yeas and nays hav-
ing been ordered, the question on the suspen-
sion was taken, resulting in yeas 182, nays 25.

So the bill and amendments were taken up.

The question recurred upon the motion to
concur with the Senate in their first amend-
ment, increasing the ratio from 50,179 to 70,-
680, and resulted in the negative — yeas 95,
nays 112.

The question next recurred upon the motion ts
concur with the Senate in their second amend-
ment, giving an additional Eepresentative to
fractions over and above one moiety of the ra-
tio, and it was lost.

Tuesday, June 14.
The Provisional Tariff.

On motion bf Mr. W. Cost Johnson, the
House resolved itself into a Committee of the
Whole on the state of the Union, (Mr. MoKbn-
nan in the chair.) The committee took up the
bill to extend the operation, of the existing rev-
enue laws of the country until the 1st of

Mr. Gilmer, who was entitled to the floor
when the committee rose on Friday, addressed
the committee at length in opposition to the
bill. He said he should interpose no objection
whatever to its passage, did he believe it to be
such a bill as its title imported — to extend the
operation of ttie existing revenue laws of the
country. But he believed it to be a bill of a
totally difi'erent character, and, therefore, he
felt bound to trespass upon the indulgence of
the committee with a few remarks. He would
briefly call their attention to the circumstances
by which we were surrounded, and which had
brought us to our present position. It was gen-
erally considered that the compromise act of
1833 would not, on the 30th of June, yield
revenue enough to pay the debts and defray the
expenses of the Government, and that the
amount must he increased. This must be done,
the committee had been told, in one of two
modes : either by increasing the number of ar-
ticles subject to a duty of 20 per cent., or by
increasing the amount of duty on those articles

which would have to pay but 20 per cent, ac-
cording to the compromise act. It was evident
that we could no longer rely upon loans. The
credit of our Government was exhausted, and
we were now literally brought to the necessity
of raising the ways and means. This was a
revenue question — one which must be looked
at in all its aspects, and promptly decided. The
time had ari-ived when, the committee was told,
it could no longer postpone action, which was
demanded by public faith, credit, character,
and honor.

Three bills had been reported to the House,
all proposing to raise an amount of revenue
which their several advocates considered ne-
cessary to pay the debts, and to defray the ex-
penses of the Government. These bills were
founded upon different principles — upon pro-
tection and revenue, and upon both blended,
according to the views of their advocates. He
would call the attention of the committee to
the fact, that they all proposed to raise more
revenue than could be raised by the compromise
act. But there was not time enough to act
upon them before the 30th of June, which
would arrive in fifteen days, when the reduc-
tion of all duties to the twenty per cent, stand-
ard would take effect. There was obviously
not time enough to discuss, consider, and decide
a question, which the honorable chairman of
Ways and Means had informed the House, not
long since, was one of the most diflScult and
complicated which our Government had ever
been called upon to consider.

He repeated, he would have no objection to
the passage of the bill, if it was in reality what,
by its specious title, it purported to be. But
whilst it was apparently a bill to suspend, it in
fact repealed the whole revenue system, after a
certain day. Its effect would be to throw the
Government into chaos ; for, without revenue,
the Government could not be carried on. It
would place the country where it was at the
end of the Kevolutionary war, without means
and in debt. It would exhibit Congress in the
attitude of repealing the only laws by which
revenue might be derived. He did not wish to
deal unfairly with the bill, and would, there-
fore, read it. He then read the bill by which
the present revenue laws are to continue in
force until the first day of August, " and no
longer." These words " and no longer," he
contended, would have the effect of leaving the
country entirely without revenue laws. Where
was the security for the bill in its present
shape ? The committee was told that the pres-
ent laws would not be in force after the 30th
of June, when the duties would be reduced to
20 per cent. Suppose the bill be passed, and
the 1st of August arrive without action : would
not the Government be in as bad a condition as
at the end of June ? But it went further than
that. The words " and no longer " contained
as positive a repeal of all existing laws, as if they
had been repealed in express language.

If the chairman of the Committee of Ways



JvsE, 1842.]

The Provisional Tariff.

[27xH Cong.

and Means wished to obviate this objection, it
was easy for him to do so. Let the bill stop in
the tenth line ; and then its effect would be to
continue existing laws until the farther action
of Congress. In that case, there would be no
doubt of the passage of this bill. What was its
object ? To allow time to Congress to delibe-
rate upon permanent revenue laws. That ob-
ject could be attained by declaring that the
present law shall remain in force until further
action by Congress. But he heard the honor-
able chairman of "Ways and Means whisper
across, that there might be no action on the
part of Congress. He thanked him for the
whisper. He wished to show that the gentle-
man, in this bill, gave Congress six weeks to
deliberate ; but if, at the end of that period, no
tariff should be matured, there were to be no rev-
enue laws. All the means of the Government
were exhausted. Only six weeks remained to
discuss the tariff; and yet we were called on to
repeal all existing laws, unless Congress should
take further action prior to the 1st of August.

Nor was this all. The bill before the com-
mittee violated the compromise acts — acts re-
cognized by Congress as such. He was not one
of those who attached a sacred character to or-
dinary acts passed by Congress. In the Legis-
lature of Virginia he had declined declaring
that the compromise act of 1833 was sacred.
He would not declare the constitution sacred ;
and there was but one book or written instru-
ment in the world to which he would apply
that appellation. He would, however, say that
this bill violated compacts; and the faith of
man was as much involved in the defence of a
compact of a simple as of a sacred character.
About twelve months since, when this Congress
found itself in extra session, the opponents of
the land distribution bill, which was then in-
troduced, objected to it on the ground that it
would interfere with the compromise of 1833,
increase the taxes, and take from the people
with one hand, while it gave with the other.

The clause limiting the operation of the law
to the period during which the compromise act
of 1838 should not be violated, was ingrafted
with the bill, as a guarantee that the conse-
quences which its opponents foretold would
not ensue. It was, therefore, a compromise
agreed upon by the friends of the distribution
law to secure its passage. Indeed, it was a
double compromise, since it secured the former
compromise of 1833. But the present bill vio-
lates both of these compromises. And gentle-
men here declared they would vote for a distri-
bution of the land fund, whether the duties on
imports be 20 or 50 per cent.

He would not discuss the question, whose
extravagance it was that spent the money in
our treasury, and brought us to our present ne-
cessities. Our necessities existed, and were
likely to put in force the clause of the distribu-
tion law which repealed itself. The question
now was, whether Congress would re-enact
the distribution law, without the 20 per cent.

provision ; whether they would give away the
land money, revenue or no revenue. Should
the distribution law be re-enacted, without
regard to the tax which will have to be
imposed upon the people, who are to receive
the money ? This was the true question ; and
all that the opponents of distribution asked
was, that its friends would adhere to the very
principles on which the law was enacted.
Were we to be told that there was no such
thing as public faith ? that, although Congress
had pledged its faith in that very law against
any increase of taxes, we were at liberty to
disregard it '


Wednesday, June 15.
The Florida Armed Occupation Bill.
On motion of Mr. Benton, the bill to provide
for the armed occupation and settlement of the
unsettled part of the peninsula of East Florida,
having been correctly engrossed, was read the
third time and passed.

TTie Apportionment Bill.

•On motion of Mr. Beeeien, the Senate took
up the message from the House, returning the
bill apportioning Representatives among the
States according to the sixth census, and giving
information that that House had non-concurred
with the Senate in all their amendments to
said bill.

The question now being on the motion to in-
sist on the amendment of the Senate, providing
that such States as have a fraction of more
than a moiety of the ratio shall be entitled to
an additional Eepresentative, it was put, and
decided in the affirmative — yeas 24, nays 18.

The question was then taken on the motion
to insist on the amendment of the Senate, in-
creasing the ratio adopted by the House from
50,176 to 70,680, and decided in the affirma-
tive — yeas 30, nays 14.

The other amendments of the Senate, con-
forming the number of Representatives for each
State to the ratio, were also insisted on ; and

The Secretary was directed to return the bill
to the House, and inform it of the action of the

Wednesday, June 16.
The Provisional Tariff.
On motion of Mr. Fillmoke, the House re-
solved itself into Committee of the Whole on
the state of the Union (Mr. MoKennan, of
Pennsylvania, in the chair,) and resumed the
consideration of the bill to extend for a limited
period the present laws for laying and collect-
ing duties on imports.

When the bill was last under consideration,
Mr. Roosevelt had moved to amend it by
striking out the proviso at the end thereof.



2d Sess.]

The Provisional Tariff'.

[JoNE, 1842.

And Mr. Gwin had moved to amend the
amendment, hy adding at the end of the six-
teenth line of the bill the words, " to a later
period than 1st August, 1842."

And the pending question was on the amend-
ment to the amendment.

Mr. John W. Jones said: "Was the proposi-
tion which had been laid down true — that, in the
event of the passage of this bill, the laws in
force on the 30th of June would, be continued
precisely as they existed ? It was necessary to
inquire, first, what were the laws in force on
the 1st of June ; and, secondly, whether it was
proposed by this bill to change any of their
material provisions. He apprehended it would
be admitted on all hands that the compromise
act was in force on the 1st of June, and had
not yet accomplished its purposes; that the
revenue bill of last session was also in force ;
and last, but not least, that the land bOl of last
session was still in force. Then, if no legisla-
tion should be had now, what would be the
condition of our revenue laws ? "Why, on the
30th of June, the compromise act of 1833 would
accomplish the great objects for which it was
originally introduced, and all duties be brought
down to 20 per cent. In contemplation of that
event, what further consequences would ensue ?
Tlie land law of last session would, the day
after, distribute all the proceeds of the public
lands received into the treasury since the 31st
of last December. These would be the effects
of no legislation. The compromise act would
have performed all its purposes ; and, in con-
templation of that event, the distribution law
would distribute all the proceeds of the sales of
public lands on the day after.

But, legislate as proposed in this bill — enact
the proviso to it which is proposed to be strick-
en out — and what would then be the conse-
quences ? Instead of bringing down the duties
on imports, you actually keep them up beyond
twenty per cent. If this be done, what, ac-
cording to the land bill, must follow ? Why,
distribution must be suspended. What would
be the consequences with this bill in operation ?
The distribution law woald take effect; and
this was what gentlemen termed leaving things
precisely as they were on the first day of June.

It should not be forgotten that, in 1833, the
public lands were regarded as a part of the rev-
enue of the Government. The compromise act
was then entered into, in contemplation of their
continuance as such. It was also remarkable,
that the proceeds of the public lands was the
only branch of revenue in which the great mass
of the people bore an equal share of the public
burdens. The land bill itself so regarded it ;
because in that bill it was provided, in express
terms, that where a greater amount of duty
than twenty per cent, was laid upon any of the
articles enumerated in the compromise act of
1833, the distribution should be suspended.
Here was not only one compromise, but two —
the compromise of 1833, and that of last ses-
sion. Here was a bond originally executed be-
VoL. Xrv.— 28

tween two contending parties. It was enacted
by the very individuals now seeking to violate
its provisions. Yes, this bond of compromise
was signed under circumstances which he need
not here repeat. It had been kept inviolate
for years. Here was the original contract, (al-
luding to the act of 1833,) and here your sub-
sequent recognition of its validity, (the distri-
bution law.) Were these contracts not to be
regarded? Did gentlemen mean nothing when
they entered into them ? Did they now intend
that nothing should be accomplished by them ?

In speaking of the compromise of 1833, he
need only call the attention of the committee
to the time when it received the sanction of
Congress. Gentlemen here remembered the
diflSculties by which we were then surrounded,
and the opposition which was made to the en-
forcement of the then existing law. Such was
the state of dissension and disagreement which
prevailed, that this country was brought to the
very verge of disunion. All remembered the
deep excitement prevailing at that time in re-
lation to the contest between a State and the
General Government ; and those on the spot at
the time could call to mind the sleepless nights
which were spent in devising some scheme to
save the Union from the most fearful of calam-
ities. Yet, after a law had been passed under
such circumstances, we were told it had no
binding influence upon party, or any one else !
Look at what was then said, when apprehen-
sions were expressed lest it should not be ob-
served. What said the leader of a great party,
then as now ? He (Mr. J.) could not quote his
words, but he remembered that the leader to
whom he referred said that it would he wrong
to think of violating that act; and no man
could stand up before the country and advocate
such a design.

Let it be recollected that one party, at least,
had kept its faith to tlie country ; that, during
nine years, whilst the South had to bear the
burdens of the arrangement, it tamely and qui-
etly submitted to the consequences — and under
circumstances, too, which afforded the most
plausible pretext for the violation of the prin-
ciples embodied in the act. What had been
the condition of the country during that pe-
riod ? Its treasury was overflowing, and it
had deposited its millions with the States.
Yet the law was looked upon as sacred. How
strong would have been the appeal which
might have been addressed to the people of the
, South, who bore the burdens of the act !
Might it not have been said to them, " Why
collect millions annually, when the treasury is
so fall, and when you may be so easily relieved
without embarrassing the operations of the
Government ? " But what said the South then ?
True to its engagements, it never once looked
to the consequences of such a measure. This,
too, was at a time when the manufacturers
were trembling lest the compromise should be

The nine years had expired, and during that



Joke, 1842.]

The Promsimal Tariff.

[27th Cono.

time, the South had kept its part of the engage-
ment. Now, when we (said Mr. J.) are to reap
the advantages of the compromise act, what is
the spectacle which we see exhibited? The
very party who enacted the law have come
forward, and declared that they will not exe-
cute the promises nor discharge the obligations
there imposed. Again: who does not know
that the land bill, which was passed at the ex-
tra session of Congress, would not have receiv-
ed the sanction of the Senate, but for the intro-
duction of the 20 per cent, clause ? "What said
gentlemen when the bill came back from the
Senate with that provision attached? They
said, " "We assent to the proviso, in order to
get the bill passed." Yet, when, by the pro-
viso to the present bill, it is proposed to change
a material provision in the land bill, and sub-
tract seven or eight hundred thousand dollars
from the means of the Treasury, this is called
leaving things precisely as they were.

If such had been the object of gentlemen ad-
vocating the present bill, how easy would it
have been for them to have passed another bill,
emanating from the same committee which in-
troduced this, but the day before, and now ly-
ing on the table. That bill had not been re-
ported sixty minutes before it became apparent
that its effect would be to suspend the distribu-
tion law. "What was the course pursued ? A
motion was made to recommit it to the same
committee, and, no doubt, for the purpose of
substituting the present. If the object sought
after was to leave the laws as they existed,
where was the necessity for the present move-
ment ? The conviction was plain. "Who was
so blind as not to see that this bill re-enacted
the land bill, and repealed the compromise?
He asked, was it just or fair ? You passed the
distribution law by the incorporation of a prin-
ciple, without which it could not have become
a law ; and, in less than a year, you seek to
violate your own faith.

The hour of 2 o'clock having arrived, the
committee, according to order, proceeded to
vote upon the several amendments offered to
the bill.

The question was first taken upon the motion
to strike out the proviso to the bill, which re-
enacts the distribution law. This motion was
rejected— ayes 102, noes 113.

Mr. GwiN then renewed his amendment,
(previously withdrawn,) according to which
the operation of the distribution law would be
suspended until the 1st of August. The vote
on this amendment was taken by tellers, and
resulted— ayes 87, noes 111.

Mr. GiLMEB moved to strike out the words
" until the 1st day of August, 1842, and no
longer," and insert " until the same shall be
changed by law." The effect of this amend-
ment would be to prolong the operation of the
bill. It was rejected by the committee— ayes
SO, noes 105. '^

After several ineffectual attempts had been
made to carry amendments to the bill,

Mr. FiLLMOEE moved to strike out the words
" and no longer," and insert " at which time,
if there shall be then no further legislation on
the subject, the laws shall be the same as if no
action had been had." This amendment was
adopted without a count.

The committee then rose and reported the
bin to the House, and the amendments adopted
in committee were then agreed to.

Mr. Eastman moved that the proviso to the
bill be stricken out.

The House refused to strike out the proviso
by a vote of 107 to 113.

The bill having been ordered to its engross-
ment, by general consent it was read a third
time, and then passed by the following vote :

Teas. — Messrs. Adams, Allen, Landaff W. An-
drews, Sherlock J. Andrews, Appleton, Arnold, Ay-
crigg, Baker, Barnard, Birdseye, Boardman, Bottg,
Briggs, Broekway, Bronson, Milton Brown, Bumell,
Calhoun, Thomas J. Campbell, Caruthers, Casey,
Childs, Chittenden, John C. Clark, Staley N. Clarke,
James Cooper, Cowen, Cranston, Cravens, Cushing,
Garrett Davis, Deberry, John Edwards, Everett, Fes-
senden, Fillmore, A. Lawrence Foster, Giddings,
Goggin, Patrick G. Goode, Graham, Granger, Green,
Hall, Halsted, Howard, Hudson, Hunt, Joseph K.
IngcrsoU, James Irvin, "William "W. Irwin, James,
William Cost Johnson, Isaac D. Jones, John P. Ken-
nedy, Lane, Linn, McKennan, Samson Mason,
Mathiot, Mattocks, Maxwell, Maynard, Mitchell,
Moore, Morgan, Morris, Morrow, Osborne, Owsley,
Parmenter, Pearce, Pendleton, Pope, Powell, Ramsay,
Benjamin Randall, Alexander Randall, Randolph,
Ridgway, Rodney, William Russell, James M. Russell,
Saltonstall, Shepperd, Simonton, Slade, Truman
Smith, Sprigg, Stanly, Stokeley, Stratton, Alexander
H. H. Stuart, John T. Stuart, Summers, Taliaferro,
John B. Thompson, Richard W. Thompson, Tilling-
hast, Toland, Tomlinson, Triplett, Trumbull, Under-
wood, Van Rensselaer, "Wallace, Washington, Edward
D. White, Joseph L. White, Thomas W. Williams,
Joseph L. Williams, Yorke, Augustus Young, and
John Young — 116.

Nats. — Messrs. Atherton, Beeson, Bidlack, Black,
Bowne, Boyd, Brewster, Aaron V. Brown, Charles
Brown, Burke, William Butler, William 0. Butler,
Green W. Caldwell, Patrick C. Caldwell, John Camp-
bell, Chapman, Clifford, Clinton, Coles, Colquitt,
Mark A. Cooper, Cross, Daniel, Richard D. Davis,
Dawson, Dean, Doan, Doig, Eastman, John C. Ed-
wards, Egbert, Ferris, John 6. Floyd, Charles A.
Floyd, romance, Thomas F. Foster, Gamble, Gilmer,
William 0. Goode, Gordon, Gustine, Gwin, Haber-
sham, Harris, John Hastings, Hays, Holmes, Hop-
kins, Houck, Houston, Hubard, Hunter, Charles J.
IngersoU, Jack, Cave Johnson, John W. Jones,
Keim, Andrew Kennedy, King, Lewis, Littlefield,
Lowell, Abraham MeClellan, Robert MoClellan, Mc-
Kay, MoKeon, Alfred Marshall, John Thompson,
Mason, Matthews, Medill, Miller, Newhard, Oliver,
Patridge, Payne, Pickens, Plumer, Proffit, Read,
Reding, Rencher, Reynolds, Rhett, Riggs, Rogers,
Roosevelt, Saunders, Shaw, Shields, Snyder, Steen-
rod, Sumter, Jacob Thompson, Turney, "V"an Buren,
Warren, Watterson, Weller, "Westbrook, Wise, and
Wood— 103.



2d SeS3.]

General Jackson's Fine.

[June, 1842.


Thursday, June 16.
The Provisional Tariff Bill.

On motion of Mr. Evans, the bill from the
House to extend, for a limited period, the pres-
ent laws for laying and collecting duties on im-
ports, was taken up and read the first time.

Mr. Evans moved that the bill be now read
a second time, with a view to its reference.

Mr. Seviee objected to its second reading.

Mr. Evans demanded the yeas and nays on
the question, " Shall the bill be read a second
time, with a view to reference ? " which were

Mr. Buchanan remarked that, as the yeas
and nays had been called, he would just say he
would vote for referring the bill to a commit-
tee ; certainly, he would for its reference.
But, if the question was on the passage of the
bill, with the proviso inserted in it, he would
as certainly vote against it. He would vote
for its reference, to give the Committee on Fi-
nance and the Senate an opportunity to strike
out the proviso.

Mr. King said he would vote against counte-

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 106 of 184)