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Of those contained in the first class, to be commenced as soon as possible
Those situated to the North of the Potomac
77,810 79 In the second class, to be commenced at a later
205,602 33 Those South of do.
429,872 34 In the third class, to be commenced at a remote period, the objects are, comparatively, unimportant; and as we are unable to locate one or two of the works specified, we have not extended the estimates, indeed the works in this class scarcely merit notice in the present comparison, for the execution of them is postponed to a remote period, and before that period arrives other objects may arise to supersede or be connected with them, that may vary altogether the proportional scale of expense. It is to the first and second class that the public attention is immediately directed, and for which appropriations are required.
But let us lay aside these military appropriations, and grant that into the consideration of measures adopted for the defence of the country, no such strict or scrutinizing spirit should be carried. That wherever exposed, our frontier requires and is entitled to protection, even if that defence, as in the case of the Valley of the Mississippi, should be concentered at one point. Let us in this argument lay out of the question the unequal distribution of expense, and consequently of protection, although we feel it as a subject of regret, if not of complaint, that fourteen hundred miles of coast between Norfolk and Pensacola, the greater part of which is weak and exposed, should be entirely defenceless, and turn to those objects which are peculiarly considered as measures of internal improvement, where no defence of this nature, no plea of necessity can be interposed, where no motives but views of " national welfare," or the influence of particular States, or of particular individuals, can have swayed the decision of the government. We can then fairly ascertain what prevalent spirit has governed and directed these “national projects."
From the message of the President of the United States, “transmitting the information required by a resolution of the House of Representatives, in relation to expenditures incident or relating to internal improvement for the years 1824–1825." (Doc. No. 149, Ho. of Rep.) it appears that the sums expended
in those two years, on internal improvement, were thus distributed North of the Potomac,
$323,603 47 South of do.
27,39 28 Common to the two sections,
33,713 00 In the report made to the House of Representatives from the Engineer's Department on the 17th of February, 1827 (Doc. No. 106, Ho. of Rep.) there is exhibited an abstract of the applications, filed in the department, for the surveys of roads and canals, which have not been surveyed. These are divided into two tables, the first containing those which it is the intention of the department to have surveyed; the second, those which are not to be surveyed. In the first table, the works to be surveyed are situated as follows: North of the Potomac,
13 South of do.
6 On the Dividing Line,
1 In the very able speech of Mr. Smith, which we have noticed at the head of this article, a speech which merits more attention than it has received, not only on account of the strong facts and striking illustrations of the abuses to wbich this system will lead, to which indeed it has already led; but also of the total want of economy which is beginning to distinguish these operations—there is a detailed enumeration of no less than sixty-nine, not mere projects, but actual surveys of roads, canals, rivers, creeks and harbours. Of these were located North of the Potomac,
54 South of do.
12* Common to the two sections of the Union,
3 The Report made to the House of Representatives on the 28th of April, 1828, (Doc. No. 261, Ho. of Rep.) appears to give a more complete statement of this subject than the document from which Mr. Smith derived his information, and made the enumeration to which we have above alluded. This report contains “a list of the different works of internal improvement, comprising routes for roads and canals, attempts to improve the navigation of rivers, lakes, creeks and bays, and to protect coasts and islands that have been undertaken or projected by the Federal Government, within the different States and Territories,
* Of these twelve, the Canal across the Peninsula of Florida, was altogether a Northern enterprise, intended to facilitate the navigation to New-Orleans. For, as soon as it was ascertained that a canal for ships could not easily be constructed, but only one for boats, which, to the inhabitants of the Peninsula, would probably be the most useful, the scheme was immediately abandoned, and now sleeps most quietly among the archives of the department.
from the year 1824 to the year 1828, inclusive, shewing how many works, and of what kinds have been undertaken or projected in each State or Territory within that time; the amount intended or deemed necessary to be expended in the execution of each work, so far as the same has been estimated; and the time which each will probably require for its completion, as far as practicable, from the information in possession of this depart'ment."
The works specified in this report, are situated as follow:North of the Potomac,
68 South of do.
19 Seven that may be called common-but four of these relate to the Cumberland Road and Chesapeake Canal, that have much more relation to the north-west than to the south.
The estimates are incomplete, and it is probable that when all are finished, the cost in each section of the country may bear some proportion to the contemplated number of works. To shew, however, how much more attention is paid to those in one quarter than to those in the other, it may be proper to state that the sum“ necessary to be expended, so far as the same has been estimated, is
For the Ohio and Chesapeake Canal, with which the South has nothing to do,
$22,375,427 69 For works North of the Potomac,
10,291,069 96 For works South of do.
33,500 00" And such, if we reason from the past, will be the practical operation of this system, such the complexion it will wear, until some fixed principle shall be established to regulate these
expenditures, if the constitutional objections continue to be overruled by a majority-and, in accordance with these statements are the apparent views and feelings of those who govern, the South seems never to enter into their consideration. The States that urge this system on, virtually combine to apportion the benefits of it among themselves; sometimes, we blush to say it, to purchase the acquiescence or co-operation of States that have hitherto resisted these claims of power by the Federal Government. The evils that are approaching under the cover of this doctrine are already of sufficient magnitude to alarm every considerate man. Schemes, within a few years, have been forced into notice, sufficient to cost from fifty to one hundred millions of dollars. Every season must bring forth a new litter. Every man who wishes to be great in a small circle, must form and fashion some project to attract the admiration of his followers. Every member of Congress who wishes to be extremely popular in his own district, must labour to make it the theatre and focus of extensive
operations. The funds of the nation will be exhausted, its resources drained, to gratify the visionary speculations of every projector. Does this conclusion appear extravagant? How, we would ask, can these measures be now controlled ? How can their multiplication be restrained ?- Is there, besides, no danger that intrigue may be made to bear upon them? That combinations may be formed to force those along that cannot pass by their own intrinsic merit? Is it not to be apprehended that in certain states of parties grants may be made, precedents be established, which all may regret when the excitement has passed away, but when it may be too late to recall them? Is it not probable that at every doubtful Presidential election, claims may be urged which no one can successfully oppose; which , however unreasonable, many will be unwilling to controvert?
How can these measures, we repeat, be restrained or limited ? To national objects? What are they? Who shall define them? Every man believes the projects that will benefit his quarter of the Union, his State, his county, his town, his village, his farm, his occupation, bis manufacture, a national object ; each one believes, because he wishes himself to be the centre of important interests. And why not ? Every individual is an integral portion of the whole community, his welfare and prosperity is a portion of the general welfare and prosperity; the nation is composed of individuals, and the well-being of every individual is, and must be, a national object. The door is wide enough to admit all applicants—the construction liberal enough to cover all claims. National objects! Is that which interests ten States a national object? If so, will it cease to be national if it concerns only nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one? Where shall be drawn the line of separation ? Must we go to one-half, one-third, one-fourth, one-tenth part of a State, until again we reach the individual! This is the irresistible course of the argument. Many objects of a single individual may be truly national-may public works, in a single State, may be of more real importance to the nation than others that traverse a dozen. Must the soil of more than one State be broken or trodden, in order to render a public work national ? If the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is a national object, is it more so because it touches a skirt of Maryland, than it would be if Delaware extended across the isthmus? If the Ohio and Chesapeake Canal is to be a national object, would it be less so if the engineers, on making their survey, had found it expedient from local causes to locate it altogetber within the State of Virginia? No limitation, in fact and in practice, can be affixed to this phrase; it will be wise, therefore, before we enter on this inter
minable career, before we approach this absorbing whirlpool, to establish some landmarks to regulate our progress, some system to guide our conduct.
This subject is daily becoming more important. The debt of the United States is rapidly decreasing, the revenue, unless destroyed by the manufacturing mania, must, from the multiplication of our numbers, and the accumulation of our wealth, continue to increase, and will soon be found greatly to exceed the necessary expendituresof the government. It is and will be the wish of a great part of the citizens of the United States, that the surplus revenue of the nation shall be employed on works for the internal improvement of the country; this, we believe, will be the desire of a large majority of the people, if it can and shall be done on equitable and constitutional principles. We speak not here of the constitutional right to engage in such enterprizes—this we have already and may again consider-but of that constitutional principle which has been established for the apportionment of our burthens, and which ought, therefore, to be the standard for the distribution of benefits. The Constitution has provided that representation and direct taxation shall be apportioned among the States on certain specified principles; it is not only equitable but just that all expenditures of the government, not required for the absolute safety of the country, or the necessary maintenance of the government itself, should be made on the same basis and distributed in the same proportion.
The objections to this doctrine which arise to our minds, are so few and so insignificant compared to the numerous and weighty reasons which may be urged in its favour, that we have always been astonished, that this proportional distribution of the surplus funds of the government, had not been established as a measure of practical expedience, even if it were not incorporated into our system as an unalterable rule of conduct. If it should be supposed that some objects of great magnitude and great apparent importance would be retarded or paralyzed by this division and apportionment of our funds; that some would not be undertaken, from the time which must pass away before they could be accomplished; that others would be abandoned in disgust, from the slow and noiseless step with which they would approach to their completion, and that on this important subject, discouragement and dissatisfaction would pervade the country; we can only reply, that these results ought not to be apprehended, they certainly would not necessarily follow from the admission of so wise and equitable a principle. They could VOL. II.-NO. 4.