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Jax. 20, 1830.]
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
must be first paid. For this, these lands have been so result from adopting the resolution. Indeed, it gives no lemnly pledged to the public creditors. This done, which, new powers, and hardly imposes any new duty on the if there be no interference with the Sinking Fund, will Committee. All that the resolution proposes should be be effected in three or four years, the question will then done, the Committee is quite competent, without the resobe fairly open, to be disposed of as Congress and the coun- lution, to do, by virtue of its ordinary powers. But, sir, try may think just and proper. Without attempting to although I have felt quite indifferent about the passing of indicate precisely what our policy ought then to be, I will, the resolution, yet opinions were expressed yesterday on in the same spirit which has induced me to throw out the the general subject of the public lands, and on some other desultory thoughts which I have now presented to the Sen- subjects, by the gentleman from South Carolina, so wideatc, suggest for consideration, whether it will not be sound ly different from my own, that I am not willing to let the policy, and true wisdom, to adopt a system of measures occasion pass without some reply. If I deemed the resolooking to the final relinquishment of these lands on the Jution, as originally proposed, hardly necessary, still less part of the United States, to the States in which they lie, do I think it either necessary or expedient to adopt it, on such terms and conditions as may fully indemnify us for since a second branch has been added to it to-day. By the cost of the original purchase, and all the trouble and this second branch, the Committee is to be instructed to expense to which we may have been put on their account. inquire whether it be expedient to adopt measures to hasGiving up the plan of using these lands forever as a fund ten the sales, and extend more rapidly the surveys of the either for revenue or distribution, ceasing to hug them as public lands. Now, it appears that, in forty years, we a great treasure, renouncing the idea of administering them have sold no more than about twenty millions of acres of with a view to regulate and control the industry and po- public lands. The annual sales do not now exceed, and pulation of the States, or of keeping in subjection and de- never have exceeded, one million of acres. A million a pendence the States, or the people of any portion of the year is, according to our experience, as much as the inUnion, the task will be comparatively easy of striking out crease of population can bring into settlement. And it a plan for the final adjustment of the land question on just appears also, that we have, at this moment, sir, surveyed and equitable principles. Perhaps, sir, the lands ought and in the market, ready for sale, two hundred and ten not to be entirely relinquished to any State until she shall millions of acres, or thereabouts. All this vast mass, at have made considerable advances in population and settle this moment, lies on our hands, for mere want of purment. Ohio has probably already reached that condition. chasers. Can any man, looking to the real interests of the The relinquishment may be made by a sale to the State, at country and the people, seriously think of inquiring a fixed price, which I will not say should be nominal; but whether we ought not still faster to hasten the public surcertainly I should not be clisposed to fix the amount so veys, and to bring, still more and more rapidly, other vast high as to keep the States for any length of time in debt quantities into the market? The truth is, that, rapidly as to the United States. In short, our whole policy in population has increased, the surveys have, nevertheless, relation to the public lands may perhaps be summed outran our wants. There are more lands than purchasers. up in the declaration with which I set out, that they They are now sold at low prices, and taken up as fast as ought not to be kept and retained forever as a great trea. the increase of people furnishes hands to take them up. It is sure, but that they should be administered chiefly with a obvious, that no artificial regulation, no forcing of sales, view to the creation, within reasonable periods, of great no giving away of the lands even, can produce any great and flourishing communities, to be formed into free and and sudden augmentation of population. The ratio of inindependent States; to be invested in due season with the crease, though great, has yet its bounds. Hands for labor control of all the lands within their respective limits. are multiplied only at a certain rate. The lands cannot [Here the debate closed for this day:]
be settled but by settlers; nor faster than settlers can be
found. A system, if now adopted, of forcing sales, at WEDNESDAY, Jan. 20, 1830.
whatever prices, may have the effect of throwing large
quantities into the hands of individuals, who would, in THE DEBATE CONTINUED.
this way, in time, become themselves competitors with the The Senate resumed the consideration of the resolution Government in the sale of land. My own opinion has uniof Mr. FOOT, which was the subject of discussion yesterday. formly been, that the public lands should be offered freely,
Mr. F. rose and said, that, in conformity with the and at low prices; so as to encourage settlement and culsuggestion of Mr. SPRAGUE, made yesterday, for the pur- tivation as rapidly as the increasing population of the counpose of meeting the views of Mr. WOODBURY, he would try is competent to extend settlement and cultivation. inodify his motion to read as follows:
Every actual settler should be able to buy good land, at a Resolved, That the Committee on Public Lands be in-cheap rate; but, on the other hand, speculation by indistructed to inquire and report the quantity of the public viduals, on a large scale, should not be encouraged, nor lands remaining unsold within each State and Territory, should the value of all lands, sold and unsold, be reduced to and whether it be expedient to limit, for a certain period, nothing, by throwing new and vast quantities into the the sales of the public lands to such lands only as have market at prices merely nominal. heretofore, been offered for sale, and are now subject to I now proceed, sir, to some of the opinions expressed entry at the minimum price; and also, whether the office by the gentleman from South Carolina. Two or three of Surveyor General, and some of the Land Offices, may topics were touched by him, in regard to which he exuoi be abolished without detriment to the public interest; pressed sentiments in which I do not at all concur, or whether it be expedient to adopt measures to hasten In the first place, sir, the honorable gentleman spoke the sales, and extend more rapidly the surveys of the pub- of the whole course and policy of the Government toIc lands.
wards those who have purchased and settled the public Mr. WEBSTER said, on rising, that nothing had been lands and seemed to think this policy wrong. He held further from his intention than to take any part in the it to have been, from the first, hard and rigorous; he was discussion of this resolution. It proposed only an inquiry, of opinion that the United States had acted towards on a subject of much importance, and one in regard to those who had subdued the Western wilderness, in the which it might strike the mind of the mover, and of other spirit of a step-mother; that the public domain had been gentlemen, that inquiry and investigation would be useful improperly regarded as a source of revenue; and that we Although (said Mr. W.] I am one of those who do not per- had rigidly compelled payment for that which ought to ceive any particular utility in instituting the inquiry, I have been given away. He said we ought to have followed bave, nevertheless, not seen that harm yould be likely to the analogy of other Governments, which had acted on a
Mr. Fool's Resolution.
(Jax, 20, 1830.
much more liberal system than ours, in planting colonies. And here, sir, at the epoch of 1794, let us pause, and surHe dwelt particularly upon the settlement of America by vey the scene. It is now thirty-five years since that scene colonists from Europe; and reminded us that their go- actually existed. Let us, sir, "look back, ani behold it. vernments had not exacted from those colonists payment Over all that is now Ohio, there then stretched one vast for the soil; with them, he said, it had been thought that wilderness, unbroken, except by two small spots of civi. the conquest of the wilderness was, itself, an equivalent lized culture, the one at Marietta, and the other at Cinfor the soil; and he lamented that we had not followed the cinnati. At these little openings, hardly each a pin's point example, and pursued the same liberal course towards our upon the map, the arm of the frontiersman had levelled own emigrants to the West.
the forest, and let in the sun. These little patches of earth, Now, sir, 1 deny altogether, that there has been any and themselves almost shadowed by the over hanging thing harsh or severe in the policy of the Government to-boughs of that wilderness, which had stood and perpetuwards the new States of the West. On the contrary, I ated itself, from century to century, ever since the creamaintain that it has uniformly pursued towards those tion, were all that had then been rendered verdant by the States, a liberal and enlightened system, such as its own hand of man. In an extent of hundreds and thousands of duty allowed and required, and such as their interests square miles, no other surface of smiling green attested and welfare demanded. The Government has been no the presence of civilization. The hunter's path crossed step-mother to the new States; she has not been careless mighty rivers, flowing in solitary grandeur, whose sources of their interests, nor deaf to their requests; but from the lay in remote and unknown regions of the wilderness. It first moment, when the Territories which now form those struck, upon the North, on a vast inland sea, over which States, were ceded to the Union, down to the time in the wintry tempests raged as on the ocean; all around was which I am now speaking, it has been the invariable ob. bare creation. It was a fresh, untouched, unbounded, ject of the Government to clispose of the soil, according nagnificeni wilderness! And, sir, what is it now? Is it to the true spirit of the obligation under which it received imagination only, or can it possibly be fact, that presents it; to hasten its settlement and cultivation, as far and as such a change, as surprises and astonishes us, when we fast as practicable; and to rear the new communities into turn our eyes to what obio now is? Is it reality, or a dream, equal and independent States, at the earliest moment of that, in so short a period even as thirty-five years, there their being able, by their numbers, to form a regular has sprung up, on the same surface, an independent State, government.
with a million of people? A million of inhabitants! an I do not admit sir, that the analogy to which the gen- amount of population greater than that of all tire cantons tleman refers is just, or that the cases are at all similar. of Switzerland; equal to one third of all the people of the There is no rescinblance between the cases upon which United States, when they undertook to accomplish their a statesman can found an argument. The original North independence. This new member of the republic bas American colonists either fied from Europe, like our New already left far behind her a majority of the old States. England ancestors, to avoid persecution, or came hither She is now by the side of Virginia and Pennsylvania; and at their own charges, and often at the ruin of their for- in point of numbers, will shortly admit no equal but New tunes, as private adventurers. Generally speaking, they York herself. If, sir, we may judge of measures by their derived neither succor nor protection from their govern- results, what lessons do these facts read is upon the ments at home. Wide, indeed, is the difference between policy of the Government? What inferences do they authose cases and ours. From the very origin of the Go- thorize, upon the general question of kindness, or unkindvernment, these Western lands, and the just protection of ness? What convictions do they enforce, as to the wisdom those who had settled or should settle on them, have been and ability, on the one hand, or the folly and incapacity, on the leading objects in our policy, and have led to ex- the other, of our general administration of Western atlairs? penditures, both of blood and treasure, not inconsiderable; Sir, does it not require some portion of sell-respect in us, not indeed exceeding the importance of the object, and to imagine that, if our light had shone on the path of gonot yielded grudgingly or reluctantly certainly; but yet vernment, if our wisdom could have been consulted in its not inconsiderable, though necessary sacrifices, made for measures, a more rapid advance to strength and proshigh proper ends. The Indian title has been extinguished perity would have been experienced? For my own part, at the expense of many millions. Is that nothing? There while I am struck with wonder at the success, I also look is still a much more material consideration. These colo. with adıniration at the wisdom and foresight which originists, if we are to call them so, in passing the Alleghany, nally arranged and prescribed the system for the settledid not pass beyond the care and protection of their own ment of the public domain. Its operation has been, withGovernment. Wherever they went, the public arm was out a moment's interruption, to push the settlement of still stretched over them. A parental Government at the Western country to the full extent of curutmost means. home was still ever mindful of their condition, and their But, sir, to return to the remarks of thie honorable wants; and nothing was spared which a just sense of their meniber from South Carolina. lle says that Congress necessities required. Is it forgotten that it was one of has sold these lands, and put the money into the treasury, the most arduous duties of the Government, in its earliest while other Governments, acting in a more liberal spirit, years, to defend the frontiers against the Northwestern gave away their lands; and that we ought, also, to have Indians? Are the sufferings and misfortunes under Har- given ours away. I shall not stop to state an account bemar and St. Clair not worthy to be remembered? Do tween our revenues derived from land, and our experthe occurrences connected with these military efforts show ditures in Indian trcaties and Indian war's. But, I must an unfeeling neglect of Western interests? And here, sir, refer the honorable gentleman to the origin of our own what becomes of the gentleman's analogy? What En- title to the soil of these territories, and remind him that glish armies accompanied our ancestors to clear the forests we received them on conditions, and under trusts, which of a barbarous foe? What treasures of the exchequer would have been violated by giving the soil away. For were expended in buying up the originial title to the soil compliance with those conditions, and the just execution What governmental arm held its ægis over our fathers' of those trusts, the public faith was solemnly pledged. heads, as they pioneered their way in the wilderness? Sir, The public lands of the United States have been derived it was not till General Wayne's victory, in 1794, that it from four principal sources. First, Cessions made to the could be said we had conquered the savages. It was not United Staies by individual States, on the recen mendatill that period that the Government could have considered tion or request of the old Congress. Sccord, The coritself as having established an entire ability to protect those pact with Georgia, in 1802. Third. The purchase of who should undertake the conquest of the wilderness. Louisiana, in 1802. Fourth, The purchase of Florida, in
JAN. 20, 1830.]
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
1819. Of the first class, the most important was the ces time into the Union, with all the rights belonging to other sion by Virginia, of all her right and title, as well of soil States. Second, that the lands should form a common as jurisdiction, to all the territory within the linits of her fund, to be disposed of for the general benefit of all the charter, lying to the Northwest of the river Ohio. It may States. Third, that they should be sold and settled, at not be ill-timed to recur to the causes and occasions of such time and in such manner as Congress should direct. this and the other similar grants.
Now, sir, it is plain that Congress never has been, and When the war of the Revolution broke out, a great is not now, at liberty to disregard these solemn conditions. difference existed in different States in the proportion For the fulfilment of all these trusts, the public faith was, between people and Territory. The Northern and East- and is, fully pledged. How, then, would it have been ern States, with very small surfaces, contained compara- possible for Congress, if it had been so disposed, to give tirely a thick population, and there was generally within away tliese public lands? How could they have followed their limits, no great quantity of waste lands belonging to the example of other Governments, if there had been the Government, or the Crown of England. On the con- such, and considered the conquest of the wilderness an trary, there were in the Southern States, in Virginia and equivalent compensstion for the soil? The States had in Georgia for example, extensive public domains, wholly looked to this territory, perhaps too sanguinely, as a fund unsettled and belonging to the Crow]. As these pos- out of which means were to come to defray the expenses sessions would necessarily fall from the crown, in the event of the war. It had been received as a fund--as a fund of a prosperous issue of the war, it was insisted that they Congress had bound itself to apply it. To have given it ought to devolve on the United States, for the good of the away, would have defeated all the objects which Conwhole. The war, it was argued, was undertaken, and gress, and particular States, had had in view, in asking carried on, at the common expense of all the colonies; its and obtaining the cession, and would have plainly violated benefits, if successful, ought also to be common; and the the conditions which the ceding States attached to their property of the common enemy, when vanquished, ought own grants. to be regarded as the general acquisition of all. While The gentleman admits that the lands cannot be given yet the war was raging, it was contended that Congress away until the national debt is paid, because, to a part of ought to have the power to dispose of vacant and unpatent- that debt they stand pledged. But this is not the original ed lanıls commonly called Crown lands, for defraying the pledge. There is, so to speak, an earlier mortgage. Beexpenses of the war, and for other public and general pur-fore the debt was funded, at the moment of the cession of poses. “Reason and justice," said the Assembly of New Jer- the lands, and by the very terms of that cession, every sey, in 1778, “must decide, that the property which existed State in the Union obtained an interest in them, as in a comin the Crown of Great Britain, previous to the present Revo- mon fund. Congress has uniformly adhered to this conlution, ought now to belong to Congress, in trust for the dition. It has proceeded to sell the lands, and to realize use and benefit of the United States. They have fought as much from them as was compatible with the other trusts and bled for it, in proportion to their respective abilities, created by the same deeds of cession. One of these deeds and therefore the reward ought not to be predilectionally of trust, as I have already said, was, that the lands should distributed. Shall such States as are shut out, by situation, be sold and settled, “at such time and manner as Congress from availing themselves of the least advantage from this shall direct.” The Government has always filt itself quarter, be left to sink under an enormous debt, whilst bound, in regard to sale and settlement, to exercise its own others are enabled, in a short period, to replace all their best judgment, and not to transfer the discretion to ctiers. expenditures from the hard earnings of the whole con- It has not felt itself at liberty to dispose of the soil, therefederacy?"
fore, in large masses, to individuals, thus leaving to them Moved by these considerations, and these addresses, the time and mamer of settlement. It had stipulated to Congress took up the subject, and in September, use its ow: judigment. If, for instance, in order to rid it1780, recommended to the several States in the Union, self of the trouble of forming a system for the sale of those having claims to Western Territory, to make liberal ces- lands, and going into detail, it had sold the whole of what sions of a portion thereof to the United States; and on is now Ohio, in one mass, to individuals, or companies, it the 10th of October, 1780, Congress resolvel, “ That any would clearly lave departed from its just obligations. And lands, so ceded in pursuance of their preceding recom- who can now tell, or conjecture, how great would have mendation, should be disposed of for the common benefit been the evil of such a course? Who can say what misof the United States; should be settled and formed into chiefs would have ensued, if Congress had thrown these distinct republican States, to become members of the territories into the bands of private speculation? Or who, • Federal Union, with the same rights of sovereignty, free on the other hand, can now foresee what the event would dom, and independence, as the other States; and that the be, should the Government depart from the same wise lands should be granted or settled, at such times, and course hereafter, and, not content with such constant abunder such regulations, as should be agreed on by Con- sorption of the public lanes as the natural growth of our gress.” Again, in September, 1783, Congress passed an- population may accomplish, should force great portions of other resolution, expressing the conditions on which ces them, at nominal or veiy low prices, into private hands, to sions from States should be received; and in October fol- be sold and settled, as and when such holders inight think lowing, Virginia made her cession, reciting the resolution, would be most for their own interest? Hitherto, sir, I mainor act, of September preceding, and then transferring her tain Congress bas acted wisely, and done its duty on this title to her Northwestern Territory to the United States, subject. I hope it will continue to do it. Departing from upon the express condition “that the lands, so ceded, should the original idea, so soon as it was found practicable and be considered as a common fund for the use and benefit of convenient, of selling by townships, Congress has dispossuch of the United States as had become or should become ed of the soil in smaller and still smaller portions, till, at inembers of the confederation, Virginia inclusive, and length, it sells in parcels of no more than eighty acres ; should be faithfully and bona fide disposed of for that thus putting it into the power of every man in the counpurpose, and for 110 other use or purpose whatsoever.” try, however poor, but who has health and strength, to beThe grants from other States were on siinilar conditions. come a freeholder if he desires, not of barren acres,
but of Massachusetts and Connecticut both had claims to western rich and futile soil. The Government has performed all lands, and both relinquished them to the United States in iic conditions of the grant. While it has regarded the the same manner. These grants were all made on three public lands as a common fund, and has sought to make substantial conditions or trusts: First, that the ceded ter- what reasonably could be made of them, as a source of reritories should be formed into States, and admitted in due venue, it has also applied its best wisdom to sell and settle
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
[Jan. 20, 1830.
them, as fast and as happily as possible; and whensoever preserve it; and to be sundered whenever it shall be found numbers would warrant it, each territory has been succes- to thwart such purposes. Union, of itself, is considered sively admitted into the Union, with all the rights of an in- by the disciples of this school as hardly a good. It is only dependent State. Is there, then, sir, I ask, any well found. regarded as a possible means of good; or on the other hand, el charge of hard dealing; any just accusation for negli- as a possible means of evil. They cherish no deep and fixgence, indifference, or parsimony, which is capable of be- ed regard for it, flowing from a thorough conviction of its ing sustained against the Government of the country, in absolute and vital necessity to our welfare. Sir, I depre. its conduct toward the new States? Sir, I think there cate and deplore this tone of thinking and acting. Ideem is not.
far otherwise of the Union of the States; and so did the But there was another observation of the honorable mem- framers of the constitution themselves. What they said I ber, which, I confess, did not a little surprise me. As a rea- believe; fully and sincerely believe, that the Union of the son for wishing to get rid of the public lands as soon as we States is essential to the prosperity and safety of the States. could, and as we might, the honorable gentleman said, he I am a Unionist, and in this sense a National Republican. wanted no permanent sources of io come. He wished to I would strengthen the ties that hold us together. Far, see the time when the Government should not possess a indeed, in my wishes, very far distant be the day, when shilling of permanent revenue. If he could speak a ma- our associated and fraternal stripes shall be severed asungical word, and by that word convert the whole capitol in- «ler, and when that happy constellation under which we to gold, the word should not be spoken. The adminis- have risen to so much renown, shall be broken up, and be tration of a fixed revenue, [he said) only consolidates the seen sinking, star after star, into obscurity and night! Government, and corrupts the people! Sir, I confess I Among other things, the honorable member spoke of heard these sentiments uttered on this foor not without the public debt. To that he holds the public lands pledgdeep regret and pain.
ed, and has expressed liis usual earnestness for its total I am aware that these, and similar opinions, are espous- discharge. Sir, I have always voted for every measure for ed by certain persons out of the capitol, and out of this reducing the debt, since I have been in Congress. I wish Government; but I did not expect so soon to find them it paid, because it is a debt; and, so far, is a charge upon here. Consolidation !--that perpetual cry, both of terror the industry of the country, and the finances of the Gov. and delusion--consolidation! Sir, when gentlemen speak ernment. But, sir, I have observed that, whenever the of the effects of a common sund, belonging to all the States, subject of the public debt is introduced into the Senate, a as having a tendency to consolidation, what do they mean? morbid sort of fervor is manifested in regard to it, which Do they mean, or can they mean, any thing more than that I have been sometimes at a loss to understand. The debt the Union of the States will be strei ned, by whatev- is not now large, and is in a course of most rapid reducer continues or furnishes inducements to the people of the tion. A very few years will see it estinguished. Now I States to hold together? If they mean merely this, then, am not entirely able to persuade myself that it is not cer. no doubt, the public lands as well as every thing else in tain supposed incidental tendencies and effects of this debt, which we have a common interest, tends to consolidation; rather than its pressure and charge as a debt, that cause and to this species of consolidation cvery truc American so much anxiety to get rid of it. Possibly it may be reought to be attached; it is neither more nor less than garded as in some degree a tie, holding the different parts strengthening the Union itself. This is the sense in which of the country together by considerations of mutual interthe framers of the constitution use the word consolidation; est. If this be one of its effects, the effect itself is, in my and in which sense I adopt and cherish it. They tell us, opinion, not to be lamented. Let me not be inisunderin the letter submitting the constitution to the considera. stood. I would not continue the debt for the sake of any tion of the country, that, “in all our deliberations on this collateral or consequential advantage, such as I have mensubject, we kept steadily in our view that which appears tioned. I only mean to say, that that consequence itself to us the greatest interest of every true American-the con- is not one that I regret. At the same time, that if there solidation of our Union--in which is involved our prosperi- are others who would, or who do regret it, I differ from ty, felicity, safety; perhaps our national existence. This them. important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed As I have already remarked, sir, it was one among the on our minds, led cach State in the Convention to be less reasons assigned by the honorable member for his wish to rigid, on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been be rid of the public lands altogether, that the public disotherwise expected.”
position of them, and the revenues derived from them, This, sir, is General Washington's consolidation. This tends to corrupt the people. This, sir, I confess, passes is the true constitutional consolidation. I wish to see no my comprehension. These lands are sold at public aucnew powers drawn to the General Government; but I con- tion, or taken up at fixed prices, to form farms and freefess I rejoice in whatever tends to strengthen the bond that holds. Whom does this corrupt? According to the sysunites us, and encourages the hope that our Union may tem of sales, a fixed proportion is every where reserved, be perpetual. And, therefore, I cannot but feel regret at as a fund for education. Does education corrupt? Is the the expression of such opinions as the gentleman has avow-schoolmaster a corrupter of youth? the spelling book, ed; because I think their obvious tendency is to weaken does it break down the morals of the rising generation? the bond of our connexion. I know that there are some and the Holy Scriptures, are they fountains of corruption? persons in the part of the country from which the honora- or if, in the exercise of a provident liberality, in regard to ble member comes, who habitually speak of the Union in its own property as a great landed proprietor, and to high terms of indifference, or even of disparagement. The purposes of utility towards others, the Government gives honorable member himself is not, I trust, and can never portions of these lands to the making of a canal, or the be, one of these. They significantly declare, that it is time opening of a road, in the country where the lands themto calculate the value of the Union; and their aim seems selves are situated, what alarming and overwhelming corto be to enumerate, and to magnify all the evils, real and ruption follows from all this? Can there be nothing pure imaginary, which the Government under the Union pro- in government, except the exercise of mere control? Can duces.
nothing be done without corruption, but the imposition of The tendency of all these ideas and sentiments is obvi- penalty and restraint? Whatever is positively beneficent, ously to bring the Union into discussion, as : mere queso whatever is actively good, whatever spreads abroad benetion of present and temporary experiency; nothing more fits and blessings which all can see, and all can feel, whatthan a mere matter of profit and loss. The Union to be ever opens intercourse, augments population, enhances preserved, while it suits local and temporary purposes to the value of property, and diffuscs knowledge-must all
Jan. 20, 1830.]
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
this be rejected and reprobated as a dangerous and obnor true that she did, indeed, oppose the tariff of 1824. There ious policy, hurrying us to the double ruin of a Govern- were more votes in favor of that law in the House of Rement, turned into despotism by the mere exercise of acts presentatives, not only in each of a majority of the Westof beneficence, and of a people, corrupted, beyond hope ern States, but even in Virginia herself alsó, than in Masof rescue, by the improvement of their condition?
sachusetts. It was literally forced upon New England; The gentleman proceeded, sir, to draw a frightful pic- and this shows how groundless, how void of all probability ture of the future. He spoke of the centuries that nrust any charge must be, which imputes to her hostility to the elapse, before all the lands could be sold, and the great growth of the Western States, as naturally fowing from a hardships that the States must suffer while the United cherished policy of her own. But leaving all conjectures States reserved to itself, within their limits, such large por- about causes and motives, I go at once to the fact, and I tions of soil, not liable to taxation. Sir, this is all, or meet it with one broad, comprehensive, and emphatic nemostly, imagination. If these lands were leasehold pro- gative. I deny that, in any' part of her history, at any perty, if they were held by the United States on rent, period of the Government, or in relation to any leading there would be much in the idea. But they are wild lands, subject, New England has manisfested such hostility as is held only till they can be sold; reserved no longer than charged upon her. On the contrary, I maintain that, from till somebody will take them up, at low prices. As to the day of the cession of the territories by the States to their not being taxed, I would ask whether the States Congress, no portion of the country has acted, either with themselves, if they owned them, would tax them before more liberality or more intelligence, on the subject of the 'sale? Sir, if in any case any State can show that the po- Western lands in the new States, than New England. licy of the United States retards her settlement, or pre- This statement, though strong, is no stronger than the vents her from cultivating the lands within her limits, she strictest truth will warrant. Let us look at the historical shall have my vote to alter that policy. But I look
So soon as the cessions were obtained, it became the public lands as a public fund, and that we are no necessary to make provision for the government and dismore authorized to give them away gratuitously than to position of the territory--the country was to be governed. give away gratuitously the money in the treasury. I am this, for the present, it was obvious, must be by some terquite aware that the sums drawn annually from the West- ritorial system of administration. But the soil, also, was ern States make a heavy drain upon them, but that is una- to be granted and settled. Those immense regions, large voidable. For that very reason, among others, I have al- enough almost for an empire, were to be appropriated to ways been inclined to pursue towards them a kind and most private ownership. How was this best to be done? What liberal policy; but I am not at liberty to forget, at the system for sale and disposition should be adopted? Two same time, what is due to others, and to the solemn en- modes for conducting the sales presented themselves; the gagements under which the Government rests.
one a Southern, and the other a Northern mode. It would I come now to that part of the gentleman's speech be tedious, sir, here, to run out these different systems which has been the main occasion of my addressing the into all their distinctions, and to contrast their opposite Senate. The East! the obnoxious, the rebuked, the results. That which was adopted was the Northern sysalways reproached East! We have come in, sir, on this tem, and is that which we now see in successful operadebate, for even more than a common share of accusation tion in all the new States. That which was rejected, was and attack. If the honorable member from South Caro- the system of warrants, surveys, entry, and location, such Lina was not our original accuser, he has yet recited the as prevails South of the Ohio. It is not necessary to exindictment against us, with the air and tone of a public pro- tend these remarks into invidious comparisons. This last secutor. He has summoned us to plead on our arraign- system is that which, as has been emphatically said, las ment; and he tells us we are charged with the crime of a shingled over the country to which it was applied with so narrow and selfish policy; of endeavoring to restrain emi- many conflicting titles and claims. Every body acquainted gration to the West, and, having that object in view, of with the subject knows how casily it leads to speculation maintaining a steady opposition to Western measures and litigation--two great calamities in a new country. and Western interests. And the cause of all this narrow From the system actually established, these evils are ban. and selfish policy, the gentleman finds in the tariff. Iished. Now, sir, in effecting this great measure, the first think he called it the accursed policy of the tariff. This important measure on the whole subject, New England policy, the gentleman tells us, requires multitudes of de- acted with vigor and effect, and the latest posterity of pendent laborers, a population of paupers, and that it is those who settled Northwest of the Ohio, will have reato secure these at home that the East opposes whatever son to remember, with gratitude, her patriotism and may induce to Western emigration. Sir, I rise to defend her wisdom. The system adopted was her own systhe East. I rise to repel, both the charge itself, and the tem. She knew, for she had tried and proved its value. cause assigned for it. I deny that the East has, at any It was the old fashioned way of surveying lands, before time, shown an illiberal policy towards the West. I pro- the issuing of any title papers, and then of inserting accurate nounce the whole accusation to be without the least foun- and precise descriptions in the patents or grants, and prodation in any facts, existing either now, or at any previous ceeding with regular reference to metes and bounds. This time. I deny it in the general, and I deny each and all its gives to original titles, derived from Government, a cerparticulars. I deny the sum total, and I deny the detail. tain and fixed character; it cuts up litigation by the roots, i deny that the East has ever manifested hostility to the and the settler commences his labors with the assurance West, and I deny that she has adopted any policy that that he has a clear title. It is easy to perceive, but not would naturally have led her in such a course. But the easy to measure, the importance of this in a new country: tariff! the tariff!! Sir, I beg to say, in regard to the East, New England gave this system to the West; and while it that the original policy of the tariff is not hers, whether remains, there will be spread over all the West one monuit be wise or unwise. New England is not its author. If ment of her intelligence in matters of government, and gentlemen will recur to the tariff of 1816, they will find her practical good sense. that that was not carried by New England votes. It At the foundation of the constitution of these new was truly more a Southern than an Eastern measure. And Nortliwestern States, we are accustomed, sir, to praise what votes carried the tariff of 1824? Certainly, not the lawgivers of antiquity; we help to perpetuate the fame those of New England. It is known to have been made of Solon and Lycurgus; but I doubt whether one single matter of reproach, especially against Massachusetts, that law of any Jawgiver, ancient or modern, has produced efshe would not aid the tariff of 1824; and a selfish motive fects of more distinct, marked, and lasting character, than was imputed to her for that also. In point of fact, it is the ordinance of '87. That instrument was drawn by