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H. of R.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(March 23, 1830.
how powerfully this system, in its progressive course, will Now, to prove the egregious error here, I need only operate to deprive them of their power of self-support, state this singular fact, that, whilst the laws of Virginia, and still more decisively to turn the scale against them. being emanations of powers numerous and indefinite, are
Let us examine some of the prominent advantages contained in two ordinary octavo volumes, those of the which were supposed to be on the side of the States, and United States, having powers but few and defined, have on which they miglit safely rely for self-defence, in the swollen to five large ones, exclusive of two containing a event of any collision.
general index, treaties, &c. The same writer has fallen One of these was, that more individuals would be em- into another error. He tells us that the operations of the ployed under the authority of the several States, than Federal Government will be most extensive and important under that of the United States.
in times of war and danger: as far as its legislative opera. Whoever will examine the number of officers in the tions go, they are more extensive in peace. The writer army and itvy, the cadets, the midshipmen, the hosts of then mistakes, when he supposes that the advantage, in registers and receivers, and others employed in relation this respect, is on the side of the States. to the public lands; the diplomatic corps, with all its ap All these supposed advantages, then, on which the pendages; all the executive officers, including the Presi- States were to rely for their own defence, are not on their dent and Vice President, the heads of departments, heads side, but against them. Now, if to this you add, that upon of bureaux, with their hundreds of clerks; the whole tribe the system of internal improvement twelve millions annuof officers engaged in the collection of the revenue; the ally are to be disposed of by this Government, at its will, judges, attorneys, marshals, and others, constituting the is there any man sanguine enough to indulge even the judicial corps; the numerous mail contractors upon some hope, much less the expectation, that the political equilieighty or ninety thousand miles of post roads, the eight brium between our different Governments will be prethousand postmasters, besides others not reducible to any served? Is there any man so blind as not to see that the particular class, and many of whom are to be re-appointed scale of the States will be made to kick the beam, by its every four years, will find that there is not a county, city, comparative want of weight? Let us, as a subject of town, village, or even hamlet, in the United States, which rious speculation, trace the practical operation of this anthe federal arm does not reach; he will be led to doubt nual sum of twelve millions, to be distributed in favors whether, even in numbers, this Government does not ex- amongst the States. ceed those of the States: but, if to numbers be added the In private life, it is a proposition which no man who dignity of ofice, the character of duties to be performed, knows human nature would even doubt, that the person and, above all, the very high emoluments of federal offi- having it in his power to confer an important benefit, will ces, compared with those of the States, he cannot for a control, nay command, the will and the action of one who moment doubt but that, in point of official patronage, is desirous of receiving it
. Where is the difference, in that of this Government is immeasurably beyond that of this respect, betwcen individuals and States? Are States the States.
any thing more than large masses of individuals, bringing But if, in official patronage, the advantage be now on together all their passions and infirmities! The only difthe federal side, how much more is it on that side in point ference is, that the command of will and action, where of pecuniary patronage, or the disbursement of money? the States are the subjects to be acted on, is as much more Follow me, I beseech you, for a moment, whilst I make extensive and injurious in its effects, than where individuals the comparison in this respect. I suppose that the annual are the subjects, as the whole population of the State exrevenue of the eight largest States does not average more ceeds an individual in number; the evil is indefinitely in. than half a million each, and that of the sixteen others creased, but the principle is the same. not more than a hundred thousand dollars each; some I I will suppose, then, that the period has arrived for one know may considerably exceed it, but others fall greatly of these annual dispositions of twelve millions of dollars. short: thus, for example, the revenue of Illinois, a few Various States present their humble petitions; but, acyears ago, did not exceed sixteen thousand dollars. I ex- cording to the principle contended for, this Government clude from this estimate county and town taxes for pur- has the unqualified power to make that disposition as it poses of police; the aggregate, then, of the revenue of all pleases; to give to some more, to others less; to some, or the twenty-four States is about five million six hundred to one, the whole amount, and to the others none at all. thousand dollars. Now, sir, we know that the average Think you, sir, that the States which are most firm and of the United States' revenue, for many years, has not erect in the spirit of independence, will be most likely to been less than twenty-four millions; here, then, the advan- succeed? Or will it not be rather those which assume the tage is more than four to one on the side of the United garb of the greatest humility; those which are most zealous States.
in their allegiance; those, in fine, which are most decided Another advantage which the writers in the Federalist in their adhesion to the powers that be? Let me put a supposed the States to possess, was, that the powers de stronger case. Suppose that there is some magnificent legated to the Federal Government were few and defined; and favorite project to be carried, and the votes of a parthose which remain in the State Governments, were nume- ticular State are necessary to accomplish the object, and rous and indefinite. The powers of the first, say they, that State shall have been a little impracticable. Think will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, you, sir, that the time may never come when Philip's gold peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. Those of the will be applied, and applied successfully, too, by the douother, that is the States, extend to the lives, liberties, and ceur of a road or canal? Let our knowledge of human property of the people, and the internal order, improve- nature, let the experience of other nations, answer the ment, and prosperity of the State. I give almost the very question. That man had read deeply in the volume of words, and in the last paragraph I give them verbatim. human nature--if I mistake not, it was the man of PellaNow, sir, if it will not be thought a violation of my pro- who said, that an ass laden with gold would find his way mise not to make a constitutional discussion, I will remark through the gates of the strongest city. Look at the disthat the last paragraph quoted, if you will admit the word tory of England, and learn thence a lesson of practical wis“order,"assigns internal improvements, in so many words, domn as to the influence of patronage. The Stuarts strugto the State authority--but no, more of that. I quoted this gled hard to govern England by prerogative; but the sturdy extract in substance, to show that one of the supposed spirit of that nation would not bow down before its power. advantages of the States was, that their powers were nu- No: instead of this, the result of the great conflict between merous and indefinite, whilst those of the United States prerogative and privilege was, that one of that family lost were few and defined.
his head, and another his crown. But what the power of
MARCH 24, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(H. of R.
prerogative could not do, has been effected by the still done my duty--the decision is with you--may God grant small voice of influence--of influence derived from patron- that it may be auspicious in its results! age. These historical facts are an exemplification, in ac. tual life, of the instructive moral to be derived from the
Note by Mr. B. fable of the traveller, the wind, and the sun. The wind Since delivering the foregoing speech, a report of the endeavored, with all its blustering force, to cause the Canal Commissioners of New York, in relation to their traveller to throw off his cloak; by increasing efforts, he great Erie and Champlain canals, bas been received, from was able to retain it: but when the sun darted his rays, which the following facts and statements are derived: commencing with genial warmth, and continuing to pour Whole amount expended in 1826, consistupon him a gradually increasing heat, he was finally com ing of interest on the original cost, supelled to yield to the gentler force of the sun, what he did perintendence, repairs, &c.
$ 1,121,388 96 not yield to the greater violence of the wind. Compare Cr. By whole revenue derived from cathe condition of that country at the revolution, in 1688, nals during the same year,
715,245 89 when the whole national debt was scarcely one million and a quarter of pounds sterling, with its condition at, and since, Balance against canals,
$ 406,143 07 the close of the last great European war, with a debt then of more than eleven hundred millions, and even now of 1827. Whole amount expended as above, 993,436 59 eight hundred and forty millions. Look at the lofty inde- Whole revenue from canals,
846,651 73 pendence of the Parliament of the revolution, and the relation in which they now stand to the crown. That rela- Balance against canals,
$ 146,784 86 tion I forbear to describe, because it is matter of universal notoriety, and is to be found in the animated speeches of 1828. Upon same principles, a balance of their own orators. And, tell me, what has produced the expenses, over the revenue from the humiliating change? What has caused a Parliament, whose canals. Balance against canals,
92,369 81 unconquerable spirit once "overawed majesty itself,” now 1829. Upon same principles, a balance of to be so tame, so pliant, so tractable, that a reform of Par expenses over and above the revenue liament has been, and still continues to be, called for by for this year. Balance against canals, $ 110,623 51 the nation, in 'a voice which deafens the ears of Parliament itself, and makes the administration tremble "through all It appears from that report, that the whole amount of the classes of venality.” The cause is to be found in influ- the debt, which the commissioners thought justly chargeence--in those streams of patronage which issue from the able to the canals at the close of the year 1826, was ten prolific sources of office, and the disbursement of count- millions two hundred and seventy-two thousand three hunless millions, and which so copiously overflow that king- dred and sixteen dollars and seventy-six cents; and that dom. Her own illustrious Chatham said, that, entrench this debt, instead of having been reduced by the tolls on themselves as they pleased behind parchment, the sword the canals, has increased each year; so that, on the 1st of would find its way to the vitals of the constitution. I say that January, 1830, it amounted to eleven millions three hunpatronage has found its way to the vitals of her constitution. dred and ninety-eight thousand seven hundred and ninetyWe, too, are men, and cannot claim to be exempt from six dollars and twenty-two cents. Add the deficits for the the infirmities of humanity. The same causes, if permit- four years, with interest on them, makes the whole debt ted to operate, will produce the same effects here as there. chargeable to the canals on the 1st of January, 1830, Let it be our part (the best service which we can render twelve millions two hundred and thirty-seven thousand · to our country) to avert from her borders such a calamity. three hundred and ninety-nine dollars and seventy cents.
Our Government is an experiment, now in the progress The report adds, that, supposing the canals to have of trial, to solve this great political problem, whether it is increased the duty on salt thirty-three and one-third per possible to unite the liberty and happiness of a republic cent., and to have added two or three per cent. to the with the strength and energy of a monarchy. Should it duties on sales at aliction, still, regarding them in the fail, the hopes of mankind will be lost, and lost forever. most favorable light in which any reasonable calculation Should the States of this Union ever be brought to lose can place them, the canals have done nothing towards the their lofty spirit of independence, and bow down, in defe- extinguishment of their debt, together with the moneys rential homage, before the Federal Government as suppli- expended upon them for superintendence and repairs. cants for favors, our political fabric must fall, because the That, with respect to the tolls on the descending trade, pillars which supported it will have declined from their they cannot be advantageously increased; and they only perpendicular, and given way. We shall then learn, from estimate cvery increase which can be made of the tolls on fatal experience, that the lever of a single Government, the ascending trade at thirty-five thousand dollars. whose fulcrum is here, and whose length is sufficient to If, then, in these canals, opening the one to Lake Chamextend over this wide spread republic, will bear with a plain, and the other through Lake Erie, the most extenpressure so heavy as to crush our liberty beneath it. That sive which can probably be constructed in the United liberty is above all price; and, like the golden apples of the States, and where the work has been done by State auHesperides, will be taken from us whensoever the States, thority, this be the result, what must it be as to profit or which are placed as the dragons to guard it, shall be lulled actual benefit from those constructed by the United States? to sleep by the opiates which shall be poured out from Here is a practical commentary upon the reasoning in the the federal treasury. To preserve its spirit, requires as foregoing speech. sleepless vigilance as did the sacred fire of Vesta, which (Here the debate closed for this day.) was committed to the charge of the vestal virgins; the extinguishment of that only portended great calamities; the extinguishment of this would itself be the greatest of
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 1830. all calamities. That, we are told, might be rekindled by The resolution heretofore offered by Mr. SWIFT, directthe rays of the sun; there is no sun to relume this, if iting the Secretary of War to select a site for a fortification should be once extinguished, but a long night of darkness on Lake Champlain, to report estimates of expense, &c. will overshadow the land. 1 call upon you, then, as you to Congress, was taken up. The question being on Mr. love your country, as you value the rights of self-govern- Drayton's amendment, proposing to direct the Secre. ment, as you wish perpetuity to the constitution, to make tary to report on the expediency of a fortification on the a pause, a solemn pause, in this dangerous career. I have lake.
H. of R.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(March 24, 1830.
The question was put on the amendment, when there cussion should admonish us to desist. Had I been driven appeared to be no quorum: yeas, 49--nas's, 48. into the subject, I consider this as being more defensible
Mr. LAMAR moved to lay the whole subject on the than most others belonging to that system; indeed, if we table.
regard it merely as a mail road, it falls within the scope of The question was put, and lost: yeas, 68--nays, 72. the express power granted by the constitution). if for
The resolution was then debated until the expiration of military purposes, it is fairly deducible from that expressthe hour. Messrs. SPEIGHT, DRAYTON, WICK- ly granted; else we are presented with the humiliating LIFFE, and POLK opposing it, and advocating the spectacle of a Government formed for the defence of the amendment; and Messrs. DWIGHT, STRONG, and people, so imbecile as wholly to fail in the accomplishment SWIFT supporting the resolution, and opposing the of that object. But I will pass on to the subject, and amendment.
meet my friend from Virginia, and take issue with him BUFFALO AND NEW ORLEANS ROAD.
upon the expediency and necessity of constructing the
road. He has not only tendered to the country his issue, The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the but has embellished his own side with an address so imposWhole House on the state of the Union, Mr. HAYNES in ing, as to bespeak the distinguished talents of its author. the chair, and resumed the consideration of the bill “for Yet with this fearful odds against me, and relying solely making a road from Buffalo, through Washington city, 10 upon the justice of the cause, and the impartiality of the New Orleans."
tribunal, I fearlessly stake upon the result whatever of Mr. BLAIR rose, and remarked that the bill under dis- public preferment may yet be in reserve for me. cussion was one of the few, if not the only one, upon the Before, however, I enter upon this subject with the long list of the bills of the llouse, which, in its consequen- gentleman, I must be allowed to submit a remark in ex. ces, promised direct benefit to his constituents; that, and planation of the reasons which induced the committee to the consideration of having presented the subject to the embrace, in the same bill, the Buffalo and New Orleans consideration of this House, and having been of the com- roads. It is true that the surveys of these roads were mittee that reported it, furnished his apology for the tres separately made, and separate bills reported to the last pass which he proposed to make upon the time and the Congress: but, on the strictest investigation, the committee patience of the committee. But' (said Mr. B.] when I could see no reason for constructing the one, that did not look around me in this House, and see the number of equally apply to the other, so far as the purposes of the friends, both personal and political, from whom I am se- General Government are concerned; they are roads of the parated on this question, and with whom, on most others, same character, meeting at the same placc-presenting it has been my pride to act; sir, when I look to the delega- the like considerations. It was therefore thought most tion from my own State, and there sce, for a time, the line expedient to unite them, and construct from North to of separation drawn between some of my worthy col. South a great interior artery in the body politic, with leagues and myself, for all of whom I entertain the most which, when perfected, other and less extensive intersecfriendly regard, I would willingly have avoided saying tions might be formed by the States, or this Government, any thing on this important subject; yet, when I reflect as future exigencies might require. True, a road from that the legislature of the State from whence I come, in Buffalo to New Orleans, in a direct course, would not often repeated instances, has called upon the delegation pass through this city, and that is the reason for the course in this flouse to sustain the principles of this bill, and which is made in its delineation in the bill. But Washingthrice repeated that language to us during the present ton being to the body polític what the heart is to the session, my immediate constituents being almost undivid- natural body, (all the great operations of your Governed on that subject, and expecting me to represent their ment being carried on here,) it is most obvious that this wishes on this floor, sir, I have no alternative, the path of city should be upon the line of such interior arenue, if my duty is so clearly delineated, that it cannot be mistak- constructed for federal purposes.
I was educated in that school in which the doctrines I will also, before I approach the main argument, advert were considered orthodox, that the representative is to the reasons operating upon the committee, in giving its bound to obey the will of his constituents; and, whilst I preference to the western, as contradistinguished from allow others the same freedom of will which I claim the the metropolitan and middle routes. It is only necessary right to exercise, I myself am determined that the sin of to glance at the map of the country to New Orleans, in ordisobeying my constituents, knowingly, on questions of der to see that a road from this place to that city cannot expediency, shall not attach to my skirts. They have a be constructed upon a meridian line, because upon such right to expect that I will not only sustain their princi- line your course would intersect the summit ridges of the ples by my vote, but to the utmost of my power, in the lofty Alleghany, where, in many instances, the foot of full use of all the legitimate means with which their kind- man has been seldom placed; and I suppose it is not er. ness has invested me. In doing this, I have the consola- pected by any one that our conduct should, in this partition to feel that I am acting in consistency with my own cular, conform to the ancient Romans, in a strict adherence vicws, and upon principles long established, as to the true to direct course, regardless of all other considerations. character of national policy. On this much controverted This road, if made, must be carried north or south of the question, I have dared to think that all the vital interests Blue ridge; and the question is, on which side shall it of our country, and particularly of the interior, loudly run? It must be admitted that, for mail purposes, this called for a judicious system of internal improvements. road would be beneficial on either side, beyond which little As to the constitutional power of Congress over this sub. benefit could be expected from either of the southern ject, I am equally clear, and had prepared myself to sus routes. What are the facts? The southern routes, as iain the views which I had taken; but, from the high- surveyed, both cut at right angles all the navigable rivers minded, honorable course taken by the worthy gentle and roads of the south, running from the mountains to the man from Virginia, (Mr. Barbour) who opened this de- seaboard, the metropolitan at the head of sloop, and the bate in the opposition, I am gratified to have it in my pow- middle at the head of boat navigation. What follows? er to follow his example, and exempt myself from a discus- For war and commercial uses, the benefit of such improvesion upon which there was little hope of accomplishing ment on either line could only subserve those great pur. more than a useless consumption of public time. With poses on the short distances between the points of interhim I think all has been said that could be, in support of section. What, furthermore, is the fact?' Commerce is that ground; and though no gentleman's conscience could carried on from the mountains to the seaboard; defensive be fettered by any precedent, yet the inutility of such dis-operations, in war, necessarily must run in the same chan
March 24, 1850.)
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[H. of R.
nel: this road, tien, to the Carolinas and Georgia, upon pect; and to them it is what the majestic rivers so eloquent, either route, leads from, not to, the seaboard, to which ly described by him are to more favored quarters. Is the military arm of the South must ever be extended. then, the accommodation of those who are thrown so far Nobody can beliere, that, with a seaboard so extensive within the interior as to be untouched by the refreshing as that belonging to the Carolinas and Georgia, and with showers of the treasury upon the tide water, a matter of a population of the character which is found amongst thein, no moment to the representatives of the people? They their physical force is to be furnished to Mobile, Pensaco. are part of the American family; and, let me tell him, la, or New Orleans, in case of invasion. It is therefore to took their part, yes, a full share, in the difficulties of their the section of commuy intersected by the western route, country, whatever may be their portion now. that Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico must look for their Let me tell the gentleman, moreover, that, in passing support. Morcover, this bill is to construct a road through beyond the western boundary of his State, we come to a the heart of tlie country to New Orleans; neither of these section of this Union with which the individual who now routes reach that point, but each terminates on the Tom- addresses you has the most perfect knowledge. That is bigbec rivei, in Alabama, and connects with New Orleans the land of his nativity; and he takes the liberty to say by descending to the bay of Mobile, and thence around that he does arrogate to himself the right to speak of the by water. 01 this plan, what would be the utility of a wants and necessities of that people, as well as the comFreat part of this roadl, upon the supposition of Mobile or mercial adrantages to be conferred by this road. Tliere the bay being occupied by an enemy's fleet? Useless to a the bounties of nature have been bestowed in an eminent great extent. Sir, I now bold in my hand the map of the degree. Little else is wanting than commercial facilities several surveys made by the engineers, from which it will in order to finish the picture upon which is delineated real be seen that, if an entire land communication were not prosperity. There you meet with a fertile soil, salubrious the object, the western route, on account of clistance, in- clime, inexhaustible mountains of iron ore, furnaces and dependent of every other consideration, is to be preferred. forges, nail and steel factories, with water power and faWhy so? Because, if you fancy the Tombigbee river as cilities for all kinds of manufactures. Within the gentle. the point of termination, the western route approximates, man's own State, and near to the margin of this road, the within some thirty or forty miles, those southern routes at salt works, from whence an immense stretch of country, that river upon which they terminate; that being the fact, east and west, must (in the very nature of things) ever it is only necessary to see the extended and communica- be supplied by means of this road. What is the fact? tion from that point passing through part of Mississippi and That indispensable article for animal subsistence is now Louisiana, in order to account for the reason why it is transported in wagons to the lIolston river, within the diswpadle to approximate cither, as it regards distance and trict from whence I came; and then, relying upon the
bounty of heaven to furnish rain to swell the tide, is now But, as I will have occasion to speak more at large in transported to all that stretch of country above the Muscle reference to the western route, in following my friend shoals. The advantages of that section of our common counfrom Virginia, I now come to the main issue. Is this road, try do not stop here. Its facilities in producing subsistence and upon the western route, necessary for the purposes for live stock, and all the necessary means of human comof this country on the three great and fundamental con- fort, are not surpassed by any other quarter. Yet, what siderations which should combine, in its construction, com is the fact in relation to that highly favored country? They mercial, mail, and military purposes? Following the have nature's rude works to contend with in their intergentleman's own course, I will examine these considera- course with their fellow-citizens of adjoining States. Need tions separately; and, first, commercial advantages. The I tell this committee that the edge of industry and entergentleman emphatically asked, of what use is this road in prise is blunted, for the want of some channel through a commercial point of view? and procceded to show that which to dispose of the surplus products of that valley? it cut at right angies all the navigable rivers in its course, Let facts speak for themselves. When wheat, that indisand would not be useful for commerce. I answer that ob- pensable article of man's subsistence, commanded from a jection by saying, if his remarks had been applied to the dollar to a dollar and a quarter per bushel in other quarsouthern routes, there would have been some justness in ters of this Union, its current price there was from thirtythem; but, its applied to the western route, his objection is three and a third to fifty cents. Why was this? Because altogether gratuitous, and is predicated upon a total mis- of the want of outlets to market. So in relation to iron conception of facts. Look, for a moment, at the map of and all the other products and manufactures in that quarthe country traversed by this road, after crossing into the ter; and what has been the consequence? Many of the valley; instead of intersecting all the navigable rivers at citizens of that part of East Tennessce from whence I right angles, there is but one that is in any tolerable degree came, have sacrificed their lands and surrendered their lonavigable, for near five hundred miles, (I mean the James cal attachments, and have gone to other less eligible situariver.) If I recollect, the country through which this tions (in most respects) in order to gain a location where road is to run, between Staunton, Virginia, and Knoxville, the products of the labor of the husbandman would proTennessee, the only rivers upon which it touches, of mise a just equivalent, by reason of being permitted to enany size, are the James, New river, and Holston. How' ter into the markets of the seaboard. Thus much, withis commerce now carried on throughout that section of the fout going minutely into detail, in answer to the gentleman's country? In wagons, if indeed gentlemen will agree question, as to the necessity and commercial utility of this that commerce can be carried on in that vehicle. Sir, 1 road. tell the gentleman, that my whole journey from this to my The gentleman next examined into the utility of this residence (except fifty miles) is upon this very road, and road for mail purposes. In that point of view, he has conI can inform him, if he did not before know the fact, that ceded, to some extent, its utility; but, upon counting, in the merchandise consumed, as far west as Knoxville, is now dollars and cents, its cost and income, has also pronounced transported from the Eastern cities upon that very road, upon it his unqualified negative. If the gentleman imabad as it is. It is no uncommon thing to see caravans of gines that the most sanguine friend of this measure ever suine eight or ten wagons passing upon it to the West; and, calculated upon the road, when completed, either upon in the nature of things, it must ever be the channel of the plan proposed by the bill, or any other, being the procommerce for a considerable portion of that interior sec- ductive source of revenue to the Government, I tell him tion. This road, then, whether on the McAdam plan, or that he is laboring under a most gross delusion. Sir, it that more humble, es contemplated by the bill, is all that was never dreamed of by any one of its friends. But it some of the gentleman's own fellow-citizens can ever ex., was believed that this, combined with the other cardinal
H. of R.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[MARCH 24, 1830.
inducements for such work, (I mean the military and com- a road can be made, combining the advantages that this mercial uses,) would, when taken together, present al. will afford. I said, in the commencement of my remarks, most irresistible inducements to the National Legislature. that it was intended for a great interior communication Do gentlemen calculate the nett income of all their weigh- from North to South, with which this Government or the ty appropriations to the maritime defence of the country? States might, from time to time, connect other and less Did they, in the construction of the great Cumberland important ones, and thereby attach to them much of the road, keep in view the restoration of its cost in dollars and value of this great improvement. Construct this road, cents? No! Like this, it was a matter of national con- pass the bill for the road from Zanesville, Ohio, to Flocernment, and was embarked in upon more liberal and en-rence, in Alabama, and you do--- what? You place the larged views than those which the gentleman would now States of Tennessee and Kentucky, the troops of which extend to this. But let us look at it as a mere post road. are disposable, because that they have no frontiers of their What is now the rate of mail transportation upon that own, in the condition in which a skilful commander would route? If I am not misinformed, it will average about fif the interior force in the square of his encampment. You ty dollars a mile. What, is it probable, would be the re- keep them in readiness to push to either point where danduction upon the road when completed? Upon a fair cal. ger threatens. culation, one-half the present amount of transportation This being a question submitted by the gentleman from would be saved, taking into consideration the increased Virginia to the American people, I shall have fuld in travel upon it, and other advantages to result froin its im- presenting it in its true character, if I stop here. provement. This of itself would produce some forty thou I say to the gentleman, and proclaim to the American sand dollars of a sav ng to the Government, to say nothing people, that this road, and upon the route delineated, in of the importance of reducing the time of travel. part, in the bill, so useless, in his opinior, for military pur
I now pass on to the use of this road to the military ope-poses, is the identical road traversed by the East Tennesrations of the Government in time of war. Sir, whatever see troops for more than three hundred miles, in search the gentleman may think of it, this, to me, is the primary of tlve enemies of their common country. On the margin inducement. What I have said in relation to the local bé. of this road it was, where your gallant iroops encountered nefits, in a commercial point of view, to result from the the appalling horrors of famine, when upon its line, and measure, I wish to be distinctly understood as being ac- not farther distant than three hundred miles from the cessory to, and consequent upon, this paramount conside- scene of their sufferings and wo, there was bread, and to ration, national defence. This, instead of furnishing an spare. Has the gentleman forgotten, or does he suppose objection to such improvements, on the contrary, esta. you have, that, for the want of this very road during the blishes their importance in a national point of view. When war, and other facilities in defence, countless millions of wasit, or where, that a work of improvement, conducing to the public money were squandered in the article of transthe general good, did not also address itself to the local portation? Sir, I will call to the recollection of my friend interests of more or less of the citizens of this confedera- a single fact connected with this subject. In the vicinity cy! This follows inevitably, because, as a general rule, of this road, in the southern part of Alabaina, the Governyour men and munitions of war are transported upon just ment was compelled to pay from fifty to sixty dollars a such roads, rivers, and canals, in time of war, as are used barrel for flour, when, at the same time, the current price, for commerce in peace. This is obvious, because, in the in that part of East Tennessee in which I reside, and nature of things, attack will be made at the same places which is intersected by this road, has never, to my knowat which are your great commercial deposits. The gen. ledge, exceeded from three to five dollars. Let this fact, tleman has asked if troops and munitions of war would without comment from me, speak for itself. ever be transported from Buffalo to New Orleans, anil vice But, sir, the enormity of the price attached to articles versa. I answer, no. Nobody ever thought of such thing of subsistence, during the war, was not all; your exhaustBut it was believed that, in case of war, and Buffalo again ed treasury, by reason of improvidence and prodigality, becoming the theatre of that war, men and munitions might, and has been, replenished. Sir, more than money could be transported from the interior of Pennsylvania wasted, was the melancholy jeopard of human life, occa. and the adjacent States, to that quarter. It was also be sioned by the exposure consequent upon wading rivers, lieved, and confidently, too, sir, that, in the event of Or- creeks, and swamps, on account of the want of the very leans being again attacked, troops from Western Virginia means of defence now contemplated, and upon the very and Eastern Tennessee could be marched upon this road track delineated in this bill, which, in the estimation of to its intersection with the Tennessee river, and, when im- the gentleman, presents so useless a project as to meritan proved for navigation, could thence be transported to the appeal to the source of all power, the people. I ask my defence of Orleans; whilst those parts of Alabama, Missis friend from Virginia, what estimation he places upon busippi, and Louisiana, could be marched upon this road. man life? Would he coldly sit down and calculate its Sir, it was furthermore believed that Mobile being the worth in dollars and cents, as he has done the cost of this point of attack, West Virginia and East Tennessee werc road? Sir, I answer for him; I know him too well; he not only interested in it as their natural channel of com- would not. But, sir, all the arguments and inducements merce, but, from their geographical position, were the le. flowing from the practical results of the late war are to gitimate allies of that defenceless point. This road, and be obviated by assumptions of supposed results, which I this alone, opens to the southern part of Alabama the most deny. The gentleman says that things are not again to speedy, natural, and efficient means of defence.
transpire as they did during the late war; and why? BeBut, suppose, for argiinent's sake, I were to admit that cause (said hej the density of our population will enable this road, running nearly equi-distant between the south- the frontier to defend itself. This delve into futurity is crn seaboard and the Ohio, and part of the Mississippi river, beyond my ken, and my objection to it is, that it bids dewould not of itself furnish the full means of reaching all fiance to experience, that surest guide. It is quite too the exposed parts on the Gulf of Mexico. What then flattering, and is based upon speculative opinion, agarlist Would it follow that this road ought not to be construct- established facts. In matters of every day concerni, confi. ed? Surely not. It wouki only prove that, when con- dence might be elicited; but in a matter of such interest structed, the full means of facilitating the defence of the as the safety of the republic, I have been instructed in country were incomplete. I will now ask the gentle. that school, in which it was an established maxim, “judge man from Virginia, and all who stand in opposition to the the future by the past;" to do which, most cffectually, in passage of this bill, where, on this continent, can they time of peace, prepare for war'; construct this great road point the finger to a portion of the Union through which from North to South, upon which you will be enabled to