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March 24, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(11. of R.
throw your disposable forces from the centre to the extre- of the issue joined upon the expediency of this measure, I mities, without jeoparding life and treasure--save your leave to this committee to determine; and will now adhigh-minded countrymen and yourself from the humiliat. vert to the attack which he has thought proper to make ing recurrences of the late war, here, as well as elsewhere. upon the general system of internal improvements.
I am not one of those who believe that we should act It would seem that an attack upon this particular proupon the supposition that this country is destined to en- position ought to have sufficed, and that it should have joy eternal peace. My prayer to God is, that that may be been allowed to stand or fall upon its own intrinsic merits. the case, without sacrificing too much for it; but, until I But the gentleman has not been content with that course, can satisfy myself that our country is able to withstand the but has, with all his eloquence and ingenuity, endeavored combined opposition of the world, without the use of pre. to fix upon this system that deformity which would subparatory means, I will select the time of peace as being ject it to the primeval curse. Sir, if we were to accredit the most appropriate to prepare for war.
the gentleman, every evil, when traced to its source, The gentleman asks what is the use of the extensive would be found to be the offspring of this corrupt and line of fortifications, if we are not to depend upon them corrupting system. It is to build up a colossal Governfor our defence? This question brings to my recollec- ment here, the shadow of whose wide-spread wings must tion a document which has been placed upon our tables, wither and blight the sovereignty of the States. Whole during this session, detailing the number of fortifications, States are to be bought up, and bow before this Moloch of and the appropriations toward that system of defence, internal improvements; the chains of despotism and bondage since the termination of the war. If I am not mistaken, are to be riveted upon the country, by oppressive exacthat document exhibits that nearly nine millions of the tions to sustain this cormorant system. Is this picture public moneys have been appropriated to that use. Now, real, or is it the prozluct of the gentleman's high-wrought as the gentleman has asked the use of these fortifications, fancy, calculated to intimidate the members who have and if they are not to be relied on for defence, I will an- taken their seats in the present Congress, and stand unswer him. Such fortifications as have been erected at committed on this great question? I ask the gentleman to the points and places where there is a great concentration point his finger to the fact which would justify this severe of wealthi, necessarily must be of great importance in re. sweeping, and, I must say, unmerited denunciation. I, too, sisting the avarice and cupidity of an enemy in time of war, regard the sovereignty of the States. I cherish their and no doubt will subserve the end for which they were union as the palladium of our liberties, and would join constructed; but when he asks me to rely upon all the the gentleman, and resist any incipient measures by this balance, useless as he has pronounced this road to be, I Government to abridge their sovereignty. I ask him to must say to him that I think his great chain of fortifica- retrace the progress of this system, and to give us a single tions still more useless. The inutility of them is not all. fact calculated to sustain him in presenting to the country They lay the sure foundation for raising and maintaining the gloomy picture which he has so unsparingly delineated. a standing arıny in time of peace in order to man them; if he can do so, I, for one, am not so fond of the pride of and worse than all, in time of war, your regulars and dis- consistency as to persevere in error. I will join him most ciplined troops, who, in the estimation of some gentlemen, heartily, and strangle the inonster before it shall have atare “the salt of the earth," are to display their prowess in tained to maturity. But, in the absence of facts, the gendefending those monuments of extravagance, instead of tleman must excuse me if I will not run at the cry of “wolf! bringing them to bear upon the defence of the country. wolf!" when, at every stage of this great question, that Sir, this is not fiction. It must be true. An invading feet, cry has been made. having the choice of our coast extending itself for thou The tariff is lugged into this discussion, and its deforsands of miles, think you that within shot of one of these mity is to be reflected upon this measure. We are callfortifications would be the point of attack? Not so. ed upon to strike at the root of this evil, and repeal that Their attempt would be elsewhere; and what follows? odious system of exaction which robs one portion of the The militia of your country will be called upon to re-act community to enrich another. I answer, that effort has the scenes of New Orleans again. This very disposa- been made. I have acted with the gentleman from Virble force from the interior, and for whose accommoda- ginia, and we have been in the minority. Thus far, we tion this road is intended, would again redeem the flag of agree; and the point at which we separate is, the use to their country.
which this redundant revenue, raised without our consent, It may be thought strange that the appropriations to shall be applied. He is for having none to appropriate. the splendid sca-wall or chain of fortifications, and the Agreed. But what are we to do with that which has acfolly of such system, has inclined my mind to lean more crued, and will hereafter arise, under the present tariff? strongly to the system of internal improvements, as a more Shall it follow the countless millions which have gone, appropriate mean of defence; but I confess, that, not. from year to year, to the building of useless fortifications withstanding the gentleman has so unsparingly repudiated to keep up a standing army; to the building of ships to that system, such is the fact. I take, for example, the decay before they shall be called into use; harbors, bays, base line of this road, when completed. Upon it this inlets, and the thousand other projects upon tide water? Government or the States, necessarily, must hereafter or shall a small rivulet be diverted from that channel, and intersect other and less important roads, upon which the be directed to the interior to fructify a quarter of this military operations of the country can be carried on. Union in which the operations of this Government have They will then be brought to subserve the twofold pur- been felt only in its requirements and exactions, without pose of roads and fortifications. Had the nine millions, the first act of parental care being extended to much the wliich are now buried under piles of rocks in the form of greater portion? Will my friend from Virginia tell me fortifications, been judiciously applied to the construc- how, and in what way, the State from whence I come can tion of military roads and canals, and the opening of im- ever expect a return of the money indirectly taken from portant rivers, it occurs very forcibly to my mind that our the pockets of its citizens, unless it be under this very expenditures in that respect would have imparted vitali- system? Does he calculate upon a diminution of revenue, ty to the industry and enterprise of the country, and hap- until the public debt shall have been paid; and, when repiness and prosperity to parts of this highly favored Union, duced, that there will be a foresight and sagacity sufficient now left comparatively destitute.
to so regulate that complicated machine, as to bring its I have now followed the gentleman through the course operation just to the point of ordinary disbursement? of his remarks as being applicable to this particular Acting upon the principles by which I am governed, I need bill. How far I have succeeded in sustaining my side not look forward to the extinction of the public debt;
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Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[MANCII 24, 1830.
sufficient for the day is the evil thereof; we have now re-paraphernalia of seaboard extravagance. Answering this venue to be used, over and above the necessary expendi- question to his satisfaction, is no reason for rejecting this tures of the Government, and the operations of the sink- bill. Having answered what I would not do, I will now ing fund, and the question is narrowed down to a mere tell him what I would. A wise and prudent individual, in choice of alternatives. I have thought that it could not the management of his own concerns, will act with rebe so beneficially applied in any other manner, as in con- ference to his resources. When circumscribed, be will structing this great interior highway, which, in time of war, contract his expenditures; when redundant, they will be would be a secure route for carrying on with activity the more enlarged. So of a Government; if possessed of the operations of the Government, as well as intercourse means, I would build this road; deprived of them, I would, among the States. Believing that Congress does constitu- from necessity, abandon it. tionally possess the power to construct roads and canals
We are pathetically asked by the gentleman, how is tliis for national purposes, what would the gentleman do, were system to be gotten clear of? and will we, because we have he from the State from whence I come? Would he stand the power, continue its exercise, when that course is cal. with folded arms, and see the revenue, raised, if you please, culated to produce discontent and heart-burnings. without liis consent, poured out in an unremitting sluice the getting clear of this system, I can only say to the gen. upon those sections of this Union to which the kindness of tleman, the remedy is with the American people, to whom Providence had given much; and to accomplish for them his eloquent appeal has been made. This system is the still more, the little must be taken from those who were workmanship of their hands, reared up against the techforced to contend with nature's parsimony? Sir, I may nicalities of constitutional disquisitions, though, under the be under delusion upon this subject; if so, I wish to be cor- most embellished pictures of the expediency of such system rected. I have said, that, under the system of internal-to the revolution which the gentleman is attempting to improvements, and that alone, can the interior parts of produce, I can assure him that I will bow with the most this Union participate in the disbursements of this Go- profound respect. I am on the safe side on that subject. vernment? I ask the citizens of my own State what has When it shall happen that the people, to whose will I shall been the course of things hsretofore? More than three always yield obedience, become tired of this system, there hundred millions of revenue, collected since the war will be no such spectre in the path of obedience as the where has it gone? I mean that, over the ordinary ex-ghost of the constitution; no, it will be a mere question of penses of the Government, and the public debt? To the expediency. seaboard. How much has been expended since the war, As to “discontent and heart-burnings,” I can assure the amongst you? The salaries of your federal officers, and gentleman that I regret the necessity of such a state of
What, aside from opening your roads andl ri- things as much as he can; but does not his own experience vers, can you expect hereafter. Nothing.
teach him that that is the inevitable result of all that leI am not so credulous as to believe that that sluice, g'islation which relates to matters of great interest? Can which was kept running when the public debt was at its be suppose that man, in his imperfect state, prompted by maximum, is now to be closed, when it is reduced to a mere ambition, interest, or whatever passion may be addresseci
, point. As, then, one of the Representatives from the when brought in conflict with an antagonist feeling, and interior, I will attempt to divert a part of the great cur- has failed in the attainment of his object, should be exrent running to the seaboard, and, by my influence, send empt from that condition? Are we then to surrender a rivulet to fructify that goodly land, which has been nog- that for which we have contended for years; and whichi, lected. I speak feelingly; it has, emphatically, been in our reliberate judgments, conduces to the essential overlooked.
and permanent interests of the country, because of the If I am correct in the view which I have taken of the minority being dissatisfied? Far as I would advance to disbursements of the Government for the past; and if it give satisfaction to any quarter of this country, this would be true that from three to five millions of the treasury, be going too far. It would, when carried out to its full common to all, have, year after year, regardless of the extent, prevent legislation from being enforced; and, therepublic debt, when at its maximum, been diverted to pur- fore, none should be adopted. I ask, what would have poses less important to the Union than this great rond; been the consequence of yielding to discontent on the what is the fair, nay, inevitable inference? Surely it is, part of the minority, when your Government thought it that, before the close of this Congress, the sum embraced expedient to lay the embargo, declare war, pass a tarit, or in this bill will be appropriated to the object to which it a mammoth pension bill? Surely the answer is, that none refers, or, in the event of its failure, will be hypothecated of these measures would have been enforced. Different to some other project, if not altogether useless, greatly opinions are entertained by different gentlemen, as to the inferior to it in point of national importance.
tribunal provided by the constitution for determining upon I look upon the attempt to throw upon this measure the the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress. If, howweight of the tariff, as being altogether gratuitous. Thatever, it should turn out to be a casus emissus in that inpolicy, as I before hinted, has been settled, at all events strument, I would then say, that, in the absence of a until the extinction of the public debt. Why has it been more appropriate tribunal, I am, until the case can be dragged into this debate? The reason must be obvious to better provided for, content to refer the legislation of every one; and, without charging it to mal-motive in the this House to the ordeal of the source of all power, at gentleman, whose candid, fair, and open course in de- the ballot boses-- mean the people. If no where else, bate I have always admired, I will say it was calculated, there is there a redeeming spirit, that will not long sufier if not designed, to unite, in common cause, all who were their servants to be the willing instruments of unjust ophostile to either measure.
pression, “heart-burnings, and discontent,” to any porWe have been gravely asked if we would levy upon tion of their fellow-citizens. If this system had been what our constituents a direct tax, in order to carry on this sys. it has been characterized by the gentleman from Virginia,
I can only speak for myself; I answer, no. I go that of plunder, bargain, intrigue, and corruption, a vir. much further; I tell the gentleman nor would I for much the tuous people would, before this, have frowned into regreater number of projects which have been the objects of tirement the actors in a work so unholy. But I must colpeculiar care to this Government. I would not, by my sole my friend from Virginia, by informing him that there vote, levy a direct tax to continue the gentleman's splendid are two sides to this picture, and he has only looked upoil sea-wall, or chain of fortifications; the building of useless one. I turn him to the other, and ask him to look upon ships to decay in time of peace; the military academy; it. I hold up to his view that which was commenced by the mammoth pension bills; in short, for none of the him who had been styled "the Apostle of Liberty;" |
March 24, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[H. of R.
mean the illustrious Jefferson, and though he is dead he completed, as a road of the description specified in the yet speaketh.” On his side of the picture, he represented bill. I entertain no doubt of the perfect adaptation of such roads and canals as great foundations of union and pros- road to all the exigencies of the country through which it perity. All who have succeeded him to the office of Chief is to pass. I know, upon part of that road, the application Magistrate entertained the same opinion as to the ex- of stone would not only be useless, but detrimental. pediency and utility of such works; the high authority of But I will not disguise my views as to the ultimate destitheir names are furnished us, in opposition to the appal- nation of this improvement. I have said that I believe it ling picture drawn by the gentleman. Again, for his com. will subserve all the purposes of the Government, upon fort under this “new era” of improvement, I beg to re- the plan proposed; but if, upon actual experiment, the fer him to the discussions of 1824 upon the surveys bill, increased necessities of the country should demand its which, by all, was considered the entering wedge to this construction upon a more clevated plan, we have it in reamuch abused system, and he will there see that this road, cliness for the application of metal, or rails, whenever the now considered so superlatively useless, was avowed openly resources of the treasury, and the importance of the work, as a component part of it. It was surveyed and reported shall suggest itself to the wisdom of our successors as beupon, amongst the first works of that day, and has been ing advisable; not under any pledge upon the face of this ever since considered worthy of occupying a place on the bill, or the consummation of the present projected plan, calendar of business in this House. So far, then, as this but resting alone upon the future developments of its high particular branch of that system extends, it is no “new utility. era” in improvements. I recur to the celebrated report I have now done with this subject; but, before I take my of Mr. Gallatin, in 1801–2, and I there see a forcible rc- seat, I must say a word to the friends of internal improvecommendation, not of this particular road as delineated, ments. Seven years ago I took my seat in this hall; since but of a great interior communication from North to South; when, I have been an alvocate for such improvements as but I will dismiss the subject, by remarking that this Go- addressed themselves to the exigencies of the nation al vernment, when me., hasl not become so refined in con- large. I have doubted neither the constitutionality nor exstitutional disquisitions, did construct a road from Nash. pediency of that measure. ville to New Orleans, the trace of which yet remains; to We have been told by the gentleman from Virginia, the period of constructing which I refer the learned gen- that this was a system, the operation of which was to buy tleman from Virginia, as the “era of internal improve up not only Representatives, but States and communities. ments,” to which this branch may be referred. That road I beseech you to contradict, by your disinterested votes, was constructed by the money and troops of the Federal the fearful anticipations of the opponents to the measure. Government, through the territory of the States, and with. This is a subject which does not address itself to the local out their consent.
interests of many of you, in as much as it traverses States, I ask, were there no patriots then to warn us of the to the greatest extent, in which our doctrines were not reyawning gulf of “consolidation?” No friend to State ceived as orthodox; and the majority of the Representarights to raise the veil of futurity, and paint the gloomy tives of those States, upon this fioor, are aiming a vital picture of masters bowing, and cringing, and begging to stab at the system for which you have been contending, in their servants for a crumb from their own table? No! the overthrow of this measure. Let it not be said that you All was silence. It was reserved to other men and better exchange your vote for the gilded bait which a measure days to espy the evil, and save the republic.
of local interest may hold up to your view. It has so hapHaving followed my friend from Virginia through such pened, that, for the first tiine since I had the honor of a of his remarks as I thought it my duty to answer, and hav- seat here, a great national ineasure, including, also, local ing feebly attempted to sustain this measure against one interests, has been presented for my support. Having votwhose skill and tact in debate I cannot too highly compli- ed for the continuation of the Cumberland road, upon ment, I must draw to a close my crude remarks. If I have which neither myself, nor, as I suppose, any of my consucceeded in showing the utility of, and necessity for, this stituents have travelled, being hundreds of miles from me road, need I say that the States would never construct it at its nearest approach, it was to have been supposed that on their own resources? Need I say that a project unit. I would have supported this, which must pass through ing in interest seven States, acting only within their local some part of my district. All that I can ask, is, that you limits, could not act in unison, so as to accomplish its con- look at this subject as statesmen, giving to it that importstruction? To which, I would ask, would it suggest itself ance which it merits, in a national point of view; and if as an object of primary importance, when viewed alone, you should then withbold your support, you will have as a highway for the State? None. It is one of those done right. Let us convince our adversaries that the prosgreat objects eminently stamped with the impress of na- perity of our common country is the leading inducement tionality, and which, alone, the comprehensive grasp of in the exercise of the power which we claim. I speak federal legislation can accomplish.
with freedom on this subject, as I have nothing to disBut the cost is objectionable. We have been told that, guise. Let the opponents to this systein succeed in their whilst the bill appropriates two millions and a quarter, opposition to this bill, and, though I am not a prophet, this sum will only blaze out the way for this mammoth nor the son of a prophet, yet I predict that you may bid undertaking--that countless millions must follow to its a long farewell to that system for which we have so zeafinal completion. Sir, it seems that this dish cannot be lously contended. rendered savory to the appetites of our opponents. This
Mr. CARSON made a few observations in relation to an bill, which has been drawn with more than ordinary care, amendment he heretofore offered, whicli[be said] he would to steer clear of the very objection of the gentleman, so discuss more at large on a future occasion. The yielded much so as to require an estimate of the cost of each the floor to mile, bridge, and causeway, and that estim:te to be sub Nr. ISACKS, who said that he woull, on this occasion, mitted to the President of the United States, and must fall follow the exsımple of the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. within the average of fifteen hundred collars a mile, or BARBOUR) in declining a discussion of the constitutional the road is not to be constructel--this abundant precau- power of Congress to pass this bill, were it not from a betion will not satisfy the gentleman. I must be allowed to lief that there were others who were not, like him, presay, that, in my humble opinion, as regards this objection, pared to deny the expediency of the measure, but who the defect is in the appetite of the gentleman, and not in had become persuaded that Congress did not possess that the aliment provided. If commenced under such estimate, power, and who would entrench themselves behind the falling within fifteen hundred dollars a mile, it is to be supposed barriers of the constitution; from whence it
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Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(MARCH 24, 1830.
might be conveniert to sally forth, upon the position he In that clause of the constitution which gives to Conhad long occupied in these controversies. Some defence gress the power “to establish post offices and post roads,” of that position--some vindication of his own course, in as I understand it, the right to make a post road is erfavor of the construction of this road, on constitutional pressly given in terms, and there is no need to resort to ground, would therefore be attempted.
any incidental matter “to carry into execution" this power. The federal constitution was, (said Mr. I.) in the lan. The very act forms the substance of the thing granted or guage of the convention, “ ordained and established for authorized to be done. To establish means to found, to the United States of America.” It was made with a per. ereci, to build, to render permanent; and this action of fect knowledge of the wants and resources, the condition the power, according to the principles of common sense, and extent of country over which it was to operate. Its and the fair construction of language, may be applied energies and benefits were intended to be felt alike, and brought to bear as well upon the road over which the through all the members of the Union, and the geographi- mail is carried, as the office or officer created for its safety cal features which mark the territory of its domain. The and distribution. But it is said that the right to designate craggy summit, the sloping sides, the long, winding val- a pre-existing road is all that is conferred. There is, I leys of the Alleghany—its rivers descending to the ocean, think, too much refinement, not to say absurdity, in this as well as the coasts and plains of the Atlantic, were pre- argument. Suppose a mail route to be indispensable for sent to the minds of those who set in motion the principles the communication of intelligence between two points of this Government; and those principles, to be equal and where there is no road, and where none would ever be useful in their effects, must have been adapted to the situ- made by the local authorities, must Congress wait till the ation of all. And however we may differ about the mean-road is made? The establishment of the office is not, or ing of terms, in one thing we must all agree, that this con- cannot, be a mere designation of it. It had no previous stitution, as it is, was made for the whole United States, as existence. It is and must be made, out and out, by the they are. This general view of the subject may not be power of establishment. "And why shall the road not be wholly unprofitable to those who have not "ordained and subject to the same power? established" their opinions upon the controverted points To carry into execution the powers “ to declare war and which I will now proceed to examine.
support armies,” it is “necessary and proper" that ConAmong the enumerated powers of Congress is the pow-gress should possess and exercise jurisdiction competent er" to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among to the construction of roads and canals. These, if properly the several States, and with the Indian tribes." It cannot located, will be among the most efficientineans of national be denied that this regulating power over commerce may defence. In marching armies, in transporting provisions, act as well upon that which relates to internal commerce munitions of war, and intelligence, these may be as necesamong the States, as that which relates to foreign; and sary to the interests and safety of the country as the arwhatever may be done as to one may, in adapting the mies themselves, or any of the mighty agents of the warmeans to the nature of the thing and the end to be attained, making power. To be convinced on this point, is only to be done as to the other; for the power is applicable to look at the face of the country, and the great extent and both, and is precisely the same. It is admitted, that, what- exposure of its frontier. And if a doubt or scruple reever is incidental to the specific power, is comprehended mains, let experience point to the expense, the sufferings, in the grant, and may properly be done under it. The and disasters of the last war. Then let reason and patriconstitution has, however, removed all cavil on this point, otism take the place of polemic sophistry, and answer by expressly giving to Congress the right “to make all / whether the right to construct these communications does laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into not belong to the war-making power of Congress. execution the powers by it vested in the Government of These, together with the power to appropriate money, the United States, or any department or officer thereof." are the grounds on which I l'est the constitutional power The constitution means, and it can mean nothing else, that of Congress over subjects of internal national improveCongress may take into its own hands the management of ments. Nor do I admit that the appropriating power is all these concerns. It is not to stop satisfied with attend- general or undefined. It is, and ought to be, limited and ing to the commerce, or exchange of commodities with applied only to the subjects of legislation confided to Conforeign nations; it must, when necessary, go further, and gress, and cannot be extended to any other without a vioregulate trade between different States, and even the traf- lation of the constitution, and the risk of producing the fic with the Indian tribes in furs and peltry; for that, too, utmost confusion. I yield the point that the assent of a is commerce, in the meaning of the constitution. And it state cannot extend or add to the power of Congress any is no matter whether this trade is carried on upon seas or thing which, in virtue of the constitution, it does not posrivers, upon land or water, in East India merchantmen, in sess. The question, now and at all times, must be, is the river boats, Indian bark canoes, or road wagons; these are right to act contained in the constitution or not? If it is, all but the different mediums and vehicles of conveyance, the assent of a State is useless. If it is not, then a State and are alike subject to the action of Congress, in such cannot give it. I would go further, sir, and maintain that manner as may be necessary and proper. But it is said a State cannot withdraw any portion of the power, juris. that, to execute these regulations, nothing is necessary and diction, and sovereignty, which, by the federal compact, proper to be done, but to make rules--revenue laws, and has been conferred on the Government of the Union. As the like something, on paper. I will not go to a dictionary to the rights of the States and the rights of this Governfor the meaning of the word “regulate." I will go to the ment respectively, neither should encroach on the other. history of legislation, commencing with the foundation of Neither can give, nor take away, unless by an amendment this Government, and continued without interruption or of the constitution, in the appointed mode. I am no adobjection, on constitutional principles, clown to this clay, vocate either for the American system or the nullifying to prove what the undoubted right of Congress, under the system; and, much as I respect the authority and opinions power in question, is. It has been the work of every year of others to the contrary, I must continue in the belief to make harbors, build custoin-houses, warehouses, sea- that no State, as a member of the Union, in any attitude walls, light-houses, and do every thing which the conve- that it can assume, has the right to supersede or annul a nience of external trade requires. If, then, it is consti- law of this Government. That would be emphatically tritional to do all this for commerce with fureign nations, I making a State the judge in its own case. Neither do I demand a reason why it is unconstitutional to make a road believe in the plan I have heard proposed, that the veto or canal, when that shall be necessary and proper for the of a State shall oblige this Government and its Executive, commerce among the several States.”
whose duty it is to execute the laws, to stand still till the
MARCH 24, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
H. of R.
matter can be adjusted in some way unknown to the con- other portion than I am, the task of doing justice to its stifution, if I have read it right. I am not convinced that claims. the discussion of these theories can be at all profitable; What, then, are some of the commercial advantages of and, following the example of the gentleman from Vir- the western part of this road? It has always been, now ginia, (Mr. BARBOUR] on another topic in this debate, 1 is, and, perhaps, will be to the end of time, the fact, that here enter my solemn protest against all these doctrines much the greater portion of all the merchandise for the and discoveries, at least in the sense in which I understand supply of Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee is, them.
and must be, carried from Baltimore and the more eastI will now return to the subject before us, and briefly re- ern cities, over the very ground that this road should ocmark, that, for my own part, I do not claim for Congress cupy. Nor do I mean, by Eastern Tennessee, that part the right of exclusive legislation over the territory within of our State only, which is technically called East Tenthe States on which a road or canal may be constructed. nessee. A great extent of most valuable country west of This right is specifically given in regard to what is now the Cumberland mountain, and embracing the broad, rich the District of Columbia, and all places purchased for the valley of Northern Alabama, in a high degree realizes the erection of forts, magazines, and so on. The express men- same condition. And when you add to this, the extraortion of it as to these, and the silence as to other places, dinary capacity of this whole region for the production if there were no other reasons, would seem to argue that of iron, salt, and flour, cotton, and other manufacturing jurisdiction was not intended to be given, except in those and agricultural produce, every statesman must be at once cases where it is so expressed. But the power of Con- struck with the immense importance of convenieni comgress being competent, as I conceive, to the execution of munication, not only to that country,but to all others dependsuch works, I would extend it that far, leaving, in the hands ant on its supplies. And how would the advantages of a of the States, the care of their preservation, and the ad- road east of the Blue ridge, through the Southern States, vantage of their use; and this course has the additional in this respect compare with those I have hinted at rather recommendation of policy and convenience.
than described? Nature, and the unalterable direction of Let me also notice what I must, with great deference, trade, will answer this question. There the road would call an error into which some have fallen. They deny run nearly parallel with the sea.coast. The direction of that we have power to make internal improvements, but their trade is from the coast to the upper country, and vice admit that we can subscribe stock to incorporated compa- versa, not along the course of the road, but crossing it nies, and appropriate money or land to States for the same almost every where at right angles. Except for the mere purpose. This I consider a distinction without a differ- conveyance of commercial intelligence, the road could be
Can we enable others to do that which we cannot of no advantage to trade, worth calculating, and so the do ourselves? The difference between doing and causing report of the engineers states. to be done, is too subtle for fundamental rules of action. To slow that this improvement is necessary for a mail The argument amounts to this: that, as a partner with road, I need only remind the House that, from the centre others, Congress can do that which it could not do alone; or, to the extreme points, it traverses the very interior of the that it may employ an agent, and entrust him with the republic. Among the advantages to the speedy conveymeans of doing that which it could not do itself. I, too, ance of intelligence that it will afford, there is one that admit that Congress can, in proper cases, make these sub-cannot escape observation, when it is remembered that scriptions and appropriations--not because it could not New Orleans is the mart of the whole country through otherwise accomplish the object; precisely the reverse: which this road passes, for the distance of eight lunbecause, as principal, it could do the act, and therefore dred miles. The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Barmay avail itself of the co-operation and agency of others. Born) informed us that the average cost of carrying the I cannot see upon what principle this proposition can be mail
, three times a weck, from this place to Orleans, was based, unless it is supposed that Congress has the unlimited fifty-two dollars a mile; that the average cost generally in right to appropriate money without regard to the consti- the United States was fifteen dollars a mile.
The report tutional purposes of legislation. The answer to that would of the late Postmaster General
, Mr. McLean, informs us, be: You say that internal improvements do not belong to that, if this bad road was made good, the mail, to Orleans, the jurisdiction of Congress; the States reserved to them- could be carried in about half the time it then required; selves the right of inaking them. And will it be pretended and I infer for, at least, the average price elsewhere. that money can be appropriated and applied to any other These facts, I think, are worth something for my purpose, purposes than those within the rightful legislation of Con- if doubling the speed of the mail the distance of a thousand gress? I know of no power that could be assumed on the miles, and saving to the department the sum of thirty-separt of Congress more uncertain and dangerous than the ven thousand dollars a year, are matters deserving our unrestrained appropriation of money to objccts not within attention. On the western route, we present you a surthe scope of its authority. On the score of economy and face that invites by every argument the improving hand of accountability, I think it generally much better that the art. Though the country may vie with any other in good money for public works should be expended under our and substantial qualities, vet, like others, it has its inconveimmeiliate direction and control, than be placed in the niences. There we have hills, and mountains, and lime. hands of others, as to whom we could neither exercise stone rocks to contend with; to overcome these, we need coercion nor remedy:
the helping hand of the Government. Not so on the eastI will now proceed to show that the construction of this cru route. There, on a continued plain, nature has given road would be a proper exercise of the constitutional you a road of sand; and I have yet to learn how it is to power on which I rely. The bill directs its location on bear much improvement, or where the mater:als to better the western route; and I will, by the way, advert to some it are to come from. The time that the mail to Orleans of the advantages of that route over those of the others. might be carried, on cither of the routes, is about the same. I do not expect to say the half that is due to this part of the distance nearly so, except that of the eastern, which is the subject; and the very thorough examination already thirty or forty miles longest. Asto the importent requisites, given to it by the chairman of the Committee on Internal health, abundance, and cheapness of provisions, and the Improvements, (Mr. HEMPILL) who opened this debate, number and price of horses, the advantages are univerand my colleague, (Mr. BLAIN) renders it umecessary that sally known to be greatly in favor of the West. I should; and what I shall feel it my duty to say will be If it is unwise in time of peace to neglect preparations confined to that line of road between this place and New for defence in war, the construction of this road ought to Orleans, leaving to those inuch better acquainted with the attract particular attention. The lower country on the