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and happy period, distant as it may be, when circulation and association between the Atlantic and the Pacific, and the Mexican gulf, shall be as free and perfect as they are at this moment in England, or in any other the most highly improved country on the globe. In the mean time, without bearing heavily upon any of our important interests, let us apply ourselves to the accomplishment of what is most practicable, and immediately necessary,

But what most staggers my honorable friend, is the jurisdiction over the sites of roads, and other internal improvements, which he supposes Congress might assume ; and he considers the exercise of such a jurisdiction as furnishing the just occasion for serious alarm. Let us analyze the subject. Prior to the erection of a road under the authority of the general government, there existed, in the State throughout which it passes, no actual exercise of jurisdiction over the ground which it traverses as a road. There was only the possibility of the exercise of such a jurisdiction, when the State should, if ever, erect such a road. But the road is made by the authority of Congress, and out of the fact of its erection arises a necessity for its preservation and protection. The road is some thirty, or fifty, or sixty feet in width, and with that narrow limit passes through a part of the territory of the State. The capital expended in the making of the road incorporates itself with and becomes a part of the permanent and immoveable property of the State. The jurisdiction which is claimed for the general government, is that only which relates to the necessary defence, protection, and preservation of the road. It is of a character altogether conservative. Whatever does not relate to the existence and protection of the road, remains with the State. Murders, trespasses, contracts—all the occurrences and transactions of society upon the road, not affecting its actual existence, will fall within the jurisdiction of the civil or criminal tribunals of the State, as if the road had never been brought into existence. How much remains to the State! How little is claimed for the general government! Is it possible that a jurisdiction so limited, so harmless, so unambitious, can be regarded as seriously alarming to the sovereignty of the States ? Congress now asserts and exercises, without contestation, a power to protect the mail in its transit, by the sanction of all suitable penalties. The man who violates it is punished with death, or otherwise, according to the circumstances of the case. This power is exerted as incident to that of establishing post offices and post roads. Is the

protection of the thing in transitu a power more clearly deducible from the grant, than that of facilitating, by means of a practical road, its actual transportation ? Mails certainly imply roads, roads imply their own preservation, their preservation implies the power to preserve them, and the constitution tells us, in express terms, shall establish the one and the other.

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In respect to cutting canals, I admit the question is not quite so clear as in regard to roads. With respect to these, as I have endeavored to show, the power is expressly granted. In regard to canals, it appears to me to be fairly comprehended in, or deducible from, certain granted powers. Congress has power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States. Precisely the same measure of power which is granted in the one case is conferred in the other. And the uniform practical exposition of the constitution, as to the regulation of foreign commerce, is equally applicable to that among

the several States. Suppose, instead of directing the legislation of this government constantly, as heretofore, to the object of foreign commerce, to the utter neglect of the interior commerce among the several States, the fact had been reversed, and now, for the first time, we were about to legislate for our foreign trade. Should we not, in that case, hear all the controverted objections made to the erection of buoys, beacons, light-houses, the surveys of coasts, and the other numerous facilities accorded to the foreign trade, which we now hear to the making of roads and canals ? Two years ago, a seawall, or in other words, a marine canal, was authorized by an act of Congress in New Hampshire, and I doubt not that many of those voted for it who have now conscientious scruples on this bill. Yes, any thing, every thing may be done for foreign commerce; any thing, every thing on the margin of the ocean ; but nothing for domestic trade; nothing for the great interior of the country! Yet, the equity and the beneficence of the constitution equally comprehend both. The gentleman does, indeed, maintain that there is a difference as to the character of the facilities in the two cases. But I put it to his own candor, whether the only difference is not that which springs from the nature of the two elements on which the two species of commerce are conducte::—the difference between land and water. The principle is the same, whether you promote commerce by opening for it an artificial channel where now there is none, or by increasing the ease or safety with which it may be conducted through a nat

ural channel which the bounty of Providence has bestowed. In the one case, your object is to facilitate arrival and departure from the ocean to the land. In the other, it is to accomplish the same object from the land to the ocean. Physical obstacles may be greater in the one case than in the other, but the moral or constitutional power equally includes both. The gentleman from Virginia has, to be sure, contended that the power to make these commercial facilities was to be found in another clause of the constitution—that which enables Congress to obtain cessions of territory for specific objects, and grants to it an exclusive jurisdiction. These cessions may be obtained for the“ erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, or other needful buildings.” It is apparent that it relates altogether to military or naval affairs, and not to the regulation of commerce.

How is the marine canal covered by this clause? Is it to be considered as a “needful building ?” The object of this power is perfectly obvious. The convention saw that, in military or naval posts, such as are indicated, it was indispensably necessary, for their proper government, to vest in Congress the power of exclusive legislation. If we claimed over objects of internal improvement an exclusive jurisdiction, the gentleman might urge, with much force, the clause in question. But the claim of concurrent jurisdiction only is asserted. The gentleman professes himself unable to comprehend how concurrent jurisdiction can be exercised by two different governments at the same time over the same persons and things. But, is not this the fact, with respect to the State and federal governments? Does not every person and every thing, within our limits, sustain a two-fold relation to the State and to the federal authority? The power of taxation, as exerted by both governments, that over the militia, besides many others, is concurrent. No doubt embarrassing cases may be conceived and stated by gentlemen of acute and ingenious minds. One was put to me yesterday. Two canals are desired, one by the federal, and the other by a State government; and there is not a supply of water but for the feeder of one canal—which is to take it? The constitution which ordains the supremacy of the laws of the United States, answers the question. The good of the whole is paramount to the good of a part. The same difficulty might possibly arise in the exercise of the incontestable power of taxation. We know that the imposition of taxes has its limits. There is a maximum which cannot be transcended. Suppose the citizen to be taxed by the general government to the utmost extent of his ability, or a thing as much as it can possibly bear, and the

State imposes a tax at the same time, which authority is to take it? Extreme cases of this sort may serve to amuse and to puzzle; but they will hardly ever arise in practice. And we may safely confide in the moderation, good sense, and mutual good dispositions of the two governments, to guard against the imagined conflicts.


It is said by the President, that the power to regulate commerce merely authorizes the laying of imposts and duties. But Congress has no power to lay imposts and duties on the trade


the ral States. The grant must mean, therefore, something else. What is it? The power to regulate commerce among the several States, if it have any meaning, implies authority to foster it, to promote it, to bestow on it facilities similar to those which have been conceded to our foreign trade. It cannot mean only an empty authority to adopt regulations, without the capacity to give practical effect to them. All the powers of this government should be interpreted in reference to its first, its best, its greatest object, the union of these States. And is not that union best invigorated by an intimate, social, and commercial connexion between all the parts of the confederacy? Can that be accomplished, that is, can the federative objects of this government be attained, but by the application of federative resources ?

Of all the powers bestowed on this government, none are more clearly vested, than that to regulate the distribution of the intelligence, private and official, of the country; to regulate the distribution of commerce; and to regulate the distribution of the physical force of the Union. In the execution of the high and solemn trust which these beneficial powers imply, we must look to the great ends which the framers of our admirable constitution had in view. We must reject, as wholly incompatible with their enlightened and beneficent intentions, that construction of these powers which would resuscitate all the debility and inefficiency of the ancient confederacy. In the vicissitudes of human affairs, who can foresee all the possible cases, in which it may be necessary to apply the public force, within or without the Union ? This government is charged with the use of it, to repel invasions, to suppress insurrections, to enforce the laws of the Union ; in short, for all the unknown and undefinable purposes of war, foreign or intestine, wherever and however it may rage. During its existence, may not government, for its effectual prosecution, order a road to be made, or a canal to be cut, to relieve, for example,

an exposed point of the Union ? If, when the emergency comes, there is a power to provide for it, that power must exist in the constilution, and not in the emergency. A wise, precautionary, and parental policy, anticipating danger, will beforehand provide for the hour of need. Roads and canals are in the nature of fortifications, since, if not the deposites of military resources, they enable you to bring into rapid action the military resources of the country, whatever they may be. They are better than any fortifications, because they serve the double purposes of peace and of war. They dispense in a great degree with fortifications, since they have all the effect of that concentration at which fortifications aim. I appeal from the precepts of the President to the practice of the President. While he denies to Congress the power in question, he does not scruple, upon his sole authority, as numercus instances in the statute book will testify, to order, at pleasure, the opening of roads by the military, and then come here to ask us to pay for them. Nay, more, sir ; a subordinate but highly respectable officer of the executive government I believe would not hesitate to provide a boat or cause a bridge to be erected over an inconsiderable stream, to ensure the regular transportation of the mail. And it happens to be within my personal knowledge, that the head of the post-office department, as a prompt and vigilant officer should do, has recently despatched an agent to ascertain the causes of the late frequent vexatious failures of the great northern mail, and to inquire if a provision of a boat or bridge over certain small streams in Maryland, which have produced them, would not prevent their recurrence.

I was much surprised at one argument of the honorable gentleman. He told the House, that the constitution had carefully guarded against inequality, among the several States, in the public burdens, by certain restrictions upon taxation; that the effect of the adoption of a system of internal improvements would be to draw the resources from one part of the Union, and to expend them in the improvements of another; and that the spirit, at least, of the constitutional equality would be thus violated. From the nature of things, the constitution could not specify the theatre of the expenditure of the public treasure. That expenditure, guided by and looking to the public good, must be made, necessarily, where it will most subserve the interests of the whole Union. The argument is, that the locale of the collection of the public contributions, and the locale of their disbursement, should

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