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Friday,

WILKINS.

(July 15th.

nents.

greatest exigency and the safest loan, to grant the (Mr. Gray,) who immediately followed him, both credit of the State.

in favor of the Report, seem to me to have fully Sir, for one, I take my stand on the side of and satisfactorily met every argument that has internal improvements ; not that I would embark been or can be brought on the other side—and the credit of the State to an unreasonable or un- they have kept aloof from present exigencies, and safe extent; but, for one, living in this age, I from preconceived opinions. take my stand in favor of internal improvements, But how is it with some others who have taken and I undertake to say that no man can stand up part in this debate? Are they in a position to and defend himself in Massachusetts, in New bring to this topic unbiased opinions, and candid England, in New York, or in this country, who judgment—and are their arguments entitled to is opposed to internal improvements.

the right in this matter, which we should all I hope, Mr. President, that this matter will be deem them entitled to on indifferent subjects ? left, as it has been before, with the legislature. The gentleman from Taunton, (Mr. Morton,) There is no danger of any unsafe loan being has taken a conspicuous part, and made untiring made. The great corporations which are inter- efforts to defeat the acceptance of the Report, and ested to defeat any loans, using their influence in what is his position? Why, Sir, he has himself connection with men who are themselves opposed told us, that his views on State credit were put to these loans, will be power enough for any com- upon record many years ago; and some of us pany who wish for a loan, to meet; and there well remember them. He has himself alluded to will be no danger whatever, that an imprudent the probable fact, that in consequence of these or unsafe loan will be made hereafter.

recorded opinions, he found that he was obliged Mr. WILKINS, of Boston. Mr. President. to quit a temporary office, for the attainment of It has been no purpose of mine, to occupy a mo

which he had given up a permanent one.

If ment of the time of this Convention in discuss- that gentleman has any regrets for the change he ing this subject. I have listened to the discus- then made, I will assure him that I believe he sion, thus far, without wishing to be heard, be- has the hearty sympathy of his political oppocause I thought I saw that the sense of this body

We, then, and still think, he left an was correct, and needed no aid from me, in com- office, the duties of which he was eminently well ing to a correct conclusion. But the position of qualified to discharge, and was discharging, with this matter has undergone a change—the right great usefulness and acceptance, and entered upon appears to me in jeopardy—and I must claim the another office, about his qualifications to fill indulgence of the Convention, while I briefly which, there were at least two opinions at the express my views upon it.

time, though there appears to have been an apIt is altogether too late to attempt to disguise proximation to one sentiment on the subject bethe fact, that the topic under discussion is indisa fore the year expired. solubly connected with the Hoosac Tunnel. The Now, Sir, it appears that this sentiment confirst speech made on the subject, by the gentle-cerning the credit of the State, formed and enunman from Abington, (Mr. Keyes,) has dovetailed ciated in the dark prospects which then overthem together; and nearly every subsequent hung the Western Railroad enterprise, is still, speech and vote has only demonstrated the con- with him, a cherished sentiment. It has cost nection. Hence, it has seemed to me, that we him too much not to be highly prized, and he have been engaged, while discussing this matter, now is desirous that the Convention and the peoin legislation, and that of the worst kind : special ple should adopt what the people then repudiated. legislation. And, it would have been hardly an The gentleman undoubtedly formed, and still cherinappropriate mode of proceeding, to have issuedishes this opinion, in all honesty and sincerity; an order of notice to the Troy and Greenfield but I submit, whether there be not with him Railroad, so that they might appear with their some pride of opinion, some stickling for concounsel and witnesses, and have a full hearing sistency, which may obscure his better judgment, upon the merits of their case, before the Com- under the particular circumstances of the present mittee of the Whole.

case; and whether he has not attached a value It is true that some few have addressed this to this opinion, derived rather from what it has body, either in Convention or in Committee, upon cost him, than what it is worth to us. the merits of the question, without any apparent And how is it with other gentlemen, who are bias. My colleague, who early addressed the throwing obstacles in the way of accepting the Committee, (Mr. Hillard,) in favor of the Report Report? One of my colleagues, (Mr. Hopkinof the Committee, and the gentleman represent- son,) who has twice spoken on the matter in oping Manchester, (Mr. Dana,) and my colleague, 1 position, (though I was not present to hear him,) Friday,]

WILKINS.

(July 15th.

daily cats the bread that flows from the bounty of ly. We found we were too late in the day to folthe State. Though not connected with the West- low out theory, but were obliged to be controlled ern Railroad, that I know of, yet he is most inti- by practice. Now, Sir, it seems to me that we are mately connected with another corporation whose in precisely the same predicament in relation to life's blood is derived from the Western, and the State credit. It is too late to set up a theory, Norwich and Worcester Railroads—both of which but we must be controlled by practice. The owe their existence to the credit of this State. current of State bounty and of State credit is Now, Sir, situated as that gentleman is, sur- already in motion; its refreshing influence has rounded by such accidents as he is, he must feel already been felt, and its sustaining power has no surprise if much less weight be attached by imparted its blessings. Credit, both public and others to his arguments and suggestions, than | private, is the great instrument by which the he thinks them entitled to, and which, under miracles of civilization are being wrought in this other circumstances, they would undoubtedly be nineteenth century. We have all read the beauentitled to.

tiful simile of Junius, which is no more beautiful But my catalogue is not yet finished. One than true. “ Individual credit,” says he, “ is other colleague, (Mr. Giles,) has proposed an wealth ; public honor, is security; the feather that amendment which threatens the acceptance of the adorns the royal bird, supports his flight-strip Report; and still another colleague has announced him of his plumage and you fix him to the his intention to offer another in opposition, if an earth." opportunity occurs. And, what is the position of Credit, Sir, both public and private, is the great these gentlemen in relation to this matter? I find element, the chief ingredient, of all true progress them, Sir, both to have been opponents to the in civilization and refinement. By it, the expeHoosac Tunnel bill, in the House of Represent rience of the past and the hopes of the future are atives in April last. Among the nays upon the made to blend and work in the present. Withpassage of that bill, I find both their names re- out it, we should retrograde, and with rapid corded, with those of seven others only of the Bos- strides should return to barbarism. It enters ton delegation. Now, Sir, these gentlemen are deeply into our social system and civil relations. committed, both of them, upon this matter. They It is like the air we breathe, everywhere circumhave prečxistent opinions to sustain, a consis- ambient, but ever unfelt. Deprive us of it, even tency to maintain; and they appear to be throw- in a slight degree, and we pine and die. It is a ing the weight of their talents into a scale here to system of mutual obligation and mutual forbeardefeat a measure which they were unable to defeat It grows and flourishes upon mutual in the House of Representatives. If, Sir, these wants and mutual benefits; and it unites and knits gentlemen had voted for that bill, and now together the mass of a community, so that it acts should propose to take from the legislature the and works to one end like one man. power to make such grant, then we should have Now, Sir, I say it is too late to rise up and stay proof that these gentlemen were actuated by this current of public credit in this State. It has principle and an unbiased judgment; and that in been beneficially exercised. Its blessing are felt this course they were seeking the public good, every day; and these blessings are of two kinds, though it would conflict with a great enterprise, one public and the other private. The credit of to which they had showed themselves to be en- the State has been applied to improvements in tirely friendly. But, we have no such exhibition the northern, the eastern, the southern, and the before us; but on the contrary, we witness en- western parts of the State ; but not in the northdeavors on their part to induce measures that will

The ground on which this credit was embarrass and defeat a great public enterprise, loaned, was that the whole State, the public, was and this under circumstances calculated to raise a to be benefited thereby. This was true ground; doubt of the unbiased character of their judg- but individual benefit and private good were also ments and opinions upon those measures.

blended therein. For example, the Western Here, Sir, I close what I have to say upon the Railroad was aided because it was deemed to be debate thus far. I will now address myself to a benefit to the whole State. But, besides this the matter in hand, and advert to some matters public benefit, every farmer and mechanic on the not yet, I believe, touched upon.

line of the road, received a personal and private In settling the basis of representation, this benefit which was not partaken of in any considerConvention has departed from what it regarded able degree by others of the line. right, and has bowed to the paramount force- Now, to accomplish these public and private exigency. Were we beginning the formation of a benefits, the credit of the State has been loaned, government, we should have formed one different- | and, as the gentleman representing Wilbraham,

ance.

western.

Friday,]

WILKINS.

(July 15th.

truly remarked, every man's farm and stock has at this time, and stop the flow, I will not say of been mortgaged for its redemption. To construct favor, but of equity. the Western Railroad, the farms in Shelburne But, it will be said that the proposition now have been just as heavily mortgaged as the farms before us does not shut down the gate, it only in Chester ; but, besides the public benefit derived increases the ordinary and common difficulty of therefrom, which accrues to the inhabitants of accomplishing the object. This is true in the end, both Shelburne and Chester equally, there has but not, I think, in fact. I think it shuts down accrued to the inhabitants of Chester an enormous

the gate. private benefit which is not shared at all by the Sir, the gentleman for Manchester, (Mr. Dana,) inhabitants of Shelburne. This benefit lies in in his forcible argument, stated that the questions the increased value of land, of water power, and

which would arise in relation to the State credit, other articles, growing out of the increased facility would be sectional questions. This is true, and of reaching a market.

need not to be put in a prospective form. It is Out of this very unequal private benefit grow

now,

here on this floor, and has been and will be ing out of the public loan, arises a demand, I in our legislative hall, a sectional question. We will say a claim, for reciprocal accommodation; hear it here in the speeches on what should be an a claim resting upon justice, though of course not abstract question. We see it in the votes. The to be enforced by law. A claim, the justice of interests promoted by and connected with the which every upright mind sees, and every honest Western Railroad, are here, and have been elseheart acknowledges. Then, I repeat, that if in where, an adverse party to this claim in equity. the four quarters of the State, great and important There is no pretence that that corporation is not private advantages have been derived from the deeply interested in this question, and did not loan of the State credit over and above the advan- influence many votes upon it. Now this is sectages derived equally to all the citizens of the tional. That road runs, with its adjunct having State; and if these private advantages have been identical interests, through the whole length of attained by a lien upon the private property of the State. Its interests are identified with the those living out of the range of these advantages interests of the people dwelling upon its line, --then I say these citizens who have obtained no between Boston and the New York line. There private advantages from such public loan or credit, is a tremendous local and sectional interest alhave a claim, and I think a strong and irresistible ready blossomed, and fast running to seed, standone, for reciprocal accommodation and favor. ing before the public, and in divers ways operating

As this point has not been before alluded to, I upon public sentiment adversely to the exercise will dwell a moment upon it.

of the proposed power by the legislature. The people of this State, dwelling along the Now, Sir, we have agreed to a basis of reprelines of various railroads, and especially upon the sentation which, in future, will give a House of line of the Western, have derived great benefit four hundred and seven members; a majority will individually from the loan of the State credit, in be two hundred and four, and two-thirds two which benefit the people living in the north- hundred and eighty-one. It will require, then, western part of the State had no interest. But seventy-seven more votes in a full House to carry the people living in the north-western part of the such a measure, if the proposition before us be State, were as much bound, and their prop- carried, than it will to pass ordinary bills. Is erty as much pledged to pay said loan, as were there here a single individual who believes that a those living in the benefited districts. Now,

bill of the character of the Hoosac Tunnel bill it seems to me, that out of this fact which could ever be carried by such a vote, in the face exits, and has existed for years, the people of such an enormous local and sectional opposition of the north-western part of this State have a as has already manifested itself, and is lively and claim, a forcible and a valid claim, upon the people active at this moment? And this, too, entirely of the other parts of the State for reciprocal favor irrespective of the merits of the case. For the -a claim which will not be lost sight of, and greater the merits of the case, the stronger and not be the less urgent, because there is no tribunal more vigorous the opposition. If the Tunnel to enforce it. And while such a claim exists, and cannot be made, then the interests on the line of is unrealized, it is, as it appears to me, a gross

the other road have no special reason for opposipiece of injustice to increase the difficulty, and Vtion ; but the more feasible such an enterprise is throw impediments and obstacles in the way of proved to be, the more those interests are endanobtaining that reciprocal benefit to which they are gered, or deemed to be endangered. entitled. I cannot reconcile it to my sense of I cannot, therefore, think that any person can justice and propriety, thus to shut down the gate vote for the proposal before us, who is not willing Friday,]

WILKINS — LADD.

[July 15th.

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to pass judgment upon the Tunnel enterprise, and doubt, that they have met with great losses. The shut down the gates of right and equity upon the State of New York has adopted both of these people of that section of the State.

modes. She has both loaned her credit, and carNow, Sir, allow me to say a word in relation ried on internal improvements on her own account. to the effect which such an article in the Consti- She has aided companies; and one which I have tution will probably have upon its adoption. I now particularly in my mind, is the New York do not profess to know very well what the people and Erie Railroad. When that road was first will do and what they will not do, in given circum- projected, the company raised a certain sum-I stances. They have done some things which I do not remember how much—but having a very thought they could not do, and they have some- hard grade to overcome in passing from the Hudtimes failed to do what I thought they could do. son River to Orange County, they spent all their But, Sir, we all know that sectional feeling is not money, and the State loaned them several millions. all on one side. When it is indulged in in one Still, not having enough to complete it, the State region, a counter feeling will certainly be engen- took the road and sold it at auction, but did not dered in the other. If the proposed provision be realize anything worth while, and the State itself inserted in the Constitution, how will the northern sustained considerable loss. But now that road half of this State, from Boston tɔ the New York is completed; and when four or five millions of line, vote upon it? Sir, it seems to me that we dollars had been expended upon it, and the princineed no prophet to tell us ; it seems to me that pal difficulties overcome, another company came the people in that region, must be hungering and in and took up the road and completed it. Now, thirsting for a new Constitution, if they are wil. Sir, it is quite probable, that the whole of that ling to adopt one containing a clause so hostile region would yet have been without that railroad to their interest, and inserted with almost the accommodation, had it not been for the expenditure avowed purpose of rendering the execution of a of the State; and if you now go into that State, I favorite enterprise forever impossible.

doubt whether you can find five reasonably intelliMr. President, allusion has been made here to gent men in the whole of it, who do not rejoice the practice of other States. It seems that a con- at this day that the State made this advance. siderable number of the other States of the Union, [Here the hammer fell.) have adopted a clause in their Constitutions, Mr. LADD, of Cambridge. I am glad to find prohibiting their legislatures from granting the at length that the policy in regard to granting the credit of the State to the aid of individual or cor- aid of the State credit in furthering and carrying porate enterprises. Sir, I imagine that there is on the great objects of improvement in our Comsome misapprehension upon that subject. Most monwealth, has at last received its proper conof the States which have adopted this provision-sideration ; and while I concur entirely in what at all events very many of them are States which appear to me to be the very conclusive views of have been unfortunate in their undertakings, and the gentleman for Erving, (Mr. Griswold,) on have suffered considerable loss in consequence, this subject, as a reason why we should not now, and incurring large debts. But, Sir, I apprehend and at this stage of our progess, forever close that in most of the cases in which losses have been all chance in the future of aid from the Comsustained, they have been those in which the monwealth in regard to projects of this charState itself has undertaken to carry out the enter- acter, I will take the liberty of presenting very prise, and not in instances in which their credit briefly my views upon this question; and while has been loaned to companies for that purpose. they may be very general in their character, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, to I will premise that if they have no other quality some extent—though not to the full extent-and to recommend them, they shall at least have that all the other States which have suffered, are those of brevity. States which have undertaken to do their own I am one of those who, from principle, have work, and reap the profits. I do not remember- always adhered to that policy of legislation which to be sure I am not very well posted up in these is not confined to the minimum amount of legismatters, and there may be instances which have lation—not to those simple and naturally general not come to my knowledge—but I do not believe laws—but I have always regarded it as one of that a single instance can be found of any of those the highest functions of the Commonwealth, and States having loaned their credit to the amount of of its legislature, to extend a beneficent and paa single pistareen to any private company; and rental aid to those projects which tend to develop what losses they may have incurred, have doubt- all the resources of the State, and for the improveless been in consequence of having undertaken ment of the possessions of all its citizens ; and is these works themselves; and there can be no there any gentleman on this floor, or any man in

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Friday,)

LADD — HATHAWAY.

(July 15th.

this Commonwealth, that will deny that that pol- | to me to be the sole foundation of the argument icy which has been pursued for twenty or twenty- on which the proposition is based. And why five years in encouraging these enterprises, has should that be so? Why are you unwilling to been a good policy? Is there any man who will repose in successive legislatures a reasonable condeny that it has been a sound policy? Will any fidence that they will not abuse the trust confided man deny that it has brought untold riches to the to them? With all the checks and securities that Commonwealth, and that it has contributed, di- you have, is there any danger that they will overrectly or indirectly, to the wealth and prosperity stretch their power? Is there any danger that of our citizens ? No gentleman, I think, will any proposition will be passed, unless it be deny it. Then the question comes, whether such a one as ought to be adopted ?

Sir, with at this time the policy should be changed ; the light of past experience, with the facts which whether we should introduce into our organic we have all around us, illustrating the policy of law. in absolute prohibition that no legislature | the Commonwealth on this subject, it seems to hereafter shall grant any such aid? And yet I me that we cannot shut our eyes to the imporunderstand that to be the effect of the amendment tance of leaving this matter entirely free to the as it now stands, if it should be adopted. This legislature. We do not, and we cannot know matter, then, it seems to me, depends upon higher what important questions may arise. I am, thereconsiderations. If we come to that conclusion, fore, in favor of a reconsideration of this subject, we must foresee that the time has arrived when with a view to strike out that provision requiring no farther aid should be granted, and all supplies the concurrence of two-thirds of each House. I of this nature in future should be forever stopped. would have the matter left entirely to the Now, this is sufficiently answered, by the fact wisdom and discretion of successive legislatures that we have brought into this discussion a great to determine. We must repose confidence enterprise, in which a large portion of the Com- somewhere ; and I do not know where we can monwealth is directly or indirectly interested. repose it better, or more securely, than in the It can only be brought in here for the purposes legislature chosen by the people to watch over of illustration ; and does not every gentleman their interests. know that if this provision passes, requiring a Mr. HATHAWAY, of Freetown. When this vote of two-thirds of both houses of the legisla- subject was under consideration the other day, I ture before any such grant is made, it will defeat had, I believe, about four or five minutes time in the object to which I refer, and perhaps every which to express what I desired to say. I then object, however meritorious ?

stated to the Convention, that at some future time, I concur with the gentleman for Erving, that it if I found an opportunity, I should endeavor to might, and in all probability will, have that effect present my views in relation to this matter of in the organization of the legislature of the Com- loaning the State credit. As my friend from Fall monwealth on questions of that kind; that there River, (Mr. Hooper,) remarked, a day or two ago, will be differences of opinion-honest differences of I never made a set speech in my life, and thereopinion—in the first place, as to its necessity, and fore my remarks may be of rather a desultory in the second place, as to its security, and in character ; but I have my views in respect to this the third place, as to the propriety of grant- question, and they are views which I have entering aid in any particular instance; and the re- tained for a long period of time. sult will be in every case, however meritorious, if Pern.it me to say, before advancing farther, you require two-thirds of each House of the legis- that the gentleman for Erving remarked that lature to concur in the grant, that they never will this was not a part of the programme under which concur. I think, therefore, that gentlemen ought the Convention was called together. I do not not to come hastily to the conclusion that it may know that it was ; but I know very well—as well never hereafter be desirable that such aid should as that gentleman knows-that this matter has been be granted. And if that be so, are gentlemen before the people, and has been discussed for years, prepared to incorporate a provision into the Con- and years, and years, that have passed by; and, stitution, the effect of which will be to declare that as my friend from Taunton, (Mr. Morton,) said it never hereafter shall be granted ? Such will the other day, such is the truth. I have had be the effect of the provision as it now stands. something to do with this matter for years, and Why require that two-thirds of the legislature years, and years; and I am not yet convinced but shall be required to concur? Sir, it seems to me that the argument—I am not about to say in that such a provision originates in this consider- reference to the particular matter which has been ation : that you are not willing to trust the legis- referred to, whether all the farms were mortgaged lature. A distrust of future legislatures, appears or not, or whether our farmers would suffer from

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