« ForrigeFortsett »
JAN. 20, 1825.]
ceive his support at a future period, if honored with a seat in this House, because he believed, after it had been clearly ascertained what was the best direction it ought to take westwardly, it would not only add to defence, but greatly facilitate the mail communication of the country. . If his support was worth any thing, it would be cheerfully promised for objects of this character; and the vote which he had given for an appropriation to remove the obstructions in the navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi, afforded to his Wastern friends a token, at least, that his views were not alien to their interests, because, in this particular, their interests were those of the whole nation. The unobstructed navigation of the Mississippi was not only as essential to the defence of its Delta, comprising its rich capital, as fortifications at the Rigolets and English-Turn, but more so; and what was still more important, this navigation could be improved at vastly less cost. Let not, however, the gentlemen of the West rebuke those of the South, for a narrow spirit, by supposing that we enjoy, in any especial manner, the pecuniary benefits of this Union. . . I speak from personal observation, and somewhat with personal experience, when I say, that there is no Western State of the same popula. tion, in which the Government expenditures are not as t as in South Carolina. This subject was so forcibly discussed by my colleague, yesterday, that I will merely observe, that we have scarcely any evidences of our belonging to the Union, except those furnished by the attachment of our people to the common bond, and the tax-gatherer who is stationed at our custom-house in Charleston. Of the 750,000 dollars you collect there, scarcely forty thousand are detained to quicken and expand the sources of productive industry at home—it all goes into a current which, like that stream that sets northwardly, has no reflux. And this is not all. To the whole amount of this tribute the community of Charleston, in the unavoidable and oppressive coercion of the Bank of the United States, has to bear the additional expense of its remittance, whatever may be the difference of exchange, to those more fortunate regions where the refreshing showers of the national patronage are always falling, with a copiousness so fecundating and alimentary. Indeed, if he had understood correctly, it was now a standing order, that even our smaller vessels, drawing but twelve or fourteen feet, were prohibited to go into Charleston to refit, where a ship can carry in seventeen feet, to use the seaman's phrase, unless from stress of weather, although we have in great abundance both naval stores and ship mechanics. We are thus deprived, almost as effectually as our brethren of the West, of the privilege of ever seeing our national banner wave on our waters, over those memorials of our glory to which we have contributed, relatively, our full contingent of blood and treasure. But he weuld not discuss further this invidious topic; if he had been betrayed into it, it was because the debate had, on another occasion, taken a course which justified it, and whilst he felt it impossible at this time to vote for the bill under discussion, for the considerations he had stated, he nevertheless hoped that, at no distant day, to vote for a system of internal communication clearly within the delegated trusts of the constitution, calculated to give us invulnerable security in war, and the blessings of a prompt and social communication in peace, by which knowledge should become more valuable in the increased velocity of its momentum, and by the consequent enlargement of its dominion. In concluding, he would remark, that, in order to render any policy in this country beneficial and permanent, you must make it extensively popular. He did not desire to be misunderstood: he did not mean “that mushroom popularity, which is raised without merit and lost without crime,” but a popularity founded on the considerations of an equal and beneficent justice. Partial and
disconnected appropriations for the object of internal improvements, without reference to any fixed system, or under any fixed principles, would lead to heart burnings, and would bring the whole scheme into distrust and odium. It might suit the Grand Seignor, in the unlimited Government of his dominions, to set down and say in this part of my domain, this work shall be first accomplished, and this, because I do not like this portion of my subjects, shall never be commenced. In this confederacy, (and he thanked God for some purposes it was yet such) you must attend, by an equal, and, if possible, co-extensive distribution of your means to the wants of all, not by a comprehensiveness which would be destructive of efficiency, but by a well-founded and progressive system of exact justice. Mr. H. said, that, in the course of a very few years, the public debt would be extinguished, by which period all our surveys would be completed; and it would be presumed, that our country was incapable of participating in the spirit of the age in which we lived, (which seemed in some degree, to exhibit the fascinating image. of a world tired of the waste of human life by wars and bloodshed, seeking rather to multiply the valuable objects of existence, and to enlarge the boundaries of civilization,) if some portion of our great resources were not turned to the accomplishment of those works which form some of the finest memorials of the advancement of a people, in that most valuable of all national sciences, the knowledge of taking care of posterity as well as of themselves. Mr. M'LANE, of Delaware, rose and said, that, as the honorable member who had just taken his seat, (Mr. HAMILtoN, of South Carolina,) had professed his object to be not so much to make proselytes as to justify his own vote to himself, there was no imperious necessity for the friends of the bill to prolong the discussion, es: pecially as he felt no desire to deprive the gentleman of any consolation he might derive from the reasons he had assigned, of which, in the fullest extent, he thought the gentleman would stand in great need. And yet, said Mr. M’L. the relation in which the state I represent is placed, to the work proposed to be aided by this bill, makes it proper that I should briefly reply to the arguments submit. ted by the gentleman from South Carolina.-Mr. M'I. said, the danger he had always apprehended in regard to these subjects had now arisen. He had never believed the constitutional objections to be the greatest difficulties; these were matters of construction arising out of the words and spirit of the constitution, which could be combatted by argument and sound reasoning, by which the judgments of men could be addressed and convinced. This task had been performed; in this House and in the nation, the doctrine had prevailed. Not only had public opinion yielded to the powers of the General Government to engage in internal improvements of a national character, but had even outstript and gone ahead of the notions maintained here. But now, said Mr. M’LANE, after we have gained the victory over constitutional scruples, we are met with precisely the obstacles most to be apprehended, because they are most difficult to be reconciled. The friends of the cause create impediments, of which its opponents take advantage more fatal than all that have gone before:—objections on the score of expediency, arising out of the partial operation of our measures, out of local interests and sectional feelings. We are forbidden to exert our power in one part of the country, unless we employ it in every other. We must not spend money in the West till we can spend as much in the East, nor begin a work in the middle states till we can use a like sum in every part of the country. It behoves the friends of internal improvements to discourage these difficulties in the outset. They will not be so easily combatted by any argument, however powerful, because, arising out of local views, and conflicting
feelings of sectional interests, they are regulated by the the prejudices, and not the reason, of gentlemen. They are unyielding in their character, and acquire force by every partial success. The gentleman says it is not time to begin; we have ordered surveys, we must notact till we have the whole system before us, and can accomplish the whole. Sir, said Mr. M'LANE, it is no longer a question whether we shall begin, but whether we shall be arrested in our progress, and stand still. We have already begun, we have made great and useful progress—we could not stop if we would. It is our policy to pursue our way gradually and with a sure step, having a proper regard to the importance of the object, and the means at our command. If we refuse to act till we have before us the whole of any scheme or system, which the imagination of gentlemen may devise, we shall never do anything; for such a system never can be matured, so long as the country itself is in a progressive state. The notions of the gentleman from South Carolina, in relation to this great system, are fanciful and impracticable. We meet the wants of the country as they arise. If the interests of the nation require our interference in a particular work, and we have full information as to that work, we should employ our power, without looking for other objects. If we wait for the general survey, it may never come.— When it arrives, it may not be complete—it cannot be. The objects of internal improvement are as diversified as the interests of the country, and constantly increasing and changing. We order a survey of certain objects in one year in the West; and in another in the Atlantic States. A year afterwards, new objects spring up and are suggested, and new surveys follow. The information developed by the surveys themselves, present new and more important objects, and we find them constantly multiplying upon our hands. How long is this to continue, and what period are we to fix, before we shall begin to select some one or more on which to commence practical operations Mr. M'LANE said, whenever this great system should be made up, if it ever could be, it weuld be folly to expect the whole to be entered upon, at once, as a whole. It would be too great for the re. sources of the nation. It would be too unwieldly for any body to encounter; it would fall by its own weight, if attempted as a whole. It would have necessarily to be a work of ages, and centuries would be required for its completion. But the government would have to on progressively, selecting from the scheme those objects, which the exigencies of the country immediately required, and to which the national means would be adequate. This doctrine, he said, was not new. It had always been acted upon. In relation to the system of defence by fortifications, it was the known and approved policy of the government, and had been always defended by the gentleman from South Carolina himself. Ever since the termination of the last war, we had been making surveys, with a view to the military defence of the country. . A regular corps of engineers had been constantly employed in developing the most eligible sites for these works. Numerous reports had been made, and the surveys were yet in progress. Was it ever pretended that we should not begin to fortify until we could know all that it would become necessary to do in this way Should we have refused to fortify New York, or Boston, or the Delaware, or the Chesapeake, till the whole country could be explored, to see how much more might be done . To protect no part of the country, until we could see how many others might be protected On the contrary, said Mr. M'L. determining upon the expediency of defence by fortifications, we have proceeded with all reasonable despatch; we have consulted the particular exigencies of the country, acted upon information as to particular places, whenever it was complete, leaving others for future operations. With this view, we have classified our system of defence in reference to their necessity. One class to be executed im
H. of R.] Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. [JAN. 20, 1825.
mediately, another at a longer period, and a third still gentleman from South Carolina calls for a survey.
more remote. If this work, of the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, be important in a military point of view, and he hoped to shew it was not less so than some of those fortifications, why not act in relation to it upon the same principle If it be intimately connected with the military defence of the Atlantic frontier, and he believed it was—the gentleman himself had placed it on this ground—why not begin it at once, with the other great works now in progress for the same object 2 Mr. M'L. said, in every point of view in which he had considered the subject, the measure proposed by this bill was recommended by the wisest considerations.— He had always entertained the opinion, that the best mode of applying the resources of the government to great national works, would be to come in aid of individual skill and enterprise, where practicable, rather than to execute the work by the government. Such works, when undertaken exclusively by the government, were always more expensive, and sources of constant burden and expense, in making repairs and keeping them up. This was a reasonable objection urged to the appropriation for the Cumberland road. But, where individual enterprise, always careful of its own interest, and not likely to embarkin ruinous projects, had been led to the projection of a work of this description, the Government might safely embark its capital in aid of the enterprize. This would be to cherish, encourage, and sustain, the spirit and industry of the citizens, and, without the absolute gift of the funds, conduct it to the mutual improvement of the country, and the attainment of great national objects. There could be little danger of loss in such a policy, since it rarely happens that a body of intelligent men would embark their individual means without a reasonable prospect of profitable employment; and, the work once being accomplished, the same funds owned by the government could betransferred to other ob. jects of similar importance, and ultimately attain the most extensive benefits, without any sensible effect upon the means of the revenue. The bill before the House conforms to this policy. It proposes a subscription for 1500 shares of stock in the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal Company, to be paid at the same periods, and in similar proportions, as the other stockholders, and to give the government a control over the company in proportion to its interests. The work itself is of the utmost importance, not only in a commercial point of view, but as it regards all the great interests of the nation. Consider it as you will, it is exceeded by no other work of the kind which has been projected in this country. It is not a work of experiment, suddenly suggested, and hastily adopted, by the magnificence of its consequences. It is a project of half a century; has grown up under the auspices of the most enlightened, scientific, and practical men for that period of time. A company has been incorporated by the authority of three states, authorized to make the work. Individual subscriptions, to the amount of dollars, have been obtained; and, in aid of these, and in common with so many others, the government is now asked to subscribe for 1500 shares, which, if done, the work will be completed. In embarking in this enterprise, we violate no state rights-they, at least, are, in this instance, secure. We encroach upon no municipal authority, because we are acting under its immediate and express sanction. Of the entire and absolute practicability of the work, with the present, aid, no one who has attended to the subject, and to the lucid exposition of the honorable chairman of the committee who reported the bill, can doubt. The route has been established under the direction of the most skilful engineers, civil and military, in the United States. The estimates have been judiciously made— contracts for the whole work already entered into with responsible persons, at a sum within the estimates, and
the work is in a rapid and prosperous advancement. The Sir,
he has it, and the best that could be made. The gentleman has not yet to learn that this work has been surveyed, in two successive years, by a part of the military corps of engineers of the United States, under the immediate direction of the Government, and by them approved and adopted. Sir, I should be safe in saying, that, to the judgment of these engineers, the present location of the route of this canal is to be mainly attributed. In the earlier stages of this work, a different route had been contemplated, and at a far less expense, within the amount of individual subscriptions. This route has been changed by the recent surveys, and another adopted, requiring more labor and more money. When I consider the character of the men engaged in this survey, I am bound to believe that their location has been judicious; but, it is, nevertheless, owing, in a great degree, to the decision of these United States’ Engineers, that the cost of the work has exceeded the means of the individual subscription, and therefore requires the aid of the Government. But the gentleman says we must wait for the surveys of the last session. How can they aid our deliberations Of what benefit will the surveys of the country west of the mountains, or on the lakes, be to us, in relation to this Delaware and Chesapeake Canal? We know as much of the work now as we should after any number of surveys. It is admitted, on all hands, that this is a work of the highest national character, essential for purposes of commerce and defence; that, begin when we may, this must be the first object to which we must turn: then, why wait, I repeat, for surveys, which can shed no new light upon a subject of which we are already fully informed 2 It has been said, however, that there are great individual wealth and enterprise in the country through which this canal passes, and to that its accomplishment should be left, and our means employed where these causes are less active. That the portion of the country immediately interested in this great work forms a very important section of the United States, both in regard to its wealth and enterprise, is most true; and, therefore, in my view of the subject, it demands the favorable notice of the Government. It is precisely such portions of the Union, where wealth and enterprise abound, where the business and concerns of society are the most extensive and important, requiring to be cherished and entitled to protection, to which we should be attentive. If, connected with such a district, there should be found some great national work, rendered more important by these considerations, but which local causes retarded, there would be the greater reason for our interposition. The opposite argument would lead us to assist the idle and neglect the enterprising. Instead of fostering and cherishing the spirit of an enterprising community, the gentleman would have us to spend our money on barren plains, or where there was not sufficient industry in the population to develop their natural resources. Sir, said Mr. M'LANE, this work will not be completed by individual enterprise, and for the plain reason, that it is more a national than an individual work. It is less beneficial to any particular district or section of the country, and especially those in its immediate vicinity, than of the country at large. Its importance is, in a great measure, owing to its #. on distant and remote parts of the Union, in their intercourse with the great Atlantic cities, and the facilities it affords the government in all its defensive operations. Such considerations, important as they are, are not the most active impulses to individual enterprise. Individual industry is for the most part limited to its own immediate necessities. Men every where look to the interests of their city, or state, or county ; they expect sensible advantage to their property, or immediate profit from their undertaking.— When these are sufficient to move them, they go on; when great public benefit or national advantage form the chief incentives, they are slow in their progress;
they leave these things to us; they are careful and active in their own concerns, they expect us to be so of ours; and it will be well for us not to be less attentive than they. When the House consider what every portion of the country immediately connected with this work has already done towards internal improvements, together with the means of some, and the conflicting interests concerned, the amount of individual subscriptions already made is a matter of applause rather than complaint. Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, may be said to be those more immediately interested in this work. In Pennsylvania, great aid has been afforded, as well by her Legislature as her individual citizens. Although the greatest extent of the canal passes through the state of Delaware, she is the smallest in population and resources of either of the others; and the chief, if not only advantages to that state, from this work, are confined to a single county. The Legislature of that state, with great liberality, but more from a public spirit than any immediate interest, have contributed her full share to the work. But so little interest has the other parts of the state in the canal, that it may well be doubted, if she possessed the means, whether she would employ thent in such a work, to the injury of other duties. In Maryland, the benefits from the canal are supposed to flow, principally to the counties on the Eastern Shore; and an impression has always prevailed, that the commercial interests of 13altimore would be more injured than advanced by the work. A jealousy of Philadelphia has accordingly sprung up, I believe, without foundation, which shuts out all aid from that quarter, and exerts a powerful influence over the Legislative Councils of that state. It is, therefore, because of this peculiar state of things, and the various conflicting interests of those states connected with the work, that the Government is required to come in aid of individual spirit and enterprise, and complete a great national improvement which will otherwise be abandoned. And now, sir, said Mr. M'L. permit me to ask if this be not emphatically a great national work 2 Setting aside the great commercial advantages and facilities afforded by this work, to the remotest and most extended sections of the Union, and which would, therefore, authorize the exertion of the commercial power of the Government, and, considering its national character in reference to the military power and duties of the Government, as assumed by the gentleman from South Carolina, it demands our prompt and efficient interference. Though vastly important in itself, it was not enough, Mr. M'L. said, to contemplate this canal as a solitary work. He looked upon it as but one, though certainly the most material link in the great chain of internal communication on the Atlantic frontier: of that chain which was to unite Boston Harbor with the river St. Mary's, and to bring the extremes of this continent together. When gentlemen contemplate the system of defence along our maritime coast, the local position of our naval depots, and the different fortifications; the necessity of the transportation of munitions of war, of naval armaments, of the army itself, and the whole materiel of military force, when we consider, too, that all the active operations for the defence of every part of the country, against the invasion and assaults of an enemy, must be on the Atlantic seaboard, it is impossible to estimate too highly the advantages, nay, the indispensable necessity of a safe and expeditious intercourse and communication between its various points. There is no principal military work on the whole Atlantic line, to which this canal would not be a powerful auxiliary, to which it would not give new and powerful effieiency. If gentlemen will revert to the scenes of the last war, they will derive an impressive lesson upon the enemy, of the means of an Atlantic intercourse, the whole military transportation of the Government was carried on over land, and under difficulties almost insurmountable. The extra expense alone, to say nothing of delay and waste, incurred by the Government in their transportation across the route of this canal, during the late war, would amount to more than the sum we are now asked to subscribe to the work. It is in vain that we build extensive fortifications and establish our navy yards, if we are left without the means of easy access from one to the other; if, in the moment of our greatest exigency, our communication with these important posts is cut off or obstructed. Mr. M'LANE said, he had the authority of the most distinguished military men for saying, that the defence of the three cities of New York, Philadelphia," and Baltimore, including the intervening country, could be made sure and complete with one-third of the military force, with the . of these canals, that would be required without €In, Our military defences, he said, should be considered in reference to a time of war, and should be constructed in time of peace, with a view to war; to neglect them now, would expose us to the hazard of that contingency, and a want of necessary preparation when the crisis arrived. Mr. McLANE said, he should maintain, without the fear of contradiction, that this chain of interior canals was essential to the military power of this Government: complete protection could not be given to the country without it. The Government could not exert itself so wisely or profitably as in augmenting the means of defence. The arm of the Government was never so strong as when raised for the protection of the citizen. Its powers of defence endeared it to the people, led them to perceive and acknowledge its necessity, to admire its utility, and strengthen its resources. . This Government could not be too lavish of its funds in the means of defence. No expenditure could be wasteful or improvident, if made among our own people, for their complete protection. But the raising of armies and equipment of fleets, were not the only means of defence: to a certain extent they were necessary, but totally inadequate to all the objects of defence. They were, moreover, expensive, in some instances dangerous, and he doubted whether the utmost resources of this country would be sufficient to defend the people by armies, navies, and even fortifications. We were not defended. by an army which should wait to receive the enemy on his landing, and drive him back to his ships. An enemy commanding great maritime means, would distress us more, and produce greater ruin, by shutting up our ports without landing a soldier. By this means he would carry the pressure of war into every part of the country, and enfeeble the Government in maintaining large armies to watch his invasion. Our means of defence, to be effectual, should be carried to the homes and the business of our population. We should give protection to the labor and occupation of the citizen, so that he should not only be secure in his person, but safe in the pursuit of his industry. Such a species of defence has been entirely overlooked in considering this subject. But we cannot have forgotten the experience of the last war. We suffered, it is true, from the sudden incursions of the enemy, but in no degree equal to the calamities which every where pervaded the Union, even those parts most remote from the immediate theatre of the war. A blockading .." at the Chesapeake and the Delaware, completely cut off the communication between the Northern and Southern sections of the Union. The industry of the people was paralyzed, the product of their labor ..f on their hands, the activity of the manufacturer was at a stand, the means of interchange were destroyed, individual suffering every where pre
H. of R.] Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. [JAN. 20, 1825. this point. Deprived, as we were, by a small force of |vailed; no one felt the power of the Government;
every one complained of its weakness. If, in such a war, there were an easy internal canal communication, we should be, in a great degree, beyond the power of the enemy. He might thunder in vain on our shores; our fortifications well garrisoned, aided by a small army judiciously posted, would prevent his landing, , and the great business of the community proceed actively and securely. The horrors of war would not visit the interior. Individual happiness and comfort would be promoted, the wealth of the nation be increased, and when the Government should have occasion to call upon the friends of the people, to strengthen its arm, it would not call in vain. It would call upon a cheerful, powerful population, and thus derive resources adequate to its greatest necessities. Sir, I pray gentlemen to allow the experience of the late war, aided by these considerations, to inculcate upon them to delay no longer the accomplishment of this great means of national defence and national protection. We are admonished, however, that the state of the Treasury will not justify this expenditure. We are told to wait till the public debt is paid off, and the nation is out of debt. This argument has been so often repeated during the present session, as to induce some to believe there may be something in it. After hearing from every department of the Government so much about the flourishing state of our finances, it would indeed be strange if we had not the means of making a subscription of $350,000, to be paid gradually in the course of two or three years, without sensibly increasing our obligations. Sir, I do not mean to say that a public debt is a public blessing, and yet I believe there is no man in this nation who seriously believes that our present debt is in the least degree alarming, or even to be regretted. We owe eighty-eight millions of dollars, which, by the ordinary means of the Treasury, will be utterly extinguished in ten years, leaving annually in the Treasury an excess of about three millions of dollars, for miscellaneous expenditure. It has always been the policy of the Government to pay its national debt by the application of the sinking fund alone, amounting annually to ten millions. It is a wise policy. It would be injurious to pay it off more rapidly. The annual redemption of ten millions of debt, is as much as the interest of the creditor will bear. A sudden displacement of more capital, in the present state of the country, would be injurious to the Government and the creditor. We are already exchanging our six per cent. stocks for others bearing an interest of only four and a half per cent. Let gentlemen imagine the consequences of suddenly paying off the eighty-eight millions of public debt. Our true olicy duty undoubtedly are to pay off our debt no Aster than the creditor may have the means of some other judicious investment of his money. So long, therefore, as we preserve an excess of two or three millions of dollars beyond the amount of the sinking fund, we are invited, by every consideration of policy, to use that excess in the promotion of the great objects of national importance. Mr. McLANE said he would delay the House no longer than to urge upon them the propriety of an early and seasonable interference in aid of this great work. If it be wise, for the considerations already adverted to, there is no time so auspicious as the present. The work is now in the hands of judicious, enterprising individuals: public spirit is enlisted in its cause. If we cherish this spirit, and aid the enterpise, we shall conduct it to the happiest results; the work will be soon completed; its influence will extend to other places, and gradually accomplish the whole. But, if we neglect it now, we may find it difficult to do it hereafter. This enterprise has already suffered from temporary discouragement. Twenty years ago, it was projected under favorable auspices-a capital was subscribed—a route
located, and the work considerably progressed; but the funds failed, the Government withheld its aid, and the project went down. It has been the labor of twenty years to recover it from this fall. Again, however, it is resuscitated, with even greater spirit and more means. We may cherish these resources, and accomplish the object now, by a comparatively small sum; but, if we suffer this new effort to languish and sink without our encouragement. I very much fear we shall hear of it no more; and, when our public necessities force us into the project, as they unquestionably will, four-fold, the amount would be required for the accomplishment of the object. Sir, said Mr. McL. I submit this subject to the House, with the fullest confidence of success. If he knew himself, he was not governed by any local consideration. He had been the uniform advocate, ever since he had the honor of a seat on this floor, of internal improvements. He had always given his humble aid in behalf of every national object, whether in the East or the West. He hoped he would, on this occasion, meet with similar liberality from others. The aid was asked for no one state, but for the nation at large. Mr. MALLARY, of Vermont, observed that when, at the last session, the bill for procuring estimates and surveys, preparatory to a system of internal improvement, had been discussed, the friends of that general system placed the measure on the ground, that it was to be carried into immediate execution. He doubted the power of Congress, under the constitution, to adopt that system. He would not now enter upon the constitutional question, but would merely state the reasons why, notwithstanding his sentiments on that subject, he felt at liberty to vote for the present bill. The doctrine which had been then advanced, he understood to be this—that the General Government had, by the constitution, an inherent power to determine upon the best route for a road or a canal, and then to make the canal or the road. Mr. M. had objected to this, because he thought it was interfering with the authority of the states, and he had, therefore, voted against the bill for surveys and estimates. What, asked Mr. M. is the system to which that bill had reference, and about which so much had been said on this floor? So far as he understood it, it was a plan which was to emanate wholly from the Executive Department of the Government. According to that bill, the President had the making of these surveys placed under his own absolute control: he might send engineers Just where he pleased; collect just such facts as he might think important and interesting, and present them to this House, When this should be done, what was the course to be pursued by this House Was he to understand gentle. men that this House was pledged to carry into effect the plan of the Executive He had the greatest respect for the President; but, in examining a subject of this kind, it was proper to consider it in respect to possibilities, and it certainly was possible that a plan, emanating from the Executive, might, when it arrived at this House, be considered as defective in extent, or partial in its bearing--there might be many reasons why the House should not think proper to adopt it. What then was to be done a new plan must be gone into, and still further delays occasioned. He apprehended that those who are opposed to the system, on constitutional pfinciples, would have reason to fear that the plan would be so formed as to combine all the different parts of the country; and, if any such combination was attempted, the feelings of all must be consulted. Besides, if we adopt a general system, we run the hazard of collision between one section of the country and another. For his own part, whenever the state of Vermont or Massachusetts, 9r any other state, presented to Congressa useful object, he thought they might rely on the Government to give it such aid and support as its merits might require. He
thought that Congress was much safer, in selecting objects for itself, than in having them selected and ar. ranged for them. This they were perfectly competent to do, on isolated objects, without regard to any system. For himself, he wanted no aid from other sections of the country, to induce him to vote. If the gentlemen of the South wished to unite the Tennessee river with the streams that empty into the Gulf of Mexico, he was ready to act; but a report on that subject would not make him any wiser about the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal. Congress must judge on each object singly. To the present object, any constitutional objections against the system, did not apply. There was here no question of jurisdiction—no state rights were invaded– the only question to be considered, was, will you appropriate a sum of money to promote invaluable and important objects. On the subject of the importance of this canal, he should trouble the House with but a few remarks. Its value, as one connecting link in the chain of internal communication, immediately along the seaboard, had been already stated, with clearness and ability, by the gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. McLANE). But we now have canals to the interior also: one is now proposed which is to pass from the banks of the St. Lawrence river to Lake Champlain—another is contemplated from Lake Champlain to the Hudson river: a third is in progress from the Hudson river to the Rariton, and from the Rariton to the Delaware; and the peninsula between the Delaware and the Chesapeake is the only intervening obstacle to interrupt our line of communication from Canada to North Carolina. That obstacle will be removed by the present canal. It was, therefore, the great interest of the interior to aid the undertaking; and he thought that, in this point of view, it could not but strike the minds of gentlemen with peculiar force. He thought there was no great weight in the objections of the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. HAMILtoN,) about the mingling of public and private interests in the same undertaking. In many cases, beneficial effects might, follow from having them blended together; at least he could see no injury from the Government joining in an enterprise, when the resources of individuals proved insufficient to its accomplishment. Are we, asked Mr. M. to withhold our aid from a useful and laudable undertaking, because it has been commenced by the enterprise of individuals By entering into a subscription to the stock of this company, the Government was in no danger of becoming a loser, because all others, who held that stock with them, would have a common interest in making the stock as good as possible. , Having these views of the object of the present bill, he thought it was the duty of the House to enter into the design with zeal; and he trusted the subject would not be treated by gentlemen with a frigid and disheartening indifference. Mr. ELLIS, of Pennsylvania, felt great reluctance to occupy any portion of the time of the House, after the very able argument they had just listened to from the honorable gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. McLANE,) and after the grounds upon which the friends of the bill rested it, had been so amply explored by that gentleman and others. Under these circumstances, and the lateness of the hour, the attention of the House to the few remarks he had to make, he could only consider as matter of indulgence. There still may be, he thought, some parts of the subject not fully investigated. He would consider some of the principal objections urged by gentlemen opposed to the passage of the law, and would confine the discussion to principles rather than detail. Some gentlemen opposed to the bill, deem the present time as not proper in which to undertake the execution of any part of the contemplated Internal Improve