« ForrigeFortsett »
JAN. 21, 1825.] Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. [H. of R. while we are considering this subject. The tonnage em- skind of coast navigation required by such a work. It is,
ployed in our coasting trade is equal, within a small fraction, to the whole tonnage of the United States employed in the foreign trade. It undoubtedly exceeds it in the amount of capital invested for carrying it on.— I have also been assured by the best informed commercial men, that it yields a much greater clear income and profit on the amount of capital employed than the navigation engaged in the foreign trade. There can be no doubt but the prosperity and wealth of the city of New York is as much, if not more, promoted by this branch of our navigation than any other. It is this interest which is greatly concerned in the subject before us, as well as the general trade between the Atlantic states. It can hardly be necessary to ask the attention of the House to the comparatively increased security of this trade when carried on through this internal communication, protected as it must be, in a great degree, from the risks of the coast navigation. It is not too much to say, that the insurance offices of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, would, in the course of a few years, save, from marine losses, an amount equal to the whole subscription proposed by this bill. It is worthy of remark, too, that on this line of water communication, are situated three of your principal cities; that its extent from Massachusetts to North Carolina is nearly-800 miles. Every western road must terminate on this line; every western canal must be emptied into it. The canals of New York, from the North and West, now unite with it. The Pennsylvania canals are but branches of the same navigation, and the projected canals from the Chesapeake to the Ohio, if ever completed, must contribute to the trade and swell the navigation of the same line. It is not an exaggeration to say, (and gentlemen will find it so if they will examine) that, when the canal navigation through the states of Delaware and New Jersey is finished, the United States are possessed of a continuous internal navigation, which washes an inland shore of from 5 to 7000 miles. Can any country on the globe present such a combination of the most productive natural advantages as are here offered to us? Do we view this in its true light, or justly treat it, when we say that this is the commencement of any system, or that it is local or partial legislation, and not national Shall we defeat or retard the development of our national wealth and resources by refusing to such an object as this a subscription of $300,000? If any general system is ever to be, or can be, produced, or begun, (and I am not yet prepared to say that I wish to see it, or that good policy requires it) this communication along the Atlantic must be the first work. When this bill has passed, it may be considered as finished. Unless it should be found practicable to unite Buzzard's Bay with Massachusetts Bay; (which I have understood to be impracticable for any useful purpose of navigation, through that channel) but little, if any thing, will remain to be done on this line, except its extension into the inland bays along the coast of the Carolinas. A very small appropriation for that purpose can ever be necessary, if the states there concerned or private enterprise do not accomplish it before us. I am satisfied, however, said Mr. S. both as to that and all other proposed national improvements, that, if we wait till we are prepared, or obtain a vote for the commencement of any general system of that sort, we shall never begin. At any rate, as we now put the finishing hand of the Government to one of the most important parts of any such possible or practicable system, without any public inconvenience, there can be no good reason for delay. It is a pledge that we are in earnest, and that our professions are to be fulfilled to the various interests of the nation. Mr. S. regretted, that his colleague, (Mr. Manvix,) whom he hoped to have found friendly to the present measure, was not prepared to go along with the friends of the bill. He doubts, however, if this Canal is to be adapted to the proper and useful
said Mr. S. to be constructed for a draught of eight feet water, and sixty feet wide—capable of floating that description of vessels which carries on the great mass of the coast trade and navigation. The navigation of the Hudson River, Long Island Sound, the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, may pass this Canal, and he had been informed that the broad interior waters along the coast of North Carolina generally admitted no greater draught of water than this, even from the ocean. The utmost security may be had, that the account which we have received of this work, in the book laid before us, is correct.— It is on the credit of Engineers, in whom we may place the greatest confidence. It has been also also asked, if it was just that the whole amount of this subscription should be paid immediately by the United States, while the other proprietors may have only paid a proportion of their shares? No, sir; nor does the bill propose or authorize any such payment. It is not a gross appropriation. In the language of the bill, it is to be paid as the corporation shall require it— but the plain, fair, and only rational interpretation of the section is, that it is to be required in the mode authorized by the charter of the company, which subjects, on every call of the capital, all the stockholders to an equal payment in amount. We become subscribers on the terms of the charter, and stand in the same situation and responsibility as individual stockholders do. There can be no misconstruction on this. It is further objected, that we have no information whether the shares of defaulting stockholders have been forfeited. A member near me, who knows the fact, informs me that these forfeitures have been exacted in many instances. There may be cases, however, in which it may not have been politic, or for the interests of the company, to subject the shares to forfeiture. I understand that suits are pending against some for the recovery of the amount of subscription; and it is a settled point that they may be recovered. But, sir, no well-founded apprehension can exist on this matter. The active proprietors and directors of the company are gentlemen of wealth and respectability—doubtless men of sagacity, and who well understand their Öwn interest. We may safely confide to their discretion and judgment the management of our our interest which is to be in common with theirs. There can be no danger of any receipt of dividends by stockholders beyond the proportionate amount paid in. Our control, too, over the directors, is in the proportion of an interest in the stock, and I have no doubt that the investment will prove to be profitable. If it should not, however, actually be as much so as some might expect, yet the national benefits of the work would far exceed the value of all we contribute to it. It is now a favorable occasion for exerting our constitutional power, and he hoped that his colleague, on further reflection, would unite with the House in the measure, and vote for the bill. Mr. MARWIN observed, in reply, that he was in want of no information from his colleague, respecting the importance of the canal, or the general course of the trade of this country. What he had asked for, and what he thought it important for Congress to possess, was official and specific information respecting the facts on which this bill professes to rest the character of the work; for instance, in respect of durability, and all those various particulars which a private subscriber would wish to know, before embarking his capital, in such an undertaking, and all those which characterized it as fit for the national patronage. Many particulars have been stated, and possibly with great correctnesss; but Congress had no official proof of this: his colleague had told the House, that this was the completion, and not the commencement, of the first part of a system of internal improvements; but where was the proof? He repeated that the stock was not all subscribed, and that Congress ought
first to ascertain that it would be. It had been said, by his colleague, that the Government would not have to pay any more or any faster than other subscribers; but the bill contained no proviso to that effect: on the contrary, it said that the money should be paid whenever is was called for by the Company. He supposed it was fair to conclude that the Company intended to treat the Government as it treated other subscribers, but this ought to be secured by the bill. Mr. BUCHANAN said, he rose to make a short reply to such of the observations of the gentleman from New York, (Mr. Manvis,) as had not been noticed by the gentleman from the same state, (Mr. Sronms,) in the able argument which he had just finished. The gentleman from New York (Mr. Manvis) commenced his argument, by stating, that we had not sufficient information upon the subject of this Canal, to enable us to act wisely. That no survey of the route had been made under the act of the last session, and therefore this appropriation was premature. It was true, said Mr. B. that no survey has been made under the act of the last session. ; but the reason is, that such a survey was wholly unnecessary. It would have been a vain labor. That gentleman has not examined the evidence before the House with his usual care, or he never would have urged such an objection. If he had attentively read the report on the subject of the canal, which has been laid upon our tables, he would have discovered that the route had been surveyed and re-surveyed again and again. Sir, said Mr. B. the whole face of the country between the two bays has been literally covered with surveys. After all the information had been collected which it was possible to obtain, so prudent and so cautious were the gentlemen who had the management of the Company, that they would not
finally fix the route of the canal, until the engineers of
this Government should give it the sanction of their approbation. Application was made to the War Department for their assistance, and it was promptly granted. Gen. Bernard and Col. Totten, with the engineers of the Company, carefully examined the different routes; and, after much investigation, finally determined in favor of that one, on which the work is how progressing.
This route, said Mr. B. was not established in accord
ance either with the interest or the wishes of a majority of the people of Delaware. The citizens both of Wiimington and of Newcastle were opposed to its present location. It is too far south essentially to promote their pros. perity. . The truth is, its location was determined much more with the view of making it, what it really will be, the principal link in the grand chain of internal navigation through the Atlantic states, than to subserve the commercial purposes of the cities and towns in its vicinity. Had this alone been the object of the Company, it might have been accomplished for almost half a million less than must now be expended. The work is truly national in its character, and it has been projected on a scale worthy of the nation. Before the passage of the act of the last session, it had received the approbation of the Engineer Department, and of the Secretary of War. What then would have been thought of the conduct of that officer, had he directed a new survey to be made under this act He deemed it altogether unnecessary. In order to establish this position, I will take leave to read to the House an extract from his late report made to the President. He declares that “the Board was, accordingly, instructed to examine the routes for canals between the Delaware and the Raritan; between Barnstable and Buzzard's bays, and Boston harbor, and Narraganset bay. The erecution of the very important link in this line of communication between the Delaware and the Chesapeake, having been already commenced was not comprehended in the order.” And yet, said Mr. B. the gentleman from New York
wishes to have another survey, and more information, before he can feel himself at liberty to vote for this appropriation. Surely, if that gentleman had examined the documents to which I have adverted, his candor would have prevented him from using such an argument against the passage of this bill. The gentleman has objected to the adoption of this measure, because, he says, it does not appear that the shares, belonging to such stockholders of the old company as were still in debt for their stock, have been forfeited. Said Mr. B. I think it will appear that the gentleman has again mistaken the fact. What says the report upon this subject It appears from it that, when this great work was about to be revived, the directors called upon the old stockholders for the payment of five dollars on each share, for the purpose of discovering such as might be willing to continue members of the company. Most of the shares upon which the $5 were not paid, according to this requisition, belonged to insolvents and to the estates of deceased persons. These shares have since been forfeited, and sold at public auction, pursuant to the order of the board. In all cases in which there was a reasonable prospect of recovery, the gentleman from llelaware, (Mr. M'LANE) informs me, suits have been instituted by the company. The gentleman from New York has, therefore, no cause of alarm on this account. Self-interest is sharpsighted; and it is for this reason that the money of the Government can never be more securely invested, nor more economically applied, than when it is connected with that of individuals, and shares the same fate. The gentleman from New York has urged, as an argument against the passage of this bill, that our subscription should have been conditional, and not to take effect until the remainder of the stock, necessary to complete the canal, shall have been subscribed. I am extremely sorry, said Mr. B. that the gentleman had not made this discovery before the bill was on its third reading, when it cannot be amended. Had he of. fered such an amendment at the proper time, it would, no doubt, have been adopted by the friends of the bill. But is such a provision necessary to secure the completion of the work? Certainly not. The present stock. holders have already given you a pledge of $700,000, that they will not suffer this great national work to sink. After you shall have subscribed $800,000 there will then be little more than $200,000 necessary to complete it. There is no necessity for the condition proposed by the gentleman, unless you believe that, in regard to this canal, the nature of man will be reversed, and the dictates of self-interest disregarded. I would ask the gentleman seriously, whether he can believe there is any danger, that the individuals interested in this undertaking, after $1,000,000 shall have been expended upon it, will suffer it to sink into ruin, rather than advance the sum necessary for its completion? Whether they will voluntarily abandon the tolls and the other advantages which will flow from it, and lose 700,000 dollars, rather than incur an additional expense of 200,000 dollars The Company have already made contracts for the whole the work. They have thus pledged themselves to the contractors for its completion. They are, therefore, not only bound by their interest, but by the obligation of their contracts to finish it. Such a condition, therefore, as that suggested by the gentleman from New York is wholly unnecessary. Mr. B. said, that as he had risen merely to answer the arguments of the gentleman from New York, and not to enter generally upon the debate, he would now resume his seat. Mr. M“LANE, of Delaware, said, that he did not rise for the purpose of entering any further into the debate, but merely to state a fact for the information of the gen'tleman from New York, (Mr. MAavis.) This work was
JAN. 21, 24, 1825..] Chesapeake and Delaware
Canal.—Cumberland Road. [H. of R. & Sen.
a national work, not merely in its benefits, as they had been stated, but in the care of Government manifested towards it ever since the year 1807–8. All concerns of this kind were most profitable when conducted on a small scale; they were, in general, calculated for boats of a small draught of water; but this canal was of dimensions which fitted it to receive bay craft, so that vessels proceeding northward from Norfolk, may enter and pass through it without a change of cargo; this had been done at the suggestion of Government; and in order to make the object of national utility, it was done under the auspices of Mr. Gallatin, then Secretary of the Treasury, and the surveys and estimates for it had all been under the superintendence of Government from the time of his administration until now. If the canal had been constructed on a smaller scale, the individual subscriptions would have been sufficient to finish it; the Company now only offers to Government a share in the fruits of what was begun by indivi. dual enterprise. Government has uniformly considered and treated this as a national object; the Secretary of War so treats it in his report rendered at the present session. Whether we look at the reports of 1808, or 1824, we find it spoken of in no other language. Mr. M*LANE thought no further information was required to enable it to act on the subject. Mr. MARVIN (by leave obtained) rose to explain, and stated, in substance, that the two gentlemen last up, were mistaken in supposing that he had not examined the report of the Secretary of War; he had not only examined it, but had expressly referred to it in his former remarks; he was always thankful to gentlemen for information; but they must pardon him if he insisted that, in cases like the present, the information before the House ought to be of an official kind. The question having been repeatedly called for, was now put and decided in the affirmative, by yeas and nays, as follows: WFAS.–Messrs. Adams, Alexander, of Tenn., Allen, of Mass., Allison, Baylies, Bartley, Beecher, Blair, Breck, Brent, Buchanan, Call, Cambreleng, Campbell, of Ohio, Cassedy, Collins, Condict, Cook, Crowninshield, Cushman, Cuthbert, Durfee, Dwight, Ellis, Farrelly, Foot, of Con. Forsyth, Forward, Fuller, Gatlin, Gazlay, Gurley, Harris, Hayden, Hayward, Hemphill, Henry, Herkimer, Holcombe, Houston, Ingham, Isaacs, Jennings, Johnson, of Va., J. T. Johnson, F. Johnson, Kent, Kremer, Lathrop, Lawrence, Lee, Letcher, Locke, M'Arthur, M’Duffie, M'Kean, M'Kee, M'Lane, of Del., M'Lean, of Đhio, Mallary, Martindale, Matlack, Mercer, Metcalfe, Miller, Mitchell, of Penn., Mitchell, of Md., Moore, of Ken-, Moore, of Ala., Neale, Newton, Owen, Patterson, of Penn., Patterson, of Ohio, Plumer, of N. H., Plumer, of Penn., Poinsett, Rankin, Reynolds, Rose, Ross, Sandford, Scott, Sharpe, Sloane, Wm. Smith, Spence, Standefer, Sterling, J. Stephenson, Stewart, Storrs, Strong, Swan, Test, Thompson, of Penn., Thompson, of Ken., Tomlinson, Trimble, Udree, Vance, of Ohio, Van Rensselaer, Vinton, Wayne, Webster, Whittlesey, Wickliffe, James Wilson, Henry Wilson, Wilson, of Ohio, Wolfe, Woods, Wright—113. NAYS.-Messrs. Abbot, Alexander, of Va., Bailey, Barber, of Conn., P. P. Barbour, Bartlett, Bassett, Bradley, Buck, Burleigh, Cady, Campbell, of S. C., Carey, Clark, Cocke, Conner, Crafts, Craig, Culpeper, Day, Dwinell, Edwards, of N. C., Findlay, Foote, of N. Y., Frost, Garrison, Gist, Govan, Hall, Hamilton, Harvey, Herrick, Hogeboom, Hooks, Jenkins, Leftwich, Lincoln, Litchfield, Little, Livermore, Long, Longfellow, M'Coy, M’Kim, Mangum, Marvin, Matson, Morgan, O'Brien, Olin, Outlaw, Richards, Saunders, Sibley, Arthur Smith, Alexander Smyth, Spaight, A. Stevenson, Stoddard, Taliaferro, Tattnall, Taylor, Ten Eyck, Thompson, of Geo., Tucker, of Va., Tucker, of S. C., Tyson, Whip
le, Whitman, Williams, of N. Y., Williams, of Va. Wiliams, of N. C. Wilson, of S. C. Wood—74.
So the bill was passen and sent to the Senate for con
CONTINUATION OF THE CUMBERLAND ROAD.
The engrossed bill to continue the Cumberland Road was then read a third time, and, the question being on its passage,
Mr. FORSYTH, of Geo. expressed his regret that he had not been present when the yeas and nays were taken on passing the bill to a third reading, that he might have had the pleasure then of recording his vote, as he should vote upon the present question in the affirmative.
Mr. ARCHER, of Wa. demanding the yeas and nays, they were taken accordingly; and were as follows:
YEAS.–Messrs. Adams, Alexander, of Tenn., Allison, Baylies, J. S. Barbour, Bartley, Beecher, Blair, Bradley, Breck, Brent, Burleigh, Call, Cambreleng, Campbell, of Ohio, Cassedy, Clark, Condict, Cook, Crowninshield, Cushman, Cuthbert, Durfee, Ellis, Farrelly, Forsyth, Forward, Fuller, Gazlay, Gurley, Hayden, Hemphill, Henry, Holcombe, Houston, Ingham, Isacks, Jennings, J. T. Johnson, F. Johnson, Kent, Kremer, Lawrence, Lee, Letcher, Little, Locke, M'Arthur, M'Kean, M'Kee, M“Kim, M'Lane, of Del., M'Lean, of Ohio, Mallary, Martindale, Mercer, Metcalfe, Miller, Mitchell, of Md., Moore, of Ken., Moore, of Ala., Neale, Newton, Owen, Patterson, of Penn., Patterson, of Ohio, Plumer, of N.H., Poinsett, Reed, Reynolds, Ross, Sandford, Sloane, Wm. Smith, Spence, Standefer, J. Stephenson, Stewart, Storrs, Strong, Test, Thompson, of Ken, Tomlinson, Trimble, Udree, Vance, of Ohio, Vinton, Wayne, Webster, Whit tlesey, Wickliffe, James Wilson, Henry Wilson, Wilson, of Ohio, Wolfe, Woods, Wright—97.
• NAYS.–Messrs. Abbot, Alexander, of Va., Allen, of
Mass., Archer, Bailey, P. P. Barbour, Campbell, of S.C. Carey, Cocke, Conner, Crafts, Craig, Culpeper, Day, Dwinell, Edwards, of N. C., Foot, of Con., Foote, of N. Y. Frost, Garrison, Gatlin, Govan, Hamilton, Harris, Harvey, Herrick, Herkimer, Hobart, Hooks, Jenkins, Leftwich, Lincoln, Litchfield, Livermore, Long, Longfellow, M'Coy, M*Duffie, Mangum, Marvin, Matlack, Matson, Mitchell, of Penn., Olin, Outlaw, Plumer, of Penn., Richards, Saunders, Sharpe, Sibley, Arthur Smith, Alexander Smyth, Spaight, Sterling, A. Stevenson, Stoddard, Swan, Tattnall, Taylor, Ten Eyck, Thompson, of Penn., Thompson, of Geo., Tucker, of Va., Tucker, of S. C., Tyson, Whipple, Whitman, Williams, of N. Y., Williams, of Va., Williams, of N. C., Wilson, of S. C., Wood—72.
So the bill was passed, and sent to the Senate for concurrence.
SENATE.-Monnay, JANUARY 24, 1825.
The Senate again took up the bill allowing a draw. back on cordage manufactured from hemp imported.
The debate on this bill occupied the remainder of the day's sitting. The debate embraced the same range of argument, as to the practical effect, of the proposed measure on the commerce and navigation, and the manufacturing and agricultural interests of the country, which the debate occupied on former occasions, when it has been fully discussed, and the discussion fully reported, and which must be fresh in the recollection of our readers. The bill was opposed at considerable length by Mr. DICKERSON and Mr. TALBOT, and was advocated by Mr. SMITH and Mr. D’WOLF.
Without taking any question on the subject; after the debate had continued till past three o'clock,
The Senate adjourned.
HOUSE UF REPRESENTATIVES-8AME DAY. UNITED STATES” PENAL CODE.
On motion of Mr. WEBSTER, of Massachusetts, the House proceded to the consideration of the bill making further provisions for the punishment of certain crimes committed against the United States.
Mr. WICKLIFFE, of Kentucky, moved to recommit the bill to the Judiciary Committee, with instructions to alter it in two respects: first, by substituting fine and
imprisonment, in proper proportion, for capital pun
ishments, in cases described in the first section; and, secondly, by altering the other sections in such a manner as to confine the operation of the bill to places without the jurisdiction of any particular state. Mr. W. expressed himself as opposed to capital punishments, except in cases of murder and treason; and he felt satisfied that the public sentiment of this country, in this respect, coincided with his own. The objects of punishment he held to be two: first, the reformation of the offender, and, secondly, the benefit of society. Capital punishment obviously defeats the first of these objects. The example, to be sure, is left, but he doubted greatly whether such an example which presented the offender as suffering the penalty of death under the United States' laws, for offences, some of which were not made capital and penal by the laws of any of the states, was calculated to have a salutary effect on the public mind, and where the feelings of society revolt against the severity of any penal enactment, it usually happens that the law is practically defeated, and the offender suffered to escape, through the lenity of courts and juries. He feared that such would be the effect of the great number of capital penalties provided by the present bill. He objected, also, to another section of the bill, which provides, in general, that offences not enumerated in the bill shall be punished, according to the laws of the state in which they are committed. To this, there laid two objections: the first was, that it presented the extraordinary spectacle of one sovereign adopting the laws of another without any knowledge of what they were; the second objection was, that it rendered the laws of the United States, not uniform, but varied according to the varying regulations of twenty-four distinct and independent state Governments. But, Mr. W. said, the strongest objection which he had to this bill was one which he had taken occasion to state on a former occasion, viz: that it extends the jurisdiction of the United States to offences committed within the territories of the several states. It had been said that such an extension would produce no difficulty, because, as it is an unpleasant duty to inflict punishments, the state Governments would be perfectly willing that the General Government should take it off of their hands. But, unpleasant as it might be, Mr. W. said, if it was necessary to punish crime, the State Governments were not reluctant to prescribe the punishment. The period might arrive when the question, as to the right to pnnish offences might become an important question between the two Governments. Cases might occur, in which the State Governments would claim the right of punishing offences within their jurisdiction. If, said he, such a state of things may arise, and the exercise of this power is not necessary to the due execution of the express powers of the General Government, I am for leaving the punishment of these offences to the State Governments, which have been heretofore not slow to punish crimes committed either upon persons or property within their territorial limits. To his mind, Mr. W. said, the bill presented a strange anomaly. He could not conceive of the existence of a right in two Governments to punish the same individual for the same of. sence. He could not recognize the right of concurrent jurisdiction, as it had been termed in debate, to inflict
separate and distinct punishment for the same offence upon the same individual. If the right exists, what will be the consequence of its exercise Can one sovereign be deprived of his right by the exercise of a similar right by another Can the exercise of the right by this Government deprive the State Governments of their right in this respect 2 If there be any right which may be emphatically termed State—any right guarantied to every state in the Union, it is the right of punishing offences committed within its limits. Then, unless the power of punishing these offences were expressly granted, or indispensable to the exercise of power expressly granted, to the General Government, it would be unwise in it to undertake to exercise that right. Mr. W. said, in continuation, that he did not believe the power to punish some of the offences described in the bill could be fairly derived from any of the specific powers granted to Congress. It had been asked if Congress had not the power to punish these offences, where did they get the power to punish the offences now punishable by the laws of the United States ? But, Mr. W. said, what was the nature of those offences? They were offences against the laws of the United States, made under the express grants of power—such, for example, as counterfeiting the coin of the United States—robbing the mail, &c. The question whether the states have power to provide for the punishment of these offences was yet unsettled—it was what lawyers term a vexed question. Mr. W. said, he had himself once occasion to prosecute a man for counterfeiting the current coin. The learned Judge who presided in the cause had declared that the states had no power to punish the of. fence, forasmuch as the power had been delegated to the United States, and that their jurisdiction covered the whole. To be sure, Mr. W. said, he did not then, nor did he now, subscribe to the correctness of this opinion: but such had been the decision of the Court. As to the argument by which the power to punish these was incidental to the power to define admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, Mr. W. said he could not subscribe to it in its full extent: and, unless the power to punish offences was contained in that clause of the constitution, it was not contained in any other, unlass it was an implied power, derived from the power to regulate commerce. He was not prepared to admit, that, under that clause of the constitution, Congress could provide for the punishment of offences committed within the territory of the states. For, if they could, all offences against private property and persons would fall within the cognizance of Congress. But, suppose it were conceded that this power actually does result from the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States' Courts; have we, said he, any data by which we can measure the extent of that jurisdiction 2 Can we say at what point, in increasing this jurisdiction, the federal judiciary will stop 2 Does the federal constitution, or do the laws of the United States, prescribe any limit to the extent of that jurisdiction ? For his part, he said, he had in vain sought for a limit to it. It was worthy of remark, that, a short time after the adoption of the constitution, when the Government was about to legislate for putting its powers fairly in execution, there was, in all the statutes for the punishment of offences under admiralty jurisdiction, an express exception as to offences committed within the territorial limits of the states. This ought to be some guide as to the jurisdiction which may be rightfully exercised by the General Government under that clause of the constitution. The House was asked to put within federal jurisdiction all crimes committed within maritime jurisdiction. What is the extent of that jurisdiction ? In civil
causes, locality or character may determine the question: in criminal cases, the locality alone, and that is to
be regulated by the practice and discretion or judgment
JAN. 24, 1825.]
of the Court. It had been said that it extends wherever the tide ebbs and flows. But, Mr. W. demanded, where is the law which confines that jurisdiction to the ebb and flow of the tides Adverting to the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Courts of Great Britain, as settled by practice, or limited by the statutes of that country, he said that the statutory definitions, as far as he understood, were not applicable, as authority, in the Courts of this country. He here repeated, what he had stated on a former occasion, that admiralty jurisdiction had been claimed and exercised in a state of this Union where the ebb and flow of the tide is not known. Since making that statement, the other day, he had learnt that the same jurisdiction had been exercised in other States —at Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania, by the District Judge. Is it in contemplation to punish offences, committed upon the Ohio river, in the Federal Gourt at Pittsburg Is it intended that the Admiralty jurisdiction of the courts of the United States shall extend to the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the Missouri; Is it proper, is it onecessary, that a citizen should be sent three, four, or five hundred miles, to be tried by a Federal Court for offences committed within the jurisdiction of the State Governments? Is it intended to let the Federal Courts punish offences committed in waters or streams naviga. ble for vessels carrying ten tons burthen It is not to be denied that the Ohio and Mississippi rivers are capa: Eleofhearing vessels of ten tons burthen. If this bill passes, then you extend to the Federal Judiciary the power of punishing common offences, within the limits of states, where the state authorities are always competent and always willing to punish them. There cannot, therefore, be any necessity for the passage of this bill. Mr. where quoted the act of Congress extending the jurisdiction of the District Court of the United States to cases arising on waters navigable by vessels or boats often tons burthen, and asked whether it was necessary to the exercise of the specific powers of this Government; that this jurisdiction should be exercised by the Federal courts, or given to them, as to offences, some of which were described in this bill. He adverted to a celebrated decision of Judge Story, upon the principles assumed in which, he said, no man could tell where admiralty jurisdiction might not be exercised; and; he said, if he were to judge from the last opinion, of the same Judge on this subject, he should infer that he was prepared to act upon the principle of the Latin adage, the English of which is, that it is the province of a good judge to extend his jurisdiction. On the subject of maritime urisdiction, the Judge says-“The language of the constitution will warrant the most liberal interpretation, and it may not be unfit to hold that it had refer. ence to that maritime jurisdiction which commercial coenience, public policy, and national...rights, have contributed to establish.” Now, Mr. W. said, what might not, in the discretion, he might say legislation of that court, be the meaning of commercial convenience, public policy, and national rights? I have, said he, father a repugnance to granting to that Court more osoiction than is absolutely necessary for the execution of the powers of the General Government. From what we have seen, if we may Judge from that, they winot be reluctant to exercise any jurisdiction which they can make out a claim to. If these enactions are not necessary—if the states have not refused to punsh these crimes when committed within their jurisdiction, why should we undertake to perform this duty for them * - - as relates to those offences against life, limb, or property, committed without the limits of the states, Mr. w, said he would willingly go with the gentleman from Massachusetts, in legislating for their punishment, pro
United States’ Penal Code.
wded some proportion was preserved between the pun
Ahment and the crime. -
the gentleman from Kentucky might be attained without recommitting the bill, by moving amendments calculated to remove his objections to it in its present form. Recommitment was a practice resorted to only when the whole frame of a bill required altering, and the entire bill was to be re-cast. As to the third section, it must be obvious, that, where the jurisdiction of a small place, containing only a few hundreds of people, (a navy yard for instance,) was ceded to the United States, some provision was required for the punishment of offences; and as, from the use to which the place was to be put, some crimes were likely to be more frequently committed than others, the committee had thought it sufficient to provide for these, and then to leave the residue to be punished by the laws of the state in which the yard, &c., might be. He was persuaded that the people would not view it as any hardship, that the great class of minor offences should continue to be punished in the same manner as they had been before the cession. This provision in the third section embraced the whole of a bill on this subject, which passed the Senate at the last session. The committee did not suppose it incumbent on them to enter into the details of a complete code of penal laws for a few hundreds of the people in the United States' dock yards and arsenals. With respect to the other objec. tion of the gentleman from Kentucky, respecting confining the operation of the bill to the high seas and places not within the jurisdiction of any of the states, Mr. Websten said, that it was his intention (though not by any means for the reasons assigned by that gentleman, but in reluctant acquiescence with the wishes of a highly respected member of the Judiciary Committee,) to modify the bill in the manner the gen. tleman desired. In reply to what the gentleman seemed to apprehend from extending the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal Courts to the state of Kentucky, he desired the gentleman to remember, that it was only the criminal jurisdiction which was proposed to be exercised. The cases to which the gentleman had referred, were all under its civil jurisdiction, a jurisdiction which often attaches from the subject-matter of contracts, and which, on that account, is much more extensive than the criminal. As to the contests which the gentleman had mentioned, between the civil and the common law courts, none, so far as his knowledge extended, had even thought of contending that the admiralty jurisdiction of England extended to cases of revenue. Mr. WRIGHT, of Ohio said, that he concurred with the gentleman from Massachusetts, that there existed great defects in the criminal law of the United States, and that it was highly proper and necessary that they should be remedied; yet he could not consent, in the attempt to remedy them, to give to the courts of the United States a jurisdiction which he did not think was given by the constitution. The bill extended that jurisdiction to navy yards and armories, neither of which were mentioned in that clause of the constitution which enumerates the places where the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States is to be exercised. He would confine the language of the bill, in this part of it, to the very words of the constitution, as he was entirely opposed to giving, by any act of legislation, a construction to any part of that instrument. The United States can get jurisdiction only by cession from a particular state. He moved to strike out the words “navy yard,” “arsenal.” The chair pronounced the motion not to be in order until the whole bill had been gone through. On motion of Mr. WEBSTER, the fifth section of the bill, which provides for the punishment of offences committed in any foreign port, on board vessels owned by citizens of the United States, was amended by inserting the following words: