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distant states, Oregon was not further from the seat of
Occupation of the Mouth of the Oregon.
[DEc. 21, 1824.
the mouth of the Oregon or Columbia river. In 1810,
control of the East India and China trade, has had the supremacy of naval strength and maritime power. But, said he, that side of the subject belongs to our exterior interests and foreign policy, which I do not intend to examine. I wish to look at it only as a question of domestic regulation and interior police. The proposed military post, with trading houses in the territory, and
in the Rocky mountains, will command the fur trade,
and we all know that the fur trade and the fur traders will command the Indians. The fact is proven by experience. This consideration, the best and surest way
to preserve peace with the Indians, must, for the future,
be a primary object in framing our territorial regulations, because we are about to make a radical change in out indian policy. The President, we recollect, has called our attention to the subject, and has suggested a new system. Formerly, our policy was to separate the tribes, thrust our settlements between them, disunite them, and treat with them as independent nations; but now we are called upon to consolidate the tribes, embody them, and concentrate the entire united mass upon some portion of our western territories. This may be a wise scheme. It deserves serious consideration; but whether it be good or bad policy, if we embody the Indian tribes upon our western frontiers before we acquire the exclusive control of the fur trade, we shall have to embody an army to protect our settlements and look down all hostilities This was Tecumseh's scheme of Indian policy. He was the inventor of it, and doubtless, under the direction of a chief like him, it would increase their power tenfold, and give new vigor to their hostile councils. Col. Dixon embodied some tribes last war upon the same plan, and so did Tecumseh and we all recollect the impression they made upon our frontiers, and the destructive and distressing results, wherever they assailed us. If we adopt this new scheme of policy. we must begin by securing the exclusive command of the fur trade; we must disperse our traders throughout all the trapping districts. The fur traders are the best peace makers; because they unite with the Indians, and form a common bond of interest, The first step in the introduction of this new system, would be to establish a military post in the Oregon territory, to protect the traders. But would that be enough 2 Could the soldiery discharge their military duties, and at the same time provide subsistence for themselves, and the concourse of traders and Indians who would assemble near them at particular periods? Such a post ought to be surrounded by a hardy population to till the ground, and provide the necessaries of life in abundance, and thereby give confidence to the people, and durability to the settlement. If you locate a mere post there, without an aux
liary population to sustain it, some artful trader, jealous of our growing interests, and of his diminished profits, will not fail to bring down the Indians on the fort, and invest it, and we shall hear of nothing but sieges and massacres. And after all, what is the value of the land proposed to be given as a bounty to the first settlers? In that remote region, the land as yet is worth nothing: it has no value. The gentleman from Virginia fears that we shall spread too far, and hopes that the Emits of the Republic will not be extended beyond the Rocky Mountains. Those who observe nations from their closets, and look at men and things through the medium of books, may throw out useful hints, and make wise observations; but it is practical men alone, that are refied upon to manage the affairs of nations. What may be the fate of the Federation if it should be extended beyond the Stony Mountains, and what good or ill fortune may betide the people of the Oregon two centuries hence, does not concernus much just now. Doubtless, posterity will know how to take care of itself, and provide for its own dangers, as we do for ours. The period is too remote for legislation; but, in the mean while,
give your people the bounty land, and let them go and
make a settlement and form a nucleus, around which other emigrators may collect, and time will gradually consolidate them into a powerful community, and your treasury will be relieved from the annual expense of maintaining the proposed military post.
A motion was now made for adjournment, and, being carried,
The House adjourned.
IN SENATE.-W.E.D.NEspar, Dec. 22, 1824.
Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, laid the following resolutions on the table: “Resolved, That the public lands of the United States be appropriated, and pledged as a permanent and perpetual fund, for Education and Internal Improvement. “Resolved, That the proceeds of the sales of the public lands, after desraying the incidental expenses, be annually invested, by the Secretary of the Treasury, in the stock of the Bank of the United States, or in the stock of the Government, or other stock, as Congress may direct, together with the interest annually accruing thereon “Resolved, That the year following the return of the next census, and immediately after the apportionment of Representatives, and every tenth year thereafter, the proceeds of the interest arising on the said capital stock, shall be distributed among the several states, according to the ratio of representation: one half of which sum shall constitute a fund for education, and the other half shall constitute a fund for internal improvement, to be applied to these objects, under the authority of the respective states.” The Senate proceeded to the consideration of the following resolution submitted yesterday by Mr. R. M. JOHNSON, of Kentucky. “Resolved, That the Committee on the Public Lands be instructed to inquire into the expediency of making provision by law to authorize the several banks in which the public money arising from the sale of the public lands, were deposited, and which still owe balances to the United States, on account of deposites, as well as the debtors of such banks, whose obligations have been transferred to the United States, to pay the same o lands, upon such terms as may be just and equitable. Mr. JOHNSON offered a number of considerations in favor of the measure contemplated by his resolution.— He called the recollection of the Senate to the benevolent act, of which he was a mover, for the relief of the purchasers of public lands, the justice, wisdom, and good effects of which were so universally admitted. The measure contemplated by the present resolution was of a character similar, and urged by similar considerations, as the relief law of 1820. Mr. J. said the amount due by the banks in the South and West, in which public moneys had been deposited, and whose failure brought them in debt to the Government, might be about 500,000 dollars. The defalcations of these banks originated in the same causes which rendered relief wise and equitable in the case of the land purchasers—that is, in an inordinate rage for speculation in land. The banks had failed in consequence of their extensive loans to those individuals who purchased land. After these extensive purchases, there was a great revolution in the pecuniary circumstances of the country; emigration to the West was suspended, and the Government reduced the price of its lands: these causes prevented all sales of lands by the individuals who had bought them up for speculation; and, consequently, rendered them unable to comply with their engagements to the banks; and this created, on the part of the banks, an inability to comply with
their engagements. Their failure had left them in debt,
now, to the Government about 500,000 dollars. The banks had received from their defaulting debtors, in
many instances, as security or payment, those lands which they had loaned the money to purchase ; and, if the Government would now receive those lands back, either from the purchasers or the banks, it would eventually realize the whole or a part of the amount now due by the Western and Southwestern banks to the Treasury. Mr. J., argued at some length to show the expediency of such a measure, and its analogy to the cases which produced the beneficial relief law of 1820, which passed the Senate with so much harmony and unanimity. At any rate, as the resolution simply proposed inquiry into the subject, he hoped it would be agreed to.
Mr. EATON thought the scheme suggested by the resolution an impracticable one, or, at any rate, one of much difficulty, and one which, he believed, the Senate would not agree to. Therefore, as the inquiry would be 9ne of much trouble, probably, to the committee, should it be referred, and a useless trouble, believing as he did believe, that, after all, the Senate would not sanction the measure, he thought it unreasonable to require a labor of the Committee on Public Lands which would result in nothing; and he, as one of the members of that committee, was therefore opposed to the resolution. Moreover, the duty of realizing whatever was possible from the debts of those banks had been assigned to the Secretary of the Treasury, and he was unwilling to change the arrangement for one so difficult and uncertain, if not impracticable, as the one proposed by the resolution.
Mr. John SON replied, and Mr. EATON rejoined; when, on motion of Mr. KING, of Alabama,
The resolution was ordered for the present to lie on the table.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-sAME in AY.
CLAIM OF MAISON ROUGE. The resolution, offered by Mr. BRENT some days since, in relation to the claim of the representatives of thc Marquis de Maison Rouge, to refer that claim to a committee, was taken up. Mr. BRECK spoke in opposition to the resolution, on the ground that the claim in dispute had been submitted by Mr. Cox, the present holder of the vast tract of land concerned, to a judicial tribunal; in which case, he thought all legislative interference, on the part of this House, would be highly improper. Mr. B. stated a number of facts in support of this view of the case. Mr. CAMPBELL, of Ohio, (Chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims,) replied to Mr. BREck; and understanding that the suits instituted by Mr. Cox, are only against persons settling on the land without any title at all, (squatters,) thought that these suits, however decided, could not settle the question between the claim of the Marquis de Maison Rouge, and that of the United States. Mr. BRENT followed, in support of the resolution.— He went at some length into the facts of the case, and denied that any suit had been instituted, or, if any, none which could try the claim. No suit could be instituted against the United States, without a law of Congress expressly for the purpose. He knew the settlers personally, and he asserted that not one of them held under any title derived from the Govern:ment of the United States; they held under titles from the Spanish Government, and no suit against them could settle the question of Maison Rouge's claim. If Mr. Cox wished to bring his claim before the courts of the United States, his proper course would be, not to oppose the interference of this House, which alone could enable him to accomplish that object, but rather to invite it to act upon the subject. Mr. RANKIN replied to Mr. Baesr, and detailed the
history of the claim, as it had been for five years successively presented to Congress, together with the different general acts of the Government in their application
to the land in question. He thought that the suits now instituted would operate to try the question, inasmuch as they would give to Mr. Cox an opportunity to prove his title; and he deemed it a right of the present holder to have his claim fairly investigated by law, provided that, in pursuing it, he interposed no unnecessary delay. The debate was farther continued by Mesrss. BRENT, RANKIN, BRECK, and CAMPBELL; but, as it turned chiefly on the minutiae of the land laws, it was not reported with particularity. [The lands involved are of great extent and value, oc. cupying almost the whole of the county of Ouachita, in Louisiana. They remain unsettled—have never been exposed to sale, on account of the claim of the Marquis de Maison Rouge. The tract is in possession of Mr. D. W. Cox, of Philadelphia, who holds under the marquis.] The hour devoted by the rules of the House to the consideration of resolutions having elapsed, the debate was cut short by the Speaker's calling the orders of the day; when The bill from the Senate, “making provision for Gen. LAFAYETTE,” was taken up and read a first time; and, on motion of Mr. MALLARY, was laid for the present upon the table. SETTLEMENT OF THE OREGON. The House then resumed the consideration of the bill providing for the occupation of the Columbia or Oregon River; and the question being put on striking out the third section of the bill, (which proposes to grant land to settlers in that territory,) it was decided in the affirmative, ayes 101: so the section was stricken out. Mr. W1CKLIFFE moved to amend the bill by insert ing the following section: Iłe it enacted, &c., That, for the better security and protection of the rights of persons who may settle in or near the said military post, or who may carry on trade
and commerce there, it shall be the duty of the President
of the United States to prescribe such rules and regulations as he shall deem fit and proper; which rules and regulations shall be by him submitted to Congress, for their approbation, at their next session.
Mr. W. supported his motion by observing, that he did not contemplate, in proposing this amendment, to concede any of the legislative powers of this House to the President of the United States. He would reserve them in their full extent. But, if anything like a settlement of the country on the Oregon was seriously intended, we must expect that there would soon be on that river something more than a mere guard of soldiers; the number of the settlers would greatly exceed that of any military force that it might be necessary to post there : but he conceived that we were all, at present, too imperfectly informed as to their situation and circumstances, to be in a situation to enact regulations for their government which should be suited to their condition anci character. He therefore thought it was proper to refer the subject to the President, and to empower him, as the person most fit, from his situation, for such a task, to digest a system of rules and regulations for the govern ment of this infant territory, which should be submitted to the approbation of Congress when it should next meet. As an American citizen, he was indisposed to subject the civil rights of the settlers to the caprice of military rule; and, though we might not at present be in circumstances to establish a territorial government on that river, yet we might prepare the foundations of onewith which view he had offered to add this feature to the bill.
The question being put upon Mr. WICKLIFFE's amendment, it was lost by a large majority.
At the request of Mr. HAMILTON, of South Carolina, the bill was then read with the amendments adopted yesterday, and was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading to-morrow.
GRATITUDE 1 O LAFAYETTE. On motion of Mr. LITTLE, of Maryland, the House resumed the consideration of the bill yesterday reported by a committee of the House, “concerning General Lafayette.” Mr. SLOANE, of Ohio, moved that the bill be postponed until Monday next, and that a committee be appointed “to report a statement of the facts and accounts on which it is founded.” Mr. TUCKER, of Virginia, said he was willing to postpone the bill, if any gentleman desired it for his accommodation, but, for his part, he wanted no further information on this subject; neither, he presumed, did any gentleman of this House. He, therefore, noved to strike out the part of Mr. Sloane’s motion which proposed the appointment of a committee. Mr. SLOANE thought the nature and importance of the question now depending, called for such information as he asked to obtain. Indeed, Mr. S. said he had no wish for a postponement of the bill if he was to get no additional information by it. The question, whether one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand dollars, or whether any thing, should be voted to General Lafayette, would depend upon the state of the accounts between him and the United States. The motion of Mr. TUCKER was negatived. Mr. Q00K, of Illinois, said that the Senate, it appear. ed, had passed a bill on this subject, from the features of which it seemed that they entertained a different view from that presented by the committee of this House, as to the mode of awarding this money to General Lafayette : and what the Senate would do with this bill, if sent to that body, he could not say. To give time to consider of the proper mode of finally arranging this matter, Mr. C. proposed to recommit the bill to a committee of the whole, so as to endeavor, at least, to act in harmony and concert on it. This was what was expect. ed from Congress by the People, and he hoped they would not be disappointed. If the bill was recommitted, it could be called up and acted upon with something like unanimity whenever the House was prepared to act definitively upon it. The motion to recommit the bill was declared oy the Speaker not to be in order whilst a motion for postponement was pending. Mr. HERRICK, of Maine, after inquiring whether such motion would be in order, moved to postpone the bill indefinitely. Mr. LIVINGSTON, of Louisiana, rose, as one of the members of the committee who reported the bill, to speak to the merits of it. The delay in doing so, which had taken place on the part of the committee, would not have occurred if it had been thought necessary to offer to the House any explanation on the subject. The committee, however, thought it would have been only necessary to echo the voice which is heard from one end of the country to the other. They thought the importance and value of the services of General Lafayette had been so generally known, that it was unnecessary to rePort the facts, in regard to the services of General Lafayette, on which they thought it expedient to recommend the passage of the bill now before the house. They hoped that the proceedings of this House, when, by an unanimous vote, at the last session, they acknowledged the value of those services, would have made such a report unnecessary. By that vote, congress subJosted the country to an expense, nearly, if not quite, equal to the amount of the proposed appropriation, by **ng to send out a ship of the line to convey Gener. al Lafayette to this country. The committee did not “alcolate, after having done so, and his declining to put the United States to that charge, there would have been any objection to remunerating General Layfayette, in *** *gree, for his services and sacrifices in the ous. of the United States. When, more recently, the Speak
er of the House had been directed by an equally unanimous vote, to present the acknowledgments not only of the nation, but of this House, of the important services rendered to the country by General Lafayette, the committee would not have supposed themselves deficient in
their duty if they failed to report facts or a statement of.
accounts in regard to that distinguished man. Speaking for myself, said Mr. L. I considered the proposed appropriation not as an affair of account—not as the payment of a debt to General Layfayette, but as the expression of a national sentiment, which would do honor not only to this House, but to this People—as an act which would, as far as it goes, serve to take away from us the reproach that Republics are ungrateful. I thought it would not be doing justice to our constituents, if we made this award a matter of valuation—an affair of 'dollars and cents: I thought a different mode of treating it most respectful to the House—most befitting the dignity of this government. Other gentlemen, it appears, entertain different views: perhaps they are more correct views. I do not stand here to set up my sentiments against those who think the matter ought to have been treated in a different way. Some think, and I have no doubt they very honestly and sincerely think, that they have no power to express the national gratitude in the manner proposed, or to vote away public money in any case to which a claim to it could not be substantiated on such evidence as would establish it in a court of Justice. It was not for the want of such evidence, that the committee did not report it. The evidence in their possession was such as would, if duly weighed, satisfy the most scrupulous, of the Justice of giving not only the amount proposed by the committtee, but even double that amount. The services of General Lafayette during the war of the Revolution, Mr. L. said, were known to, and must be acknowledged by, every one. He came to this country at the commencement of the Revolution. IIe continued his personal services until very shortly before the termination of that war by the treaty of peace. He ceased those personal exertions here only to render them in the same cause where, at the time, they were more useful. He was, indeed, very instrumental in bringing about that peace so important to us. At that time, yet in prosperity, he would have refused any compensation for his services and sacrifices, had they even been greater than they were. When oppressed by adversity, after the confiscation of the remainder of his princely estates, he accepted from the United States, what he would never before receive, the pay of a Major General, the rank which he held during the war. But, besides that, he was entitled, upon every principle of strict justice, to the half pay of a Major General for life. Owing to the civil mission, which had already been referred to, General Lafayette was not in service at the close of the war, and had not a legal title to this half pay, but his right to it, on every principle of equity, could not be questioned. To the representatives of another distinguished officer, (General Hamilton,) similarly situated, Congress granted the amount of half pay which would have been due to him, and that without commutation. The two cases were nearly parallel. The officers had, generally, the option, and almost, if not quite all, availed them
selves of it, of receiving a commutation in lieu of half
pay. General Layfayette had not this option, however, from the circumstance already mentioned, of his absence in Europe at the conclusion of the treaty of peace. What would be the amount of half pay for the more than forty years that have since elapsed, and the long life, which, Mr. L. said, he trusted this venerable man would still live to enjoy Twenty added to the forty years already expired, would not be deemed an extravagant estimate : these sixty years of half pay, without calculating interest, would alone amount to something like eighty thousand dollars. Would any gentleman in this hall say, that General Lafayette was not as well entitled to his
half pay as the family of General Hamilton were, after his decease ? But was this all 2 No, said Mr. L. it is not all. It is known as a public historical fact, that Lafayette, when he came to this country, brought also important and very necessary supplies to a large amount—an immense amount, considering that it was the offering of a single individual. What was the cost of those supplies, is information which chance alone has thrown in our way. Every one knew that it was great; but a mere fortuitous circumstance led a gentleman, lately at Paris, to inquire into what had been the pecuniary sacrifices of Lafayette in the cause of the United States, during the Revolution; and he obtained a document which shows precisely what money Lafayette did expend in our cause at that time. [Mr. L. here made a statement corresponding with that yesterday made in the Senate, by Mr. HAYNE, establishing that the expenditure of Lafayette, for the use of the United States, during the war of the Revolution, was 700,000 francs, or 140,000 dollars, besides sums modestly kept out of the account, which would have increased that sum.] Add this amount to that which is justly due to him for half pay for life, said Mr. L. and say whether a fair, honest, and equitable settlement of the account between him and the United States, would not leave us in debt to him, interest included, more than double the amount which the commit. tee had reported in his favor. Here, then, sir, is an account of dollars and cents, since gentlemen desire it: here is something to satisfy the most scrupulous. When you offer to General Lafayette these two hundred thousand dollars, you do not pay the debt—you do not pay what you justly owe to him. I am very much afraid, sir, that, in going through this detail, I may wound the delicacy of the gentleman concerned; for I am persuaded that no circumstances would have induced him to bring forward, as a debt, what he gave to us. Half of his princely estates he freely spent in our service, without any other recompense than the secret satisfaction of aiding the cause of liberty, to which he from his cradle had devoted himself. Mr. L. said he would not press upon the House arguments drawn from the feelings of the People of the United States on this subject. Those feelings, said he, are well known: and from what I know of the temper of this House, and of the feelings of the gentlemen who compose it, there is not one of them who will not regret that any consideration of what he believes to be his duty will prevent him from giving his assent to this bill. I yet trust, however, that the vote on this bill will be unanimous, I hope it will be seen that the whole House is moved by one consentaneous feeling, of obedience to the wishes of our constituents—one desire of expressing the sentiment of national gratitude which we owe to the nature of the government under which we act—one wish to satisfy our own feelings. I do not believe there is one gentleman in this House who will not excessively regret, that any notion of his duty, or regard to the disposition of the funds of the country, would prevent his giving a vote for this bill. One circumstance there was, in relation to General Lafayette, which, though it did not come strictly into account, as forming a demand upon this government, furnished an argument which could not but strongly appeal to this House, in favor of that distinguished individual. [Mr. [.. here stated the circumstance of the location of part of General Lafayette's land in the vicinity of New Orleans, and his giving it up to the city, foc. substantially as stated in the Senate yesterday by Mr. IlayNE. Mr. L. had the advantage of personal knowledge of the facts, and of having been the medium of communication with General Lafayette on that subject.] General L. declared, on that occasion, he would enter into no litigation with any one in regard to a grant which
He withdrew the location he had made on a most valuable land, now worth 400,000 dollars, and transferred it to land hardly worth a dollar an acre. Mr. Livingston said he knew an idea had been held out, that the remainder of the land granted to the General by Congress had been sold very well What had been obtained for it, he did not know ; but he could say, for certainty, that, if anybody had given one dollar an acre for it, they had made a bad bargain. That part of it which he was acquainted with he would not have for a gift. The lands which the General yet held were of no value, as the expense of raising the levee, &c. on the bank of the river, would be greater than the value of the land after it should be so improved. Knowing a good deal of the circumstances connected with General Lafayette, and having been a member of the committee who reported this bill, he had thought proper to state them, and he hoped what he had said would serve to remove whatever doubts existed on the minds of gentlemen on this subject. The SPEAKER here corrected an error into which he had fallen in supposing that a motion for indefinite postponement took preference of a motion to postpone to a day certain. The question being then stated to be on Mr. SLOANE's motion to recommit with instructions, &c.— Mr. McDUFFIE, of South Carolina, addressed the chair. He repeated the terms of the motion, to recommit with instructions to report a statement of facts and accounts, &c. because it more clearly indicated the genius of the opposition to this bill, and the principles on which that opposition was based, than any illustration could do. The motion involved the principle that Congress was about to render compensation to General Lafayette under the obligation of a bond. Put it upon that footing, said Mr. McD. and I shall vote against the bill. Put it upon that footing, and General Lafayette would disdain your offer of payment. What were the services which he rendered to this country, and what the motives upon which they were rendered 2 Did he render those services, and make those disbursements, upon any calculation of future retribution? Did he enter into a computation of what benefits he was thereafter to derive from them? Not so, sir: they were the magnanimous sacrifices of a heart devoted to liberty, reckless of consequences, succoring a people struggling for liberty. When we come to consider these services, rendered under such circumstances, shall we enter into a cold calculation as to what was the actual amount of the sacrifices of General Lafayette, and hold out to the world that we are rendering him this tardy tribute, not as a voluntary offering of the heart, but as the obligation of a bond * I admit, sir, the extent of the services of this individual; I am perfectly satisfied, indeed, that, upon a fair calculation, the interest alone of the money which he spent in our service up to this time would more than double the amount which this bill proposes to appropriate for his use. The extent of his services might well be a motive of this grant; but to refer this bill back to a committee, to make a minute calculation of the money he advanced for us, would be an act of ingratitude and disrespect to his higher and more elevated claims upon the countryDo you expect to obtain vouchers, said Mr. M'D. for what was a grant to you, which the generous donor never wished nor intended to reclaim * Mr. McD. did not intend to express anything disrespectful to the supporters of the pending motion, but he must"be allowed to say there was a degree of indellcacy in it which would shock the sensibility of any honorable mind, and particularly of him whom it was proposed to call upon to be an agent in a case so nearly affecting himself. I very much doubt, whether, if he heard this discussion, he would receive your donation I trust we shall put this offer of an expression of our gra.
the United States had thought proper to make to him.
titude on such grounds, that he will be induced to re-