« ForrigeFortsett »
Feb. 11, 1825.]
steps, and hide from the public eye, all that information which would be obtained by the scientific corps of the country. If the money formerly appropriated had been wasted, then there might be something reasonable in the proceeding—but, as no suspicion of that kind had ever been uttered, he felt convinced that this appropriation, so necessary for obtaining that information which was so important as regarded the wealth and power of the Union, would not be withheld. Mr. MACON, of North Carolina, begged leave to offer a few remarks. In the beginning of this government, nobody believed Congress had anything to do with internal improvements. Now, every body, almost, was for it. The history of the Cumberland Road proved this. When that road was commenced, the States were to give their consent, and nothing could be done without it. Now, when the road is proposed to be carried through the States beyond the river Ohio, and through Ohio, no consent is deemed necessary; and it seemed now, that Congress could survey States, and make roads, and there was nothing but what they could do. These roads were to be, too, for the transportation of the mail, and for the purposes of war and commerce, but then they managed to effect all these objects without the exercise of this power. If this government, said Mr. M. is to begin this road system, it ought not to be accomplished indirectly, by small appropriations, but should be done at once. By granting an appropriation for surveys, they did not pledge themselves to do any thing more, after these surveys should be accomplished; but, notwithstanding, they were going on step by step, just like the building of this Capitol. He no more knew what was to be accomplished in this great plan, than he did when he saw the first foundation of this Capitol. He was opposed to the whole system, and let Congress vote as much as they pleased in its favor, he should always vote against it as often as it came up. He did not pretend to lay down his opinion as a rule for others, but he should continue to follow it till he found it was wrong. Mr. M. said he regarded this system of internal improvement as one of the most dangerous that had ever been established in the United States. The States should not, he thought, come to the General Government for their internal improvement. Every State had been going on with internal improvements, and he was of opinion that the General Government should leave them to go on in their own way, without intermeddling at all. Mr. HOLMES, of Maine, said, that, last session, an appropriation of 30,000 dollars was made for a certain specific object. If he was opposed to that, it was not very strange that he should be opposed to the present one, which was a continuation of the same purpose, and more vague in the application of the money. . When the bill was reported last year for a specific object, it was badenough, but it could be defended on better grounds than this could be. Here the money was to be placed at the disposal of the commissioners, without any directions whatever. He thought it would not be pretended that the constitution gave unlimited powers on this subject. When the subject was before the Senate last year, there was not a majority that agreed to the constitutionality of this power of internal improvement, and extent of it; but here the appropriation was without limit at all; there was no bill to introduce or regulate it, but it was thrust into the appropriation bill, and the commissioners were to dispose of it as they please. Mr. H, then referred to the act of last session, and observed that there was still the sum of $10,000 remaining unexpended of that appropriation, and why they were to add $28,000 more to it he could not possibly imagine; besides, he had seen enough of this system which they were commencing of making roads and canals, to satisfy him that it would occasion much uneasiness and strife. The "overnment, he said, was becoming stock jobbers in
*ds and canals, and it was impossible to say when an
end would be put to it, if they made general appropriations for these general purposes, and gave power to the Executive part of the Government to do what they pleased with or without the consent of the states. They had $10,000 to go on with, and he thought that amply sufficient; let them expend that, and on making a report to Congress they would then be better able to see how far the Commissioners had gone, and what remained to be done, but having the imperfect view that he had of this subject, he should not consent to give a single dollar. The gentleman from Louisiana, (Mr. Johnstow,) had some days before presented a plan for the internal improvement of the country; and if they recognized the power of Congress to do any thing on this subject, they ought not to do any thing till they acted on his proposition. Mr. H. thought there was something fair in that proposition: the plan proposed was that the public lands should be converted into a fund, to be divided into two equal parts, one half to be applied to the purposes of education, and the other half to the plan of internal im. provements as it was emphatically called, to be apportioned according to the representation of the states in Congress. This, Mr. H. said, would be something like equality; but, as they were going on now, there was not a shadow of it—the money that was gathered in the East would be expended in the West, and the Southern states would get nothing ; therefore, he would say, stop this business as soon as possible. Mr. COBB said, his object in rising was not to embarrass this bill, but simply to state, that, after examining the Constitution-after examining the Journal of the Convention by whom that instrument was framed—and examining the subject in every point of view, with the greatest care and attention--he had come to the conclusion, that the general government had no power to adopt this system of internal improvement; if they did possess this power, they possessed the power of doing every thing they pleased, that was not absolutely prohibited by the Constitution. And, as this was an important question, he should call for the yeas and nays on it. Mr. TALBOT, of Kentucky, said, that, last session, this subject was fully discussed. The subject of internal improvement had been sanctioned by both Houses of Congress, and an appropriation had been made for the purpose of procuring surveys: the present appropriation was for a similar purpose, and he thought that they should not stop short in full career. Congress would not exhibit the strange inconsistency of adopting an important proposition one session, and throwing it aside the next; it would not, he said, be compatible with the dignity of that assembly thus to stop short. The roads and canals were not pointed out last session, because it was found impracticable so to do; but it was left to the discretion of the President of the United States to select those which would tend most to the improvement of the nation at large, and, in consequence of this appropriation, the Executive had caused certain surveys to be made. Amongst other great national objects, one was the connection of the waters of the Potomac with the Ohio; the survey of this had been commenced, but was not finished; and was this, asked Mr. T. to be left incomplete? It was to complete this, and similar important objects, that the appropriation was asked for. The Committee on Roads and Canals had ascertained the necessity of it, and they asked now to have the appropriation of last session extended. Had there been any charge made that the former appropriation had been wasted, or improvidently applied, he would have been satisfied that the present objectins were perfectly just; but no allegation of that kind had been made. If they really wished to attain the object proposed by passing the act of last session, how could they now arrest its progress by refusing the small appropriation of $28,000? The whole of the objects that had been pointed out, were, Mr. T. said, of great national
[FEB. 11, 1825.
importance. He did not inquire in what part they were situated, but there was no doubt that the President had made the selection wisely and judiciously. The law that was passed last session was intended to provide for the completion of these surveys, and if it had been imagined that the sum appropriated would not have been sufficient, more would have been asked for, and would not have been refused. Then why should it be refused now He thought it would be acting very disrespect. fully towards the President, to refuse this appropriation, which was to enable him to complete the surveys which he had commenced or contemplated, in obedience to their law.
As regarded the constitutionality of the subject, that had been most fully discussed at the last session—but, on the present occasion, gentlemen had asserted that Congress did not possess the power. Mr. T. said he thought the majority of both Houses stood committed on this subject—they had expressed their opinion in the most solemn and deliberate form, and they had made an appropriation for the purpose by law; public expectation was alive on this interesting subject; they owed it to the nation to make this small appropriation, and even those gentlemen who now hesitated, and those who originally hesitated, ought to join with them, and vote in its favor.
Mr. SMITH read the first section of the act of last year, directing these surveys to be made, under the instructions of the President of the United States. The subject, he said, had been amply discussed, but he did not think the great constitutional question was determined-indeed, he did not think it was implicated.— Mr. S. then read the following letter in relation to the subject:
ENGINEEn DEPARTMENT, Washington, 17th January, 1825.
Sin: I have the honor to present to you an estimate of the expense which will attend the operations of the Board of Internal Improvement during the current year, predicated on the supposition that the Board will be employed in reconnoitering and examining the different routes for the great national road from the seat of Government to New Orleans, and that all the Topographical Engineers that can be spared from the survey of the coast, together with Mr. Shriver's brigade, will be engaged in continuing the survey of the route for a canal communication between the tide-waters of the Chesapeake and Lake Erie, with a view to its completion, with the exception of one brigade of Topographical Engineers which will be employed in surveying the route between Buzzard's Bay and Barnstable Bay.
The sum required for these operations is $38,744, from which deducting the sum of $10,177, the balance remaining on hand from the last year's appropriation, applicable to these objects, there will be left the sum of $28,567 to be provided, as will more fully appear by the accompanying statement.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
ALEXANDER MACOMB, Chief Engineer. To the Hon. J. C. CALuous, Secretary of War.
Mr. HAYNE, said, that the gentlemen who objected to the appropriation, had not put the question on its true ground. They had argued as if a general system of internal improvement was now to be commenced, and had even entered into the consideration of the constitutional powers of Congress in relation to that subject. But he would submit, that neither of these questions were now before the Senate. The single inquiry was, whether Congress should make the necessary appropriation for carrying into effect an act passed at the last session 2– Or whether, by withholding the requisite means, they would deprive the Executive of the power of executing the law, and thereby render it nugatory Whether the senate would undertake in effect to repeal an act passed by both branches of the Legislature, without regard to the forms of the constitution * The act of the last session, | said Mr. H. authorized the President to cause surveys to be made of such roads and canals as he might deem of national importance, and necessary for the transportation of the mail, and for military and commercial purposes, and $30,000 was appropriated towards that object.— Mr. Hay NE was very much mistaken if it was not distinctly understood, at the time the act was passed, that the sum appropriated was merely sufficient to cover the expenses of the year. Certainly, it was never for a moment imagined, that the object of the act could be attained by the small appropriation inserted therein. It was known to every one, that it would be the work of several years, and would cost a considerable sum. The extent of country to be examined, the great importance of the object, and the necessity of employing engineers of the first talents, all go to prove that the inconsiderable sum appropriated was never expected to cover the whole expense of the work. From this view of the subject, it seemed to him to be obvious, that even those gentlemen who were originally opposed to the bill, ought to support the appropriation; for, unless they did so, the surveys not being completed, all that has been already done will be lost.
The gentleman from Kentucky, said Mr. H. had taken an erroneous view of the character and objects of the act of the last session, which, while up, he would take the liberty to correct. That gentleman had said, that the act in question pledged the Senate to prosecute a system of internal improvement, and settled the constitutional question. Mr. H. could not assent to the proposition. The Senate would, no doubt, recollect, that several gentlemen voted for the bill with an express disclaimer of such inferences. A gentleman from Pennsylvania had stated, in his place, that he should vote for the bill, though he did not believe that Congress could act on the subject without the consent of the states. Another gentleman expressly declared, that he would reserve his decision on the question of internal improvement until the surveys were laid before us; and some gentlemen advocated the bill merely for the sake of obtaining the surveys, which would be useful to every department of the National, as well as the State Governments. For his own part, Mr. H. said, he did not consider himself as in the smallest degree committed to vote for a single road or canal which might be recommended by the President under this survey bill. When the proposition should be submitted, it would be time enough to determine how we ought to act,
He had never doubted there were cases in which Congress had power to cut a canal or make a road. Indeed,
Feb. 11, 1825.]
roads have been cut under every administration, and in some cases with perfect unanimity. This power was derived by different gentlemen from various parts of the Constitution. Some considered it as growing out of the military powers, others derived it from the commercial power, and others still maintained that it was necessary for the transportation of the mail. On several occasions Congress had passed acts appropriating large sums for particular works, such, for instance, as the Cumberland Road. Now, the survey bill of the last session merely
directed the President to cause surveys to be made of
all such roads and canals as were, in his opinion, necessary, for either of these purposes, and to submit the same to Congress. When, said Mr. H. this shall be done, the question will come up for final decision, whether Congress shallenter on the work at all, and on what principles. For his own part, he was free to confess that, if plans of internal improvement were to be prosecuted by the General Government, he hoped it would be by a system, embracing a few great works, altogether national in their character, and in which every state in the Union would have a common interest. But, if we are to be called upon, without any system, to prosecute detached and local works, it was difficult to discover where the business would end, or the extent of the evils which would be introduced. As to the present question, however, Mr. H. felt no hesitation, but should vote for the appropriation. Mr. LOW RIE, of Pa. said, he had never understood that the bill passed last session, was to be final on the subject; and that the appropriation then made would be the only one that would be required for the purpose of making surveys. No one could suppose that $30,000 would be sufficient for that purpose. Mr. L. said, he did not object to the principle of this appropriation, but it was necessary to remark that the committee had received no information as to the manner in which the $20,000 of the appropriation of last year had been expended— that information had not come before them, though there was no doubt that the accounts had been rendered to the proper authorities, and had been properly settled— yet it would have been a satisfaction to him to know what the engineers had done, and how the money had been expended. Mr. L. said his objection went on a very material and important principle, which it would be well for the Senate to decide upon. Amongst the items in the estimate submitted by the Engineer Department, there was an allowance of $3,600 each, for two civil engineers for one year. If this were sanctioned, the Executive would have the power of appointing two engineers, with that salary, without the authority of law, and without the usual forms. If they were necessary for the public service, let there be a law passed for their appointment with the approbation of the Senate. Taking the whole appropriation as it stood, Mr. L. said, he could not vote for it, on account of the principles it involved. The usual way was, in calling for an appropriation for any department, to submit the whole in one general estimate to the Secretary of the Treasury, who sent it to Congress, and it was printed; this estimate was not amongst those sent in, and gentlemen had not had an opportunity of turning their attention to this subject. Mr. L. then commented on some other items in the estimate, and contended that some of them were extravagant, and did not grow out of the act of last session. He further thought it proper that the whole business should be executed by the topographical engineers, whose number should be increased if necessary, but he should be unwilling, by making an appropriation, to put it in the power of the Executive to make such offices. Mr. L. concluded by expressing his willingness to increase the appropriation so as to make it equal to what it was last year, but would not go beyond that. Mr. CHANDLER, of Maine, said, he understood the
gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Hay NE,) that the bill of last year authorized the President to go on, from year to year, and that Congress was bound, from year to year, to appropriate the requisite sum. He (Mr. C.) differed from the gentleman. He understood that, when this appropriation was made last year, the President was authorized to direct such surveys to be made as he thought proper during the year, and then to make a report to Congress, that, if Congress were called on for a further appropriation, they might know what had been done. It was important for them to deliberate well before they acted; he, therefore, moved that the further consideration of the bill be postponed till Monday, that the estimates, &c. should be printed, that the Senate might know on what grounds they acted, and, if convenient, the President should be called on by the com. to report what Roads and Canals had been surveyed. Mr. SMITH expressed a hope that the bill would not be postponed. If it were now postponed, the pensioners would suffer great inconvenience by the delay, nor was there any necessity for its postponement on the ground taken by the gentleman from Maine. Mr. S. thought the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Lowmie) had taken a very candid view of the subject. That gen. tleman supposed that the Engineer Corps would be adequate not only to the common, but to the extra duties. The President had asked an addition to the Engineer Corps, because their number was too small to fulfil all the duties required of them. No such provision had been made, and therefore the Corps could not be adequate to perform these extra duties. It was too late to complain on that subject. Mr. S. then contended that the Executive had pursued the course directed by the act literally, and, in support of this position, quoted the 2d section, whereby the President was authorized to employ two or more Civil Engineers, &c. These Civil Engineers, he said, must have been of much use to the Corps of Engineers, who could not, until lately, have turned their attention to the subject in question. The Executive, in considering the amount of their remunerations, had inquired what had been given them by the different states by whom they had been employed, and had not paid them more. Mr. S. said it was very bad economy, on such important occasions, to take those who would do the business cheapast, and urged the propriety of seeking for men of first rate talent, and giving them a fair recompense: he then concluded by taking up and defending the other items contained in the estimate. Mr. Johnston, of Louisiana, then rose and represented the impossibility of the Senate being able to investigate and decide on the expenses in detail, of making a survey. It was sufficient for them to make the appropriation, and it would remain with the proper department to regulate the expenditures and apply it properly. If it were left to the Head of the War Department, he would seek out the best talents in the country, and pay them what they merited. Mr. J. said, it would be Just as well to bring the estimate for building a ship of war into the House, and inquire the price of the hemp, and tar, and canvass, to see if they could afford it. Did they, in ordering a fortification, inquire the price of brick Several millions were every year expended under the discretion of these Departments, and why should they, in making this small appropriation, enter thus into the details He objected to the postponement, because he would not have these details furnished. Had they not sufficient confidence in the zeal and abilities of their proper Departments 2 If every one were to urge such objections, how was it possible that any measure of legislation could be carried on in that House He really hoped it would not be postponed for want of the details of expenditure. If they were examined, it would be found that men of first rate abilities
[Feb. 11, 1825.
had been employed during the last year. Their report would be ready in a few days; it was drawn up with great care and ability, and would be presented to the House in a few days. It would also appear that there was not a single part of the instructions but what had been confined to able hands, and had been executed with great industry and ability. The more these details were examined, and the better the subject was understood, so much more confidence would be placed by the House, in the persons who were engaged in this service. They were not only men of science, but had engaged in the undertaking with the greatest zeal. Internal Improvements were the grandest objects that could engage the attention of this country, and they were so felt by all who engaged in so praiseworthy a pursuit. Mr. CHANDLER again urged the postponement, for the reasons he had before stated, and said, that the statement of the gentleman from Louisiana, that the report would be soon ready, was, with him, an additional and strong reason for desiring the postponement. Mr. BENTON said he was against the postponement of the bill. He was of opinion it was tetally unnecessary to print the details, for they would be as well understood by being read as by being printed. He said he could not see the advantage that would accrue to the country or to posterity, by having these documents inserted in the volume of state papers—and a delay of a few days would go far to defeat the intention altogether. With respect to the observations of the gentleman from Penn‘sylvania, (Mr. LowRIE,) they were, said Mr. B. very sensible in every thing except the misapplication of the time in which they were made—they ought to have been made the year before, when the bill was in agitation on which the President had acted. At the iast session, when the bill was before Congress for investing the President with general authority to select such routes as he pleased, he (Mr. B.) had proposed an amendment, and in doing so, he had copied the act of 1807, under which the Uumberland Road was laid out from point to point by act of Congress, which specified the number of persons to be employed, and the remuneration which each should receive. He had proposed this amendment last session, but it was overruled, and the bill in general terms adopted—the consequence was, that the President was bound to execute it—he was bound to carry the laws of the Union into effect. He could not do it himself—he could not with his own hands lay out these roads—he was obliged to employ competent persons to do it, to whom he was obliged to give adequate salaries. The only question now before the Senate was, whether they should continue in the present plan, or whether they should adopt such an amendment as he had proposed last session, specifying the officers to be employed, and the salary each was to receive. If an amendment of that kind were not presented, he should be in favor of applying the bill as it was. The question was then taken on Mr. CHANDLER'S motion to postpone, and decided in the negative. Mr. MACON then rose, and expressed bis opinion, that whatever conversation had been held with any Department, could not not be delivered to the Senate unless it came officially from that Department. He certainly did not understand the Constitution as some gentlemen seemed to do, that because a thing was once done, it must become constitutional—that was not his understanding of it. He did not recollect in the United States that a single law had been adjudged by the Courts to be unconstitutional. If this were the fact, that the passing of any law made that subject constitutional, then they would be like Great Britain, where the Parliament was omnipotent, and its acts were the Constitution of the country. One remarkable case had been judged one way, and the Constitutional authority was all the other way. This case had never been settled in any other
way, and the decision of the people seemed to have given a character to the Constitution in that particular, Mr. M. inquired of what use these surveys would be if Congress were not prepared to go the full length. Every state was endeavoring to do something for itself, and if the plans proposed by the General Government, did not accord with the views of the states, the states would never do anything in it, and all the surveys made concerning roads would be useless. It had been urged that if this law were not passed, an act of Congress would be repealed by the refusal. Mr. Mr. said, that the sum appropriated, would be expended under the law, but one Congress could not bind the hands of an: other, to make any appropriation—they were at all times free and independent to do, or not to do, as they thought proper. If the doctrines he had heard this day, were true, there was no one thing the Government could not do-they were making roads and canals, and before long he should not be surprised if they made a canal for the benefit of the navy. They managed to accomplish all these things under some clause or other of the Constitution, and by and by they would be mixed all up together into a kindus pot-pie. Let any man examine the Federalist, or the debates of the Virginia Convention, and they would find that no such extension was given to any article of the Constitution. How are we progressing said Mr. M. We get power faster than the people get money. It appears to me that the whole of this thing bears a most extraordinary character—the country is involved, the people are not able to pay their debts; and I do maintain that this country is not in a condition to go on with expensive projects. The appropriation now asked for, is only $30,000, say gentlemen; but to me, whose dealings at home are in the small way, this appears a very large sum—there is not one man in a hundred, no, nor in a thousand, throughout the Union, who is worth that sum, unincumbered with debts-he is a rich man in the interior of the country who is worth so much. Referring to the subject of estimates, Mr. M. said the Chairman of the Committee on Finance, with all his sogacity and acknowledged abilities, could not tell him without counting them, how many the committee had received or whom they were from. Every thing was changing in this Government, and they were, in his opinion, doing all business in a very loose manner. Mr. M. said he had another objection; these Engineers were designed for army purposes. They had no right to divert them from their legitimate duties, by making them Civil Engineers; that formed no part of the contract of the Government with them; it would be like enlisting soldiers to fight, and then setting them to make road:; could they suppose their high-minded officers would like to be going about the country carrying the chain, and taking levels: No. They were raised for fighting, if fighting were necessary, not for making roads. . It was argued, that it was necessary to enter into detail. Mr. M. said they fixed on the places for lighthouses and buoys, and they established post routes; they acted from the best information they could go', and in that way they did legislate in detail. He was so less discussion and more legislation, and yet he thought they now legislated ten times as much as they ough to do. He had advised them to legislate concerning West Point; to fix the number that should be there, and ap" portion them amongst the states. They said it was use: iess, and he acquiesced, because he knew he had "" chance of standing against that committee. Mr. M. said he would fix everything he could by law; and leave nothing to discretion. The natural end of " discretion, in his opinion, was favoritism. He should like to see these details published. If the sovereign's were in the people, as was so often boasted in that Ho". why not let themsee everything, if it was only aba'5" Feb. 11, 1825.]
Topographical Surveys—Pennsylvania District Courts. [Sen.& H. of R.
of seventy-five cents a day In his part of the country, a man could be hired for twenty-five cents a day, and work hard too, all day long. Let the people see how their money went. The more we legislate in detail, said Mr. M. the better it will be for the people and for the Executive. Nothing could, in his opinion, embarrass the Executive more, than leaving too much to his discretion. If he had law for his guide, he would be sure to be safe; but if things were left to his discretion, that might not probably agree with the discretion of other people, which might produce some trouble and inconvenience. Mr. M. considered this question as one of the utmost importance to this nation, and he should consider it his duty to stop it, under the full belief that the sooner it was stopped, the better. He had stated, some time ago, that he had relinquished all hopes of seeing the taxes lessened on the people. Every thing appeared as if they were going to be increased—a certain sum must be kept for the sinking fund; that only kept up the credit of the public debt, or it would not otherwise sell; and he began to think now, that the debt would never be aid. P Mr. M. concluded by saying, that he wished to see that day come when this Government would follow the examples set by Britain, (and he did not often go there for examples,) who, during the last few years, had taken off taxes to the amount of eight and an half millions sterling. Mr. LOW RIE said, that the gentleman from Louisiana, (Mr. Johnston,) had not paid sufficient attention to what he (Mr. L.) had said, or he would not have so misunderstood him. He said that it was not for the Committee on Finance to examine these details, but it would be desirable that the Senate should know what had been done—it was impossible they could legislate correctly in the dark. They were called on to make an appropriation for a certain object, for which an appropriation had been made last year, and they certainly ought to ascertain what had been done with that money, before they appropriated more. He had seen nothing at all of the reports that were spoken of . The gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. Smith,) had said that confi. dence ought to be placed some where, but he did not think that confidence had any thing to do with the subject. No complaint had ever been made as to the manner in which the money had been expended, but he wanted to know what benefit the Union had derived from the expenditure of that money. He presumed it had been properly expended, but there was no evidence of this before them. He thought that, if they set out wrong in pursuit of an object, they ought to get right again as soon as possible—if he had known last session, that two Civil Engineers were to be appointed with such salaries, he would not have voted in its favor. He had not received that information till last week—therefore, he would now stop—he would not sanction such princi. ples by voting for appropriations. What were they sent to this House for, if they were not to object to what they thought wrong It was the duty of every member to state his objections when he saw any thing improper: and as far as the Civil Engineers were concerned, he should oppose any appropriation for them. Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, in reply to Mr. Macox, observed, that, as far as they could legislate definitively on any subject, it was very right to do so; but there were some subjects, in which it was impossible so to do
| been held, since 1818, at Pittsburg. —in building the Capitol, had they a bill brought before
argued that it was not too much when compared with the great abilities that were required for the purpose, the scarcity of such talent and the great demand for it at the present time. M. J. said, that gentlemen did not attack this appropriation in the proper manner—they often lost the substance in pursuit of the form. Last year, a bill was introduced instead of an appropriation; that bill passed, and they refused to go into detail. Now the reverse was the case. If they were to be assailed by all the objections at once that could be started, it would be impossible ever to carry a measure through the House. First, said he, try the constitutionality of the proceeding, and settle that, and then enter into the details, and settle them. He hoped the bill would not be postponed, nor the appropriation struck out. He thought it unnecessary to say any thing further as regarded the principles of the bill—the Constitutional question had been so often discussed, and so much had been said on the subject, that every member must have formed a deliberate opinion. The surveys were important to the country, independent of the Constitutional objection; and he made some remarks on that point.
The question was then taken on striking out the clause, and decided by yeas and nays, as follows:
YEAS–Messrs. Barbour, Bell, Branch, Chandler, Clayton, Cobb, D’Wolf, Dickerson, Gaillard, Holmes, of Maine, King, of New York, Knight, Lowrie, McLean, Macon, Mills, Taylor, Tazewell, Van Buren.—19.
NAYS-Messrs. Barton, Benton, Bouligny, Brown, Edwards, Hayne, Holmes, of Miss. Johnson, of Ken. Johnston, of Lou. Kelly, King, of Ala. Lanman, Lloyd, of Mass. Noble, Parrott, Ruggles, Seymour, Smith, Talbot, Thomas, Williams.-21.
HOUSE UF REPRESENTATIVES.—s AME DAY. PENNSYLVANIA DISTRICT COURTS.
The House having proceeded to the consideration of the following motion, yesterday submitted by Mr. ELLlS, viz: “That the petition of sundry inhabitants of Pennsylvania, praying that amendments be made to the law passed at the first session of the present Congress, entitled “An act to alter the Judicial Districts of Pennsylvania, and for other purposes,” be recommitted to the Committee on the Judiciary, with instructions to report a bill for the removal of all the causes pending, and untried, before the District Courts of the Eastern Loistrict of Pennsylvania, to the Court for the Western District, held at Williamsport, in such cases where the defendants therein, at the time of commencing the said causes, and suits, resided in any of the counties named in the law herein referred to, and in such cases where the parties shall not otherwise agree. And, also, to confer upon the Judge of the District Court of the Western District, authority to appoint a clerk for the court established at Williamsport, who shall keep the records thereof at the place of holding the court, to be entitled to the same fees and compensation as the clerk of the said court held at Pittsburg.” Mr. ELLIS stated that, in 1802, a petition had been presented to Congress, for the establishment of a Court at Williamsport. After considerable delay, a law was passed, by which eight counties were taken from the £astern I)istrict, and attached to the Western District of Pennsylvania. The court for the Western District had The bill referred to in the instractions, is intended to provide for the removal of causes pending and untried at Philadelphia, to the Western District. It was necessary to give the House some reason for the removal. whoever was acquainted with the geography of Pennsylvania, knew that a range of mountains, forty miles in extent, intervened between Philadelphia and Pittsburg, and a similar range between Pittsburg and Williamsport.