[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

but then the West had outgrown this arrangement, both in population and territory, and now demand an increased care of the General Government. He urged them to grant something—any thing ; for that any change was better than the present condition of things. Mr Eatox said he believed he should be found correct in stating, that more than one fourth of the suits at present pending in the Supreme Court, were for the states beyond the Allegany mountain ; of which a large proportion were for the states of Tennessee and Kentucky. This he thought was an important consideration, yet they were told it was time enough yet. Year after year the same language had been been held, wait yet a little louger, and by and by it shall be seen what can be done for you. The gentlemen from Virginia, who were so securely provided for, might well hold such a language as this. Comfortably seated by a warm fire, they might well say to the cold and half starved pilgrim wandering on his way, go hence and trouble us not, and when the morning comes we will inquire what can be done for you; in the mean time he dies! Twice or thrice bad a bill extending relief, gone from the Senate to the House, and failed in its progress. Again we attempt it, and are told, Wait yet another year, until we can consider what is right and proper to be done; give us a little more time—another year for deliberation. The people of the West, he said, were certainly laboring under great grievances in relation to their Judiciary; six or eight hundred suits pending on the dockets of two states only, Tennessee and Kentucky, most conclusively prove, that no where was relief more demanded, or where remedy should be more speedily applied. Another matter, he said, merited consideration ; it was, that most of the cases which come up from the West for revision and correction, depended upon local law, and were not to be accurately understood but by those who had grown up with the system, or had been a long time conversant with it; and yet for years past they had been compelled to bring up cases here to the metropolis, apart from that advantage, to be decided by Judges who had little or no information of the law which regulated those decisions. Many suits decided in the Courts below, were under $2,000, which authorized an appeal, and many which were above this amount were to be submitted to, for the reason that the suitors were Rot in a situation to encounter the heavy expense incident to a trial here. If, under these circumstances, mistakes and errors were committed, there was no alternative but submission. Of these things the people of the West had complained until they were indeed wearied with complaining; and their grief was the greater, because, while their condition was so wretched, they beheld other portions of the country fully and amply provided for. In his opinion, it did not comport with that strict and impartial justice which should characterize the Congress of the United States, to refuse relief for those crying inconveniences under which the western people had so long labored. Patience and long suffering had been theirs, and still they are told to wait yet a little longer. He concluded, by expressing a hope that the bill would not be postponed. The question being taken on the indefinite postponement of the bill, it was decided in the negative, by yeas and nays, as follows: YEAS.–Messrs. Barbour, Barton, Branch, Clayton, Cobb, Edwards, Elliott, Findlay, King, of N. Y. Lowrie, Macon, Mills, Taylor, Tazewell, Van Buren, Van Dyke –16. NAYS.–Messrs. Bell, Benton, Bouligny, Brown, Chandler, Dickerson, Eaton, Gaillard, Holmes, of Maine, Holmes, of Miss. Jackson, Johnson, of Ken. Johnston, of Lou. Kelly, King, of Alab. Knight, Lanman, Lloyd, of Mass. McLean, Noble, Palmer, Parrott, Ruggles, Seymour, Smith, Talbot, rhomas, Williams—28,

The question then recurring on the motion to re-commit the bill with instructions, The Senate adjourned.


Mr. HEMPHILL, from the Committee on Roads and Canals, reported a bill, declaring the assent of Congress to an act of the General Assembly of Virginia, therein mentioned; which was twice read, and ordered to be engrossed and read a third time to-morrow.

Mr. HEMPHILL explained, very briefly, the object of the bill, and moved that it be ordered to be engrossed for a third reading.

Mr. COCKE asked for the reading of the bill. [It was read accordingly..] He then wished to know why the assent of Congress was required at all. This canal surely did not run through the District of Columbia. He ob

jected to the bill, as proceeding on the principle that

the United States have power to make what improvements they please in the several states—a principle to which he could never consent, as it interfered with the rights of the states, and had never been confided to Congress by the people. Mr. ARCHER, of Virginia, explained the nature of the bill, and protested against entertaining the opinion respecting the rights of Congress, which was supposed by the gentleman from Tennessee to be involved in the bill. The reason why Congress was called upon to give its consent to this bill was, that the contemplated improvements on the Appomattox river, were on the tide waters, and so might be held to be within the admiralty jurisdiction of the General Government. The bill did not ask the aid of Congress, nor did it settle any question of power, but was merely meant to meet and remove the objections of those who doubted the power of the state of Virginia to interfere with the waters within the admiralty jurisdiction of the General Government. If the Jurisdiction of a state did extend (which he was not prepared to deny,) over the tide waters of its rivers, then the act would only be supererogatory, and could do no harm. But the community would never spend its money in improving that stream unless it had some security that the General Government would not afterwards. interfere on the ground of jurisdiction. The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading to-morrow. Mr. WRIGHT, of Ohio, offered the following resolution, viz: Resolved, That the Committee on Roads and Canals be instructed to inquire into the expediency of granting to the State of Ohio such sections of land, now owned by the United States, as shall be intersected in the location of the Canals lately authorized to be made in that state; or so much of said sections as remain unsold. Mr. WRIGHT said, that, in offering this resolution to the consideration of the House, he deemed it proper for him to state, for the information of the House, that the Legislature of Ohio, within a month past, with a unanimity almost unparalleled, and highly creditable, had passed acts providing for the connexion of the waters of Ohio with those of Lake Erie, and the city of Cincinnati with the fertile country back of it, by canal navigation. Provision had been made to raise the necessary funds, and to commence the work during the ensuing season, and to prosecute it with all practicable expedition. The whole extent of the canals authorized, including navigable feeders, was about four hundred miles. It would be recollected that, in the new States west, the public lands were not vested in the state authorities, but in the General Government; and that these states are inhibited in the legislation, preceding their admission into the Union, from interfering with the primary disposition of the soil. It will be seen, therefore, that,


[ocr errors]

in prosecuting these works, difficulties may be encountered at the commencement, insurmountable without Congressional enactment, from the want of authority to enter upon, and construct a Canal through the Lands of *he United States. The lands along the contemplated line of the Canals are mostly disposed of; only a few scattered lots or sections remain unsold. They are all surveyed into small lots or sections, of not exceeding one mile square each. In this state of things, my object in submitting the resolution is to obtain authority for the state to enter upon and construct their Canals upon such of the United States' Lands as may be intersected in locating the Canals, and to obtain a grant for the use of the Canals, of the grounds and materials necessary for the Canals, of the unsold parts of the lots or sections over which the Canals may pass. The resolution was agreed to.


The resolution yesterday offered by Mr. LIVINGSTON, was again read, requiring the names of persons holding unclaimed dividends of U. S. stock.

In support of this resolution, Mr. LIVINGSTON observed that the House had, some time since, on a resolution offered by him, directed the Secretary of the Treasury to make, in substance, the communication now required. That officer had complied with the call, but had presented to the House merely the aggregate amount of dividends unclaimed. There was certainly a strong call upon the justise of the House to obtain a more detailed statement. The report informs us that

there is, in the Treasury, the amount of $226,000 in di: | dividends there—and, should they

vidends of this description.

Unclaimed Stock Dividends.

Why was this amount suf. all, they were to benefit a valuable institution.

[FEB. 15, 1825.

The second part of the resolution, Mr. L. said, proposed to call on the Secretary of the Treasury, for the names of all those persons who drew the dividends of stock, on standing powers of attorney. This would lead to the detection of frauds, if any existed, in the drawing of dividends upon stock. As matters now stood, the temptation to fraud was certainly very strong.. .

Mr. STORRS, of New York, opposed the resolution, not because he wished to withhold information from this, House, or from the public, but, because he doubted the right of this House to disclose what was a matter of confidence and of private concern. In every moneyed institution, the relative interest of different stockholders was a confidential thing : and they would have reason to complain, if the confidence thus reposed in the institu. tion was violated, unless from some great and pressing . necessity. The resolution also calls for the names of all persons holding standing powers of attorney from stock. ilolders. of what imaginable use could this be, unless it was to gratify curiosity? If any of those powers of so torney were forged, the House had nothing to do with it. Persons offending were amenable to the laws. The measure appeared, therefore, to have no practical utili. ty. As to publishing a list of all the unclaimed divi. dends, every gentleman must be aware what a scene t speculation and fraud would be produced by such a pub: lication. The evils attending the measure were obvious, and were such as not only to counterbalance, but far.” exceed the possible benefits of it. It would be better to leave all these matters to private interest. Many peo sons might have their private reasons for leaving the:

never be claimed at At all

fered to remain there It must be owing to ignorance events, there was no pressing necessity which required

or mistake on the part of those entitled to receive it. This question was, whether the United States could honestly avail itself of either the one or the other, to retain the amount * The money does the United States no good. It is nominally, to be sure, in the Treasury, but it is actually in the bank of the United States. The bank has long been trading upon it, and will, no doubt, continue to trade upon it, until the names of the holders of these dividends shall be published. He had heard an objection urged by an officer of the bank, that the amount was made up of small items, the interest of which would, in many cases, be only a few cents a year. He considered this objection as amounting to little. He thought there must be among them some large items, to make up such an amount as was reported. But if it were not so, the officers of the bank were paid for their time and their services; and though the account might be minute and;troublesome, the trouble it might occasion was not to be put in competition with the benfit likely to result. to receive these dividends, even when they amounted only to a few cents, ought to be published. In a course of years these cents would amount to dollars, and might be greatly needed by those who now ignorantly suffered them to lie unclaimed. They might be owned by a person who died abroad, and his heirs be ignorant that he held any stock. They might be owned by insolvents, whose creditors were not apprised of the fact. It had also been objected, that such a publication might lead to frauds; that persons would come forward with false powers of attorney, and receive what did not belong to them. But, Mr. L. said, if this objection was worth any thing, did it not apply with still greater force to the case which now existed The names of these stockholders were known to some persons now ; but they were very few. Among them were the clerks in the bank. These persons were not always discreet, and if they were disposed to avail themselves of the information thus possessed, they had the opportunity of committing frauds without the remotest danger of detection.

The names of all the persons entitled

the exposure of the private concerns of individuals, * proposed by this resolution.

Mir Livingston observed, in reply, that the object tions which had been urged against the resolution wer; such as he had anticipated, and had already endeavored to answer; with the exception of one, and that was 9". of the most extraordinary objections that he could well conceive. The gentleman tells the House that * names of the holders of this stock are a matter of confidence, and that the holders would complain it that confidence was violated. This was the first time he had ever heard such a sentiment, and he was unable to * ceive on what it was founded. A matter of confiden" when a man subscribes openly, and makes the asso ment of his stock at a public office Where is the con: fidence 13ut, if not expressed, this confidence was sal to be implied. But how implied, and on what Pro ple what injury is done to the stockholder by !. iishing his name? The gentleman from New Yo spoke as if some great evil, too great and too obvio"" need being stated, were to follow this diolo. evil so great as to counteract all the benefit, if indee any could result from it. That gentleman asked wo the benefit of it could be I answer, said Mr. L. ** be, that this Government shall not do injustice, and shall not continue to hold what does not belong.” " | this nothing? Is it nothing that a great nation shoul disdain to take advantage of the inadvertance of lo o citizens? But, it is said that it will open a door to * Suppose that, in a few cases, this should happen. . pose there should be one case in ten—would the so in the one case countervail the benefit of doing jo". and perhaps of relieving want in nine other cases . L. again insisted on the danger of fraud being greate f now that the names were known only to a few, . they were published to all the world. He "Po". oct the resolution by some further observations with .. to the second part of it, and concluded by insisting to it would neither lead to a breach of confidence." the commission of fraud. - ition to

Mr. sharpe, of New York, spoke in oppo"


[ocr errors]

Feb. 15, 1825.] Unclaimed Stock Dividends—Georgia Militia Claims. [H. of R.

the resolution. He insisted that money, in the situation
of that referred to, was like money in bank. The clerks
of all banks are sworn to secrecy, and a general confi-
dence pervaded the institution. Moneys deposited, or
dividends on stock, were always suffered to lie until the
owner called for them. If the institution was ready to
pay it, then it was all that justice required.
ižut the gentleman wished to spread before the world
the name in which every unclaimed dividend stood on
the books of the bank. The consequence was not hard
to be foreseen. It would appear, for instance, that a
man named A B owned stock many years ago. It had
never been claimed, and the presumption was, that the
man was dead. Why, sir, said Mr. S. you would have
applications every day of the year. One man will come
and say, “My name is A B, the stock must have been
owned by my father. Another would come and say,
“My name is B. C, this must have been the stock of my
grandfather's.” It does not stop even here. Your list
of names goes to Great Britain, and in a short time you
will have powers of attorney in great abundance, im-
ported by every ship that enters your ports He be-
lieved the resolution would lead to little good, and to
many and great evils. Mr. S. concluded by moving
that it lie on the table; but withdrew the motion to ac-
Mr. LIVINGSTON, who rose to explain one fact,
which seemed to have been misunderstood. The sums
referred to in the resolution are not made use of by the
United States. If gentlemen would look ut the reports
of the Ways and Means for each year, they would find
that these sums are never included in the annual esti-
mate of the national resources. They were nominally in
the Treasury, but actually in the bank. But if they
were in the Treasury, and the United States could make
ten thousand times as much by keeping them there,
would it be honest to do so * Would it be honorable 2
He could not conceive with the gentleman from New
York, that publicity led to fraud.
Mr. STORRS observed, that, though this stock had
been originally in the hands of men of property, yet it
had since passed through many hands, and probably not
twenty of the original certificates remained in the hands
of the subscribers. The question was, whether this
House is going to take the guardianship of all manner
of persons who hold this stock Whether it will inter-
fere with this fund in the Treasury, and pay it out before
it is called for Such a course of things, he believed,
would not be for the good, but for the injury of the
stockholders. Their names are to be published professed-
ly out of kindness to them, but in reality to cause then
to be deprived of it. The gentleman from Louisiana had
jo. idea of any thing like confidence in mat-
ters of stock. But did that gentleman know, that, in
other institutions, this is held to be a matter so strictly
confidential, that, when one person subscribes his name
to a receipt for a dividend, &c., a sheet of paper is laid
over the page, that he may not see any other name or
any other amount than that which he himself writes.
The resolution therefore goes to expose concerns of a
private and confidential nature. It is said that the
clerks in the bank are acquainted with these amounts.
That was true. So was the Secretary of the Treasury
acquainted with them, so may many subordinate officers
of the Treasury be. But all these are the confidential
officers of the Government, and it is not to be presumed
that they violate its confidence, whether bound by oath
or not.
Mr. STORRs then moved to lay the resolution on the
table; and the motion prevailed, by a large majority.


to recommit the report of the Military Committee on the Georgia Militia Claims, with instructions to report a bill for the payment of them. Mr. HAMILTON said that he would not detain the House long in the very few remarks which he had to make in vindication of the report of the Committee on Military Affairs, in reply to the objections which the gentleman from Georgia had urged in opposition to that report. He said that, whilst he admitted that no claim before Congress, ought unhesitatingly to be discarded by the circumstance of its having been, time after time, rejected by the committees to which it may have been referred ; nevertheless, the fact of reiterated rejection was calculated to produce a well-founded distrust of the justice of a claim so circumstanced, and inust produce a disposition, on the part of the House, not to reverse previous decisions, except on the discovery of some new matters of fact, which may have escaped a previous in. vestigation. As it respects the claims under consideration, they have been before Congress, in various shapes, trom 1797 to the present period, and have been uniformly rejected by the committees of this House, with the exception of a favorable report of a select committee, to whose consideration they were once confided. In 1803, the Committee on Claims made an able report, which may be said to have formed the basis on which the Georgia Militia Claims have ever since been rejected, on the ground that their complete payment were consummated under the treaty of cession between the United States and Georgia, executed the 24th of April, 1802. Before, Mr. H. said, he came to consider the stipulation of this treaty, which it is supposed, had relation to these claims, he would remark, which it was im. portant for the House distinctly to understand, that the validity, or justice of the claim, independently of this stipulation, had never been fully admitted by the Government of the United States, that the largest portion of them were reported, by the Agent of the War oepartment as unauthorized; and, with such a designation, they yet stand on the records of the House, and on the files of the War Ośce. In a word, of the claims which, by the motion of the gentleman from Georgia, the Committee on Military Affairs are instructed to report a bill to provide payment, only $13,159 63 are called authorized, out of $142,535 29. The remaining sun of $129,375 66, being for services, which, in the language of the special Agent, employed by the War Department, Colonel Constant Freeman, “were not considered, either by the Executive or himself, as fully authorized.” This discrimination resulted from the following cir. cumstances: In 1792, the frontiers of Georgia were seriously menaced by Indian incursions. The then Secretary of War, Gen. Knox, authorized the Governor of that state “to take such measures, for the defence of the same as might be indispensable,” and, very shortly after, communicated to the Governor the views of the President, as to the amount of the militia force which might be necessary for the security of the frontiers of Georgia, in addition to the regular troops which were, at that time, in that quarter, under the command of Major Gaither. The additional force, thus suggested as sufficient, were one hundred horse and one hundred foot. The “case of the serious invasion of Georgia by large bodies of Indians,” the Secretary remarked, at the conclusion of his order, “must be left to the provisions of the Constitution of the United States.” The author. |ized claims, anounting to $13,159 63, may, therefore, be considered as founded on the services of the one hundred horse and one hundred foot, ordered by the

The House then passed to the unfinished business of Secretary; and the unauthorized claims, a noun ng to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

which the Executive of Georgia exercised under the presumed instructions of the Secretary of War, or the provisions of the Constitution: As the ground assumed by the committee, in their report, is the one so often taken, that these claims have been finally settled under the treaty of cession, Mr. H. said, he would not go into a minute recapitulation, of the correspondence, to shew that the unauthorized claims were always considered as liable to objection, in consequence of a belief, on the part of the General Government, that the Governor of Georgia had not exercised a proper discretion in calling out troops, the levies of which were, at times, unjustifiably large and frequent, and, consequently, entailing unnecessary expense on the United States. If any proof were wanting of this fact, it is to be found in the letter of the 22d February, 1794, in which the Secretary of War informs the Governor of Georgia “that a body of militia had been kept up, on the frontiers of Georgia, during a greater part of the last year, greatly exceeding the number, which, according to the information received at the War Office, would seem to have been required by the state of things in that quarter.” This number was represented from 1,000 to 1,200; and, in this communication, the Secretary employs the caution of reverting again to the force which the President considered adequate to the defence of Georgia, which he was willing to consider as raised and continued in the service by his authority, viz.: 100 horse and 100 foot. But this was not the only exception which was probably taken to the claims. The correspondence between the federal and state authorities, as well as the report of Col. Freeman, discloses the fact that, notwithstanding the peremptory instructions of the Government of the United States, that the Indian territory was not to be

invaded, that incursions did take place, which induced the Secretary of War, in his letter to Col. Freeman, of the 5th of September, 1793, to order him “not to concur in any measures, at the expense of the United States, for invading the Creeks.” And, in relation to the facts in connection with this branch of the subject, Col. Freeman says, in his report on the unauthorized claims made to the War Department, on the 25th of October, 1802, “the periods in which these unauthorized claims are made, are particularly marked in the history of that state, for misunderstandings between the Creeks and the frontier settlers. There were faults on both sides. The Indians were continually stealing horses, murdering, and doing other injuries to the inhabitants, who, in retaliation, made incursions into their country. Such were the Oakmulgee expedition under General Twiggs, in June, 1.93, which consisted of about 750 horse and foot; the destruction of the Oakfuskee village, by Col. Melter, in September, who had under his command about eighty-eight officers and men; the detachment of 125 men, who marched under the orders of Major Brenton, against the Little Chehaw Village, on Flint River; and several others of less note, which were made by volunteer parties of militia. It has been supposed that these expeditions have operated as objections to admitting the militia claims. . Although they might have been irregular, it is certain that some of the detachments who were then in service, afforded great security to the peaceable inhabitants on the frontiers.”

If a portion of these unauthorized claims comprised expeditions involved in these excursions into the enemy's territory, contrary to the express orders of the President, it may well be supposed, said Mr. H. that very serious difficulty would have been made by the Government as to their admission. But these circumstances form not the only objections which were entertained as

to the validity of the claims in question. Both from Col. Freeman’s report, and the correspondence between the Governor and Col. Gaither, who commanded the fedeTal troops, it appears that the militia were sometimes em

bodied without that attention to the forms of service which were required, which led to some unpleasant conflicts of authority between Col. Gaither and the state functionaries. It is evident, from the letters of this officer, that he did not conceive that any serious invasion of the Indians was threatened, but merely predatory incursions, and, in November, 1792, he thinks even a less force than that designated by the Secretary of War, would be suffi. cient for the protection of the frontiers; that is two troops of cavalry, instead of 100 horse and 100 foot. that the militia of Georgia were assembled with irregularity, is highly probable, from another fact which appears in the correspondence between Col. Freeman and Major Gai. ther, in their respective letters of the 17th and 19th Oc. tober, 1793. The former makes an application to the latter “to appoint some fit and proper person to mus. ter and inspect the militia,” to which Major Gaither re. plies : “Your's of the 17th inst. I have received, and declare to you, if there are any militia in arms under the authority of the United States, in Georgia, I am ignorant thereof. When I received your instructions from the Secretary of War, I wrote immediately for information, which I daily expect to receive, and for that reason wish to postpone the mustering the militia of Georgia, until am properly informed. As there are difficulties which may arise in this business, it is highly necessary it should be delayed.” Mr. H. said that he had thus, as compendiously a possible, endeavored to shew, that these unauthorized claims had probably been suspended for other reasons than any disposition on the part of the General Govern. ment to do Georgia injustice. He then remarked, that it was much to be lamented the conflagration of the War Office had probably destroyed many documents illus’ trating the views and objections of the government on this subject, from the earliest period at which their payment had been pressed. But, as he had before remark ed, if the House came to the same conclusion with the committee, that these claims, “authorized,” as well as “unauthorized,” were provided for and paid under the treaty of cession of 1802, it was not very material toi"; quire whether the inferences which he had deduced were sound or not. Mr. H. said he would now trouble the House with * few remarks in regard to the treaty of cession betwo the United States and Georgia, for the purpose of,8. ing a brief exposition of the reasons which induced the committee on Military Affairs to arrive unanimous.” the same conclusion with all standing committees" House, who had ever had the claims under considera. tion—that they had been fully cancelled under the * lations of that agreement. But he would, before he discussed this point, admit, (for he was bound in candor to make the admission) that he believed, but for the to of cession of 1802, and the consideration for which * amount was paid under that treaty, there could be no substantial objection to the allowance of the claims in question, as he had no doubt the services had bee" bona fide and patriotically rendered; and, although."o. larities may have been committed in relation * hasty and disproportionably large levies of troops, yet the are unavoidably incident to the employment of oil. and the occasionally offensive operations of theo of Georgia were inseparable from the exigencies." : savage war carried on on their own frontier. If, hows er, the debt has been paid by the treaty, the discussio" is at an end. gthis treaty was concluded in April 1892, and pr vides that the Government of the United State" ". pay to the state of Georgia, out of the nett.P. the sales of lands, the sum of one million."" o tue and fifty thousand dollars, “as a o o: expenses incurred by said state, in relatio"," ritory.” When this subject was referred to the o tee of claims in 1803, this committee very P*

Feb. 15, 1825.] Georgia Militia Claims. [H. of R.

rected a letter to the then Attorney General, (Mr. Lincoln,) who had been a Commissioner on the part of the U. States in the negotiation and conclusion of this Treaty. His reply to this call, which has been read, I will not trouble the House with at length, but there is one passage in it which I wish to press upon their consideration with some emphasis. He says, “It is perfectly recol“lected in the course of the negotiation with the Com“missioners on the part of Georgia, at one or more in“terviews with them, they stated, as a reason why an “allowance to a certain amount ought to be made “them out of the proceeds of the ceded Territory, that “their state then had a debt, which had been incurred for “military services in defence of the state, which the “United States, on application, had unreasonably re“fused to allow them.” Now, as the identical claims were at that time the only claims of a military, as well as pecuniary character that Georgia had presented, or that

the United States could be supposed to have unrea

sonably refused to allow, it is a fair matter of inference, that the Commissioners on the part of the United States were induced to make the large allowance in money, in consequence ef their regarding these claims as actually and justly pressed on their consideration. Besides, it would be a most extraordinary presumption to suppose, that, at a moment when they were about to negotiate a Treaty, that the only serious matters in dispute between the two sovereigns should have been omitted, and when the services on which the claims in question are grounded, were expenses as well “in relation to said Territory” as to the State at large. The truth is, that it was somewhat unprecedented, as had been admitted by the gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. Fonsyth) that the United States should pay any pecuniary bonus to a State for her cession of Territory ; and, Mr. H. said, he suspected it was the object of th Commissioners to bring all the claims which Georgia might have on the General Government, under the cover of these ‘ expenses in relation to said Territory,” in order that Congress might be reconciled, apparently, to so large an appropriation. It is true, that a gentleman of Georgia, (Mr. Thomp

son,) who, some days since, addressed the House, exhi

bited a tabular statement of the appropriations of land, which the state of Georgia had made to certain troops

she had raised from '83 to '87, before the formation of the

Constitution of the United States; but even these were not exclusively expenses applicable to the Territory in question, and none of them expenses for which the United “tates could be considered as bound for reimbursement, under any circumstances. This statement, which the gentleman had exhibited in the form of a sum, he had made to exceed a million four hundred thousand dollars, but on assumptions which he, Mr. H. thought entirely gratuitous. In the first place, he had assumed the quantity of land appropriated by the Legislature of Georgia as the quantity actually given, and next he had placed the valuation of the land (at that time situated in almost a savage wilderness,) at fifty cents per acre This, Mr. H said he conceived, was an high valuation ; some recent purchases had been made by the United States on an average of less than seven cents per acre, of land not now more remote from the settlements of our citizens, than those lands in question were at that time. He believed if we even gave Georgia credit for all these expenses, on a calculation founded on what she actually expended, enough would still be left, as a balance of the million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, to cover and provide for the claims under consideration. Mr. HAMilton said, it was far from his intention to impeach the testimony of the Commissioners from Georgia, (to their memories he was as willing to pay a tribute of respect as any one) who had declared that, according to their understanding, these claims were not included. But it will be recollected, that their testimony was given

some time after that of Mr. Lincoln's, who, on the other hand, declares that, according to his best recollection, and every rational probability, they were included.— Now it might so happen, that, whilst the United States’ Commissioners believed that they were providing for these, and all other claims which could, in anywise be considered as expenses “in relation to said Territory,” the Georgia Commissioners might have entertained a different impression ; yet, as our Commissioners did so treat, and were induced to stipulate for so large a sun to be paid, it would seem that we ought not, on light grounds, to impugn the testimony of our own agent, whose very caution and reserve prove the great circumspection with which he had been disposed to give his evidence. Mr. HAMILtoN said, that the Committee on Military Affairs had not been content with the documentary testimony on the files of the House, but had applied to Mr. Gallétin, who had been a United States' Commissioner with Mr. Lincoln. But, unfortunately, the lapse of time (20 | years) had effaced from the memory of that gentleman all recollection of the circumstances attending the | negotiation; and Mr. HAMilton said, that, on making a personal application at the Department of State, with a view of ascertaining whether there were on record any letters “comprising a protocol or schedule of the nature of the expenses,” &c. in question, he had been entirely unsuccessful. The Committee on Military Af. fairs had, therefore, been constrained to take Mr. Lincoln's letter as furnishing a cotemporary construction of the treaty, and as the best evidence within their reach. But the gentlemen from Georgia contend that these are not claims of the state of Georgia, but of her citizens, who have never surrendered the liability of the United States to them. On this subject, Mr. H. said, that he thought the principle was clear, that, if the United States had suspended their payment on the ground that the Governor of the state of Georgia had exceeded the instructions and discretion given to him, as to the manner in which the Indian wars of '92, '93 and '94, were to be conducted, the Federal Government might fairly regard her as chargeable with the expenses of these wars, and yet be disposed to pay them “as expenses in relation to the ceded Territory,” and as a part consideration for the acquisition. It does not follow, because a state exceeds its authority in the employment of troops, for which the General Government will not pay, that the state is, itself discharged from all obligation to its citizens who are thus employed. She may well be presumed to incur, in such an event, an ulterior responsibility. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Foitsyth,) has said that the Treaty Cession has been immensely profitable to the United States. It ought to be recollected that this account is not yet closed. The United States have taken the cession with an onerous stipulation “to extinguish the Indian title within her territory.” This had already been partly accomplished, at a considerable cost, and a large territory, much larger than one state in our confederacy, remains to be extinguished, of great fertility, where civilization is progressing among the Indians, and with it, as its inseparable incidents, producing a higher attachment to property, by a multiplication of its objects, as the sphere of rational enjoyment becomes enlarged. When this section of country, comprehending one of the most fertile portions of Georgia, is purchased from the Indians, in conformity with the treaty-stipulation, it will be ample time to state the account of profit and loss. He trusted, however onerous the burden might be, that the Government of the United States would be able to fulfil, on terms satisfactory to Georgia, its stipulations on this subject. It has also been urged, said Mr. H. that the United States impliedly acknowledged the war as her own, by paying, in the course of its progress, the expenses of the Commissariat and Quartermaster’s Department. These expenses, Mr. H. said, were undoubtedly paid by the

« ForrigeFortsett »