Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Senate.]

Indian Tribes.

[FEB. 22, 1825.

the people of the United States, and not because this Senate is about to add another portrait to be fixed in the rotundo of the Capitol. The object of this bill certainly ought to be the commemoration and perpetuation of the venerable Washington, for the benefit of the present age and generations to come after us, and to make lasting impressions from his examples and precepts, upon the present and future age. Can this be done by another portrait in the rotundo 2– If the honorable member from Massachusetts (Mr. Mills) and from the Select Committee, who reported the bill, will change it and appropriate the four thousand five hundred dollars, under the superintendence of some skilful man, to collect and cause to be digested, and printed, the acts of Washington, both military and civil, he would vote for it, upon the condition that, as the money is taken from the people, they should derive the advantage. Mr. Noble said, early impressions were lasting, and he would discriminate between rich and poor; and when the work was completed and printed, he would distribute them among the latter: the former could buy for themselves, and he would extend them to the cottages in the pine hills in North Carolina, to the Western forests, and every portion of this Union. Parents cosíld then read and make early impressions upon their children of the political, moral, and religious worth, of Washington, which never can be done by fixing up pictures and portraits in the Capitol. On the question, “Shall this bill be engrossed for a third reading o" it was decided in the affirmative, by Yeas and Nays, as follows: YEAS. Messrs. Barton, Benton, Clayton, Eaton, Elliott, Findlay, Hayne, Holmes, of Maine, Holmes, of Mississippi, Jackson, Johnson, of Kentucky, Johnston, of Louisiana, Kelly, Lloyd, of Massachusetts, Lowrie, Mills, Parrott, Ruggles, Seymour, Smith, Van Buren—21. NAYS.–Messrs. Bell, Bouligny, Branch, Chandler, Cobb, D’Wolf, Dickerson, Edwards, King, of Alabama, King, of New York, Lanman, M'Ilvaine, M'Lean, Macon, Noble, Palmer, Taylor, Tazewell, Thomas, Williams—20.

INDIAN Tribes.

On motion of Mr. BENTON, the Senate resumed, as in committee of the whole, the bill for the preservation and civilization of the Indian tribes within the United States.

Mr. ELLIOTT, of Georgia, rose, and, as a member of the Committee on Indian Affairs, asked the attention of the Senate to a few remaks which he proposed to make, in explanation and support of the objects of this bill. The measures proposed in this bill, said Mr. E. have, for their object, the preservation of the Indian tribes within the United States, and the improvement of their condition; as well as the advancement of the wealth and power of the Union. interesting both to the philanthropist and the statesman, justified a special message from the President of the United States, and can hardly fail to secure the grave attention of this body. So long as the Indian tribes within our settlements were strong enough to wage war upon the states, and to pursue their trade of blood with the tomahawk and scalping knife, it was neither the policy nor the duty of the Federal Government to consult their comfort, or to devise means for their preservation The contest, then, was for the existence of our infant settlements, and for the attainment of that power by which a civilized and Christian people might safely occupy this promised land of civil and religious liberty. It was then to be regarded as a struggle for supremacy, between savages and civilized men, between infidels and christians. But now, sir, when, by successive wars, and the more fatal operation of other causes, hereafter to be noticed, their power has departed from them, and they are reduced to comparative insignificance, it well becomes the magnanimity of a humane and generous

The attainment of objects so.

Government, to seek out the causes of their continued deterioration, and, as far as practicable, to arrest its progress, by the application of the most appropriate reme. dies. To any one who has carefully attended to the his tory of the tribes within the old states, it must be appa. rent, that their uniform decline results from causes grow. ing out of their location. So true is this position, that, while you can scarcely point to a nation of Indians wasting away, either numerically or physically, in their native wilderness, I know of no tribes within the states, sur. rounded by a white population, who have not declined in both these respects, and who are not in manifest danger of extinction. What, sir, has become of the immense bordes of these people, who once occupied the soil of the older states ? In New England, where numerous and warlike tribes once so fiercely contended for supre. macy with our forefathers, but 2500 of their descendants now remain! And these are mixed with negro blood; dispirited and degraded / Of the powerful league of the Six Nations, so long the scourge and terror of New York, only about 5,000 souls survived: While in Jersey, Penn. sylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, they are either entirely extinct, or their numbers are so reduced as to have escaped the notice of the Department. In Vir. ginia, Mr. Jefferson informs us, that there were in 1607, between “the sea coast and the mountains, and from the Potomac to the most Southern waters of James river, upwards of forty tribes of Indians,”—now there are but forty-sever, individuals within the whole state! From North Carolina none are returned—and only four hundred and fifty from South Carolina! While in Georgia, where, thirty years, since, there were not less than thirty thousand souls, within her present limits there are not now more than half that number. That many of these people have removed, and others perished by the sword in the frequent wars which occurred in the progress of our settlements in all these states, I am free to admit. But where are the hundreds of thousands, with their descendants, who neither removed nor were thus destroyed Sir, like a promontory of sand, exposed to the ceaseless encroachments of the ocean, they have been gradually wasting away before the current of the white population, which set in upon them from every quarter; and unless speedily removed by the provision: of this bill, beyond the influence of this cause, a remnan, will not long be found, to point you to the graves of their ancestors, or to relate the sad story of their misfo tunes! From this view of the subject, sir, I am brough to the conclusion, that two independent communities people, differing in color, language, habits, and intereo cannot long subsist together—but that the more intelli. gent and powerful will always destroy the other. This, it must be confessed, is a sombre picture of human * ture—but it is a sketch from real life; and the states” will legislate for man as he is, and not as he ought to be. Now, communities not independent of each other, "o differ in most of these respects, and yet not only suo together, but, to a certain extent, increase ano bette: their condition. Some of the South American India” although conquered and reduced to slavery by the spo iards, were not destroyed. Their tribes are still extant and, having commingled their blood with that of ther conquerors, they are at this time an improved and . erful people. The African slaves, too, in the Unite states, are a distinct and separate people, boo o pidly increase, and are daily improving in condition. t these instances, the mutual dependence which e. creates, in some sort, a community of interests. o; two communities of people, wholly independent of : other, and differing essentially in character and o o must find their feelings and interests in Pe"Po" i. sion. To confine such discordant materials. there o: within the limits of the same state, cannot fail to ... der endiess contentions. And these, as in all "oo"

troversies, where physical power is made the arbiter 0

Feb. 22, 1825.]

right, must ever result in the discomfiture of the weak. er party; who, at length, dispirited and drgraded under a sense of comparative weakness, and increasing wants, become idle and vicious, seeking in the bottle that gratification, which they once enjoyed in the chase—and this degradation, and these habits, lay the foundation of their subsequent deterioration. And, sir, if it be so difficult to preserve the Indian population within the states, from gradual but certain ex. tinction, owing to the operation of causes inseparable from their location, how can we hope to promote either their moral or intellectual improvement, under such circumstances Confidence in the sincerity and good intentions of those who essay to teach and improve us, is essential to success in the undertaking. But how can confidence exist amidst the daily irritations which grow out of the unhappy situation of these people 2 Are they yet in the hunter state 2. Their sustenance, then, depends on the quantity of game that may be found within their limits. But this is daily decreasing, by the encrouchments of the whites, who penetrate their forests, and kill off the animals on which they subsist. Have they advanced to the condition of herdsmen Their stock pass the boundaries of their territory; they are found to trespass upon the property of the whites, and they are destroyed. Nor, sir, is this all; new acquisitions of territory are repeatedly urged upon them, and, savage as they are, they are not so devoid of connon sense, as not to argue from the past to the future, and to anticipate the fate which awaits them, in the traditions of the powerful tribes who once commanded the banks of the Potomac and Delaware, and whose names alone survive / Under the pressure of such circumstances, it is idle to look for any solid or extended improvement in the Indian population within the states. A few of them, of mixed blood, may acquire some knowledge, and more property; but the great mass of this population cannot be expected to escape the causes of decline and degradation which have heretofore produced such uniform results. Under this impression, and with a view so sustain and improve the Indians now within the states, this bill was reported. It proposes to accomplish these benevolent objects by the purchase of a tract of country lying between the Missouri and Arkansas rivers, as a permanent possession for these people. This tract is said by vir. Storrs, who has explored it, to be very fertile, well watered, and abounding in game. But I will give you his own language, from a letter lately received by the Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs. In reference to the plan of colonizing the Indians, he says, “Nature could hardly have formed a country more admirably fitted to such a purpose, than that which lies between us and the Arkansas river. It is among the most beautiful and fertile tracts of country I ever saw. Streams lined with timber intersect and beautify it in every direction. There are delightful landscapes, over which Flora has scattered her beauties with a wanton hand; and upon whose bosom innunerable wild animals display their amazing numbers. The Spring clothes this solitude with its richest scenery, and affords a combination which cannot fail to please the eye and delight the imagination. “If a few remnants of our tribes were settled here, embracing, if possible, the Osages and Kanzas, and their Prospect should become flattering others would naturally join them, and form similar establishments; and, in the course of a few years, we should witness the gratioing spectacle of an organized government of indus. trious habits, and peaceful villages, surrounded with *miling fields and domestic herds. As 1 passed through **ślightful region, I could not help regretting that it should be a waste of Nature; and felt a secret assurance that, at some future period, flocks would feed upon its abundant herbage, and a numerous population would

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

derive support from its fertility. It is a part of the country which will not answer our purposes of social intercourse and compact settlements. Gut, for the Indians, hardly any country could afford greater advan. tages than the tract adjoining the Kansas river, the Osage, the Neocio, the Verdigrise, and, perhaps, the Arkansas, below where our route to Mexico crosses i. They could, from those places, procure salt from the salt plains of the Arkansas; and during the incipient state of their progress, before their harvest could be equal to their support, the game would afford them an abundant means of support.” Such is the country proposed to be assigned to the Indians as their future home. It will be sub-divided into surveys of sufficient extent to meet the czigencies of every tribe; and to each will be assigned a separate socation. The whole to form a colony of red men, under the protection and guardianship of the Federal Government. From this territory, all white men will be rigidly excluded, except missionaries, teachers, and artisano, now engaged in their instruction and improvement, or such as may hereafter become necessary for that purpose; and these will be removed and settled with them. Hm this situation, all the wants of such a people will be provided for. No sudden transition from the hunter to the agricultural condition, will be expected by practical men. Such a change must be the work of time, and can be realized only in the descendants of those who shall be removed. These will be sedulously taught, both by precept and example, the value of the cultivation of the earth, on permanent possessions, and under a government of known laws. And, growing up under the influence of such instructions, with minds and morals improved, and relieved fron the debasing associations of their for. mer situation, every hope may be indulged of the most gratifying result. In the mean time, the adult population, upon whose habits and prejudices no very salutary effects could be expected, will find employment and profit in the chase, and in the management and increase of their domestic animals; for which purpose every section of land may have an outlet to the Rocky Mountains, and the privilege of hunting be purchased of the natives. But, here, sir, I will anticipate two objections. The first, that the congregation of so many different tribes of Indians on adjoining tracts, must necessarily lead to wars between them, more ruinous than the collisions they experience with the whites in their present situation. This would probably be the case, were they not sensible of the presence and #. of the Federal Government, to adjust their difficulties, and to put duwn the wrong doer. But it is proposed to have agents among them, men of known principle, well acquainted with the Indian character, respected by them, and anxi. ous for their improvement. These men will act as umpires between the various tribes, and, by a timely adjustment of their quarrels, take away the occasion of wars. And the presence of the military posts, which will be stationed on the Western and Northern limits of this colony, cannot fail to give to such supervisionary law, the efficiency which is anticipated. The second objection is, the danger to be apprehended by the adjoining states, from the power of the Indians thus collected. But, sir, it is to be recollected that these tribes have all experienced the power, and been subdued by the arms of the United States; and that the position which they will occupy, is one which will expose them to the whole Indian population to the North and West of them. Under such circumstances, every motive to be suggested, either by fear or interest, must impel them to the cultivation of peaceful habits, and a close alliance with the United States. This objection, then, is founded upon the supposition, that these Indians will act directly contrary to their obvious interests, and make war upon those whose power they know they cannot resist, and the preservation of which, they feel to be necessary to their

Senate.] Indian

own safety. Now, this is too violent a supposition to be
the foundation of any objection which would require se-
rious refutation. The contemplated removal and settle-
ment of those Indians, therefore, will not endanger ei-
ther their peace or our safety, while it promises to them
an entire exemption from all the causes of deterioration,
under which they now languish. That the civilization
and moral improvement of these people, must be the
necessary consequence of their removal and settlement
as this bill contemplates, I am not prepared to say. But
I do say, Mr. President, unless they are removed from
their present situation, and that very shortly, too, there
will be but few to require this experiment at your
hands—an experiment, which, although it may fail, I be-
lieve to be more full of hope and promise, concerning
the future prospects of this unfortunate race, than any
which has been heretofore attempted.
Thus much I have felt it my duty to say, in reference
to the deep interest I believe the Indians have in the
proposed measures. . But, I have said these measures
would also increase the wealth and power of the Union.
The removal of the Indians beyond the limits of the
states, would leave us in possession of all the lands they
now occupy; and these, from their situation and extent,
must be very valuable. , Almost all the Indian reserva-
tions have been of the best lands; and surrounded, as
they are at this time, by a white population, and improv-
ed by roads, and other facilities of intercourse with the
adjacent country, they would command comparatively
a high price. But these lands form an aggregate of no
less than seventy-seven millions five hundred thousand
acres. Now deduct nine millions five hundred thousand
acres, as lands belonging to Georgia, when the Indian
title shall have been extinguished; and one hundred and
forty-four thousand in possession of the Cahawba Indians,
but which, if surrendered, would belong to South Caro-
lina, and you will have sixty-seven million eight hundred
and fifty-six thousand acres subject to the disposition of
the United States! Suppose this immense tract sold at
only two dollars per acre, a fund would be created of
one hundred and thirty-five millions seven hundred and
twelve thousand dollars! Which, after reimbursing the
Treasury for all j incurred in carrying into effect
the provisions of this bill, would not only be adequate
to the extinction of the national debt, but leave an im-
mense amount at the future disposal of the Government.
But, sir, the wealth and power of the Union will be
still more advanced by the greater compactness of the
population, and the increased cultivation of the soil of
the states, which would be ensured under the operation
of the system. If the wealth of a nation depends upon
the quantity of its surplus productions, whatever has a
te dency to increase these productions, must operate fa-
vorably upon the resources of the community. By the
plan proposed, an immense tract of land, now useless,
would be brought into cultivation, some of which will
produce the most valuable staples, either for use or ex-
portation. Within the states of Georgia, Alabama, Mis-
sissippi, and Tennessee, there are upwards of 33,000,000
of acres of valuable land, that would be redeemed and
brought into cultivation . Most of this soil would grow
cotton, and swell the valuable export of these states to
an astonishing amount. But, sir, what shall I say of the
value of the population which this measure would ensure
to these states ? This Senate must be well aware that
it is not less the policy of the Federal Government than
it is the interest of these states to afford every facility to
the rapid increase of their efficient population. Situat-
ed at the most exposed point of the Union, as two of
these states are, with an entensive sea coast, incapable,
from the nature of its soil, of sustaining but a very sparse
population, they must rely, for their defence, principal-
ly, on the dense population of the interior. Florida, too,
with her immense maritime frontier, will look chiefly to
Georgia and Alabama for aid in time of war. And, as

Tribes. LFEB. 22, 1825. New Orleans was saved in the last war by the power of the adjoining states, so Florida, and the seacoast of Georgia and Alabama, can be successfully defended against future invasion only by the timely augmentation of their physical power. It becomes, then, an object of cardinal interest with the Federal Government, upon whom devolves the high duty of national defence, that everv portion of these states should be filled up with an effective population; and blind, indeed, is that policy, which would continue to appropriate so many millions of acres of land, thus situated, to the unproductive uses of Indian occupancy, regardless alike of the wealth of the nation, and of her means of defence " But, sir, inder pendent of the general policy which so strongly recom. mends this measure, its tendency to fulfil the just ex: pectations of Georgia, in reference to the cession of 1802, should ensure to it the most favorable reception. Twenty-three years have nearly elapsed, since the Union contracted, for a valuable consideration, to extinguish, for the use of Georgia, the Indian title to all the laos within her limits. Knowing the influence and power of the Federal Government, Georgia could not have anticipated the delays which have occurred, not for seen the obstacles which they would have interposed to the ar. complishment of her expectations. And, although fully sensible of the pernicious effects of this procrastination, in the abridgment of her wealth and power, such has been her attachment to the Union, and respect for rs Government, that she has hitherto repressed the fuller. pression of disappointment, in the hope that every new appeal to the justice of the United States would result in the performance of their stipulations. Formerly, her claims were postponed for the convenience of the N* tional Treasury; and, latterly, by representations o' the difficulties of compliance. But now, sir, a plan is offer. ed for your acceptance, free from all these embarro ments. It is proposed to exchange lands beyond the Mississippi for those tracts held by Indians within the states. Should this plan succeed, it will enable the United States not only to discharge their obligations to Georgia, “peaceably, and on reasonable terms,” but to confer a lasting benefit on the Indians thus removed, by giving them a permanent home, for their present preo" ous possessions. In his message on this subject, the Pro sident informs Congress, that a treaty with the Creek Indians is now negotiating, and, “with a reasonok prospect of success.” Although no serious difficulo may now present themselves to the acquisition of the lands, yet, every day's delay is calculated to augmo such as do exist. the attainment of property by a so" individuals of mixed blood, (some of whom own to * plantations, worked by African slaves,) has given." small minority a controlling influence in the count” of the nation. These men become, annually, rich" and more powerful, while the great body of the nation.” impoverished and degraded without game to * on, and unskilled in the arts of civilized life, they?’" fact the menials of this aristocracy, who employ ano.” port them; and who, fully sensible of all the advan, tages resulting to their avarice from the possess” this power and influence, will not easily be, Peo o | to use either in support of a policy which, how”." may be calculated to subserve the interests of the o: of the red population, may ultimately deprive them of the station and emoluments they now enjoy: ". the difficulties which have been experienced in *: with these Indians, have been occasioned by the o ence and intrigues of men of this description, who, ". ing no interests in common with the nation, could . th: expected to sympathise with them. The mass o red population have long been inclined to **** o the al and settlement as this bill proposes; and, o be retreaty with the Creeks succeed, the Indians."

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

session, in exchange for those they shall have surrendered. In fact, a disposition to such a removal and settlement as this bill contemplates, is manifesting itself from various quarters; and many applications for this purpose have been already made to the War Department, by the more intelligent and reflecting ...; the Indians of differrent tribes. Nay, sir, delegations from ten or twelve tribes have actually arrived in this city, within the two last days, charged by the nations to whom they belong, with the expressions of their gratitude for the proposttions contained in this bill, and of their readiness to com. ply with its requirements. Nothing, then, is wanting to the accomplishment of this important object, but the sanction of Congress. About 130,000 souls of this unfortunate race now await their destiny at your hands ! Pass this bill, sir, and you elevate their character, and impart new hopes to their future prospects. Reject it, and you set your seal to their degradation. And, although their fate may be delayed, I consider it as inevitable as the march of time. Every motive, therefore, of humanity, of policy, and of interest, urges you to the sanction of tis bill. In such a cause, and under such circumstances, lan not permitted to doubt the decision of the Senate.

The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading.

After the consideration of Executive business,

The Senate adjourned.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-SAME par.

Mr. SHARPE moved to consider the bill to extend the right of deposite in public stores, with certain privileges, to other goods besides wines, teas, and distilled spirits. The motion prevailed.

Mr. SHARPE went at great length into an exposition of his views in relation to the bill. He took a general view of the present state of American commerce, especially that connected with the port of New York, and argued, from various considerations, the expediency of passing the bill, which he considered as of the utmost importance.

Mr. WILLIAMS, of N. C. though professing himself in favor of the bill, was induced, in consequence of the advanced state of the session, and the mass of business reported for immediate attention, to move to lay the bill on the table. The motion prevailed.

MASSACHUSETTS CLAIMS.

A message was received from the President of the United States, by Mr. Everett, (of which a copy appears in the proceedings of the Senate of this date.)

Mr. CROWNINSHIELD moved that the message be referred to the Military Committee.

Mr. WEBS1’ER said he did not rise to oppose the reserence which his hon. colleague had proposed. He did not know that that might not be a proper disposition to be made of the communication. He was sorry—most truly sorry, however, to be obliged to say that this measure did not seem to advance the claim—even that Part of it which was admitted to be just—a single step heater payment than it was before. He did think it *little extraordinary, that it should be thought necessaoy to apply to Congress at all, for the payment of that Part of the claim which seemed to be admitted to be free from any well founded objection. He, for one, could hot acknowledge himself satisfied with the course which had been adopted, or to so much of this claim as was *knowledged to be just. Why, if just, has it not been Paid, like other claims? As far as he was concerned, as omember from the state, he should only ask for justice. §e wished for nothing else, neither now nor hereafter. * hoped the present motion was made, under an exPotation that the committee would report a bill for the *diate payment of whatever was found justly due.

o thought the state had a right to expect this; and if

did hope, most earnestly, that a proper buil would be at once reported. It was time, he thought high time, that justice should be done to the States concerned, somewhere. And if a law were necessary, he hoped it would pass without further delay, so far at least as to provide for paying what seemed admitted to be due.

The motion to refer the message prevailed.

IN SENATE–W Enx Espay, Feanuary 23, 1825. The engrossed bill for the preservation and civiliza. tion of the Indian tribes within the Uuited States, was read a third time, passed, and sent to the House for concurrence. o The engrossed bill authorizing the purchase of the Equestrian Portrait of Washington, by Rembrandt Peale; was read a third time. On the question Shall this bill pass 2 Some discussion ensued; Messrs. KING, of Alabama, MACON, LANMAN, and Noble, opposing the appropriation, which was supported by Messrs. MILLS and LOWRIE; it was finally decided in the affirmative by Yeas and Nays, as follows: YEAS.–Messrs. Barton, Barbour, Benton, Bouligny, Clayton, Eaton, Elliott, Findlay, Hayne, Holmes, of Me. Holmes, of Miss. Jackson, Johnson, of Ken. Kelly, Lloyd, of Mass. Lowrie, Mills, Parrott, Ruggles, Seymour, Smith, Talbot, Van Buren-23. NAYS.–Messrs. Branch, Brown, Chandler, Cobb, D’Wolf, Edwards, King, of Alab. King, of N. Y. Knight, Lanman, McIlvaine, McLean, Macon, Noble, Palmer, Taylor, Tazewell, Williams—18. So the bill passed and was sent to the House for con. currence. CUMBERI.AND ROAD.

The Senate took up, as in committee of the whole, (Mr. BARBOUR in the chair,) the bill appropriating 150,000 dollars for the extension of the Cumb rand Road from the Ohio to the Muskingum, at Zanesville— the amount of the appropriation to be reimbursed to the Treasury out of the fund reserved for laying out and making roads under the direction of Congress, by the several acts passed for the admission of the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, into the Union

Mr. BROWN, of Ohio, (Chairman of the Committee on loads and Canals,) said this was not at all a new subject to the Senate, but it was one of great interest, not only to all the states West of the Ohio, but to some of the Eastern states likewise. He therefore asked the favorable attention of the Senate to it. He would not deny that the state he represented would be one of the first to feel the benefit of the appropriation, but it would, he hoped, be admitted, that the state of Ohio had some reason to ask this of the General Government, and it ought to be conceded to them. The Legislature of that state had, he said, passed laws, during the last session, for opening a navigable canal between the waters of Lake Erie and the Ohio, which, when completed, could not fail of being of great service to the United States, in peace and war, and would likewise enhance the property of the United States in that state, and in those further Westward. If, therefore, from such considerations, the United States would make a beginning this year, for the extension of the road beyond the Ohio river, which now connects the valley of the Ohio with that of the Potomac, they would find their own interest in a liberal policy in this regard, which would be of material service to the Western states.

Independent of political and commercial considerations of no small importance, and viewed simply in relation to its effect upon the Treasury, the propriety of extending the road might be safely advocated. Since it was no longer doubtful that facility of communication imparted value to property, he might, without extrava. gance, presume that the Treasury would, at no very the liberality of Congress should cause to be advanced for this object. If this were a matter in which the state of Ohio alone was concerned, this appropriation would not, probably, have now been asked; but it would be evident that, much as the present inhabitants of those states were interested in it, the United States were, as proprietors, evidently more so, as respected the increas: ed value it would give to their property. The United States possessed, in the three states Northwest of Ohio and the state of Missouri, from fifty to seventy millions of acres of land, which would be much increased in value by the extension of this road—and if the United States should receive no higher price for those lands than they now receive, a desirable object would be obtained, in the more rapid sales; the facilities of purchasers would be increased, which would be a great inducement to persons to settle in that country, and this should be well considered, if it was of much importance that the public land should be speedily sold, as well as that it should realize the price Congress had contemplated. The sum now asked was only 150,000 dol. jars—a small sum, he thought, compared with those expended in other places, but it was a sum that would produce a very sensible benefit to that part of the countly, and to which he hoped no objection would be made. it might, he said, be objected by some gentlemen, that the cost of the road, heretofore, as far as it had extended, had been very great. Mr B. agreed to this. It had, indeed, been more expensive than it should have been, but it was constructed in different times from the present; it was constructed when the mode of conducting such operations was new. Hereafter it would be constructed on better principles of economy, and the state of the country was better fitted for it than it was at that time. The distance from Wheeling to Zanesville was, he said, the roughest part of the country over which the road was to pass till it should reach the Mississippi. independent of the importance of this road, in increasing the value of landed property, it would be important in a political point of view. It would likewise facilitate the progress of the mail; and many other important considerations had so far recommended this subject, that it had been sanctioned by Congress, and by two Presidents of the United States, the most scrupulous, on the constitutionality of internal improvements by authority of Congress. In regard to the contract which had been made with the Western states for constructing that road from the Eastern states towards the Western ones, he would merely observe, that the United States had received a concession of much greater value-for five per cent, on the nett proceeds of the sales of public lands for constructing roads, three per cent, to be laid out by the state, and two per cent. to be laid out under the direction of Congress, in constructing roads leading to those states. He hoped the generosity of the Senate would take into view this bargain, as a bargain not favorable to those states; but of which, having agreed to it, they would not complain. It was, indeed, a hard bargain on their part. In the state of Ohio, assuming the medium rate at which taxes had been levied— and they had been as low as possible, for the people had begun poor, without public funds or territory—they had at ieast given up a million of dollars. . It was easy to conceive how hard it bore on the settlers there, and how much public improvement was retarded by the effect of this compact. This was not all bestowed for the benefit of the inhabitants of those states; the three per cent. laid out in the state were laid out in improvements to increase the value of the United States' property, as well as that of the inhabitants—for in 1806 or 7, the proportion of land held by the United States, including Indian lands,

*ld not be obtained, without the aid of a law, he | distant day, be amply repaid the appropriations whicu Senate.] Cumberland Road. [Feb. 23, 1825.

[ocr errors]

was, he believed nearly as 14 to 9 or 10. The two per cent. ought not to be charged to this account as exclusively affecting the Western country, but so far as it opplied to the object last mentioned, was to be apportiumed in like ratio. it should be remembered, too, that the people beyond the mountains contribute to the revenue. “He hoped, therefore, that granting this appropriation would not be considered as conferring an extraordinary benefit on the Western states, at the cost of the Eastern; yet the Western states would be grateful for this care of their interests. Mr. COBB said, that, although he would not pretend that he should be able to throw any new lights on the great principles involved in the bill under consideration, yet he could not consent to its passage without some degree of investigation, and therefore he solicited the attention of the Senate for a few minutes. At the present period, it could not be expected, that there are many persons who could contribute additional lights upon a question which had engaged the attention, and elicited the investigation of the ablest statesmen in the nation. Yet he looked to its final decision with very great anxie. ty. He thought the Senate would concur in believing with him, that those principles had not been entirely settled when they looked to the history of this system of internal improvements. There had been no instance within his recollection, when the claim for the power of adopting it had been advanced, in which it was not denied by some one of the departments of the govenment. At the very first session of the Congress of which he had first the honor of being a member (which was at the commencement of the present administration) the ques. tion was brought before the House of Representatives. At that time a solemn vote was taken in that body, declaring that Congress had no power to construct roads and canals. This vote was predicated on the report of a committee appointed on so much of the President's Message as related to the subject, and, in which mes. sage, the power was expressly denied to Congress. How far the opinions of the Executive, since that period, had undergone a change, in relation to the question, was as well known to the Senate as to himself; he should not stop to point out the change, if any, inasmuch as head. verted to the message, merely to shew that the question had not been settled. He repeated, that he felt great anxiety as to the result of the vote now about to be taken in the Senate, inasmuch as he believed it involved the great question, Whether this government was to drop all its federative characteristics, and was about to be. come, as predicted by the great Virginia Prophet," s splendid national consolidated government, reared upon the ruins of the sovereignty of the people and the states? in using such expressions, Mr. C. said, he was aware that he was harping upon an old string, whose simple notes were extremely disagreeable to the ears of certain modern politicians. The subject had become unfo: ionable. But, from the earliest period at which he had seriously thought upon political subjects, he had been taught to reverence the principles he was attempting." advocate, and the Senate would therefore pardon the terms he had used, if there was any thing offensive in them. He had learned, from the State in which he wo born, (and of which you, sir, are a Representative ); that there is safety in sometimes recurring to fundamental principles. Much might be said, he thought, as to the expediency of the measure under consideration. It might, wo great propriety, be inquired, why Congress was caller on to extend the to a Road at this time, eve" admitting they had the power? Why the Westo" states were now better entitled to have such a beneficio

+ Mr. Barbour, of Virginia, was in the chair when Mr. C. delivered his remarks.

« ForrigeFortsett »