Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

compliance with the grant. But no man in business would accept such security.

Mr. FARNSWORTH. I am glad my colleague has interrupted me for the purpose of making the observations which he has and calling my attention to the fact he has stated. Sir, it does strike me that this is the coolest and most impudent proposition that has ever been made to Congress. We granted this railroad company a strip of land forty miles wide in order to build the road, and now they come back and say, "If you will give us money instead of land with which to build it we will give you the security of one half of the land which you gave us ; or rather, one half of the proceeds of the sale.

measure if we were not so overwhelmingly in debt. But, as was so ably and so eloquently said on yesterday by the gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. DELANO,] our debt to-day will approach $4,000,000,000,

Well, now, it strikes me, as I think it must strike every member of the House, that it is a very cool and impudent proposition to make to the Government of the United States, that we shall take one half of the gift we made them as security for money necessary to build the road; for it amounts to the same thing. If we pay the interest on the stock, we build the road; we pay the stock itself, for money can always be procured upon interest; and if the Government will assume to pay six per cent. interest for twenty years on the money used in building the road, it might as well build the road at once, and much better. If the road is to be built in this way, is it not better that the Government itself, through its own agents, shall build, own, and control the road, rather than leave its benefits to an irresponsible company?

Mr. Speaker, I have occupied more time in discussing this question than I intended when I rose. Sir, I am a western man. I represent a large western constituency, engaged in agriculture and manufacturing pursuits. They are certainly as much interested in all the great lines of western communication as are the constituents of the gentleman from Vermont, [Mr. WOODBRIDGE.] We are not here as western men to oppose the opening of communication to the Pacific coast by railroad; by no means. But we are here to defend the Treasury of the United States from these reckless, assaults that are made upon it. I yield the residue of my time to the gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr. RANDALL.]

Mr. RANDALL, of Pennsylvania. The time allotted to me is so short that it will be impossible for me to enter into any argument in reference to this bill. I shall therefore content myself with calling the attention of the House to one or two matters which, it seems to me, should command their consideration.

We have here a project of immense importance; and I wish to know of those gentlemen who mean to vote for this bill, where in the Constitution of the United States, from one end of it to the other, they find the power to spend money or to make appropriation of the money raised by taxation for such purposes as are here proposed.

Sir, the greatest latitudinarian constructionist of the Constitution can find no warrant in it for the expenditure of this $57,000,000 of the people's money. I am sure that any man who was educated in the school of strict construction will not for a moment entertain the thought of voting for this project. Sir, this is not within the terms of the powers granted to Congress by the Constitution, nor is it within the spirit of that grant.

Now, let me call the attention of the House to the question of the necessity and propriety of this measure, of this expenditure of money. This bill comes here at a most unfortunate time; at a time when our Treasury, as was so beautifully described by my colleague, [Mr. KELLEY, ]is in a depleted and almost exhausted condition. He tells us that by adopting this measure we shall pour into the Treasury untold sums of money. Why, sir, he killed his argument with his own words. He admits that our Treasury is exhausted; and yet he is willing to allow these people to put their arms still deeper into the Treasury.

Now, I would not object so much to this

[Here the hammer fell.]


Mr. DONNELLY obtained the floor. Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I hope the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. RANDALL] will have five minutes more time given to him. Mr. DONNELLY. I will yield five minutes of my time to the gentleman from Pennsylvania. Mr. RANDALL, of Pennsylvania. I am obliged to the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. DONNELLY] for his courtesy.

Now, I ask the majority of this House, I ask you gentlemen on the other side, who will be responsible for the passage of this bill, where you mean to stop in this expenditure of the money of the people. Where do you mean to halt in this system of expending the money taken from a people already overburdened by taxation?

This expenditure is not for any legitimate purpose. I have failed to hear any argument which would warrant such an expenditure at this time. We are told that we are to get something back. They coolly propose to mortgage to us one half of our own lands which we have heretofore given to this company to secure the payment of what we are called upon to guaranty. How flimsy a security! How bold an argument!

Moreover, we are told that twenty-five per cent. of the receipts of the road, during the twenty years for which we are asked to guaranty this money, is to be paid into the Treas ury of the Government. Does not every business man, who has ever had any connection with railroad matters, know that no such profits will be realized? And when you come to ask plainly and pointedly this question of the friends of this project, whether they believe that any such profits will ever come from this road, they tell you that they hope they may. Sir, there is no such probability.

Now, sir, I am not a little surprised that my distinguished colleague, [Mr. KELLEY,] a gentleman from the very same city which I represent in part, should come here and deliver a beautiful essay upon this great subject. It reminded me very much of some sermons I have heard. They were beautiful in language; they were filled with flights of fancy; they contained many castles in the air, but when I went home and began to consider upon them, I found that I could not remember anything that was in them. Now, I have listened to the argument of my colleague; I have heard about his castles in the air, his railroads in fairy land with golden tracks, yet in his whole argument he did not present us with a single fact, nor did he advance any reason whatever

in behalf of this work. Does he not know that he is trying to force upon the people of his district, as their share of this expenditure, the sum of about three hundred thousand dollars? Have his constituents asked him in any public manner to vote for this expenditure? So far as I know they have not. Surely no such instruction has been given to me.

I say again to the majority on this floor, where do you mean to stop in these nefarious schemes of public plunder? How soon will you realize that the people of this country are overburdened with taxation; that our debt is immense, reaching an amount which in no other country of the world would be so cheerfully paid? Recollect that we must not heap too much on an already overloaded people. We should go back to the strict economy of former days. Why, sir, in the earlier days of this Republic, such projects as this were never heard of, or, if proposed, were promptly frowned down. Let any man read the veto messages of Mr. Monroe and General Jackson, and he will see how those great men viewed such schemes as this.

I hope, sir, that the House will not pass this measure. I hope that, if it should not be laid upon the table, it will at least be referred to the

Committee on Public Lands, so that we can have a report which will explain fully the effect of this bill, which will show us to what extent we are involving the Government in an expenditure of money. I hope that the Committee on Public Lands, if the bill should be referred to that committee, will give us a full and satisfactory report, which the Committee on the Pacific Railroad has failed to do.

The SPEAKER. The time allowed to the gentleman from Pennsylvania by the gentleman from Minnesota has expired.

Mr. DONNELLY resumed the floor. Mr. SMITH. Will the gentleman from Minnesota yield to me that I may offer an amendment?

Mr. DONNELLY. I prefer not to yield any further at this time.

Mr. Speaker, the bill now before the House is of so much consequence to the people of the entire nation, and more particularly to the States known as the northwestern States, and especially to the State which I have the honor in part to represent here, that I should consider myself false to my duty toward my constituents if I did not occupy a brief period of time in its advocacy.

The proposition contained in this bill is a very plain and very simple one. It is in effect that the United States shall indorse, for alimited period of time, a limited portion of the stock of this company. It is that the United States shall guaranty the stock of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company upon the gross amount of $57,000,000, or an average amount of about thirty-two thousand dollars per mile, for the period of twenty years. I hope it is distinctly understood in the House that this guarantee does not in any case extend beyond the period of twenty years, nor does it in any way extend to the principal of any part of the bonds of the company.

The whole question, then, for this House to determine is whether the United States Government will be safe in making such a guarantee, because it must be apparent to all that if the United States can build this great road, reaching from the head of Lake Superior to Puget sound, through a distance of eighteen hundred miles, and do it without incurring any loss to itself, it should by all means give the aid which is asked. This matter, then, resolves itself into the simple question, is the United States safe in taking such a step?

Now, we have had presented here by the opponents of this bill quotation after quotation from pamphlets and from speeches to show that the land grant already made to the company is of such enormous value that it alone ought to enable the company to build the road; that in any event it is of such great value that when the road shall have been constructed the land adjacent to it and already granted to the company will be equal in value to the total cost of the road itself.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if all these statements are true then this Government runs no risk whatever in giving the guarantee which is asked for, because the property of the company, when the road shall have been built, will be worth all that will have been expended upon it, and will therefore most assuredly be ample security for the interest upon a limited portion of the stock.

We were told yesterday by the gentleman from Ohio upon my left [Mr. SPALDING] that the land grant already made to this company is abundantly sufficient to build the road, and to prove it he read to us an extract from a letter of Hon. John Wilson, Third Auditor of the Treasury. I ask the Clerk to again read that extract.

The Clerk read as follows:

"I have not the figures, nor would I now be able to work them up if I had, but comparing this with the Illinois Central railroad grant, I think it a small estimate to say that if this grant is properly managed it will build the entire road, connecting with the present terminus of the Grand Trunk, through to Puget sound and head of navigation on the Columbia; fit out an entire fleet for the China, East India, and consting trade of sailing vessels and steamers, and leave a surplus that will roll up to millions."

Mr. HIGBY. Will the gentleman allow me to say a word?

Mr. DONNELLY. Certainly.

Mr. HIGBY. I have heard from two or three members that the Central Pacific railroad has been trying to get up an influence against this road. If there is anything of the kind the delegation particularly in interest in the Central Pacific railroad is not aware of it. I know that no member of that company has been near me since this bill has been under discussion, and I leave it to the other members of the delegation from California whether they have seen any member of that company in reference to this subject. I think they would first go to the members living in the vicinity and most interested, and not to other members of the House.

Mr. SPALDING. I ask the gentleman to yield to me.



Mr. DONNELLY. From this testimony, quoted by those who are opposed to the bill, that the land grant is not only suf ficient to pay for this road but to equip a line of steamers besides for the China and East India trade, and leave a surplus of millions of dollars. In the presence of these facts, can these gentlemen say this country would not be safe in giving the guarantee asked for? The bill further proposes to give twenty-five per cent. of the gross receipts of the road as security for the payment of the guarantied interest. Now, as has already been stated, twenty-five per cent. is equal to that portion of the receipts out of which interest upon the capital stock of the company is paid.

Can it be doubted that the receipts of such a road would be enormous? With a vast and rapidly increasing population at both its extremities, great communities growing up along its whole line, and the trade of the Indies and China passing over it, who can doubt that its receipts would be enormous?

If you doubt this you doubt the future of the country and forget all the teachings of its past. But it will be said, in answer, if all this is true, why not go and build the road with the land grant alone? I propose to address myself a few moments to that portion of the question.

The value of the land grant, Mr. Speaker, depends on the building of the road. That amount of land with the road built through it is worth every dollar of the estimate put upon it by Mr. Wilson. That land, without the road, is not worth to-day in New York city five cents per acre. You can go all through the western country, in the State of Michigan, in the State of Wisconsin, in the State of Missouri, and in other States of the West, and find millions of acres of land that have been offered time and time again for a shilling an acre without meeting with purchasers. Why is it? Because they are remote from those great works of internal improvement, the railroads, which are only second to nature's great rivers to the development of population. Take the experience of the West. Go back to the year 1856, and you will find land grants given about that time to the State of Michigan, to the State of Wisconsin, and to the State of Minnesota to build lines of railroad within a period of ten years; and yet in the last Congress we were called upon and besought to extend the time yet ten years further in which these roads should be completed. So that in these States, near to the great centers of population, twenty years have been considered essential to the construction of comparatively short lines of railroad by a land grant alone.

Mr. Speaker, if this were a trifling enterprise, if this was a road of fifty or one hundred miles through a comparatively settled country, we might with propriety be told that a land grant alone would build it. But recollect, sir, it is over eighteen hundred miles in length, reaching from the western terminus of the great water chain of lakes to the Pacific ocean, a road through a country unsafe, unsettled, unsurveyed, and almost undiscovered-in many parts a veritable terra incognita.

And yet we are told that this land grant which you could not to-day sell for five cents an acre in the eastern markets will build the road. It is impossible. The proposition is absurd. Something has been said on this floor of the lobby influence of the Central Pacific railroad being exercised among members of this House adversely to this bill. I know not how that may be. I have no knowledge of the subject myself. I know when that road has asked at the hands of the country for additional aid the Northwest has been almost unanimous in its favor; and if there is to-day any party in the lobbies of this House representing that road, and trying to strike down a road running one thousand miles distant from it, then I say, sir, it cannot ask, and should not receive, a single additional favor at the hands of the American people.

39TH CONG. 1ST SESS.-No. 139.

Mr. DONNELLY. With pleasure. Mr. SPALDING. Mr. Speaker, I have taken somewhat of an active part in opposition to this bill, and I repel the insinuation that any railroad agent has had influence with me or approached me at any time. I challenge proof that any agent of any company has come here to engender opposition to this bill.

Mr. DONNELLY. I do not state it as a fact. I alluded to the statement made yesterday on this floor that such an influence was at work here.

It was very far from my intention to insinuate that the honorable member from California and the honorable member from Ohio, for both of whom I have the highest respect, have been influenced or had any such influence brought to bear upon them. But I do say, sir, that if the statements we have heard are true, and if any such influence has been brought to bear upon this House, it shows a most narrow, base, and illiberal spirit on the part of that Central Pacific road."

We complain, sir, of the monopoly of the Camden and Amboy Railroad Company which seeks to grasp the exclusive jurisdiction of the State of New Jersey. But, sir, this thing dwindles into insignificance compared with the monopoly which would absorb a continent, and which will not endure a brother within a thousand miles of its throne.

For what have we done for that road? Yes, what have we of the Northwest aided to give them? We have virtually donated them $90,000,000 of bonds of the United States. Not, sir, be it observed, a guarantee of interest alone for twenty years, but a liability incurred by the Government for both principal and interest upon that amount. Nay, more, we have released their road from one half the mortgage given to secure the United States; so that if the United States Government would protect itself, in the case of the Central Pacific railroad by foreclosing upon the mortgage which it holds, it must first pay off that other $90,000,000, making in all $180,000,000 of principal that, the road has in effect received from us, besides all the accumulated interest on the bonds, not for twenty years, but until the maturity and payment of the same. Why, sir, in sixteen years the interest on those bonds will be equal to the principal; so that of principal and interest we shall have incurred in twenty years a liability in behalf of the Central Pacific railroad equal to $450,000,000; and yet gentlemen are appalled when we ask for $56,000,000, distributed during a period of twenty years, with which to accomplish all that which $450,000,000 is required to accomplish in another latitude..

Why, sir, if it is true that $56,000,000 of guarantied interest will build this road, when $450,000,000 are required to build the Central || Pacific railroad, which now drags its slow length along, then I say, sir, it is the plainest of all possible proofs that this is the true route for the

construction of a Pacific railroad.

Another objection made to this bill is, that it should have been referred to the Committee

on Public Lands. I have the honor to be a member of both the Committee on the Pacific

Railroad and the Committee on Public Lands, and I can say, with no feeling of preference for either of those committees, that it would be grossly unjust to the Committee on the Pacific Railroad to send this bill to the Committee on Public Lands. If this bill is not such a one as should properly go before the Committee on the Pacific Railroad, then that committee has no functions and should be at once abolished; because it is, as its name implies, a Committee on the Pacific Railroad, and if this proposition for the construction of a Pacific railroad is not legitimate business for that committee then it has none. So much for that argument.

Now, Mr. Speaker, a few words as to the illiberal character of the arguments that have been urged here. I am sorry to see distinguished gentlemen for whose ability I have the highest respect protesting against this measure. I regret to see distinguished gentlemen from the great State of Ohio opposing this bill. It is but sixty-five years since emigration began to to cross the western boundary line of Pennsylvania. Ohio was then a howling wilderness. The adventurous pioneers who then floated down the Ohio river upon rafts and boats, with their household goods around them, ran the gauntlet of the ambushed savages along its banks. Since that time what a magnificent prospect has been unfolded to the gaze of the world. Then a desolate wilderness, the State of Ohio and the States directly west of it now contain a population of ten million human beings, being one third of the entire popula tion of the United States. Sir, with such wonders wrought in the space of a little more than half a century, I am surprised that gentlemen from the State of Ohio or from any of the western States can stand here and take such narrow and illiberal views.

We have just listened to a speech from the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. FARNSWORTH] against this bill. Let me call his attention to some statistics in reference to his own State. About the year 1836-I think that was the precise year-the United States made an innovation upon its former customs as great as that we now seek to make, by granting a large body of public lands to assist in building the Illinois Central railroad through the heart of that State. Those who have read the history of Illinois, written by one of its former Governors, know very well the condition of things before that road was commenced, and from which it lifted her up the poverty of the people, the depressed condition of agriculture, the small value of the products of the soil,. the trifling reward for human labor, and the slow increase of population. Turn to the census of 1830, and you will find that the population of Illinois was but 157,000. In the year 1860, thirty years later, the population had risen to 1,711,950. Now, mark the contrast. In twenty years before the Illinois Central railroad was built the total growth of the State of Illinois was 145,000. In thirty years subsequent to that year, the growth was 1,554,000.

Why, sir, the taxable property of the State of Illinois is equal to $1,000,000,000, or one third the entire debt of the United States. The State of Illinois paid in direct tax in 1861 for the support of the Federal Government the sum of $1,146,000.

Sir, I am amazed that gentlemen who come from the very soil of those States, so blessed by these great works of internal improvement, and with all their marvelous results pressing themselves directly upon their sight, can raise their voices against this measure. It is against reason. Why, sir, if such an illiberal spirit had possessed the men of 1886, Illinois would to-day have scarcely passed the era of coonskin currency, and wheat at ten cents per bushel; and we should have lost that mighty Commonwealth, with nearly two million population, which has given us a Lincoln and a Grant.

Why, sir, we ask aid to build only eighteen hundred miles of railroad, while in the State of Illinois to-day there are three thousand miles

of railroad, all springing from the impulse given to such works by that magnificent enterprise, the Illinois Central railroad,

And now, sir, I ask the Clerk to read the last speech ever made upon earth by our martyred President, Abraham Lincoln; a speech made, sir, upon the very day, ay, sir, upon the very night on which he fell before the bullet of the assassin; a speech made to you, Mr. Speaker, at your last parting with him as you were about to start upon your journey to the Pacific. I want it read by the Clerk and received by this House as the last utterance of that great and good man, and as an indication of the view his liberal intelligence would take to-day, were he alive, of this and all kindred measures.

The Clerk read as follows:

Look, sir, at the effect this measure will have upon the future of the country through which the road is to pass. In 1860, the total population of that country, including the States and the Territories, was 240,127. In 1865, five years after, it had increased to 550,000. Why, sir, in my own State we have increased in population in spite of the war-war with the savages and war with the rebels-in the face of all obstacles, we have increased from about 170,000 to 300,000; and we, who in 1858 bought our breadstuffs from Illinois, produced last year between eight and ten million bushels wheat. And, sir, may we not look for similar effects along this great line of railroad? I have made a calculation in reference to one of its effects. There have been granted to this company, in the Territories through which the road will pass, forty sections of land per mile, being twenty sections on each side of the road. Be it remembered that the Government retains the alternate sections; so that there are open for settlement forty sections to the mile along the road. Now, does any one doubt that if the road is built that country will settle rapidly? There are four quarter sections, or four farms of one hundred and sixty acres each to each section, and taking the estimate, which holds good throughout the country, of six persons to every head of a family or voter, and we shall have one thousand persons to the mile, or for the whole length of eighteen hundred miles, 1,800,000 persons, and this irrespective of the population of towns and cities and rivers and branch roads tributary to the main road. But if in five years that country has doubled its population without this road, what will its population be when you infuse into it the life that will flow from such an enterprise as this?

Sir, it will quadruple, it will quintuple; it is within bounds to say that in twenty years there will be eight million people along the line of the road. And if they contribute as liberally, as gallantly, as heroically to the defense of this great nation with men and money and intellect as the noble State of Illinois has done, the country will have wisely invested the paltry amount asked for, even though it should lose every dollar of it.

Why, sir, look at the immigration from Europe, which is greater this spring than it

already making contracts, in anticipation of the passage of this bill, with steamship lines to bring to our shores thousands of hardy laborers to help to build this road. Few, if any of them,, will return to Europe. They will settle down along the line of this road, and become the nucleus of a new population, the foundation of new Commonwealths.

Why, sir, the London Times complained the other day that the skilled artisans of England, its most valuable workers, are leaving its shores in unparalleled numbers in search of plenty and liberty in the United States. The immigration which has already arrived this spring far exceeds that of any previous year, and we learn that the harbors of England and Ireland are crowded with hundreds of thousands waiting for vessels to carry them to our shores. Sir, war is imminent in Germany, and thousands upon thousands of the thrifty and intelligent people of that country will seek our shores. We do not want them to cluster in our cities. We want to be able to point out to them those great natural savannahs along the Missouri, the Yellowstone, the Columbia, and the Saskatchewan, where they may find all the conditions for prosperity and happiness. From northern Europe, too, a population hardy, industrious, and temperate, the Norwegians and Swedes, the identical stock which overran Europe and overwhelmed the Roman empire and gave shape and feature to the new civilization which was built upon its ruins; these races are seeking our shores in large and steadily increasing numbers.

"Mr. COLFAX, I want you to take a message from me to the miuers whom you visit. I have very large ideas of the minerel wealth of our nation. I believe it practically inexhaustible. It abounds all over the western country, from the Rocky mountains to the Pacific, and its development has searcly commenced. During the war, when we were adding a couple of millions of dollars every day to our national debt, I did not care about encouraging the increase in the volume of our precious metals. We had the country to save first. But now that the rebellion is overthrown, and we know pretty nearly the amount of our national debt, the more gold and silver we mine we make the payment of that debt so much the easier. Now," said he, speaking with more emphasis, "I am going to encourage that in every possible way. We shall have hundreds of thousands of disbanded soldiers, and many have feared that their return home in such great numbers might paralyze industry by furnishing suddenly a greater supply of labor than there will be demand for. I am going to try to attract them to the hidden wealth of our mountain ranges, where there is room enough for all. Immigration, which even the war has not stopped, will land upon our shores hundreds of thousands more per year from overcrowded Europe. I intend to point them to the gold and silver that wait for them in the West. Tell the miners for me that I shall promote their interests to the utmost of my ability, because their prosperity is the prosperity of the nation; and," said he, his eye kindling with enthusiasm, we shall prove in a very few years that we are indeed the treasury of the world."

[ocr errors]


Mr. ASHLEY, of Ohio. Will the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. DONNELLY] yield to me for a moment, as I must soon leave the Hall on account of indisposition?

Mr. DONNELLY. Certainly; with pleasure. Mr. ASHLEY. I am instructed by the Committee on Territories to report back House bill No. 508, to amend the organic acts of the Territories of Nebraska, Colorado, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, and ask that the same be printed and recommitted.

No objection was made.

Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois, moved to reconsider the vote by which the bill was recommitted; and also moved that the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. The latter motion was agreed to.


Mr. TROWBRIDGE, from the Committee on Enrolled Bills, reported that they had examined and found truly enrolled a House joint resolution of the following title; when the Speaker signed the same:

Joint resolution (H. R. No. 67) providing for the reappraisement of the lands described in an act for the relief of William Sawyer and others, of Ohio.

along its line, and the general prosperity it will infuse into the entire nation will impair the credit of our Government bonds, then indeed, sir, I have read the history of our country. to little advantage.

Why, sir, the total product of the mines in the Territories along the line of this road was, during the last year, $85,000,000. Build this road and it will be $350,000,000. Why, sir, the discovery of gold in California and the production of $800,000,000 from its mines saved our people from bankruptcy and has affected the commerce and the prosperity of the whole world. Build this road, give facility of access, and you set to work hundreds of thousands of miners with abundance of machinery, and who can calculate the production of the precious metals that will follow?


Mr. DONNELLY. There is one other objection that has been urged with peculiar force and eloquence by the distinguished gentleman from Ohio on my right, [Mr. DELANO.] The objection was that we had no right to do this thing, because we would thereby impair the credit of the United States. Now, let me call the attention of the House to the fact that this payment of money is only to be stretched through a period of twenty years; that the liability ends at the expiration of twenty years; that none of it can be paid save only as the road is constructed; and that the whole of it is not to be paid until after the road is entirely completed. If there is any man who can prove to me that the building of this mighty road of eighteen hundred miles in length, the transportation over it of the commerce of China, Japan, and the Indies, the growth of popular States

I remember when, in the last Congress, we were in almost the darkest hour of our great struggle, when it seemed as if the bark of the nation would go down amid the storm, an honorable and gallant gentleman from the city of New York, sent here by the votes of the Opposition, (Mr. Stebbins,) arose in his place, and in an able speech demonstrated that the resources of the country were equal to the debt it was contracting; and I do not forget that his strongest argument was based upon the history of our growth in the past and the certainty of our continued growth in the future.

Our credit rests not alone upon what we are, but what we are certain to be. Why, sir, if we double the population of this country, we reduce our debt one half. Are we to sit here and, following the niggardly, miserly policy which some gentlemen seem to favor, permit a great wilderness to remain a wilderness for half a century longer, or shall we encourage that tide of emigration which is now breaking all bounds in the Old World and flowing to our shores with an unparalleled abundance?

Sir, I am sorry to see the course taken by the opponents of the bill. We have heard little of real argument. One gentleman has told you that there is no report here, and that we do not know who are the corporators. Sir, that is a matter of no moment. This money cannot be drawn until the road shall be built; and it is of no consequence whatever who builds it. The object is the road, not the corporators. Give us a road, and we care not who owns it, provided only that with a proper national foresight we so guard the enterprise that it shall not pass out of the hands of our own citizens; and for one, I shall cheerfully vote for an amendment to require that two thirds, three fourths, or, if you please, all of the corporators shall be American citizens. That is all that we need ask. We shall not be called upon to pay the money unless the road is built; and if we secure the construction of the road, no gentleman can deny that the money has been well invested.

Why, sir, the hand of nature itself points out the route of this road as the natural highway of the continent. Starting from the mouth of the St. Lawrence and proceeding westward in almost an air line, you pass over the surface of the great lakes, the mightiest system of freshwater navigation in the world. Passing across seven hundred miles from the head of Lake Superior, you strike the Missouri river; and from the head of navigation on that river the distance is but three hundred miles to the head of navigation on the Columbia river. So that, when this company shall have built three hundred miles of road, we shall have built three hundred miles of road we shall have secured the means of steam communication between the Atlantic and the Pacific by way of the Missouri; and for this the Government risks $750,000 annually. And, building seven hundred miles further to the head of Lake Superior, and we have, with a road of one thousand miles, a very large share of all the results to be derived from a Pacific railroad.

Why, sir, we were told by the gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. DELANO,] at the very moment that he was fighting this bill, that we must prepare

sociates, some of the best railroad men in New
England; men whose management have made
them what they are; men well known in the
moneyed circles of New York and New Eng
land-when, I say, a few months ago there was
danger that this. franchise would fall into the
hands of British capitalists, these men met in
Boston and looked over the charter; and they
decided that something should be done to pre-
vent this charter falling into the hands of Brit-
ish capitalists. They decided they would take
this charter from these parties and pay the
honorable expenses which had been contracted
in preliminary surveys and such other inci-
dental expenses, which every one who has had
anything to do with railroads is aware enter
into every such arrangement.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman's five
minutes have expired.

Mr. DONNELLY. I have agreed to yield
five minutes of my time to the gentleman from

our backs to assume the mighty load of $2,000,000,000-an amount two thirds as great as our total national debt-yet to be paid to the people of the reconstructed South for the suf ferings and losses caused by a war created by themselves. And yet not a farthing is to be expended for the benefit of the great loyal Northwest, which has put forth every exertion to save the Government. Sir, it is our right to demand this measure. It is for us not only a right, but a necessity. This road cannot be built without some such measure to assist it, and the people of the Northwest are entitled to it at the hands of the General Government. The road must be built. If gentlemen are so liberal in their expectations of paying thousands of millions hereafter to the people of the South, certainly they can risk $56,000,000 upon good security to unite the great lakes with the Pacific ocean.

Mr. Speaker, I now yield five minutes of my time to the gentleman from New York, [Mr. DODGE.

Mr. DODGE. Mr. Speaker, I propose to examine this question for a very few moments as a business man and with reference to its influence upon the business of the country and the interest which the Government has in the completion of this road.

They came for this charter under the full expectation, probably, that obtaining a charter with such liberal grants of land they would be able to find capitalists with the necessary money to build the road. The moment they presented the charter to men of capital, from whom they must have the money, they saw at once there was to be an expenditure of from twenty to thirty million dollars before this land could be made available. The consequence was, when they went to capitalists here and elsewhere, they failed to find those who were willing to take this immense grant of land, this wild and mountainous land-land, as the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. DONNELLY] has truly said, entirely unavailable, and which could not be sold to any capitalists in the world for five

cents an acre.

Mr. HUBBARD, of Connecticut. I do not
propose to detain the House with
any extended

I presume. sir, that when the Congress of 1864 granted the charter for the construction of this road it was in view of the fact that the completion of the road was calculated to advance the interests of the country. At that time a bargain was made, such as railroad men often make with sections of the country that need the completion of railroads. Those who have been familiar with the construction of railroads know how often, for the sake of securing the building of a single spur or branch through an unimproved and undeveloped portion of the country, those who own the land are ready to come forward and offer to the railroad company one half, or any fair proportion of the land which they own, and which is entirely unmarketable, if the company will build a railroad which will give value to the land.

In this case the Government not only had unproductive land which it was desirous of rendering productive, but it had other objects. It looked to the vast population settling on the Pacific coast. It looked to Oregon, a thousand miles north of San Francisco. It looked to the vast mineral resources of the country, which this road would open to development and settlement. Looking at all this, a bargain.of was made, which, for the Government, would have been a good bargain if those with whom the bargain was made had had the ability to carry it out.

They failed to find the capital, but they did not fail to find those who, if they could control this charter, would be glad to make it accessory to great works through the British North American Provinces. They found British capital could be obtained to build this road.

I will say to the House that I have not been interested to the extent of one dollar in the Northern or Central Pacific railroad; but when I found, a few weeks ago, a gentleman with whom I have been acquainted for years, and whom I have looked upon as the best railroad man in the country; when I found that he and his as

Mr. CONKLING. My colleague would like to continue his remarks, and I hope the gentleman from Connecticut will yield to him for that purpose.

Mr. HUBBARD, of Connecticut. The gentleman can continue his remarks after I have closed.

Mr. CONKLING. That will interrupt his remarks, and I hope he will be permitted to finish them at this time.

Mr. HUBBARD, of Connecticut. I desire to say a word or two on the question now before the House, and if I take a wrong view of it, I hope the gentleman from Iowa, [Mr. PRICE,] who reported the bill, will be able to convince me of my error, as his arguments are always candid, clear, and strong.

I am in favor of the construction of the road, warmly in favor of it, and for all the reasons stated by my eloquent friend from Minnesota, [Mr. DONNELLY.] But for the present I am opposed to it. And that the grounds of my opposition may be clearly understood, I will state them.

Sir, I believe that the country generally and I believe that members of this Congress honestly feel that this road ought to be built. I know the men in whose hands the enterprise is. They are some of the best railroad men of the country, and it is not for speculation that they have embarked in it. They are just the men that the United States Government can trust to commence it and carry it on to completion.

I deny that Congress has the right or the power to bind the Government as an indorser of a private contract. That is my first objection. We have power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, between the States, and with the Indian tribes, the power to establish post offices and post roads; but this is a private enterprise, as I understand it, and I cannot think that there are any lawyers in this House who have given attention to the subject who will venture to give an opinion that the power to regulate commerce and establish post offices and post roads confers upon Congress the authority to bring the Government in as a guarantor of a private enterprise.

This, then, is my first objection to the bill. I wish I could see my way clear to vote for it, for I am in favor, as I said before, of the con. struction of this road as warmly as any man can be.

Mr. HUBBARD, of Connecticut. I yield for that purpose, with the understanding that I shall have the floor when he is through.

Then I have another objection to the bill. It was not my good fortune to listen to the debate upon this subject yesterday. Perhaps if I had been here my doubts would have been swept away. But, sir, this bill involves an appropriation ultimately. It cannot be ques

Mr. DODGE. I do not ask for more than five minutes.

Mr. Speaker, I will come directly to the pointtioned that if the Government becomes a guarwhich I had in view when I rose. I believe the interests of the country demand not only the completion of the Central but the completion of the Northern Pacific railroad. I differ entirely with the remarks of some gentlemen here that the demand upon the Government on the part of the Northern Pacific railroad will shake the credit of the country. I have no hesitation in saying that the aid granted by the American Congress to the Central Pacific railroad has done as much as any other thing to give credit, substantial credit, to Government issues both in our own country and in Europe. Why? They know well there is in the center

antor and loses by the failure of the company, then an appropriation must be made, and that, too, without its being considered in Committee of the Whole. It will be necessary for some future Congress to make an appropriation to save the credit and the honor of the nation. So that in this way we are forestalling the action of this House as in Committee of the Whole. I object to our taking action now which will compel some future Congress to make an appropriation to save the credit and the honor of the nation.


this continent an immense deposit of the precious metals, and they know if we build this railroad that instead of producing as we have done in the last ten years $1,000,000,000, for ten years to come we will produce $2,000,000,000, and will have the precious metals as the basis not only for the circulation of our own country but to pay the bonds not only in this country but in Europe. I believe if it were known today that by some magic the Central Pacific Mr. WENTWORTH. I do not propose to railroad and the Northern Pacific railroad withdraw it, but I propose to offer the amendcould both be completed in a couple of years ment myself, in order that the gentleman may and the Government had to pay $100,000,000 || get it in. for it, it would strengthen rather than diminish the credit of the country.

The SPEAKER. It can only be done by the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. WENTWORTH] withdrawing his motion to refer.

Mr. SMITH. How do you know you will approve it? Mr. WENTWORTH. I do not care what it is; if gentlemen want to offer their amendments, I want to let them, so that they may all go to the Committee on Public Lands.

These gentlemen that have now taken hold of this thing expect to put their hands in their own pockets down to the elbow and bring out the money that will build this road. They will complete the first twenty-five miles before they ask for the guarantee of a dollar. And when that is done, $750,000 to $1,000,000 more. They do not expect simply to spend the money they receive here, and they cannot think of going forward to build the road, relying for their pay upon the proceeds of the sale of lands until the road itself shall be remunerative.

The SPEAKER. The gentleman will have to withdraw the motion to commit and offer the amendment himself.

Mr. WENTWORTH. Can I offer it, and then renew the motion?

The SPEAKER. Yes, sir.

Mr. WENTWORTH. Then I will do it by unanimous consent. [Laughter.]

The Clerk read the amendment, as follows: At the end of the second section insert the following proviso:

[Here the hammer fell.]

The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. DONNELLY] has two minutes of his time left.

Mr. DONNELLY. I yield it to the gentleman from Kentucky, [Mr. SMITHI.]

Mr. SMITH. I offer the following amend

Provided, That the land on the south side of the said railroad, the proceeds of which are also to be pledged to the payment of the interest guarantied by the Government, shall not be sold except on terms to be agreed to by the Secretary of the Treasury.

Mr. SMITH. I now propose to say what I desire to say.

The SPEAKER. The time yielded to the gentleman has expired. [Laughter.]

Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois, obtained the floor.

voted for or against that Pacific railroad bill, but you will find no vote by yeas and nays; and I can find but few gentlemen here who were members of the last Congress, in view of what is already seen and known in regard to the actions of that company, who are willing to concede that they were for the bill. I know I put myself on the record against it, and by that record I stand to-day. The ground upon which it was urged that we should pass that bill was this: that we must have a Pacific railroad; one Pacific railroad. I was willing to admit that. I was willing to do everything which it was proper for a Representative of the American people to do to secure such an object; but I was unwilling to vote for the extravagant bill proposed. But the cry for the road, without regard to the means, overbore every consideration, and the bill passed.

Mr. SMITH. I hope the gentleman from Illinois will yield me fen minutes of his time. Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I will yield the gentleman the residue of the evening if the House will agree to adjourn after he gets through.

Mr. WENTWORTH. I hope the previous question will not be seconded to-night. A great many members have gone home, not expecting The SPEAKER. How much time does the gentleman from Illinois yield to the gentleman from Kentucky?

a vote.

Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I cannot yield to him at all unless it be the understanding that the House shall adjourn when he concludes. With that understanding I am willing to yield to him indefinitely.

Mr. SPALDING. Will the gentleman from Illinois yield me the floor to allow me to make a motion to lay this bill upon the table?

Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. No, sir; I cannot yield the floor for that purpose now. I will proceed with the few remarks I have to make.

I know, Mr. Speaker, the disadvantages under which I undertake to address the House at this late hour of the session, fatigued as it must be by the speeches which have already been made upon this question; but I would not dare to return to my home and face the incorruptible, honest, and patriotic constituency that have so long honored me with their support and confidence if I did not oppose, not only by my vote, but by my voice, feeble and uninfluential though it is, this last, greatest, and most gigantic scheme which has ever been brought into the House of Representatives of the United States.

Sir, we had a night session the other night. We did not come here to inaugurate some legislation by which we might relieve our taxridden and overburdened constituents. We did not come here for the purpose of considering any bill to reduce their oppressive taxes. But we gathered here, with unwonted alacrity, to vote sixty-nine millions of the people's money out of the public Treasury to a private railroad corporation. And, sir, I consider it a species of good luck that this scheme, so well lobbied and so well planned, was not put through, as it was intended to have been put through, on that night under the screws of the previous question, without any chance being afforded to discuss and expose its enormities.

Sir, I have some little knowledge of the history of this legislatiom in regard to these railroad matters. I recollect how the supplemental Pacific railroad bill was put through the last Congress. And I desire gentlemen here, who were sent here by their constituents to protect their interests, and who intend to vote for this bill, to look for themselves and see what obligations have already been fastened upon the country in regard to these railroads.

In the first instance, the Pacific railroad bill contained an enormous grant of land from the Missouri river to the Pacific coast; and that grant was wade upon the ground that the Central Pacific railroad could be built under it. And yet, at the last session of Congress we passed a supplemental bill doing, what? Why, incurring an obligation of $95,000,000, granting more land in addition to all the land that had been voted theretofore; and further than that, as you will see if you look at the bill, subordinating all our securities to these securities of the railroad company. That bill was passed at a night session, too; and so great was its popularity that we could not even obtain a vote upon it by yeas and nays.

More than that, sir, that Central Pacific Railroad Company, in addition to these grants, has come here this session and demanded of us something like sixty thousand dollars more, I believe, to pay expenses which it is bound to pay itself. Look to the record to see who

What then happened? So great a success had been achieved in the passage of that bill, that a short time afterward my distinguished friend from Pennsylvania, [Mr. STEVENS,] brought in another bill from the Committee on the Pacific Railroad, for the construction of the Northern Pacific railroad." And I recollect well the discussion upon that bill. As it was stated it was an enormous bill; giving a breadth of twenty miles of the public lands on the line of the road in the States, and forty miles of the public lands in all the Territories through which it was proposed the road should pass; granting for the construction of the road a number of acres running up to untold millions; indeed, so great that you can scarcely state it.

And what were the arguments that were used when this bill was brought forward? It took the House by surprise, as I well recollect. But the gentleman from Pennsylvania, with that ability and ingenuity and influence which he so justly exercises, convinced the House that it would be proper to pass the bill for the reason that such a road might be built and that the grant of land that we made was sufficient to build it. And what did my friend from Pennsylvania tell the House in that respect? I beg leave to call his attention to an extract I will read from his speech on that occasion. He said:

"But I have looked a little into this matter, in the fulfillment of my duties as chairman of this committee, and I satisfied myself, first, that these men would built the road without a dollar of subsidy from the Government. I do not call the grant of this land giving away anything."

here under these circumstances and demand of us to guaranty the interest upon $57,000,000 for twenty years, amounting sum of $69,000,000, which the Government is to af sume; and I want also to call the attention of members to the bill itself. I want them to examine its provisions and to discover for themselves its extraordinary provisions. I know something about the manner in which these things are got up, these bills for railroad companies, and for other companies and corporations. It is not what the Government shall exact from the companies, but what the companies will exact from the Government. They make their bills and present them to us and we are to pass them. Now, I ask my distinguished friend from Iowa [Mr. PRICE] to give me his attention while I consider the second section of this bill.

Notwithstanding all this, when we came to vote upon the bill, the House voted it down by a vote of 55 to 66; and the bill was lost. But afterward my distinguished friend brought in another bill, and under the pressure of the previous question-the proceedings occupying but little more than a column in the Congressional Globe, I think-the bill was finally passed. But that was not done without the House being satisfied, not only by what was said by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, but by what was put into the bill. In reply to the argument that this company, as the Central Pacific Railroad Company has done, would come here and demand some more aid from the Government, he incorporated into the very text of the bill that "no money shall be drawn from the Treasury of the United States to aid in the construction of the Northern Pacific railroad." That was considered a sweetener; that was a pledge to the country by Congress, and a pledge by the company to Congress, that this road would never come here to get anything more from the Government.

Now, how is the fact? By the nineteenth section of that bill there were certain things to be done in two years from the 2d of July, 1864, in order to save the charter; yet since the 2d of July, 1864, now nearly two years, these parties have never, so far as it appears, struck a spade into the ground along the whole line of this proposed road, have never done a day's work on the road, or made any preparation whatever-in fact, have done nothing at all toward commencing the work. Now, I call upon the American people to take notice of what is going on here. These parties come

There is a portion of the second section to which I desire to call the attention of members of the House, and particularly my friend from Iowa, [Mr. PRICE.] A great deal has been said to prove that eventually the Government will not be called upon to meet any part of the liability which it is to assume; that ultimately everything will be paid by this company. Now, sir, there is one thing that we know. We know the extent of the obligation which we are to assume; that is certain. Everything else must, of course, be uncertain, so far as reimbursement is concerned. But I ask, where in this bill is there any binding provision upon the part of the company by which the Government shall be certain to receive anything? The obligations are not mutual and dependent; they are all on one side. When this company shall have built a certain amount of the road, then the obligation becomes complete that the Government shall guaranty this stock to a given amount. Then, what does the Government get-I ask the chairman of the committeewhat is the absolute certainty that the Government will get anything in return for this?

Mr. PRICE. Mr. Speaker

Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Let the gentleman reply in his closing argument. I ask, where is the security that this company will ever pay one dollar into the Treasury of the United States?

Mr. PRICE. I would like to answer that question now.

Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. No, sir; the gentleman can answer me hereafter. He will have the privilege of closing this debate.

Now, sir, I want gentlemen to look at the nature of what is called the "security" which this company offers. What is the security, I again demand? Does the Government retain its title to the lands? No, because in the original charter it is stipulated that the company shall receive patents for the lands when they shall have finished a certain number of miles of the road. As soon as that is done, the company gets the absolute title to the lands, and the Government has no further control over it.

Now, sir, what does this bill propose that the company shall do? The second section contains the following provision:

And for the further security of the Government for the pledge of the payment of interest as aforesaid, over and above the deposit of twenty-five per cent. of the gross receipts, as above provided, the proceeds of the sales of all the lands granted by the charter of the said company, situated on the southerly side of the line of said railroad, shall, as often as the sales of the same shall be made, be held as security for the payment of the interest so paid by the Government as aforesaid, and shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States by the treasurer of said company on the 1st days of April and October in each and every year, to be applied by the Secretary of the Treasury to reimburse the Government for any moneys paid for interest as aforesaid, and also as security for the future payment by the Government of any interest accruing under said pledge, until the Government shall be fully reimbursed for the payment of the interest as aforesaid; and to secure the payment of said percentage of the gross receipts, and the deposit of the proceeds of the sales of the public land as before provided, the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, whenever in his judgment it shall be necessary for the safety of the Government to do so, is hereby empowered to appoint an inspector, who shall have authority to examine the books and accounts of the company, and to direct the application of the said percentage of the gross receipts and the deposit

« AnteriorContinuar »