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Appointments of Chargés des Affaires.
[Jan. 9, 1827
Mr. BLAIR said he with pleasure accepted the progested to the gentleman from Tennessee, whether, clogposed amendment as a modification of his proposition. ged as it now was, he had not better abandon the resolu.
Mr. WEBSTER said, the idea which some seemed to tion altogether, and on another day bring in a new resoentertain, that diplomatic appointments are regulated by lution, confined to the object which he had specially in statute, was entirely erroneous. He thought that matter view. had been fully understood in this House, whatever errors Mr. MERCER said, that, while he meant to vote for of opinion on the subject might exist out of it. The the resolution, the remarks which had fallen from the power of appointing foreign Ministers was given by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, had taken a direction not Constitution to the Executive-to the President, by and intended, he presumed, by that gentleman, but calculated with the advice and consent of the Senate. The office to induce a belief that the Minister of the United States exists by the laws of nations : the Constitution prescribes who had resided in London before the appointment of the mode of appointing to it. The practice, Mr. W. said, the Minister now resident at that Court, had gone abroad had uniformly been, as the gentleman from Georgia had to remain but a short period, and voluntarily returned to stated it. On the death of a Minister, the Secretary of make room for a successor with a new outfit, that the Legation attached to the mission, becomes ipse facto the outfit, in both cases, might make up for a defective sa. Chargé des Affaires. Mr. W. did not know that any lary. He had spent seven Winters in this city, Mr. M. great inconvenience resulted from the exercise of this said, with the late Minister to London, and less time power by our Ministers, when about to leave their sta- would have sufficed to secure to that gentleman a high tions : and still less in the case of a Secretary of Lega- place in his esteem, and, he could truly say, a large share tion becoming Chargé des Affaires by the death of a Mi- of his personal (regard. That, when he left the United nister-that being an opportunity for serving their friends, States, he went to Europe in perfect health ; and with un. which he imagined our Ministers abroad do not very much impaired ability to serve his country in a station which he covet. Mr. W. thought the answer to the inquiry would had before filled with distinguished reputation. Yet, be too voluminous, by its embracing an account of what said Mr. M., it was with great regret he had been deduties these persons have discharged : and he suggested barred of the gratification of seeing him, in a lale visit to to the gentleman the propriety of striking out that part New York, immediately after his return to America, by of the resolution ; in which shape he should have no ob- the intelligence that' he was the victim of a dangerous jection to it.
chronic disease. Ble had returned to his retired resiMr. BLAIR said he could not assent to this suggestion; dence in Jamaica, overcome by the debility of a settled for the part proposed to be stricken out, embraced the and painful ralady, added to the growing infirmity of very information which he wanted, viz. Were these per- years. sons receiving pay without doing duty ?
Mr. BRENT rose merely to remark to the gentleman Mr. BUCHANAN said, since the gentleman from Ten. from Pennsylvania that the amendment to which he renessee had consented to accept the modification pro. ferred did not at all alter the character of the resolution, posed by the gentleman from Massachusetts, he cared but merely went to cover more ground, and to bring bevery little whether the resolution passed or not. It had fore the House all the information bearing upon the subbecome so extensive, that the object of it would be de-ject. feated. Mr. B. said he had understood the gentleman Mr. EVERETT said, that one remark of the gentleman from Tennessee to make a distinct charge-if he did not, from Pennsylvania was, that the amendment which has Mr. B. wished him to say so that not only had a Minis. been adopted would have the effect to smother the obter of the United States abroad appointed a Chargé des ject of the mover. Whatever may be the effect of it, Affaires on his leaving the station, (which appointment (said Mr. E.] such was not my design in moving it. Mr. B. admitted was necessary and proper,) but that that Mr. BUCHANAN explained. The gentleman from Chargé, besides receiving the salary attached to that Massachusetts, he said, was one of the last gentlemen office, during the time he held it, had received an outfit. in this House to whom he should ever think of imputing He knew not whether he was correct in this impression ; an intention to do any thing unfair. but, if he was wrong, he hoped the gentleman would Mr. EVERETT said, if the resolution had passed with correct him. But, if the gentleman had received such out this amendment, some gentleman would no doubt information as this, and the information was true, no prac- have risen and moved another resolution calling for intice whatever could make it a correct proceeding. Pre- formation to shew what the praotice of the Government vious practice might justify the appointment of a Charge has been. Suppose the information called for by the des Affaires, and the allowance of a salary to him ; hut it original resolution to be obtained : was there any memcould never justify an expenditure from the contingent ber of this House who would make up his mind as to the fund for allowing him an outfit, in addition to the salary. correctness of what had been done, without knowing
This distinct fact had been proposed to be inquired into ; what had been the usage of the Government under simi. but, by the amendment moved by the gentleman from lar circumstances ? For one, Mr. E. said, he should not Massachusetts, and accepted by the gentleman from Ten- be able, from an isolated fact, thus elicited, to determine nessee, that single point would be smothered under a what had been the practice in a Government as long mass of documents, which, if received within any reason- established, and with as extensive foreign intercourse, able time, would be entirely useless. Mr. B. added ano- as this. ther remark : If the salary of our Ministers abroad was Mr. FORSYTH said he wished to be understood not so low as to make it necessary for them to return to the to have spoken, when be before addressed the House, of country, annually, to receive an outfit to enable them to the amount of compensation to persons temporarily appear in a manner becoming our representatives at fo- charged with the affairs of Government. On this point, reign Governments, that salary ought to be increased. If he was entirely uninformed. That allowances had been it was not so, the practice of changing our Ministers made, he knew : but he did not know, nor had he ever abroad every year, could not be justified. It was a prac. supposed, that outfits had been allowed in such cases. tice which must be essentially injurious to the interests Such allowances would be, in many cases, extremely unof the country : for, if a negotiation was opened abroad, just to the public Treasury. He could not suppose it the Minister often returned before it was completed, possible that a person, when charged with the affairs of leaving the matter unsettled, greatly to the detriment of ihe Government, for a month or six weeks, should have our interest.
Mr. B. concluded by saying, that he had received a year's salary as an outfit. The fact might be no particular objection to the resolution : but he sug- so, and, if it was, should be understood. He rose, how.
Jax. 9, 1827.)
Appointments of Chargés des Affaires.
(H. of R.
ever, principally, on account of the observations of the Mr. FORSYTH. Certainly, Sir. gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. WEBSTER.] The (Before the debate finished, Mr. F. sent Mr. W. a vo. gentleman con siders it a great error to suppose that the lume of the laws, which we are informed contained the power of appointment to any foreign Agent was depen. act of 1810, “fixing the compensation of Public Minisdent on any thing but the Constitution of the United ters, and of Consuls residing on the coast of Barbary, and States. This doctrine, Mr. F. solemnly denied. If this for other purposes," which act is to be found in 4th House have no power over this subject, a great error has volume, page 309, of Bioren and Duane's edition of the been committed and persisted in, since the foundation of Laws.] the Government. When the first act was passed under Mr.VERPLANCK rose to move an amendment. The which the foreign diplomatic intercourse had been regu- object of the mover being to inquire into an alleged lated, it was distinctly announced, if Mr. F. did not strange. abuse in allowing outfits to Chargés des Affaires, as the ly forget the transactions of that day, as the opinion of law authorizing outfits was passed only in 1810, it seemed the Representatives of the People, that they had the to be unnecessary to go back beyond that date. He, right to regulate the grade of the Ministers to be employ. therefore, moved to strike out the 4th of March, 1789, ed, as well as the compensation to be allowed, and to spe. as it now stands, and in lieu thereof, to insert the 1st of cify to what foreign countries Ministers of the grades May, 1810, which is the date. established should be sent. No attempt was made to le- Mr. WEBSTER said, the object of the inquiry pro. gislate specifically on these points, because it was admit- posed by the resolution was two-fold. One branch of it ted that the House had not the information necessary to proposed an inquiry relative to outfits, it was true; but enable it to legislate specifically. The matter was, there the other proposed an inquiry into the authority by fore, left at large, subject to the discretion of the Execu. which such appointments are made. In regard to the tive. Mr. F. hoped that the error, as the gentleman was latter, there was no reason for limiting the inquiry ; pleased to call it, yet prevailed extensively through this and he hoped, therefore, that the amendment would not House, as the doctrines of the gentleman would, if admit- be agreed to. ted to be true, deprive the People of the great check The motion of Mr. VERPLANCK was negatived, 88 given to their Representatives over the power of the Pre. to 66. sident and the Senate, in relation to the intercourse with Mr. LIVINGSTON moved to amend the resolution by foreign nations.
inserting the word “general” before the words “duties Mr. WEBSTER said, notwithstanding the solemn de discharged,” where they occur in the resolution. nial of the gentleman from Georgia, it is as true, as it This amendment was agreed to. was before he rose, that there is no statute or law of Mr. SAUNDERS said he knew nothing of the parti. Congress prescribing what number of public Ministers cular case referred to by the gentleman from Tennessee, or other Diplomatic Agents, should be appointed, or to who had introduced this proposition ; but he was in. what Courts, or on what occasions they should be sent. duced to believe, that sometimes, indulgencies are grant. He (Mr. W.] had said, and now repeated, that a Ministered to our Ministers, which ought not to be granted, and was a National Functionary, known to the law of nations ; which the People are of opinion ought not to be granted ; the office had its origin, and derived its character from under this impression, he moved to amend the resolution, that law. The Constitution recognized the office, as ex. by adding to it the following : isting in the intercourse of nations, and vested the ap- « And that the President also inform this House, from pointment of the officer in the President and Senate. “ what period the persons appointed Minister and Se. It belonged to the Executive to decide on what occa- “cretary of Legation to Panama, received their commis. sions Public Ministers should be appointed, and to what “sions, and from what period they have been paid their Courts, and to decide on their number. He did not « salaries." say now, whether all this might, or might not be regu- Mr. BLAIR said, he had no objection to the amend. lated by law. He spoke only to the fact. It was not ment, and accepted it as a part of his proposition. so regulated, nor ever had been. The only law on the Mr. WEBSTER said, after the House had amended subject was that which limited the power of the Presi- the resolution, he should suppose that the mover of it dent as to the amount of salary allowed to these officers. had no right to alter it at his pleasure. He did not Here Congress had set bounds. In all other respects the know, that, as a separate proposition, he should have subject rested in Executive discretion. He was at issue any objection to this resolution: but, as the subject was with the gentleman from Georgia on a plain matter of a new one, and the introduction of it appeared to him to fact, an inquiry as to what the statute contained. He be (not meaning to use the term in an offensive sense) had said, and he repeated, that there was no other sta- an invasion of the rule which requires resolutions calling tate provision except that which limited the compensa- for information, to lie one day for consideration, he hoped tion. If there were any other, the gentleman from the gentleman from North Carolina would consent to Georgia could easily turn to it; and he particularly in. withdraw the amendment. vited him to point it out. If he should not do so, his so. Mr. SAUNDERS said, he was not disposed to withlemn denial of what he had said, that was, that no parti-draw it: the amendment certainly had connexion with cular mission, or ministerial appointment, was made in the subject of the resolution, for, like that subject, it pursuance of any statute, would still not shake the truth proposed an inquiry respecting the compensation of diof that proposition.
plomatic agents. Mr. FORSYTH said, there was no difference between Mr. POWELL said, that, whenever there was a sughimself and the gentleman as to the fact. Mr. F. did gestion of abuse of power by the Executive, he thought not assert that there was specific legislation : he had it became the duty of this House to sustain any inquiry explained why the legislation was not specific: he as- into such abuse, which was proposed. If the Executive serted that, when the act passed, the opinion which the has abused his power, it ought to be known, and if gentleman had condemned, was distinctly expressed in proved, to undergo the reprobation of this House. If, debate, and had ever since been admitted to be sound. however, he has strictly discharged his duty, it was due But there was such an act, regulating the appointment, to him that the House should institute the inquiry, to reand fixing the salaries, of Public Ministers ; and under lieve him from unjust imputation. He hoped, therefore, that law the appointment of them was made by the that the resolution would be allowed to pass in the shape President.
which it had assumed. Mr. WEBSTER asked, if the gentleman from Georgia Mr. WEBSTER said, that he wished it to be underwould turn to the statute to which he had reference ? stood, that he was perfectly willing to yote for the re
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(Jax. 9, 1827.
solution as now amended : his only objection was its to employ the means of the Government upon them. violation, in his opinion, of the spirit of the rules of the The House was under an impression, and, Mr. McL. House.
said, it was natural that they should be, that there is The SPEAKER bere decided the amendment to be now a surplus of two millions of dollars in the Treasury, in order, and stated the grounds of his decision ; from applicable to any purpose to which it may please the which Mr. WEBSTER continued to dissent, but without House to appropriate it. He could not be mistaken, jhe appealing from the decision, having no objection to vote thought, in saying that such is not the state of the Treafor the resolution as it stood.
sury, and that, so far from it, there is a deficit of the mo. The question was then taken on agreeing to the resolu. ney necessary to meet the ordinary annual expenses of tion, as amended, and decided in the affirmative.
the Government, including the Sinking Fund. He made
this remark, to induce gentlemen to inquire, and satisfy INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT.
themselves, before the appropriation bills were brought The following resolution, moved by Mr. WICKLIFFE in, what is the state of the Treasury now. He believed yesterday, and laid upon the table, was called up, and he might say that there was a full disposition in the read :
Committee of Ways and Means to grant, for objects of “ Resolved, that the Secretary of War report to this Internal Improvement which Congress should designate, House an abstract of the applications filed in his Depart. every cent that was practicable : but this was the first ment for the survey of Roads and Canals, which have not time, since the commencement of legislating for this been surveyed, stating the routes of such roads, and the object, that it had presented itself for consideration, probable distance of each route ; and, also, the location when the means were wanting to appropriate for it. of such canals."
Now, in the annual estimates of appropriations, 202,000 Mr. COOK having inquired what was the object of dollars were put down for these surveys and Internal Imthe gentleman from Kentucky, in moving the resolu. provements, and something like 30,000 dollars was asktion
ed for, for the continuation of the examination and sur. Mr. WICKLIFFE said it had been proposed at this veys authorized by the act of May, 1824. This sum was session to inquire into the expediency of withholding wanted at a time when there was not money in the Treathe general appropriation for surveys, &c. and to sub. sury to pay it; and, if it was granted, additional ways stitutc for it specific appropriations for such surveys as and means must be provided to pay it. In this state of Congress should think proper to authorize. It had struck the Treasury, it became necessary to consider seriously him, as proper, preliminary to the consideration of this of the propriety of retrenching the public expenditures ; matter, that Cong should have some information as and, if any retrenchment was to be made, it must be to the extent of these surveys, which were likely to be made here. It was impossible to know, without inforcalled for ; and that the best way of getting at this mation, upon what object this expenditure is proposed information, would be to have a list of the applica. to be made. This is information, said he] without tions, &c.
which we cannot get along at all. If the resolution preMr. COOK then said that the resolution called for vail, it will be obtained by a call from the House : if not, information which could be of no use whatever to the the Committee on Ways and Means will have to seek for House, and would be productive of much inconvenience; it. These remarks were made, not from any hostility to and he was, therefore, opposed to it. That there had Internal Improvement-for he was willing to carry on been many applications to the War Department for sur- this system of surveys, &c. as far as was consistent with veys, there could be no doubt; but whether there had the means at the disposal of the Government : but he been one or five hundred, could be a matter of no im- begged the House to consider seriously this matter, that portance to the House. These calls, he said, furnished they might be prepared to act upon it when it came up a convenient mode of eliciting able and patriotic letters, seriously for consideration. written by Members of Congress to the Department ; Mr. MERCER said, he never had listened, on any for. but however able and pa-riotic they might be, he did not mer occasion, with the least regret, to any remarks wish the House to be at the trouble and expense of ob- from the honorable Member from Delaware. Even now, taining copies of them. Let this practice be in Julged, he was not opposed to the resolution, which his friend and the tables of tive House would be loaded with print from Delaware maintained the expediency of adopting : ed volumes of these papers. It was also for the pur. but he was so to the argument by which he bad sought to pose of extinguishing an unnatural appetite for internal sustain it. That argument did not truly appertain to the improvements, of such a nature as never can be accom. subject of debate. plished, that he was disposed to arrest this call for vo. If he had distinctly heard, which it was at all times lumes of papers, recommending or proposing measures, difficult to do, the reinarks of the honorable gentleman, most of which were of that description.
he had said, that the sum of 200,000 dollars would be Mr. McLANE (Chairman of the Committee of Ways required for the surveys of the current year. and Means) said, that he should be in favor of this reso. (Here Mr. McLANE explained.] lution, if he correctly understood the object of it, which I still think, as at first, that the honorable Member he believed he did. He hoped that he should not now, has confounded distinct objects; the construction of or at any other time, be suspected of throwing any un- roads, under a power, as ancient, as far as regards the necessary embarrassment in the way of internal im- territories, as the Government itself, with the appropriaprovement: but it appeared to him, from the attention tions for surveys for acquiring an adequate knowledge which his station in this House required of him to be of our whole country, with a view to its improvement, stow on the state of the finances, and of the estimates of when we shall possess the means of constructing both appropriations for the ensuing year, that the time was roads and canals. Are wė, really, said Mr. M. so reduccome, when this House must turn its attention, much ed in our circumstances ? Is our Treasury, thus suddenmore seriously and particularly, to the expenditures on ly, so exhausted, as to deny to us the pitiful sum of thirty this class of objects, as well as others, than it has done or fifiy thousand dollars a-year, for acquiring knowledge, heretofore. It will become a question, [said he,] as essential to our future career, I conscientiously be. whether the Government is in possession of means to lieve, as to our prosperity and safety Are we to enprosecute this system any further, and, if it have the counter, along with the array of constitutional objections, means, whether it ought not to select the objects which from so many quarters, the embarrassment of a Treaare most necessary, and the time when it is most proper sury so exhausted as not to spare the poor sum of fifty Jar. 9, 1827.]
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thousand dollars a year, which the annual appropriation far they will go into this system, and to ask for informato this object has never exceeded, and, in two years out tion respecting the plans in prospect-not to embarrass of the three in which this system has been in operation, them if the Government has the means of pursuing not nearly equalled ?
them, but to enable this House to act understandingly on It has been sought, also, to alarm us with the Execu- the subject. tive influence, to be derived from the expenditure of Mr. WICKLIFFE said, he did not suppose that the rethis sum, of thirty or fifty thousand dollars; and it is to solution which he had offered could have possibly elicitarrest its progress, that my colleague offered, the other ed so much discussion, and still less that it should have day, a resolution, instructing the Committee of Ways been met by the animated opposition which wit had reand Means to inquire into the expediency of varying the ceived from the gentleman from Illinois. His object was exercise of this power. This resolution, also, Mr. M. not to encourage further applications to the Department, had voted for, although it directly encroached upon the by sending forth the letters addressed to it, as the gentle province of a Committee of which he was a member- man seemed to suppose : for, if the resolution had any the Committee on Roads and Canals. He well knew, effect at all in that direction, it would be to cut off the that an investigation of the subject would demonstrate practice of sending these “able" letters to the Secretathe extravagance to which the change of practice, re- ry of War. Mr. W. was satisfied that the observations commended by his colleague, would inevitably lead : which had fallen from the gentleman at the head of the the waste of time in this House, in discussing the na- Committee of Ways and Means, must satisfy the House of tional character, and the expediency of an affinity of pro the necessity of such a call as the resolution proposed. positions for roads and canals, which, in many cases, a The gentleman from Virginia was mistaken, he said, in mere examination, or reconnoissance of the ground, over supposing that 30,000 was the limitation of the annual which they were proposed to be conducted, would de- amount of appropriations for surveys: the first approprimonstrate to be useless, or impracticable.
ation was, perhaps, 30,000, but the last was 50,000, &c. He had not approved the resolution, or the argument It was for this House to inquire into the propriety of by which it was preinaturely sustained, because he con- changing the mode of application for this object; and, fidently believed, as he still hoped, the inquiry, insti- as one of the means of judging of this propriety, Mr. W. . tuted by another Committee, would tend, if conducted asked for a list of applications which had been made, &c.
with the ability which marked all the acts of the Chair- and not for copies of the letters addressed to the Departman of the Committee of Ways and Means, to the unde- ment on the subject. It would be for the House to judge, niable proof of the soundness of the course hitherto pur. on seeing them, whether the surveys applied for were of sued and approved by the Committee on Roa ds and Ca- a national character or not. What, he asked, had been the nals. The limitation of the Executive power and patro- practice under the act of 1824? Whenever there were nage was to be found in the small sum hitherto appro- means, and the Engineers were at leisure, it was only nepriated, not to construct a road or canals, but to inquire, cessary to get up a town meeting to ask for a survey of a by means of an examination, survey, or estimate, or all road or a canal, and the Surveyors were sent there. If three combined, whether any road or canal was of na- the mode of appropriation were changed, Congress would tional importance, was practicable, and expedient. Con- determine whether it was proper or not to make any pargress would be found to be incapable, without the infor- ticular survey. And the information called for was necesmation which the annual appropriations to the surveys sary to throw light on this matter. of the routes of such roads and canals were designed to Mr. COOK said, he was still not satisfied of the proprifurnish, of deciding upon the numerous propositions in ety of this call, extending, as it does, down to the time relation to this subject, which might be presented to its when surveys were first thought of, and embracing every judgment. Deplorable, indeed, must be the condition application that has been made to the Department for surof the Government, when it shall have a revenue so crip- veys. This information was not necessary to enable the pled as to be denied the means of obtaining this infor- Comn.ittee of Ways and Means to decide any question, mation. If such truly be its condition, this is not a suit- because that which had been suggested could be as well able occasion for verifying the fact, or discussing for such determined without the information as with it. The efa calamity a competent remedy.
fect of drawing out this roll of applications, would be to Mr. McLANE said that the honorable gentleman liad, encourage multitudes of other applications from every he thought, wholly mistaken the object which he had in part of the country. With regard to the mode of ap. view in the remarks he had made when up before. It is propriating for surveys, Mr. C. said, if it were changed, unnecessary, (said Mr. McL.] for me to say that the gen. the House would have trouble enough.' His opinion was, Ueman from Virginia is not a sincerer friend to internal that the House ought to engage in no objects of Internal improvement, properly conducted, than I am : we have Improvement not of a national character, and generally hitherto been on the same side of this question, and I called for. He was opposed to indulging the hope of promise the gentleman that, as far as the means of the national appropriations for petty local purposes, desired country will allow us to go, we shall not separate upon by any town or corporation, but wholly unconnected with it hereafter. But the gentleman from Virginia was mis. the operations of the Government, or the general convetaken, Mr. McL. said, if he supposed this object of In- nience or accommodation. He would act, in regard to ternal Improvement involved only a paltry sum of thirty Internal Improvement, only on national principles, and on or fifty thousand dollars. If the gentleman would look such he would continue to act with gentlemen for the back to the appropriations of the last three or four years, remainder of the time he had to serve with them. he would find not less than a million and a half of dollars Mr. CAMBRELENG hoped that the resolution would had been applied, in one way or other, to this object. be adopted. He thought we had reached a crisis in our (Mr. MERCER said, he had spoken of examinations and public affairs which demanded an attention not only to surveys only.) Mr. McL. said he knew that the gentle. this question, but to the revenue of the country. It was man had referred to them, when he spoke of the par. on this point particularly he wished to make a remark. ticular sum of 30,000 dollars : but if the House found it We had legislated during the last session entirely in the would be impracticable to follow up these surveys, &c. dark. We were at that time amidst one of those reac. what would be the use of spending money in making tions of the commercial world which visit nations peri. them all that he meant to say now, however, was, odically, but irregularly, and sensibly affect not only the chat it had become the duty of the House to inquire how commerce, but the industry and revenue of every coun.
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(Jan. 10, 1827.
on our revenue.
try. He thought the influence of this revolution had not partment intends expending the money appropriated for been fully appreciated last year by the Department from making surveys and examinations, it may become neceswhence we derive our information on revenue. Without sary for us to have the information, that we may juege of thoroughly understanding the operation of these vicissi- the propriety of the course pursued by the Executive in tudes, it was impossible for any financier or statesman to the
expenditure of the appropriation. make calculations on revenue. In the year 1826, our The resolution offered a few days since by the gentle. revenue was at its maximum ; it was now declining : the man from Virginia, (Mr. Rives) proposes an entire change revenue of the present year would fall below that of 1826; in the course now pursued by the Government. If his but the full extent of the reaction would not be felt till proposition is to be carried into effect, it will defeat every 1828. In that year the revenue would, probably, be at purpose for which these appropriations are made. The its minimum. How low it would go, it was impossible to power given to the President by the act of May, 1824, to say; but he begged the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. cause surveys to be made of such proposed roads and MENCEN] to carry his recollections back, and see what canals as he might deem proper, was to enable him to effect the last reaction in the commerce of the world had give this House the information on which to judge of the
If he would go back to (as well as he importance of the work, and the propriety of executing recollected) the year 1817 or 1818, he would find that, it. Without this information we can only act upon the in that year, the revenue was at its maximum, and that opinions of gentlemen given on this floor, or the interestthe revenue from customs yielded about twenty-two mil. ed representations made by others to us. We are thus lions; the year after, it declined to eighteen millions, and often led to make appropriations for works which are the next year, when it reached its minimum, to twelve afterwards found to be of but little national importance.
millions. Thus the last revolution in the affairs of the He said he would still leave it to the discretion of the Exi commercial world diminished our revenue ten millions of ecutive to select such objects as he might believe of nadollars ; reacting from twenty two to twelve millions. tional importance, and which would be presented to us
What effect the late revulsion would have, could not upon his responsibility, and the responsibility of the offibe calculated--it would probably not be equal to the cers charged with the execution of the surveys. last. It was not probable that the revenue from the cus- The whole sum asked this year to make surveys, &c. toms would decline to twelve from twenty-five millions is not half the amount that has been expended on works particularly since we had, since the last reaction, increas which have afterwards been abandoned, or the whole ed our taxes by augmenting our duties upon importations. plan changed, on account of our not having the necessaBut the revenue was declining, and would reach its mi- ry information previous to the commencement of them. nimum in 1828. The sun of fifty thousand dollars might He thought every gentleman who had reflected on this be of little moment, but this was certainly a time to inves- subject, on which resolution after resolution had been tigate fully every new branch of expenditure. We had passed, proposing inquiries into the propriety of making our public debt to pay off, whilst our revenue was de appropriations, would approve of calling for the informaclining. Upon the subject of Internal Improvement his tion embraced in the proposed amendment. Farther than opinions were without disguise. Whenever gentlemen this he did not think it necessary to ask information on would satisfy his judgment that the work was national— the subject from the Department. .national in its character and purposes--they should have The discussion was here arrested by a demand to prohis vote ; but he should "ppose this plan of sending Sur ceed to the Orders of the Day. veyors into our Congressional Districts for the purpose of influencing public opinion-of sending Military Engi
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10, 1827. neers to perform the office of Civil Engineers. The House would recollect that, when one of the most dis- The House resumed the consideration of the resolutinguished Engineers our country can boast, was appoint- tion submitted by Mr. WICKLIFFE, on the 8th inst. ed to the office of Civil Engineer by the Government of which was under discussion yesterday till the arrival of Virginia, he declined, expressly upon the ground that he the hour for passing to the orders of the day. was a Military and not a Civil Engineer. Something inore Mr. WOODS withdrew his amendment (offered yester. was required than a mere knowledge of Military Engi-day) at the request of Mr. WICKLIFFE, who modified neering—the two professions were distinct. He was op- his resolution by adding thereto, as follows: posed, also, to sending Engineers throughout our country “And to designate, in one class, those to which it is to survey routes for roads and canals, which were never the intention of the Department to make any application intended to be executed. He hoped the attention of of the appropriation asked for under the act of the 24th Congress would be more directed than it had been, to the May, 1824 ; and, in another class, those to which no ap. condition of our finances, and that all useless expendi- plication of said sum may be intended.” tures would be avoided.
The resolution being thus modified, Mr. WOODS, of Ohio, moved to amend by inserting, Mr. COOK said, that he could not let it pass without after the words “ bave not been surveyed,” these words : again expressing his dissent. The great argument relied “and upon which it is the intention of the Department on by the supporters of the resolution, was, that, by have to expend any part of the appropriation asked for under ing all the applications for Roads and Canals spread bethe act of the 24th of May, 1824.”
fore them, the House would be better able to judge of Mr. Woods said, if the amendment which he propos- the comparative merits of each, and could thus decide ed was adopted, he would vote for the resolution. He with intelligence which it ought to adopt. But, Mr. C. thought it proper the House should have information on said, he was entirely opposed to the idea that this House the subject; but he believed the objects embraced in the is to act specifically on each object which may, at any amendment would be sufficient. As the resolution was time, be proposed from any quarter of the country. The offered by the gentleman from Kentucky, it not only ex. attempt to do this must consume its time in endless local tends to such schemes of Internal Improvement as had controversies. An example of this must be fresh in the been presented by members of this House and officers of mind of every gentleman who heard him : he referred to the Government, but to every project which had been the various proposals for the location of an Armory on the recommended by any individual, whether it had been Western Waters. The moment this House undertook, deemed worthy of the attention of the Executive and in its own capacity, to fix upon the particular spot for the expenditure of the public money or not. But when this establishment, each Representative started up to urge the inquiry is confined to the projects on which the De. 'the claims of his own district, and nothing was effected.