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Duty on Salt.
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favor of adhering to our vote-though I believe, when there is a Constitutional question as to the powers of the two branches, we may very properly examine their proceedings. It is said the Senate may strike out all but the title of your bills. Indisputably; but will this House submit? Suppose you send a bill to the Senate laying a duty of two per cent. on saltpetre, and they send it back to you, striking out this provision, and giving you a bill in lieu of it, laying a tax of four shillings in the pound on all the lands of the United States. Is that, under the Constitution, a fair exercise of their power? To my mind, if the position be admitted, that it is the sole privilege of this House to grant the public money, it is extremely indecent, to say no more, for that branch of the Legislature to tell the United States they will get all the money they can, whatever may be the disposition of this House. Recollect how the salt tax was laid before-on the last day of an expiring Congress, after a proposition to lay the tax had been rejected, and members had gone home, under the persuasion that no such attempt would be renewed. By some little modification of that proposition, a tax of twenty cents was laid on every fifty-six pounds of salt, and riveted on the people forever. When I say forever, I mean the period of its being taken off depends on a branch of the Legislature, over which the people have but little control, who are the representatives, not of the people, but of the State sovereignties. Now, if the House do wish, as surely they must, to get rid of this tax, and if they believe, as they must, that the present circumstances of the country admit of its repeal, else the bill would not have passed by so large a majority, I hope they will adhere to their disagreement to the amendments of the Senate, and put it in the power of the other branch to take so much of the public money, as it is our pleasure to grant, and not one cent more.
Senate. I hope we shall not concur with the Senate, under the idea of reducing the duty on salt from twenty to twelve cents. Notwithstanding a fear entertained by some gentlemen of a deficiency in the revenue, the House, by a vast majority, passed the bill repealing the duty on salt. The Message of the President was referred to the Committee of Ways and Means, and that Committee made a report recommending the taking off the duty on salt, and continuing the two and a half per cent. duty. Every objection to the measure that now exists then existed, and ought then to have been offered. We then sent to the other House a supply of money-a tax yielding $900,000, with the probability of its amounting the ensuing year to a million; in this same bill we proposed taking off a tax, which does not yield $600,000; we therefore made a grant of $400,000 annually. It is said that the amendment of the Senate does not go to the imposition of a new tax, but that it continues the revenue as it is. There is some plausibility, but no solidity in this remark. If it goes to continue the revenue as it now is, where is the necessity of continuing the duty of two and a half per cent.? It is therefore in fact a new money bill. Let me urge one thing to the House. If we ever mean to strike off the duty on salt, we must cling to the Mediterranean fund as the lever to lift this load from the shoulders of the people. It will be recollected that within five years we have taken off the internal taxes. I am glad of it; for I fear it would not now be done. They produced about $800,000, inclusive of the taxes which have expired, and $640,000 exclusive of them. But we have granted a supply of two and a half per cent. duties, which yield annually, from nine hundred thousand, to a million dollars. This is a complete offset to the repeal of the internal taxes. What we have lost by their repeal we have gained, with the addition of one or two hundred thousand dollars beyond the sum we Mr. RHEA, of Tennessee.-As I do not appear should have received, had they been suffered to to have been understood, it is necessary that I remain, and no addition been made to the duties should say a few words in explanation. I said on imports and tonnage; and yet we hear of the nothing of the Mediterranean fund. I said then, growing demands of the Government. But the and I still say, I do not contemplate this bill, so growing demands of all Governments are alike. far as it relates to imposing a duty on salt, as a Do gentlemen recollect the growing state of the money bill; and I consider the amendment of the nation? When this Government was first put in Senate as only a negation to the repeal of laws motion, the duties on imports were not more than affecting the revenue. I said that House had a four or five millions. These resources are daily right to judge of the propriety of a repeal of a growing, and a fund accruing from the increasing revenue law, and I say so still. We say we are prosperity of the people, which their guardians are in favor of a repeal of the law imposing a duty on bound to account for. Though we have contract- salt-they say they are against it. What has that ed a debt for New Orleans, we have gained a rev- to do with originating a money bill? One is as disenue of not less than $300,000 a year. From tinct from the other as the effect from its cause. these circumstances I hope we shall adhere to our I agree that this House has the right to originate disagreement to the amendments of the Senate, revenue laws; but, once enacted, they have an and that they will, in their justness and gracious-equal right with us to judge of the expediency of ness, yield a tax of half a million for a tax which produces a whole million. It is a new stretch of Senatorial prerogative, for that body
The SPEAKER said the House had nothing to do with the conduct of the Senate-it was therefore out of order to make such remarks.
Mr. J. RANDOLPH.-I would wish to have nothing to do with the Senate; and am therefore in
rescinding them. With regard to this law, when I came here, I found it in existence, and I think in the present state of the country it ought to be continued. Have we not every reason to believe that we shall be embroiled in a war with Tunis? Will not this take all the revenue we have to spare? I shall be glad if it will not take more. We have no information from the Executive
Government, that this duty can be dispensed with. We have seen no report on the subject from the Secretary of the Treasury. It is not my duty to sit here and disarm the Government of the power of promoting the public interest. You may go on repealing one law after another, until the Executive has but the mere name of authority left. It has been said that the demands on the Treasury may increase-I believe they may justly increase; we know indeed they have increased. Since the meeting of Congress we have taken measures which may increase them for eventual good, for the benefit of the whole community. Being of this opinion, I must vote against this bill in every shape in which it comes before me.
Mr. J. RANDOLPH.-I understand that if the House do adhere, all conference with the Senate will be at an end. If they prefere to keep the duty on salt to having the Mediterranean fund. they will refuse to recede from their amendments. But I have no idea they will refuse a revenue of a million for half a million. I am as anxious as any man to vote the necessary supplies of the Government, and perhaps my vote might have been materially influenced, had a different vote prevailed on the bill relative to the public debt, which has been postponed. But when I find the hands of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund tied, and that there is a probability that they will be obliged to pour back into the Treasury, a part of the fund vested in them, I feel altogether indisposed to this amendment. If all the surplus revenue could be applied to the discharge of the debt, I might be as liberal as any man in granting it; but as it cannot, I am for adhering to our vote.
Mr. CONRAD.-I hope we shall adhere, but try a conference. It will then be time enough to consider whether we will adhere. Anxious as I am to get rid of this odious tax, I will agree to reduce the duty to 12 cents, or keep the Mediterranean fund, and next session judge whether we are able to take off the whole of it.
Mr. RHEA, of Tennessee, said he barely rose to set the gentleman from Virginia right, by stating that the hands of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund would not be tied for several years to come, and that Congress would be in session before any such great sum would be accumulated in their hands.
Mr. LYON said he felt as great an aversion to the salt tax as any other man, but his strong wish was to act in such a manner that the Executive Government might not be distressed in discharging the duties devolved on it by the Legislature. He should vote against adhering, that a conference might be had with the Senate. He should vote for taking off the salt tax, if he thought the Government could do without it; and he had no doubt that most of the gentlemen were under the impression that the Secretary of the Treasury thought we could do without it. He said, for his own satisfaction, he had applied to the Secretary of the Treasury, who had told him the Government could not do without it.
insist on their disagreement to the amendment of the Senate, and appointed a committee of conference.
And then, on a motion, made and seconded, the House adjourned until half past six o'clock, post meridiem.
Eodem Die, half past 6 o'clock.
A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have agreed to the conference desired by this House on the subject-matter of the amendment depending between the two Houses to the bill, entitled "An act in addition to an act, entitled 'An act supplementary to the act provi ding for a Naval Peace Establishment, and for other purposes," and have appointed managers at the same on their part. The Senate have appointed a committee on their part, jointly, with such committee as may be appointed on the part of this House, to wait on the President of the United States, and notify him of the proposed recess of Congress.
The House proceeded to consider so much of the aforegoing message of the Senate as relates to the appointment of a joint committee of the two Houses to wait on the President of the United States, and notify him of the proposed recess of Congress: Whereupon,
Resolved, That this House doth agree to the same; and that Mr. EARLY, Mr. THOMAS M.RAN DOLPH, and Mr. CUTTS, be appointed of the said committee, on the part of this House.
The House proceeded to consider the amendment proposed by the Senate to the bill, entitled "An act to amend, in the cases therein mentioned, the act to regulate the collection of duties on inports and tonnage:" Whereupon.
Resolved, That this House doth agree to the said amendment.
The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act for the punishment of counterfeit ing the current coin of the United States, and for other purposes. The bill was reported without amendment.
The House proceeded to consider the said bill at the Clerk's table: Whereupon, the bill was read the third time, and passed.
The House proceeded to consider the amend ment proposed by the Senate to the bill entitied "An act respecting the claims to land in the Indiana Territory and State of Ohio:" Whereupon. Resolved, That this House doth agree to the said amendment.
The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act for the regulation of the times of holding the Courts of the District of Columbia, and for other purposes. The bill was reported without amendment.
The House proceeded to consider the said bill at the Clerk's table: Whereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed.
Mr. SMILIE, from the managers appointed this The motion to adhere was then disagreed to-day, on the part of this House, to attend a conyeas 36, nays 42. When the House agreed to terence with the Senate on the subject-matter
of the amendment depending between the two Houses to the bill, entitled "An act in addition to an act, entitled 'An act supplementary to the act providing for a Naval Peace Establishment, and for other purposes," reported that they had met the managers on the part of the Senate, and had come to no agreement thereupon.
NAVAL PEACE ESTABLISHMENT.
A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate recede from their amendment to the bill, entitled "An act in addition to an act, entitled 'An act supplementary to the act providing for a Naval Peace Establishment, and for other purposes," to their disagreement to which this House hath insisted. The Senate adhere to their amendment to the bill, entitled "An act repealing the acts laying duties on salt, and continuing in force, for a further time, the first section of the act, entitled 'An act further to protect the commerce and seamen of the Uuited States against the Barbary Powers."
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the objects for which we have made appropriations be carried into effect. At the next session, however, we shall know the measures taken by the Executive, and what our wants will be. This bill only extends the continuance of the fund to the next session, which will be on the third of March; and since, as it now stands, it will not expire until three months from the ratification of the treaty, this bill will only continue it for a period of six or seven months.
Mr. FINDLEY.-Though I represent a district which suffers more perhaps than any other in the United States from the duty on salt, yet I confess myself astonished at the mannner in which this bill has been brought before us. We have heard on a former occasion much about a cabinet. In this instance no cabinet has been consulted-but the measure has been smuggled in at the last period of the session. Are we sitting here to embarrass the character and credit of the United States? I thought the measure had come in on calculation: but, I find since that it is founded Mr. GREGG, from the committee of conference on miscalculation; and that it is a part of the on the same bill, observed that the conferees on system to throw the gauntlet, to destroy the Adthe part of the Senate did not discover any dis-ministration. The people have offered us no position to recede from their amendments. The conferees on the part of the House stated the danger of losing the bill if the conferees did not relax, and proposed to meet them on the ground of compromise, by taking off the duty of eight cents imposed on salt. To this proposition the conferees on the part of the Senate declined acceding. Mr. J. RANDOLPH moved that the House adhere to their disagreement to the amendments of the Senate.
petitions to repeal this tax. What have we done? The Mediterranean fund is about to cease, and it is now proposed to give up the salt tax for it. This mode of bargaining-this system of corruption, I have always been averse to. I voted for the bill, because I thought it came from the Treasury Department, but instead of this. I find it part of a system to embarrass the Administration. I will agree to continue the Mediterranean fund, for I am not at war with the Government Mr. SMILIE. I shall now be against this bill, or any part of it. I know I am risking my poputhough I was originally in favor of it. The Sen-larity as much as any man; but I am not afraid ate having adhered to their vote, to repeal the of this, as I am convinced in a good cause I shall duty on salt is out of the question. The only never suffer. There can be no good argument question now is, whether we shall continue the for the motion to adhere, but a desire to destroy the Mediterranean fund independent of the other. Administration. Seeing that I cannot get the first, I will not on that account lose the last; for I do believe, under present circumstances, it would be unwise to divest our selves of the Mediterranean fund.
Mr. ALSTON. Having done everything in our power to repeal the duty on salt or to lessen it, the only question is, whether we shall continue the Mediterranean fund until the next session or not. I call on gentlemen to take a review of the different estimates from the Treasury during the present session, and to consider the expenses they warrant-I allude particularly to the appropriation of two millions towards the purchase of the Floridas, to decide whether we can do without the Mediterranean fund. The great object with me in advocating the repeal of the duty on salt was to obtain the Mediterranean fund. We have done our part to effect this object. I believe with the aid of that fund, though the duty on salt had been taken off, our revenue would have been sufficient; though even the greatest economy would have been requisite in the disbursement of the public money. Official documents on our tables from the proper departments will show that we cannot do without the Mediterean fund; provided
Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS.-No man can be more earnestly impressed with the proverbial duty of paying respect to age than myself; but my feelings have never been more hurt than by the gentleman's impeaching the motive of those who have acted a patriotic part. The gentleman has avowed the idea, that the Committee of Ways and Means have been actuated by the view of embarrassing the Administration. I abhor and detest such an imputation. [Here was a loud cry of order by a number of gentlemen, and among others by Mr. T. M. RANDOLPH.]
Mr. FINDLEY said he hoped the gentlemen would be permitted to go on. He wished those who were opposed to the Government to speak out. [The call to order was again repeated.]
Mr. J. RANDOLPH.-I hope we shall adhere to our vote, and I will give my reasons for indulging this hope. I do not profess to be so well acquainted with the subjects of finance as some other gentlemen on this floor. But if the Mediterranean fund is to be continued for so short a time, it is obvious that the revenue to be gleaned from it will be proportionally small. The arguments of gentlemen therefore rebut themselves.
They declare that they want a revenue, while they acknowledge that the continuance of this tax will produce but a small one. I hope that we shall keep the Mediterranean fund as a hostage for the salt tax. If between this and the next session a deficiency shall occur in our ways and means, to meet the demands of the Government, it will not be the first time, as I know it will not be the last, in which I shall step forward to vote a supply to meet every honorable demand. If there shall be deficit, as there is no reason to believe there will be, I pledge myself as one of those who will meet it. I wish to adhere to our vote, that the Mediterranean fund may be lost; for we have been told by those who, I presume, are well acquainted on such points, that such a course will enforce economy, and I wish I could add, in the words of an honorable friend who has no longer a seat here, would insure economy. But what has thrown us into this heat? Is it the dinner we have just eaten? I hope no honorable gentleman, who has heretofore kept the noiseless tenor of his way, because we have adjourned for half an hour, has permitted his passions to indulge in an asperity not shown on any former occasion. I did hope that whatever contumely or hostility may have been manifested during the earlier period of the session, we would have thrown in the last moments of it, neither the splenetic temper of age or youth; but that we should have parted like men not ashamed of what we had done, or afraid to meet the public award.
The question was then taken by yeas and nays on adhering-yeas 40, nays 47, as follows:
YEAS-Evan Alexander, Burwell Bassett, George M. Bedinger, Silas Betton, Levi Casey, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, jr., Peter Early, James Elliot, Caleb Ellis, Ebenezer Elmer, William Ely, John W. Eppes, James M. Garnett, Edwin Gray, Andrew Gregg, David Holmes, David Hough, Joseph Lewis, junior, Thomas Moore, Jonathan O. Mosely, Jeremiah Nelson, Gideon Olion, Timothy Pitkin, jr., Josiah Quincy, John Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, Thomas Sammons, Samuel Smith, Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, Samuel Tenney, Philip R. Thompson, Thomas W. Thompson, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Peleg Wadsworth, David R. Williams, Alexander Wilson, Richard Winn, and Joseph Winston.
NAYS-Willis Alston, jr., Isaac Anderson, Joseph Barker, Barnabas Bidwell, John Blake, jr., John Chandler, John Claiborne John Clopton, Frederick Conrad, Jacob Crowninshield, Richard Cutts, Ezra Darby, John Dawson, Elias Earle, William Findley, James Fisk, John Fowler, Isaiah L. Green, Silas Halsey, John G. Jackson, Walter Jones, John Lambert, Michael Leib, Matthew Lyon, Robert Marion, Josiah Masters, William McCreery, Nicholas R. Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, John Morrow, Gurdon S. Mumford, Thomas Newton, jr., John Pugh, Thomas M. Randolph, John Rhea of Tennessee, John Russell, Peter Sailly, Martin G. Schuneman, James Sloan, John Smilie, Henry Southard, David Thomas, Uri Tracy, Joseph B. Varnum, John Whitehill, R. Whitehill, and Nathan Williams.
Mr. T. M. RANDOLPH.-It is true, as the gentleman says, I have not made much noise this season, and it is as true that he has made more than has been useful. I believe in the present
stage of it that the advantage is on my side. I go home with a more contented mind, more tranquil feelings, and I may add also, I believe, a better heart, for not having engaged in the manner he has done, or in the character he has assumed, in the scenes exhibited before me in this House. Between the gentleman from Virginia and myself I acknowledge there is in point of talents an immeasurable distance. I can never hope to attain that intellectual elevation, which he has long since reached. At my inferiority in that respect I do not repine. I am what nature made me, and I am perfectly satisfied with my condi tion. But although there is this intellectual difference between the gentleman and myself, and the superiority is so great on his part in that point, I maintain that in the point of true patriotism be is my inferior. I do not hesitate to pronounce that myself, and I do not fear the imputation of vanity for so doing. With respect to the usefulness of either to the public, there is no such difference in reality between us as may appear to exist. I insist that the tenor of the gentlemen's recent conduct has been such, that with all his extraordinary powers and the extraordinary exertion of them he has made, his utility to his country this session has not been superior to mine. The difference between us, in the effect produced by either upon the public affairs, has been, to speak the favorite language of the gentlemen himself, the same with that between "aviditas cali” and "nimius imber" upon the fields. To translate into the language of the gentleman's constituents, my influence on the national prosperity this ses sion has been, when compared to his, what a dry summer is to a fresh, what a scanty crop is to an overwhelming inundation, confounding, sullying, impairing all things. The gentleman made use of the term "contumely." To this and other of fensive terms, with an allusion which, as to me, is as unjust as it is insulting, I am sorry to think myself obliged to reply in other language than what I ever expected to use towards him. I have long observed that this gentleman is apt to indulge himself, while he has the shield of the dignity of this House extended over him, while he feels he is standing in the centre of this sacred asylum, in would be inadmissible in society; which he would language to his equals upon this floor, which not venture to make use of elsewhere. While
saying this, I am fully aware of the consequences which may result from my expressions. My mind is arranged to meet them. I know the extreme irritability of the gentleman's temper; I know as well the principles which govern him upon ocea sions of this kind. I know the point to which he is disposed to carry disputes with some persons. I inform him that I have the same principles and sentiments myself upon such subjects. I never will, unprovoked, seek a quarrel with any one; this is entirely unsought and undesired by me; but I have always thought, and always shall think, that lead and even steel make very proper ingre dients in serious quarrels, and I shall never be unwilling, when honor requires, to mix either or both in such as are forced upon me.
I have been hitherto a great admirer not only of the talents but of the utility of the gentleman in his public sphere. I am so no longer; the former are perverted, the latter has ceased. This gentleman has been from his first entrance into the public councils a kind of industrious, skilful, steady, and useful kitchen gardener in politics. His labor was constantly employed for the benefit of his country; it produced abundance of rich fruits and wholesome nutriment for its honor, its sustenance, and growth. He was beloved and cherished by it. Suddenly, last year he grew fond of the business of the florist, and took a distaste to the spade and manure by which he had come to such extraordinary thrift. He became dazzled with the splendors of that new calling, and not only resolved to change his trade, and set up in it, but conceived a strong contempt and aversion to such as followed the old. Behold, in one short season he has reached the verge of bankruptcy! For myself, I pronounce him bankrupt forever as a popular statesman.
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freedom with me. By a rapid movement of my mind, I came to a resolution not to go home with such a load on my feelings as was imposed by the recollection that the treatment I had received was in the face of a company of a hundred men, who were to disperse to-morrow, and spread my disgrace through all quarters of the Union. I took the resolution to run all risk; to brave any danger which I might possibly incur, and by a severe retaliation to shake off the load which oppressed my spirits. I made use of the language you heard, and I addressed it particularly to the gentleman who I conscientiously believed had injured me. Since that I have been told by six or seven different gentlemen, that I was mistaken; that the words were not directed to me; that they were meant for another. I have not been able to find one who would agree with me that I was the object of them. I have even had the mortification to be asked if it was not a studied attack on my part on the gentleman, for the course he has taken this session. I disclaim such an intention. Whatever may have been my secret thoughts, I had no wish to utter them here. I could not have done so with honor, unprovoked, for private reasons. I have never imagined such a design, nor could I to answer that end have used such language as part of what I uttered. I am conscious of the disrespect I have shown the House, and it appears that it is not, as I supposed, justified by the necessity of the case. My mistake was honest and natural-I regret it, and the expressions I used in consequence of it.
The House resolved itself into a Committee of
The tenor of my course has been, I confess, little noisy. I have been encouraged in making it so by the improper length to which the gentleman himself has gone to the other extreme. If I were to say it was the unlucky example he has given me, which alone induced me to follow a contrary course, I should not speak the truth. My diffidence, and, no doubt, incapacity for such exertions, have been the main reasons; and I am not ashamed to confess it, for I have no hope to make myself abler than nature intended I should be, and no shame to appear as I am. I acknowledge that the gentleman's example and the situation to which he has brought himself, influenced my conduct, by repressing my desire to be active in the House. When I saw him, like a ship at sea, without compass or rudder, tossed on the surges of his passions, driven at random by furious squalls which continually arose from unexpected quarters of the boundless horizon of his fancy; when I saw the weather-beaten appearance his public character began to wear- YEAS-Evan Alexander, Willis Alston, jun., Isaac his political honors, which I had been accustomed Anderson, Joseph Barker, Burwell Bassett, George M. to look on with clannish feelings of delight, bleach-Bedinger, Silas Betton, Barnabas Bidwell, John Blake, ed and fluttering like tattered canvass in the winds; jun., Levi Casey, John Chandler, John Claiborne, John above all, when I heard it whispered that he had Clopton, Frederick Conrad, Jacob Crowninshield, Sambecome leaky, I confess my want of boldness was uel W. Dana, John Davenport, jr., John Dawson, Peter increased. I feared to trust my little bark to the Early, Caleb Ellis, Ebenezer Elmer, William Ely, John rude sea of debate, with the tempest he had raised W. Eppes, William Findley, James Fisk, John Fowler, on it. I made a determination that I would, to Holmes, David Hough, John G. Jackson, Walter Jones, Andrew Gregg, Isaiah L. Green, Silas Halsey, David employ an apt term in use among seamen, hug the John Lambert, Joseph Lewis, jr., Matthew Lyon, Robland, and hold a safe though inglorious course. ert Marion, William McCreery, Nicholas R. Moore, The House then agreed to recede from their dis- Thomas Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, John Morrow, Guragreement to the amendment of the Senate-don S. Mumford, Jeremiah Nelson, Thomas Newton, ayes 45, noes 36.
Mr. T. M. RANDOLPH, a short time after this, rose and made the following remarks:
Mr. Speaker-A little while since I made use of some very severe and harsh language towards a gentleman of this House, such as I acknowledge altogether improper to be used in it. I did so,because I believed that certain expressions of a disrespectful nature which dropped from him were directed to me. It struck me that they were, if not intended to insult, at least an unpardonable
the Whole on the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act for the temporary relief of Hamet Caramalli." The bill was reported without amendment, read the third time, and passed-yeas 71, nays 6, as follows:
jun., Gideon Olin, Timothy Pitkin, jr., Josiah Quincy,
Sloan, John Smilie, Henry Southard, Samuel Taggart,
NAYS-Ezra Darby, Josiah Masters, John Rea of