« PrejšnjaNaprej »
MARCH 29, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(H. OF R.
consists of three things: it is a tripod, it is a stool that stands, the legitimate reserved powers of the States; a constant upon three legs ; first, high prices of the public lands, to tendency to assume the exercise of doubtful constructive prevent emigration to the West, or, as the late Secre- powers, and to build up here a splendid Government, diftary of the Treasury, (Mr. Ruso) in his report two years fering, if this tendency shall continue, only in pame from ago, said, to check by high prices the system of bounties a consolidated empire. I was glad to hear my friend and which he supposed were held out to agricultural pursuits colleague [Mr. BLÅIR) say that he cherished the sovereignin the West by the low prices of public lands. Or, in ty of the Slates ; and that he would have the Federal and other words, the policy of this branch of the system is, to the State Government each to move in their respective sell your lands bigh, prevent thereby the inducements to orbits, neither invading nor encroaching upon the rights of emigration, retain a population of paupers in the East, the other. I heartily respond to this sentiment; but how who may, of necessity, be driven into manufactories, to my colleague reconciles it to the vote which he intends to Jabor at low wages for their daily bread. The second give for this bill, I shall not undertake to decide. Upon branch of the system is high duties, high taxes, the conse- the preservation of the rights of the States depends the quences of which are two fold; first, to protect the manu- perpetuity of the equipoise of powers between the Federal facturer, by enabling him to sell his wares at higher prices, and State Governments, intended to be observed at the and next to produce an excess of revenue. The third adoption of the constitution. The States will be the last branch of the system is internal improvements, which is citadels of your liberty ; and so long as the wholesome check the sponge which is to suck up the excess of revenue which they were intended to constitute upon the Federal which you collect from your people. These constitute Government remains, it will last forever. We are in no the splendid system by which the people of a great por- danger from a foreign enemy, who boldly sbows bimself, tion of this Union are to be taxed, and oppressively taxed, and lands upon our shore; we will meet him at the water's in all time to come, unless the policy is changed. The edge, and mark his approach by the blood of his soldiery. people of the West will soon see, if they do not already It is by slow and imperceptible assumptions of power on see, their true interest. The speedy sale and settlement, the part of this Government, that the balance of the at low prices, of the public lande, is the paramount inte constitution may be disturbed, and the liberties of the rest of the West, and it is the true interest of the whole country undermined. I am not discussing the constitutionUnion, with the exception of the particular interest I have al question involved by this bill. It has been my whole mentioned. I would sell out the public lands at low prices purpose throughout to avoid that, and to oppose the bill at much lower prices than they ever have been sold. upon the ground of its expediency alone. I have been led I would bave them speedily settled by a hardy race of en- into this digression by the sentiment that fell from my esterprising freemen, who would feel that they had a stake teemed colleague, (Mr. Blair.] shall not be provoked in the Government. I would impose no unnecessary tax. to depart from my original purpose by the broad doctrines ation upon them, to support any particular interest. I laid down by my colleague, (Mr. Isacks.) This is not the would relieve the burdens of the whole community, as far time nor the occasion to go into any examination of the as possible, by reducing the taxes. I would keep as much nullifying power of the State authorities alluded to by binh, movey in the treasury as the safety of the Goveroment re- nor to inquire how far the States may constitutionally required, and no more. I would keep no surplus there to sist the operation, within their limits, of powers assumed scramble fur, either for internal improvements, or for any by this Government, which the States may suppose it does thing else. I would bring the Government back to what it not possess. I only mention it now, for the purpose of was intended to be--a plain, economical Government. saying that I cannot go with my colleague to the extent of
We had a party in this country and in this House a few the doctrines which I understood him to lay down. years ago, who were proud to be called radicals, and who Before I conclude, I beg leave to call the attention of assumed to be almost the exclusive friends of a plain and the committee to a part of the message of the President cheap Government. We find but few of them here now. at the opening of the present session of Congress. And Many of them, I fear, have changed the red jacket for the if this system must go on; if we wlio are opposed to it are white, and have hoisted a new flag. Many of them, I fear, in a minority: if its friends are determined to press it ; I have mounted this delusion, this splendid““ American sys- call upon them to stay their bands for the present. Take tem," this grand scheme of spending millions of the public the suggestion contained in the passage which I shall read mupey in internal improvements, as a political hobby upon as preferable to the present plan ; busband all your means ; which to ride into power.
pay off the public debt first; and then, if you are determined The history and present practical operations of the con- bot to reduce the taxes, and there be a surplus in the stitution may be dated at the peace of 1815. Before that treasury," apportion it among the several States accordfueriod, the Federal Goverament performed the functions, ing to their ratio of representation.” The passage to which which it was chiefly intended to perform, by the States I allude is as follows: who were parties to the compact, and who created it. "As, then, the period approaches when the application Up to that time, the action of the Government was chiefly of the revenue to the payment of debt will cease, the disexternal ;
the attention of its rulers was mainly taken up in position of the surplus will present a subject for the serious attending to our foreign relations. In the early history of deliberation of pogress; and it may be fortunate for the the Government, and during the long continued wars in country that it is yet to be decided. Considered in conEurope, it required a most vigilant attention to preserve nexion with the difficulties which bave heretofore attenda strict neutrality on our part. We were threatened with ed appropriations for purposes of internal improvement, War, our commerce and our rights were invaded upon the and with those which this experience tells us will certainseas; we were driven to an embargo, to a system of non-in-ly arise, whenever power over such subjects may be exertercourse, and finally into the war of 1812. During this cised by the General Government, it is hoped that it may whole period, the action of this Goveróment nay be said lead to the adoption of some plau which will reconcile the to have been exterval. At the restoration of peace in diversified interests of the States, and strengthen the bonds 1815, our difficulties abroad were at an end, our rights which upite them. Every member of the Union, in peace came to be respected by all nations, ard the attention of and in war, will be benefited by the improvement of inthe Governmeot was turned internally. Since 1815, the land navigation, and the construction of highways in the action of the Government has been internal and essentially several States
. Let us then endeavor to attain this benefit vicious ; I repeat, sir, essentially vicious. There bas been in a mode which will be satisfactory to all. That bithera constant tendency increased and daily increasing, to ac- to adopted bas, by many of our fellow-citizens, been decumulate power in the federal head, and to encroach upon pregated as an infraotion of the constitution; while by
H. OF R.)
Pay of Members.
[MARCH 30, 1830.
others it has been viewed as inexpedient. All feel that it|ductive of more harm than good-Dor was there any thing, bas been employed at the expense of barmony in the legis- in the past legislation of our country, or which had oo lative councils.
curred at that session Congress, to justify the changes "To avoid these evils, it appears to me that the most suggested. I am satisfied [said Mr. W.] with the present safe, just, and federal disposition which could be made of arrangement for the sessions of Congress, and believe the the surplus revenue, would be its apportionment among House will come to the same conclusion, after mature rethe several States according to their ratio of representation, flection upon the subject. and, should this measure not be found warranted by the The original resolution proposes that the compensation constitution, that it would be expedient to propose to the of the members of Congress shall be eigbt dollars a day States an amendment authorizing it. I regard an appeal for one hundred and twenty days, and, if a session shall be to the source of power, in cases of real doubt, and where extended beyond that time, that the pay shall be two its exercise is deemed indispensable to the general welfare, dollars per diem; and the amendment provides that the as among the most sacred of all our obligations. Upon commencement of the sessions of Congress shall be on the this country, more than any other, has, in the providence first Monday in November, with a limitation of both to the of God, been cast the special guardianship of the great 3d March. principle of adherence to written constitutions. If it fail The first is urged upon the grounds that there is a want here, all hope in regard to it will be extinguished. That of industry in this House, and that something is needed to this was intended to be a Government of limited and spe- coerce us to greater effort—that our inertness is caused afic, and not general powers, must be admitted by all; by the mercenary consideration of daily pay--that it will and it is our duty to preserve for it the character intended save to the nation seventy-five thousand dollars; and that by its framers. 'If experience points out the necessity for if the first session of each Congress sball be continued to an enlargement of these powers, let us apply for it to those its ordinary length, then eight dollars per day for one hunfor wbose benefit it is to be exercised, and not undermine dred and twenty days will reduce the daily compensation the whole system by a resort to overstrained constructions. to seven dollars, which is said to be an ample allowance. The scheme bas worked well. It has exceeded the hopes I shall examine each of these positions in the order they of those who devised it, and become an object of admira- have been stated ; and my reason for giving this formal tion to the world. We are responsible to our country, and investigation to a subject apparently of no great importto the glorious cause of self-government, for the preserva. ance, is the respectable source from which the resolution tion of so great a good. The great mass of legislation re- and the amendment came, and the disposition to prevent lating to our internal affairs, was intended to be left the mischief which either may do. If apology, however, where the federal convention found it-in the State gov. were necessary, my justification would be found in the exeraments. Nothing is clearer in my view, than that we ample of the honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. are chiefly indebted for the succERs of the constitution COULTER] whose acute and talented exposition of the reaunder which we are now acting, to the watchful and sons against the resolution, and of the consequences which auxiliary operation of the State authorities. This is not will result from its adoption, must have commanded the the reflection of a day, but belongs to the most deeply approbation of the House. rooted convictions of my mind. I cannot, therefore, too The first consideration urged in favor of the resolution strongly or too earnestly, for my own sense of its import- by its mover—a wapt of industry—is the assertion of a ance, warn you against all encroachments upon the legiti- fact, and its truth must be ascertained before it can be used mate sphere of State sovereigoty. Sustained by its as an argument. healthful and invigorating influence, the federal system I am told by those in whose experience I have confican never fall."
dence, and the examination of our statute book confirma Who can read this passage from the message, without the declaration—that if the legislation of this session is yielding bis conviction of the truth at least of some of the compared in kind and quantity with that of any preceding sentiments it couveys ? Who can read it without admiring Congress, it will suffer no disparagement by the compathe hopesty of the heart, and the soundness of the head rison. Between four and five hundred resolutions have that dictated it? Do we not all know, that, whenever been submitted, three hundred and vinety-vine bille bave power over subjects of internal improvement has been at- been matured by the committees and laid upon your table, tempted to be exercised here, it has been “at the expense one hundred and twenty-three of them have been fipally of barmony in the legislative councils ?” Is it not, upon disposed of in this House, forty-one of which have received this very occasion, attempted to be exercised" at the ex. the concurrence of the Senate, and passed into laws; pense of harmony” in our deliberations ?. Without feeling seven from the Senate have been acted upon here, and fifinyself called upon now to express an opinion on the ques- ty-two from the same branch of the Legislature remain for tion of “ apportionment among the several States accord- our consideration. Of the bills which bave passed into ing to their ratio of representation," or whether“ an ap- laws, it should be remembered, there are several of nationpeal to the source of power" would be "indispensable” to al importance, and among them, wbat is unusually so early the exercise of this power, I have no hesitation in giving in the session, and which should have conciliated the kindto it a decided preference over the present plan. There ness of the gentleman, (Mr. McDUFFIE) is bis own bill of would be equality at least in the disbursement, if not in appropriations for the ensuing political year. With this the collection of the surplus revenue.
formidable array of business done, it is easier to make an (Here the debate closed for this day.]
accusation of indolence than to sustaiu it. No preceding
Congress has done more so early in the session; and at the TUESDAY, MARCH 30, 1830.
termination of this on the 15th of May, the time fixed for
its adjournment by this House, in quantity at least, we may PAY OF MEMBERS.
anticipate enough to entitle us to the commendation of The House resumed the consideration of the resolution our constituents, and from present appearances, too, withoffered by Mr. McDUFFIE, to curtail the sessions of Con- out baving the volume of our laws enlarged by any making gress by reducing the per diem after a certain period. extravagant and experimental expenditures for internal
Mr. WAYNE rose, and said he was opposed to the reso- improvements which can vever yield a revenue to our lution proposed by the bonorable gentleman from South treasury, or by such laws as press upon the loins of pationCarolina, (Mr. McDUFFIE) and also to the amendmeut al industry io encourage manufactures. However, let offered by the honorable member from Massachusetts, me not be supposed to intend any injustice to the gentleman, [Mr. EVERETT.] The adoption of either would be pro- [Mr. McDuffie] as it is not owing to his want of ability
MARCH 30, 1830.]
Pay of Members.
[H. OF R.
or exertion that we have not been relieved from the latter ; ed consequences, in their eager desire to have the honor and as to the first, without thinking, with some of us in of its paternity. For the other, the bank charter, the principle, between whom it must be admitted there are public inind bad been prepared by much previous discusshades of difference, be has already manifested a strong sion ; by the existence of a former bank; by its plap having desire to retain the operation of bis own sentiments upon been matured in the recess of Congress; aud because it was the power, strictly within the bounds of judicious and pa- generally known that the then President's constitutional tional appropriations; and I cannot refrain from expressing objections to the charter had been subdued by painful rethe hope that this session will pass without a difference be collections of the necessities of bis treasury, and the rapatween us as to what works or subscriptions shall be consi. cious combinations, during the war, to depreciate Governdered entitled to his cautionary opposition.
ment securities, issued in our hour of hardest trial, to supBut the charge of a want of industry in this Congress ply its deficiencies. In referring to the history of that bas gone out to the world, under the sanction of the gen- time, one scandalously inclined might also say the salary tleman's uame, and upon such authority it will be believed, compensation law, an immediate operation having been unless it shall be repelled by a detailed examination given to it, bad its effect in causing an earlier spring flight preceding Congresses--not very interesting, it is true, but than had been usual. I, sir, bowever, make no such which may command the attention of the House from its charge; and in explaining the causes which epabled the direct application to the subject. And one other reason fourteenth and fifteenth Congresses to adjouru the first urges me to be particular. Having come into this House session of both earlier than had been done before, I disunder the political revolution which the people thought claim any iotention to depreciate their industry, or assail the condition of the country demanded, it is not to be sup their purity. I turn back to them with respect; for it posed, composed as it is of a moiety of new members, was not until then that my mind began to pursue political three-fourths of whom were chosen to sustain the present investigations, or to think of public measures, either as administration, that such a charge, involving them in a moi- to their consequences, or the principles by which they ety of its discredit, will be permitted to pass without a re were to be sustaiued ; and from the reasoning of some of futation, eten when made by an old member of this House, the prominent men of that day, my politics received a rathough be be one of the firmest and ablest supporters of dical tint, which, as mpch decried as it was afterwards, is our common cause. Such a charge may raise the maker of it now the badge of many who would not then wear it, and in public estimation, but it will throw his associates into dis- is very fast becoming the national color, fatal as it was esteem if it be not denied and disproved, and might jeopard made to some who first raised it as a banner. There was the administration itself at the ensuing election, unless it ipseribed upon it, judicious impost for revenue-proper shall be shown that those who are here and its advocates are expenditures for necessary national establishments, but worthy of being continued. Our adversaries, sir, are suf- nothing for patronage, and a limitation of the action of ficiently talented and numeroue, without giving to them ad- the Government to the text of the constitution—the best ditional strength by the voluntary condemnation of ourselves. and only security for the perpetuity of the Union. The
The examination of our statute book will show that other exception of the seventeenth Congress is to be aeevery Cougress, from the beginning of the Government counted for, from a part of the business of its first session until the expiration of the last, excepting the fourteenth, having been done iu the last session of the sixteenth which fifteenth, and seventeenth, occupied more time than will was begun in November, three weeks earlier than the orhave been consumed in this, if the pressure of our engage dinary time of meeting. ments shall permit us to separate on the 17th of May, Such is the fact, in regard to the time occupied io legiswhich every one thinks so probable, that no one even lation, since our Government was organized, which of itself suggests an extension of its sitting after the 24th of that relieves this Congress from the imputation of any protracmouth. A reference to the forty-eighth chapter of the first tion of its sitting : and it shall be presently shox n, if it is volume of our laws, which gives the periods of com- to be appreciated by the business done, it will have no mencement and adjournment of Congress from the year cause to shrink from any contrast with the past. Nay, if 1789 to the 3d of March, 1815, will confirm the decla: the mere performance of duty could at any time justify ration just made, as regards thirteeu Congresses, and exultation, it might be indulged by us, and those who bave the journals of this House will show it to be equally ex. for some years preceded us, without any self-complacency, act as regards the sixteepth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and that the time passed in legislation bas vot been extended, twentieth. The exceptiou of the fourteenth, fifteenth, if it is recollected how long the sessions of Congress were and seventeenth-and to the fourteenth apd fifteepth, continued after the Government bad been fully organized; the geutleman (Mr. McDUFFIE) alluded as examples of when the subjects of legislation have been constantly incommendable iudustry, and of reproach to this—may creasing with this House, consisting of a fourth less numbe accouuted for, that the country having passed from a ber than it now bas, for thirty years of our history, with state of war to peace, the occupation of both consisted in all the rapidly progressive fluctuations of a population repealing the taxes which bad been laid to meet the exi. from three to twelve millions, living in twenty-four sepagencies of the first. More than the half of their legisla rate sovereiguties, instead of thirteen. Sir, our predecestion was strictly private and local ; that which was of a sors were not drones in legislation ; their labor is their inixed character, relating to our public lands, was the re- eulogium, and ours shall be as well thought of hereafter ; sumption of what had been discoutiuued by the war, with for I cannot be mistaken in believing that there is a spirit which persons in and out of Congress were familiar. True in this Congress, revolting at the slanders of inexperience it is, then was the inception of our present restrictive com- and want of ability, uttered against this administration, mercial code, by the passage of the act "to regulate du- and determined, if they shall be permitted to do so, to ties upon imports and toupage;" and the time was made make the effort to give to it as distinguished an elevation equally, memorable by the grant of the United States' in the future annals of our country, as that which is held Bank charter. The first, however, was passed with much by the administration of its father and first President, less discussion than has been had upon bills baving the But it is urged, in proof of the propriety of limiting the same object in view since; though the tendency of first session of Congress to one hundred and twenty days, that, in the subsequent claims which have been based and as a reproach when it is extended beyond it, that the upon it, was foreseen and foretold by some, wbose ward- second session of three months is sufficient for all the ings were unheeded, by the honest wish of many to make purposes of legislation, and that as much is done in it 18 our pation independent of foreign supplies, without look. is acromplished in the first. The declaration was inconing into futurity for its cost; and by others, who overlook-siderate, for such is pot the fact ; and I ask the attention
H. or R.).
Pay of Members.
[MARCH 30, 1830. of gentlemen, while I resort to detail, to sustain the con- forty-three of our own, out of three hundred and twenty, tradiction of both assertions. By adverting to our statute which during the session were on our calendar, or in the book, it will be found that the business done at the first orders of the day. I have been thus particular, sir, pot sessions of Congress has been, with little variation, the to vindicate this Congress alone from tbe charge of not same, and that the proportions of laws passed at the long having done its duty, but to show the source from which and short sessions do not differ materially, though those this accumulation of business flowe, and to suggest the of the latter are in vumber but two-thirds of the for- means to lessen its current. Some suppose it cannot be mer. . But, to prevent too great a trespass upon the time stopped, and that our sessions will have to be extended of this House, and because it will suffice to establish from necessity; and the real cause of delay is so much our position, I shall adduce the business of seven success- overlooked, that some even deem it a result of our bienive Congresses, being one-third of the number wbich nial elections—a great constitutional feature in the Gohave been chosen under the Government. In the four-vernment, so much in barmony with its aggregate tenteenth Congress two hundred aud eighty-seven acts were dency, that it should not be subjected for a moment to passed, one hundred and seventy-three in the long ses- the imputation of such slanderous consequences. Tbe sion, and one hundred and fourteen in the short. In the evil is, ihe mass of private claims of which Congress has fifteenth Congress one hundred and twenty-four acts taken jurisdiction, which occupy two days in each week, were passed at the first session, one hundred and pine at besides the time taken to receive the petitions relating the second; and this near approach of the business of the to them, and which are more fit for judicial scrutiny, last to the other was caused by the second session having than legislative inquiry. Relinquish our jurisdiction of begun on the 16th of November, three weeks earlier than these matters to a tribunal, which might be constructed and usual. In the sixteenth Congress two hundred statutes maintained at an annual expense of one-fifth of what it were enacted in both sessions, but only sixty-two of them now costs the nation to attend to thens, and one-third in the short. In the seventeenth Congress one hundred more time will be gained for national legislation, by which and twenty-nine acts were passed in the first session, one your sessions will be limited in the same proportion, be hundred and one in the second. In the eighteenth Con- sides securing to the country, and the persons interested, gress two hundred and eleven acts were passed at its first more speedy and ample justice than can now be done to session, one hundred and twenty at the second. The nine either. This, sir, is the evil which protracts the sitting teenth Congress shows a result of two hundred and fifty- of Congress, to wbich the gentleman's [Mr. McDUFFIE] nine statutes, one hundred and one of which were enacted talents and influence should be directed to correct, and at the short session; and the twentieth Congress added to which, when corrected, will basten our departure even our code one hundred and fifty-one statutes at its first ses before the day intended by his resolution, without restrict sion, and sixty-five at its last. Thus, in seven Congresses we ing our official duties by law to a day, to be produced by bave an aggregate of one thousand seven hundred avd six- the apprehension of members being left without a support ty-six statutes, six hundred and seventy-two only of which if the session should be continued beyond it; and that, were passed in the second or short sessions. And this too, notwithstanding some pressing and unexpected emnerdifference in the business between the long and short gency or interest might make it necessary for us to be sessions of Congress, notwithstanding that of the first is longer in session. This latter consideration was happily resumed in the second from the point to which it bad expressed by the hovorable gentleman from Pennsylvania been carried, by which members, baving a preparation of [Mr. Scott] in his opposition to the resolution. Sir, the some months for much of what is to be done, advance in reform we need is, that of lessening the subjects of our it more rapidly. The amount of business done in the jurisdiction, or to have nothing to do with private pecushort sessions shows there is not time enough for all that niary claims; and, to produce it
, I will become the gentle is projected, or of which Congress bave jurisdiction; and man's willing auxiliary. Nor should I ask him to take the a more conclusive evidence of this fact cannot be furnished lead in such an honorable enterprise, if my noviciate did than the business left undone in the session of the twenti. pot admonish me to keep in the back ground, though no eth Congress, which may be taken as equally applicable one here has a better right to attempt it nor more able to those which preceded it.
to accomplish it than the honorable gentleman. It should In the first session of the twentieth Congress three bun- be known that of the disbursements of this session for this dred and three bills were originated in this House, one branch of Congress alone, which never exceed three hunbundred and nineteen were sent to it during the session cred and sixty thousand dollars, one bundred thousand from the Senate, one hundred and sixty-one of our own bills of it may be fairly charged to the time we are engaged were left undecided to be resumed at the second session upon private claims, strictly judicial in their character of the twentieth Congress, and forty-nine of the Senate all of which might be settled by a tribunal such as bas been bills were not acted upon, which, having passed from the suggested, and which might be maintained at a cost of less branch of Congress in which they were begun, had to be than twenty thousand dollars per annum. Neither the originated again at an epsuing seesion, under all the forms fact nor the remedy proposed are mere suggestions. Exof legislation. Thus, sir, we see, there were two bun- amine the statutes of the twentieth Congress, or those of dred and ten bills left u decided by the Houses during any preceding it, and one-third of the laws passed will be that session. The second session began its business by found to have been for private relief. I go further, sir. resuming the one hundred and sixty.one bills, which were Look over the present calendar of private claims, comthe fruit of this House at its previous session, but for pare it with those of other years, and mark how often there which there bad vot been season enough to mature; one is the recurrence of the same claim. How Cougress is hundred and fifty-nine new bills were reported, making occupied from session session, year after year, until a an aggregate of three buodred and twenty bills to be at- generation has been comprehended in the pursuit, by the tended to in three months. What was the result
, sir? One perseverance of claimants
, either feeling that justice bas bundred and nine bills of the one hundred and sixty-one been withheld, or hoping that importunity will extort what vere again left undecided, and one hundred and sixteen justice does not demand. Such a tribunal would, indeed, of the one hundred and fifty-nine reported at this session be an achievement worthy of the Committee on Retrenchnever reached a third reading, thus showing two hundred ment, to whom is to be assigned the bonor of maturing and twenty-five bills of thi House alone left undecided the present conception, if it shall receive the approbation during the Congress, and the sum total of its three months of this House. The more this subject shall be scrutinizlegislation were sixty-two acts, vineteen of wbich were ed, the stronger will be our conviction that the time conbills from the Senate in which the House concurred, and sumed upon private claims, and which is forced upou
MARCH 30, 1830.)
Pay of Members.
(H. OF R.
Congress by their number, is the principal cause of its permit me to remark, that these calls are answered with protracted sitting: The gentleman and myself
, it will be a minuteness, compared with information of the same perceived, have the same object in view-to lessen the kind given by other Governments, and which may be extime of our stay here, but we differ as to the mode of ef- amined in our library, showing the acknowledgment of fecting it.
a responsibility from our highest functionaries to the peoThere are causes, however, which should not be over- ple, unknown and unfelt by the officers of any other nalooked, growing out of the nature of our institutions, tion in the world. It is an allowable source of pride, and a which bave, and will always give to our legislation the strong proof of the permanency of our system.' In proof of semblance .of delay, and which, in connexion with the what has been just said, I refer to the call made by the facts already stated, fully account for the protracted pe- honorable gentleman from South Carolina, (Gen. BLAIR] riod of our sessions. They are slight inconveniences, io- upon the Secretary of War, for information concerning separable from their source, differing entirely from those our military school. Every particular which has been delays caused by our neglect or want of sagacity. In our stated relating to such calls for information, or as regards work of reform, to make it improvement, we must dis- the time of preparing and printing them, as well as in the tinguish unavoidable from adventitious evils, and be care characteristics of minuteness and responsibility, may be ful not to confound them. In the remarks, therefore, affirmed of this document. Such calls are intended to be now about to be made, complaint is not intended, por is the basis of important legislation, which will rarely be correction believed to be practicable; they are only illus- matured if no alteration shall be made in the subjects of trative of some of the causes which extend the first ses- our jurisdiction, and the session shall be limited, as is prosion of each Congress to a late day in May. The consti- posed by the resolution. In stating the causes which detution and laws require the President and the heads of the lay proceedings in the beginning of the first session of departments, at the opening of each session of Congress, every Congress, it should not be forgotten that in every to give a detailed exposition of pational affairs. I'hese Congress there are many new members, unaccustomed to documents are voluminous ; and with all the effort of the legislation, unwilling to obtrude themselves upon the notice most industrious printer, provided with the most exten- of the House, upacquainted with their own strength in this sive establishment which private means can acquire or new scene of actiou, and ignorant of the actual strength support, they cannot be printed in less than three or four of those who have been here before them. The balf weeks. The constantly occurring business of the House, of this Congress are new members, who are here for the from day to day, make such draughts upon the press also, first time; they have been desirous to have the way shown that these documents cannot be given to us in less time to them by their seniors; and, not having been very prothan has been just said. It is believed not much more minent in debate, must be exempted from the charge of printing is done than is necessary; though a change muy having protracted the session, either by their listlessness be made in the mode of doing it, by which a part of the or loquacity: Coming, sir, as we do, from many States, expenditure on this account may be saved. The extent all of which, except four or five, are divided into disof it, however, will surprise even ourselves, when thus tricts, upon which the legislation of this House bears, or definitely stated. Sir, there have been already laid is desired to be brought to bear, it is probable each memupon our tables eighty-five Executive documents, four ber is charged by bis constituents with something particuhundred bills, and three hundred and thirty-seven reports larly interesting to them. Shall not a little time be allowfrom committees ; and of the first four hundred and thired to us to become familiar with our novel position, for ty copies of each were struck off; and of the others, six the consideration of what we may propose ! or shall the bundred nud thirty. The Executive documents are laid provision in the constitution, graduatiog representation upon the table at different times ; but it does not always to population, be made virtually to mean that their rehappen, nor can it be so, that they are brought to us con- presentative is not to be beard 1 By baving shown, sir, nectedly as regards the subjects to which they relate; that our long sessions are principally caused by the subsome days after they have been received, will pass, before jects of our jurisdiction, by our rules for doing business, members can be prepared even to propose the important and that they are, in some measure, an incident of our legislation which they suggest. Whatever shall be done, institutions, the accnsation of voluntary protraction is remust be begun either upon motion for leave to bring in a futed, and the propriety of rejecting the resolution made bill, or in the almost invariable way of resolution, to com- manifest. mit the subject to one of the standing committees, or to In regard to inertuess from mercenary motives, though select one raised for the purpose. As is natural, debate such an imputation has been disclaimed by the honorable begins at the inception of the proposition, which, though gentleman, (Mr. McDuffie) and I do not believe in his obsometimes too much extended, is not without benefit, as servations he meant to make it; if it had not been disit enables the House to arrest a mischief at once, or, by claimed, it could bave been met but in one way, and that developing the objects of the mover, instructs the com- would have been by saying, a charge so disreputable in mittee upon the points most material to be investigated; mass, no one will venture to make particular in its applifor, from the brevity of the resolutions, the sum total of cation. But, sir, though it was not intended, it is implied the information intended to be reached is as rarely dis- by the terms of the resolution, for if it be not addressed played in its particulare, as the human countenance rarely to an existing corruption, it is ineant to act upon our fears, portrays the ruling propensities of the man. The one which is not less disreputable. What is the resolution i tells the main object, as the other does the strong passions The compensation shall be but one-fourth of what it is to of which he may be the victim. Thus, what to an ordi- be for one hundred and twenty days, and this reduction is nary observer seems to be delay, is no more than delibe- the penalty for not having done in that time all that the exirate action; and these rules of proceeding have been well gencies of legislation may have required. If it be not in said to be “a check and control against the attempts of the nature of a penalty, one or the other of these consepower." And it also often happens, that very unexpect- quences must ensue, either that the sum then to be allowed ed calls are made by both Houses of Congress at the same is always
sufficient, or that the laborer deserves as much time, upon the same department, for information upon for his services after the time proposed by the resolution subjects entirely disconnected. Nothwithstanding the di- for the limitation of the session, as he received before it. vision of labor in the departments, and the utmost energy It may be that there are persons here who would protract of their ebiefs, a fortnight or a month will often intervene the session from sordid calculations, but we must presume between the call and the answer; and, after it is made, they are in number too small to give decisive results to somofdays will pass before it can be printed. Aad, sir, their wishes. But allow them to be numerous; how can