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eral States. Precisely the same measure of power we claimed over objects of internal improve. which is granted in the one case is conferred in ment, an exclusive jurisdiction, the gentleman the other. And the uniform practical exposi- might urge, with much force, the clause in question of the constitution as to the regulation of tion. But the claim of concurrent jurisdiction foreign commerce, is equally applicable to that only is asserted. The gentleman professes himamong the several States. Suppose, instead of self unable to comprehend how concurrent judirecting the legislation of this government con- risdiction can be exercised by two different govstantly, as heretofore, to the object of foreign ernments at the same time, over the same percommerce, to the utter neglect of the interior sons and things. But is not this the fact with commerce among the several States, the fact had respect to the State and Federal governments ? been reversed, and now for the first time we Does not every person and every thing withïn were about to legislate for our foreign trade. our limits sustain a twofold relation to the State Should we not in that case hear all the consti- and to the Federal authority? The power of tutional objections made to the erection of taxation, as exerted by both governments, that buoys, beacons, lighthouses, the surveys of coasts over the militia, besides many others, is concurand the other numerous facilities accorded to rent. No doubt embarrassing cases may be the foreign trade, which we now hear to the conceived and stated by gentlemen of acute and making of roads and canals? Two years ago a ingenious minds. One was put to me yesterday. sea-wall, or in other words a marine canal was Two canals are desired, one by the Federal and authorized by an act of Congress, in New Hamp- the other by a State government; and there is shire; and I doubt not that many of those voted not a supply of water but for the feeder of one for it who have now constitutional scruples on canal—which is to take it? The constitution, this bill
. Yes, any thing, every thing may be which ordains the supremacy of the laws of the done for foreign commerce; any thing, every United States, answers the question. The good thing on the margin of the ocean; but nothing of the whole is paramount to the good of a part. for domestic trade; nothing for the great inte- The same difficulty might possibly arise in the rior of the country! Yet the equity and the exercise of the incontestable power of taxation. beneficence of the constitution equally compre- We know that the imposition of taxes has its hends both. The gentleman does indeed main- limits. There is a maximum which cannot be tain that there is a difference as to the charac- transcended. Suppose the citizen to be taxed ter of the facilities in the two cases. But I put by the general government to the utmost extent it to his own candor, whether the only differ- of his ability, or a thing as much as it can possience is not that which springs from the nature bly bear, and the State imposes a tax at the of the two elements on which the two species same time—which authority is to take it? Exof commerce are conducted—the difference be-treme cases of this sort may serve to amuse and tween land and water. The principle is the to puzzle; but they will hardly ever arise in same, whether you promote commerce by open- practice. And we may safely confide in the ing for it an artificial channel where now there moderation, good sense and mutual good dispois none, or by increasing the ease and safety sitions of the two governments, to guard against with which it may be conducted through a nat- the imagined conflicts. ural channel, which the bounty of Providence It is said by the President that the power to has bestowed. In the one case your object is regulate commerce merely authorizes the laying to facilitate arrival and departure from the ocean of imposts and duties. But Congress has no to the land. In the other it is to accomplish power to lay imposts and duties on the trade the same object from the land to the ocean. among the several States. The grant must mean, Physical obstacles may be greater in the one therefore, something else. What is it? The case than in the other, but the moral or consti- power to regulate commerce among the several tutional power equally includes both. The gen- States, if it has any meaning, implies authority tleman from Virginia has, to be sure, contended to foster it, to promote it, to bestow upon it fathat the power to make these commercial facil-cilities similar to those which have been conities was to be found in another clause of the ceded to our foreign trade. It cannot mean constitution—that which enables Congress to only an empty authority to adopt regulations, obtain cessions of territory for specific objects, without the capacity to give practical effect to and grants to it an exclusive jurisdiction. These them. All the powers of this government should cessions may be obtained for the "erection of be interpreted in reference to its first, its best, forts, magazines, arsenals, dock yards, or other its greatest object, the union of these States. needful buildings.” It is apparent that it re- And is not that union best invigorated by an lates altogether to military or naval affairs, and intimate social and commercial connexion benot to the regulation of commerce. How was tween all the parts of the confederacy? Can the marine canal covered by this clause? Is it that be accomplished, that is, can the federative to be considered as a “needful building?" The objects of this government be attained but by object of this power is perfectly obvious. The the application of federative resources? convention saw that, in military or naval posts, Of all the powers bestowed on this governsuch as are indicated, it was indispensably ne- ment, I think none are more clearly vested than cessary, for their proper government, to vest in that to regulate the distribution of the intelliCongress the power of exclusive legislation. If|gence, private and official, of the country; to
regulate the distribution of its commerce; and tion of a system of internal improvements would to regulate the distribution of the physical force be to draw the resources from one part of the of the Union. In the execution of the high Union, and to expand them in the improvements and solemn trust which these beneficial powers of another; and that the spirit, at least, of the imply, we must look to the great ends which constitutional equality, would be thus violated. the framers of our admirable constitution had From the nature of things, the constitution in view. We must reject as wholly incompat-could not specify the theatre of the expenditure ible with their enlightened and beneficent in- of the public treasure. That expenditure, tentions that construction of these powers which guided by and looking to the public good, must would resuscitate all the debility and inefficiency be made, necessarily, where it will most subof the ancient confederacy. In the vicissitudes serve the interests of the whole Union. The of human affairs who can foresee all the possi- argument is, that the locale of the collection of ble cases in which it may be necessary to apply tho public contributions, and the locale of their the public force, within or without the Union? disbursement, should be the same. Now, sir, This government is charged with the use of it let us carry this argument out: and no man is to repel invasions, to suppress insurrections, to more capable than the ingenious gentleman enforce the laws of the on; in short for all from Virginia, of tracing an argument to its the unknown and undefinable purposes of war, utmost consequences. The locale of the collecforeign or intestine, wherever and however it tion of the public revenue is the pocket of the may rage. During its existence may not gov- citizen; and, to abstain from the violation of ernment, for its effectual prosecution, order a the principle of equality adverted to by the road to be made, or a canal to be cut, to relieve gentleman, we should restore back to each man's for example, an exposed point of the Union ? pocket precisely what was taken from it. If If, when the emergency comes, there is a power the principle contended for be true, we are to provide for it, that power must exist in the habitually violating it. We raise about twenty constitution, and not in the emergency. A millions of dollars, a very large revenue, conwise, precautionary, and parental policy, antici- sidering the actual distresses of the country. pating danger, will beforehand provide for the And, sir, notwithstanding all the puffing, flourhour of need.' Roads and canals are in the na- ishing statements of its prosperity, emanating ture of fortifications, since, if not the deposits from printers who are fed upon the pap of the of military resources, they enable you to bring public treasury, the whole country is in a coninto rapid action the military resources of the dition of very great distress. Where is this country, whatever they may be. They are vast revenue expended ? Boston, New York, better than any fortifications, because they serve the great capitals of the north, are the theatres the double purposes of peace and war. They of its disbursement. There the interest upon dispense, in a great degree, with fortifications, the public debt is paid. There the expenditure since they have all the effect of that concentra- in the building, equipment, and repair of the tion at which fortifications aim. I appeal from national vessels takes place. There all the the precepts of the President to the practice of great expenditures of the government necesthe President. Wbile he denies to Congress the sarily concentrate. This is no cause of just power in question, he does not scruple, upon complaint. It is inevitable, resulting from the his sole authority, as numerous instances in the accumulation of capital, the state of the arts, statute book will testify, to order at pleasure, and other circumstances belonging to our great the opening of roads by the military, and then cities. But, sir, if there be a section of this come here to ask us to pay for them. Nay, Union having more right than any other to more, sir; a subordinate, but highly respectable complain of this transfer of the circulating meofficer of the executive government, I believe, dium from one quarter of the Union to another, would not hesitate to provide a boat or cause a the west, the poor west-[Here Mr. Barbour bridge to be erected over an inconsiderable explained. He had meant that the constitution stream, to insure the regular transportation of limited Congress as to the proportions of revethe mail. And it happens to be within my per- nue to be drawn from the several States; but sonal knowledge that the head of the post office the principle of this provision would be vacated department, as a prompt and vigilant officer by internal improvements of immense expense, should do, has recently despatched an agent to and yet of a local character. Our public ships ascertain the causes of the late frequent vexa- to be sure, are built at the seaports, but they tious failures of the great northern mail, and to do not remain there. Their home is the moun. inquire if a provision of a boat or bridge over tain wave; but internal improvements are certain small streams in Maryland, which have essentially local; they touch the soil of the produced them, would not prevent their recur- States, and their benefits, at least the largest rence.
part of them, are confined to the States where I was much surprised at one argument of the they exist.] The explanation of the gentleman honorable gentleman. He told the House, that has not materially varied the argument. He the constitution had carefully guarded against says that the home of our ships is the mountain inequality, among the several States, in the wave. Sir, if the ships go to sea, the money public burdens, by certain restrictions upon the with which they were built, or refitted, remains power of taxation; that the effect of the adop- I on shore, and the cities where the equipinent
takes place derive the benefit of the expendi- | mistakes of your policy, and you cannot drive ture. It requires no stretch of the imagination them from you. They do not complain of the to conceive the profitable industry—the axes, expenditure of the public money, where tho the hammers, the saws—the mechanic arts, public exigencies require its disbursement. which are put in motion by this expenditure. But, I put it to your candor, if you ought not, And all these, and other collateral advantages, by a generous and national policy, to mitigate, are enjoyed by the seaports. The navy is built if not prevent, the evils resulting from the perfor the interest of the whole. Internal im- petual transfer of the circulating medium from provements, of that general, federative charac- the west to the east. One million and a half ter, for which we contend, would also be for of dollars annually, is transferred for the public the interest of the whole. And, I should think lands alone; and almost every dollar goes, like their abiding with us, and not going abroad on him who goes to death-to a bourne from which the vast decp, was rather cause of recommenda- no traveller returns. In ten years it will tion than objection.
amount to fifteen millions; in twenty to But, Mr. Chairman, if there be any part of but I will not pursue the appalling results of this Union more likely than all others to be arithmetic. Gentlemen who believe that these benefited by the adoption of the gentleman's vast soms are supplied by emigrants from the principle, regulating the public expenditure, it east, labor under great error. There was a time is the west. There is a perpetual drain from when the tide of emigration from the east bore that embarrassed and highly distressed portion along with it the means to effect the purchase of our country, of its circulating medium to the of the public domain. But that tide has, in a east. There, but few and inconsiderable ex- great measure, now stopped. And as population penditures of the public money take place. advances farther and farther west, it will enThere we have none of those public works, no tirely cease. The greatest migrating States in magnificent edifices, forts, armories, arsenals, the Union, at this time, are Kentucky first, dockyards, &c., which more or less are to be Ohio next, and Tennessee. The emigrants from found in every Atlantic State. In at least seven those States carry with them, to the States and States beyond the Alleghany, not one solitary territories lying beyond them, the circulating public work of this government is to be found. medium, which, being invested in the purchase If, by one of those awful and terrible dispensa- of the public land, is transmitted to the points tions of Providence, which sometimes occur, where the wants of government require it. If this government should be unhappily annihila- this debilitating and exhausting process were ted, every where on the seaboard traces of its inevitable, it must be borne with manly fortiformer existence would be found; whilst we tude. But we think that a fit exertion of the should not have, in the west, a single monu- powers of this government would mitigate the ment remaining on which to pour out our evil. We believe that the government inconaffections and our regrets. Yet, sir, we do not testably possesses the constitutional power to complain. No portion of your population is execute such internal improvements as more loyal to the Union, than the hardy free-called for by the good of the whole. And we men of the west. Nothing can weaken or appeal to your equity, to your parental regard, eradicate their ardent desire for its lasting pre- to your enlightened policy, to perform the high servation. None are more prompt to vindicate and beneficial trust thus sacredly reposed. I the interests and rights of the nation from all am sensible of the delicacy of the topic to which foreign aggression. Need I remind you of the I have reluctantly adverted, in consequence of glorious scenes in which they participated, the observations of the honorable gentleman during the late war-a war in which they had from Virginia. And I hope there will be no no peculiar or direct interest, waged for no misconception of my motives in dwelling upon commerce, no seamen of theirs. But it was it. A wise and considerate government should enough for them that it was a war demanded anticipate and prevent, rather than wait for the by the character and the honor of the nation. operation of causes of discontent. They did not stop to calculate its cost of blood, Let me ask, Mr. Chairman, what has this or of treasure. They flew to arms; they rushed government done on the great subject of interdown the valley of the Mississippi, with all the nal improvements, after so many years of its impetuosity of that noble river. They sought existence, and with such an inviting field before the enemy.
They found him at the beach. it? You have made the Cumberland road, They fought; they bled; they covered them- only. Gentlemen appear to have considered selves and their country with immortal glory. that a western road. They ought to recollect They enthusiastically shared in all the trans- that not one stone has yet been broken, not one ports occasioned by our victories, whether won spade of earth has been yet removed in any on the ocean or on the land. They felt, with western State. The road begins in Maryland the keenest distress, whatever disaster befell us. and it terminates at Wheeling. It passes No, sir, I repeat it, neglect, injury itself, cannot through the States of Maryland, Pennsylvania alienato the affections of the West from this and Virginia. All the direct benefit of the government. They cling to it, as to their best, expenditure of the public money on that road, their greatest, their last hope. You may im- has accrued to those three States. Not one poverish them, reduce them to ruin, by the cent in any western State. And yet we have
had to beg, entreat, supplicate you, session after were not unbounded, if I had not before witsession, to grant the necessary appropriations to nessed that appeals were never unsuccessful to complete the road. I have myself toiled until your justice, to your magnanimity, to your framy powers have been exhausted and prostrated, ternal affection. to prevail on you to make the grant. We were But, sir, the bill on your table is no western actuated to make these exertions for the sake bill. It is emphatically a national bill, compreof the collateral benefit only to the west; that hending all, looking to the interests of the we might have a way by which we should be whole. The people of the West never thought able to continue and maintain an affectionate of, never desired, never asked, for a system intercourse with our friends and brethren; that exclusively for their benefit. The system conwe might have a way to reach the capital of templated by this bill looks to great national our country, and bring our counsels, humble objects, and proposes the ultimate application as they may be, to consult and mingle with to their accomplishment of the only means by yours in the advancement of the national pros- which they can be effected, the means of the perity.
nation—means which, if they be withheld from Yes, sir, the Cumberland road has only such objects, the Union, I do most solemnly reached the margin of a western State; and, believe, of these now happy and promising from some indications which have been given States, may, at some distant (I trust a far, far during this session, I should apprehend it would distant) day, be endangered and shaken at its there pause for ever, if my confidence in you I centre.
SPEECH ON THE TARIFF. *
This speech, on a bill proposing to increase ancient examples, I would invoke the aid of the the duties on various articles imported from Most High. I would anxiously and fervently foreign countries, was delivered in the House of implore His divine assistance; that He would
be graciously pleased to shower on my country Representatives of the United States, on the His richest blessings; and that He would sustain, thirtieth and thirty-first days of March, 1824: on this interesting occasion, the humble indi
vidual who stands before Him, and lend him the The gentlemen from Virginia, Mr. Barbour, power, moral and physical, to perform the has embraced the occasion produced by the solemn duties which now belong to his publio proposition of the gentleman from Tennessee to station. strike out the minimum price in the bill on Two classes of politicians divide the people of cotton fabrics, to express his sentiments at large the United States. According to the system of on the policy of the pending measure; and it is one, the produce of foreign industry should be scarcely necessary for me to say he has evinced subjected to no other impost than such as may his usual good temper, ability, and decorum. be necessary to provide a public revenue; and The parts of the bill are so intermingled and the produce of American industry should be left interwoven together, that there can be no doubt to sustain itself, if it can, with no other than of the fitness of this occasion to exhibit its merits that incidental protection, in its competition, at or its defects. It is my intention, with the home as well as abroad, with rival foreign artipermission of the committee, to avail myself also cles. According to the system of the other class, of this opportunity, to present to its considera- while they agree that the imposts should be tion those general views, as they appear to me, mainly, and may under any modification be of the true policy of this country, which imperi- safely relied on as a fit and convenient source ously demand the passage of this bill. I am of public revenue, they would so adjust and deeply sensible, Mr. Chairman, of the high arrange the duties on foreign fabrics as to afford responsibility of my present situation. But that a gradual but adequate protection to American responsibility inspires me with no other appre- industry, and lessen our dependence on foreign hension than that I shall be unable to fulfil my nations, by securing a certain and ultimately a duty; with no other solicitude than that I may, cheaper and better supply of our own wants at least, in some small degree, contribute to from our own abundant resources. Both classes recall my country from the pursuit of a fatal are equally sincere in their respective opinions, policy, which appears to me inevitably to lead equally honest, equally patriotic, and desirous to its impoverishment and ruin. I do feel most of advancing the prosperity of the country. In awfully this responsibility. And, if it were the discussion and consideration of these oppo allowable for us, at the present day, to imitate site opinions, for the purpose of ascertaining
which has the support of truth and reason, we * See the Speech of John Randolph, on the same subject, shor d, therefore, exercise every indulgence, and
the greatest spirit of mutual moderation and
* page 169—ante.
forbearance. And, in our deliberations on this the keenest distress, to which we may be exgreat question, we should look fearlessly and posed. Moral and pecuniary suffering is, if truly at the actual condition of the country, possible, more poignant. It plunges its victim retrace the causes which have brought us into into hopeless despair. It poisons, it paralyzes, it, and snatch, if possible, a view of the future. the spring and source of all useful exertion. Its We should, above all, consult experience—the unsparing action is collateral as well as direct. experience of other nations, as well as our own It falls with inexorable force at the same time -as our truest and most unerring guide. upon the wretched family of embarrassment and
In casting our eyes around us, the most insolvency, and upon its head. They are a prominent circumstance which fixes our atten- faithful mirror, reflecting back upon him, at tion, and challenges our deepest regret, is the once, his own frightful image, and that, no less general distress which pervades the whole coun- appalling, of the dearest objects of his affection. try. It is forced upon us by numerous facts of What is the cause of this wide-spreading disthe most incontestable character. It is indica- tress, of this deep depression, which we behold ted by the diminished exports of native produce; stamped on the public countenance? We are by the depressed and reduced state of our foreign the same people. We have the same country. navigation ; by our diminished commerce; by We cannot arraign the bounty of Providence. successive unthreshed crops of grain, perishing The showers still fall in the same grateful abundin our barns and barn-yards for the want of a ance. The sun still casts its genial and vivifying market; by the alarming diminution of the influence upon the land; and the land, fertile circulating medium; by the pumerous bank- and diversified in its soils as ever, yields to the ruptcies, not limited to the trading classes, but industrious cultivator, in boundless profusion, extending to all orders of society; by a universal its accustomed fruits, its richest treasures. Our complaint of the want of employment, and a vigor is unimpaired. Our industry hasot consequent reduction of the wages of labor ; by relaxed. If ever the accusation of wasteful the ravenous pursuit after public situations, not extravagance could be made against our people, for the sake of their honors and the performance it cannot now be justly preferred. They, on of their public duties, but as a means of private the contrary, for the few last years, at least, subsistence; by the reluctant resort to the per- have been practising the most rigid economy. ilous use of paper money; by the intervention The causes, then, of our present affliction, whatof legislation in the delicate relation between ever they may be, are human causes, and human debtor and creditor; and, above all, by the low causes not chargeable upon the people, in their and depressed state of the value of almost every private and individual relations. description of the whole mass of the property What, again I would ask, is the cause of the of the nation, which has, on an average, sunk unhappy condition of our country, which I have not less than about fifty per centum within a faintly depicted ? It is to be found in the fact, few years. This distress pervades every part of that during almost the whole existence of this the Union, every class of society; all feel it, government, we have shaped our industry, our though it may be felt, at different places, in navigation, and our commerce, in reference to different degrees. It is like the atmosphere an extraordinary war in Europe, and to foreign which surrounds us—all must inhale it, and markets, which no longer exist; in the fact, that none can escape it. In some places it has burst we have depended too much upon foreign upon our people, without a single mitigating sources of supply, and excited too little the circumstance to temper its severity. In others, native; in the fact that, while we have cultivamore fortunate, slight alleviations have been ted, with assiduous care, our foreign resources, experienced in the expenditure of the public we have suffered those at home to wither, in a revenue, and in other favoring causes. A few state of neglect and abandonment. years ago, the planting interest consoled itself The consequence of the termination of the with its happy exemptions, but it has now war of Europe has been, the resumption of reached this interest also, which experiences, European commerce, European navigation, and though with less severity, the general suffering. the extension of European agriculture and EuroIt is most painful to me to attempt to sketch or pean industry, in all its branches. Europe, to dwell on the gloom of this picture. But I therefore, has no longer occasion, to any thing have exaggerated nothing. Perfect fidelity to like the same extent as that she had during her the original would have authorized me to have wars, for American commerce, American navithrown on deeper and darker hues. And it is gation, the produce of American industry. Euthe duty of the statesman, no less than that of rope, in commotion, and convulsed throughout the physician, to survey, with a penetrating, all her members, is to America no longer the steady, and undismayed eye, the actual condi- same Europe as she is now, tranquil, and watchtion of the subject on which he would operate; ing with the most vigilant attention all her own to probe to the bottom the diseases of the body peculiar interests, without regard to the operapolitic, if he would apply efficacious remedies. tion of her policy upon us. The effect of this We have not, thank God, suffered in any great altered state of Europe upon us has been to degree for food. But distress, resulting from circumscribe the employment of our marine, the absence of a supply of the mere physical and greatly to reduce the value of the produce wants of our nature, is not the only nor perhaps of our territorial labor. The further effect of