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APRIL 29, 1830.)
Maysville Road Bill.
[H. OF R.
ordinary meaning, and resort to precedents. But, unfor- , This subject comes more nearly home to me, and to the tunately, and very strangely, precedents dever seem to be people I represent; and I am about to resort to high auof any use, but for operating against some long establish- thority-the very highest, in the estimation of some-even ed rule of action, under which a thousand previous acts the sovereign power, in their estimation ; but not quite so are not permitted to have as much force as one new act in high, in my opinion, as that. No, sir ; not quite the soveopposition to that rule. I know not how many precedents reign power, but yet very bigh and respectable authority. in favor of the practical use of the word establish to count. I mean the Supreme Court. In the case of Gibbons vX. But we know, from the foundation of the Government Ogden, the Chief Justice, in delivering the opinion of the until within a few years, establishing a post road meant court, after some preliminary observations, says: the designation by law of some road already made as a are now arrived at the inquiry-what is this power! It is
mail route. This has, in many thousand cases, which the power to regulate, that is, to prescribe the rule by i ought to have the force of precedent, been the evident which commerce is to be governed. This power, like all e meaning of the acts of the Government establishing post others vested in Congress, is complete in itself
, may be exer#roads. And I give a strong illustration in the case of the cised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations
celebrated Cumberland road, which, if I am rightly in- other than are prescribed in the constitution." He con $formed, was first made, or caused to be made, by Congress, tinues : “ If, as bas always been understood, the sovereign, it and afterwards, by a separate and distiuct act, made, or ty of Congress, though limited to specified objects, is pleo established, that is
, designated by law a post road, and nary as to those objects, the power over commerce with the mail directed to be carried on it as a mail route
, and foreign nations, and among the several States, is vested in 80 of any other road. Some seem to have a difficulty, be Congress as absolutely as it would be in a single Goverocause the same word establish is used in regard to post ment, baving in its constitution the same restrictions on
offices. But this will, upon a moment's reflection, be the exercise of the power as are found in the constitution on shown to be only prescribing by law the official duties or of the United States.". The word sovereignty, applied the character of some individual appointed postmaster. Con- bere to Congress, if understood as it frequently is, I do not
gress, by establishing the office, neither makes the man, approve of. Congress is not the sovereign power of the
nor the place where the duties are performed. In gene- country, but a mere agency, with powers plenary quoad hoc yral, it does not require a great deal of room, and most of over particular subjects; and in this sense the word should
those who are willing to perforin the duties have some be understood here. I perfectly agree with the opinion i place to perform the duty in, or furnish il. The word es- of the court in the doctrine bere laid down of the plenary
tablish has been therefore properly interpreted by the acts nature and completeness of all the legitimate constitution
of the Government from its commencement; and, if right- al powers of this Government. And sir, I, for one, would #ly informed, I believe it is so used in that country (Eng- not diminish one iota, por in the smallest degree take from
land) from which we received our idea of post office sys- or dimiuish the powers either of the general or State autem. The more modern, and evidently erroneous inter- thorities; but, keeping each within its proper sphere, I pretation, that establish means to make post roads and post would adopt the old adage of suum cuique tributo. But, offices, must be considered an interpolation.
does not every one perceive that this doctrine, being sound The appropriating power, the most convenient for all and truly drawn, as I say it is, from one of the plninest purposes, is not a new one. It is the opinion of Mr. Ha-parts of the constitution, is at opee destructive of the me milton revived, I think, in 1823, or '4, because it was per- claim of this Government to make internal improveali haps thought more to the purpose by some. Jo his reportments within the States ? The Chief Justice proceeds, af
on manufactures,“page fifty-fourth, Mr. Hamilton remarks : ter some other remarks: The appellant, conceding “It is therefore of necessity left to the discretion of the these postulates, except the last, contends that full power Natioual Legislature to pronounce upon the objects which to regulate a particular subject implies the whole power concern the general welfare, and for which, under that and leaves no residuum ; that a grant of the whole is indeseription, an appropriation of money is requisite and compatible with the existence of a right in another to any proper. And there seems to be no room for a doubt that part of it.” On the margin we have the following conwhatever conceros the general interests of learning, of depsation of the context to which it is connected; "The agriculture, of manufactures, and of con merce, is withiu power to regulate commerce, so far as it extends, is exthe sphere of the national councils, so far as regards an clusively vested in Congress, and do part of it can be exerapplication for money."
cised by a State." Now sir, what is the commerce, the ir Congress cao, at its discretion, pronounce upou the ob- regulation of which has been given to Congress! It is jects which concern the general welfare, and apply, ad li- commerce “ with foreign nations, among the several States, bitum, the money of the public to their accomplishment, and with the Indian tribes." This is the commerce to be what is to prevent their exercise of any power whatever, regulated, constituting one subject whole and entire, totus which it may please them to say is for the general welfare, teres atque rotundus. The power of Congress over it is is a patiopal object? They may select any end or object, commensurate with the subject : it is full and complete, and use any amount of means to arrive at or accomplis and consequently exclusive, as I say all the appropriate the purpose. The people intended this to be a Goveru- powers of Congress are. It follows from the very nature ment of limited powers; but if, really, Congress is left to of things, that, if the power is plenary, it is necessarily exite own discretion as to the objects, with unlimited use of clusive, and cannot of necessity be concurrent, or particithe means, the Government becomes as sovereign and im- pant, or conjointly with another. I have once before adperial as the autocracy of Russia or Turkey. I ask, what vanced the doctrine here, and I think truly, that, properly is the difference between unlimited power, and an unlimit- speaking, there are no concurrent powers between the ed use of the means to accomplish wbatever objects the General and State Legislatures or Governments.
Even discretion of the Goveromeot may select or point out ? the power of taxation, which seems to be so considered by What is power but the use of the means to accomplish some, I find no difficulty with. There are powers to be any thing Means in use are power de facto, real, practi- exercised by both very similar, but this may be remarked eal power.
in regard to other Governments. Take, for instance, the The power to regulate commerce is one of the main subject of taxation : it is not only similar in its mode of apsources from which the power to make internal improve-plication and exercise in this country and Great Britain, ments within the jurisdictioval limits of the States, by mak- but it is a known fact, that some of the very identical aring roads and canals, improving, or, I suppose, making ticles which yield a tax in England, afterwards also yield harbors, breakwaters, inproving rivers, &c., ia claimed. la tax here; but would any one undertake to say, there
H. OF R.]
Maysville Road Bil.
(APRIL 29, 1830.
fore, that the two Goveromeuts are joint agencies? The ple of this Stute ought to have the sole and exclusive right two Governments exercise similar powers, each within its of regulating the internal government and police thereof." own sphere, but not as copartners, or concurrent agen- I will trouble the House no longer. cies. Congress is authorized to lay and collect taxes, Mr. MARTIN, avowing his disapprobation of the bill
, &c., to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence but his unwillingness to take up the time of the House in and general welfare of the United States." But the court an argument against it, moved to lay the bill on the table. says: “This does not interfere with the power of the This tion was decided in the negative by yeas and Days: States to tax for the support of their own Governments, For the motion
85 Hor is the exercise of that power by the States an exercise Against it
101 of any portion of the power that is granted to the United Mr.JOHNSON, of Kentucky, rose to address the House, States.' In imposing taxes for State purposes, they are and said that he was aware of the danger to this bill, which not doing what Congress is empowered to do.' Congress was incurred by occupying too much of the time of the is not empowered to tax for those purposes which are House in making speeches in its behalf; but he trusted within the exclusive province of the States. When gentlemen would pardon him, when they considered the then, each Government exercises the power of taxation, immediate and deep interest his constituents felt in the neither is exercising the power of the other." No, sir; success of the bill. 'He knew the state of exhaustion in but exercising distinct and separate, though similar pow. which the miods of the members were, after the protracters; and so of the power to regulate commerce, that is, ed debate; and that no gentleman, however transcendent the power, as properly defined by the court to make legal his talents might be, (he was aware of the very small prerules and regulations by wbich commerce with foreign pa- tensions he could himself urge,) could expect from them a tions, among the several States, and with the Indian very patient hearing. Indeed, be felt it as the next doty tribes, is to be governed. I see before me many talented to fidelity to his constituents to observe perfect silence in lawyers- I would ask them whether the idea of two agen- the House, except in cases where he could not avoid de cies, both with powers plenary quoad hoc over the same livering his sentimenis as to the constitutional question in subject, is not a legal and political absurdity. And, sir, relation to the subject of internal improvements; it had is there a man here who will have the bardihood to say been so often and so thoroughly discussed, that it was imthat the States have not the right to make interual im- possible by argument to shed any new light upon it. He provements within their jurisdictional limits ? And, if so, did not believe a single new idea could be advanced by does it not follow, from the very nature of the powers of any one. Instead of constitutional argument, he wished this Government, that Congress cannot ? The thing is to substitute facts, examples, and legislative action. And self-evident. The truth is, that both Governments are he should feel happy, and consider himself fortunate, when agencies, with powers plenary iu relation to each other, over a proposition was presented for the benefit of Maine, or the subjects appropriately and constitutionally to them Georgia, or of New York, if he could lend it any aid. For committed by the sovereign power of the country-the this was a great federal Union, one and indivieible; and he people. Neither Government is itself the covereigo should extend at all times, equal and exact justice to all power, they are both subordinate to the actual sovereigoty, its parts, so far as bis judgment and his attachment to all which is in the people. If the power to regulate, means would guide him. Wherever the salutary power of this the power to make commerce, or any of its parts or ad-Government was involved in the question, so long as it was juncts, we shall ultimately arrive at very strange results
. regulated by discretion, he would vote for it. He never And if, under this power, we are to make roads, canals, could or would consent to put so rigid a construction on barbors, &c., we must go od, and, by the same rule, make the constitution, as to restrain the beneficial action of this wharves, piers, drays, wheelbarrows, and merchants' Government when applied to the judicious system of io. warehouses, as well as boats and large vessels to facilitate ternal improvements. Roads and canals were strong links
Commerce, in ite Darrowest signification, in the chain of affection which bound this Union together means an exchange of equivalents; but there are many as a band of brothers, and made our fellow.citizens rich, things and circumstances so closely and inseparably con- and happy, and independent. He knew that many honornected with it, that they become, as it were, parts of it, able gentlemen iu that House, far more intelligent than be, or, at least, adjuncts, without which it could not get on, applied a strictness to all parts of the constitution which and they also become subjects for regulation; but regula- applied to those clauses only which guarded personal lition bas been shown not to mean fabrication or coustruc- berty-the freedom of speech and the rights of conscience. tion. The Chief Justice says, speaking of the inspection He should vote just as freely for this road if it were in laws: “ They form a portion of that immense mass of le- Georgia, as in his own State. He had always acted on these gislation whiclı embraces every thing within the territory principles; and bis constituents, with a full knowledge of of a State not surrendered to the General Government : ibat fact, had honored him with a seat in that and in the All which can be most advantageously exercised by the other House for twenty-three years. Thus be had lived.. States themselves. Ivspection laws, quarantine laws, and thus he hoped to die. He could truly say that it caused health laws of every description, as well as laws for regu- anguish in his very soul when he heard gentlemen on bis lating the internal commerce of a State, and those which right hand and on his left get up and say, “ this part of respect turnpike roads, ferries, &c., are component parts the Union has been favored, and this part of the Union has of this mass. I believe, sir, this road we are upon now, been oppressed." He should be thankful to Providence is to be a turnpike road.
if it were possible to distribute the taxes of this country I think this power bas been misunderstood. The exer- with perfect and absolute equality-aye, to a cent, or to cise of the power of this Government, in regard to internal the millionth part of a cent. Then they might lie dowo, improvements, has been evidently to me pushed beyond perhaps, on their pillow in peace, and not hear the same its proper bounds and authority: I am against extremes, strain of complaint continually resounding in their ears, modus est in rebus. I do not think Congress bas the right He hoped his friend from Georgia, should be bring for to go into the States to exercise those municipal rights ward any project for the benefit of his own State, would which the people reserved to themselves or their local le- find him as good as bis word, and always happy to lend him gislatures. I will only trouble the House with one other bis aid. As to the gentlemen from Virginia, (Mr. HALL] evidence, which is directly to the point. This is from the he could assure him that he had no wish to take his money declaration of rights of North Carolina, which is a part of away from him. the constitution of that State." That all political power [Here Mr. HALL interposed, and explained.] is vested and derived from the people only. That the peo Mr. JOHNSON resumed. If my friend suspects that I
April 29, 1830.)
Maysville Road Bill.
(H. or. R.
look for his vote when he thinks the constitution forbide it, , the original thirteen; that she has been with you in seven he is greatly mistaken. I know the uprightness of his mo- troubles, aod will not leave you in seventy times seven; betives. I spoke of the effect of them only; and as to the cause she presented no request when hundreds of millions effect, while he is willing to give me but a stone, I am will. were spent (and well spent) upon the seaboard, in the ing to give him bread. I will go with him so far as I cau erection of fortifications to defend your coast, and millions do it on principles of magnanimity and equality; in the more in protecting your commerce from foreign aggres. course I pursue, my conscience is at rest. But let any pro- sion: I do not urge that Kentucky, although for inland, and positiou be brought forward which violates the rights of secure from all danger of invasion, joined boldly in the conscience, the freedom of speech, or the liberty of the cry, do not give up the ship:” No; I call on you to pass press, that gentleman will find me, I trust, among the fore- this bill
, because the object in view is such a one as you most to defend the constitution, whether with body or ought to patronize. Surely this is as much a national obmiod; and give it a construction which shall guard that ject as the railroad from Baltimore to the mountains, and liberty for which we have all struggled, and for which our as the Obio and Chesapeake canal; yet I voted in favor of
fathers pobly fought, and freely bled. Then my friend and that I went home, and said to my constituents, this is a 1
myself will be found, I hope, in giving the same construc- united country; we are all one family. I have voted thoution, although we may differ as to making roads and cnpals. sands away, not for you, my constituents, but for your But to the question. "Is this road not a national work! I brethren in other parts of the Union. They needed the
say, that if the Delaware and Chesapeake canal is national aid, and I knew you would never wish to withhold it from 1 in its character, then this road is national; but if it cnu be them. Now, sir, I ask for my State, and I expect help in | shown that this was a private concern only, in which the our time of need. It is not the only appropriation I intend
nation had no interest, then I may give up this bill. So, I to ask for. My constituents are very deeply interested in Bay, if the Chesapeake and Ohio canal is a national work, other ronds and highways passing directly through my disthis road is such. Does it follow, that because you are now trict. We have no incorporated companies yet; and the
going to appropriate for sixty miles of a great connecting time has not arrived when their claim can be presented. | avenue between several States, that that avenue loges its When that period arrives, the grant, in this case, will not | nationality? Does it cease to be national because you can- at all interfere with the strong and irresistible claim they | not make it all at one time? I say that the Dismal Swamp bave upon your justice; and I shall not be wanting in my | canal was a national work, and we granted our aid to it duty, and you will not be unjust or ungrateful. I agaiust the will of that ancient State which is the mother of Sir, we inhabit a fertile region—a fair and delightful
Kentucky. Yes, sir; we made her take the boon, whether habitation for man; it is surrounded not with water, but she would or not. Has Virginia been injured by our ap- land, land in all directions, and to a vast extent. The pleapropriatiog money to finish the Dismal Swamp canal; just sabt Obio rolls along its borders, bearing on its bosom the
as we are going to do to South Carolina ; for the citizens of wealth of ten States. We wish to get at this great national | South Carolina have petitioned Congress to aid them in a highway, that we may carry the products of our industry
railroad; and a bill has been reported to give the movey. to a market. The request is most reasonable, and you, Í
I hope we shall pass on that bill, and that we shall pass it, am confident, will not refuse it. If any State has been I too. Age, sir, and there is another bill, interesting to the more liberal in her course toward the general interest of | South, I hope we shall pass. I mean the Indian bill. Yes, this Union, let her stand forth a monument of patriotism I sir, I am prepared to vote millions upon millions to remove and public spirit
. You have lent your aid to the Portland I those venerable relics of nations, if they voluntarily choose canal, to the Dismal Swamp canal, to the Chesapeake and
to go, to a region where they may remain at peace, unmo- Delaware canal. You bave granted Ohio a million acres
lested by the intrusions, and uncorrupted by the vices of of land. You have given to Illinois, to Indiana, to all the | their white neighbors. In this, too, I have the advantage new States. The donation to the Louisville and Portland 1 of my friends to the South. Although their principles will canal was not a Kentucky boon; it was a gift to ten States
not enable them to aid my native State to open a road, I of this Union, all equally interested in the navigation of feel free, and able, nod willing to aid them in this great the Ohio river. This road is the first object which Kensouthern measure, as beneficial to the red man as it will be tucky has presented to you. It is a great and important
to our brethren of the South. Here, sir, is the request of thoroughfare; pot a road in the Union (except those between | the Legislature of my State that I will use my efforts to ob- the great seaports) more travelled, and none of the same
tain the subscription of the Government to this road; she extent, by which you can more promote the public good. has directed ber Senators and requested ber Representa- Unuer these circumstances, I trust you will not reject our
tives to exert themselves for an object so important to the bill. | State. I ask you to grant us this little boon; it will set our Mr. STORRS, of New York, replied to some remarks
whole State machinery in motion. The House is acquaint- of Mr. Hall, relative to the cost, productiveness, and aded with the causes which have produced the embarrass- vantages of the New York canals. ments under which we labor; they know that these embar Mr. HALL said, in reply, that, as the remarks of the rassmeuts have been incurred by exertions in the common gentleman were directed to the report emanating from the cause of our country. They deprive us of the means of Legislature of New York, and not in answer to what he carrying into effect the improvement of the State by great bad said, be left the subject between them. and expensive works. Yet, sir, whenever similar aid was Mr. POLK next addressed the House, and renewed the asked by other States, I and my colleagues have stood for- argument advanced by him on a preceding day against the ward the constant supporters of their request. Kentucky bill
. He was opposed altogether to this system of approhas ever been found voting for the construction of roads priations for sectional purposes. It was a more easy matand of cabals, in which she had no direct interest, or local ter, it appeared, to vote profuse sums in the Congress of interest, except as a State, and component part of the the United States. He repeated that it was more easy to Union. Did her neighbor, Ohio, ask our aid in advancing vote ten thousand dollars in Congress, than ten dollars in a her interval prosperity, no petty spirit of rivalry, no mean State Legislature. What would be the result of this lavish and contemptible jealousy of the rising greatness of that mode of expending the public money-what its cause? State, induced Kentucky to withhold her iofluence and The count looked to the prese Executive for the adopvotes. The same remark will apply equally to Tennessee, tion of a system of economy and retrenchment; and how her neighbor on the south. And, in the last place, permit could this be effected, but by the most vigilant attention ! me to remark, that I do not press this claim of Kentucky The practical operation of the system now prevalent, was on the ground of her being the oldest of the States, after directly the reverse. The engineers entrusted with the
H. OF R.]
(APRIL 29, 1830.
surveys would not report adverse to a project, the adoption and protection, I will now proceed to offer some com tion of which benefited themselves. The road in question siderations to the committee, which, I trust, they will find received the sanction of the State Legislature in January not unworthy of their grave and solemn consideration... I Jast ; 80 recently, he begged it to be observed, as January sball pass over, with a bare allusion to them, many of the last; and yet an application was made to Congress for pe- topics which have been heretofore urged on this floor, to cuniary aid towards its completion. Where she asked] was show the inexpediency of the system we are considering. this system to stop! He conceived the whole of these ap- The inevitable tendency of this system to destroy foreign plications to be most pernicious in their tendencies, and commerce, and consequently our commercial marine and unconstitutional in principle.
naval power, has been so repeatedly urged, and, on a very Mr. TUCKER reprobated the system upon wbich this recent occasion, with such conclusive proofs and triumphbill, and numerous others of a similar nature, were founded. ant argument, by my friend from New York. [Mr. CAN In his judgment, all such appropriations, besides being un- BRELENG) that I will not attempt to add anything to what just and unconstitutional, were pregnant with the most he has said on the subject. Neither, sir, do I propose to disastrous consequences.
go into an investigation of those abstract principles of poMr. POWERS opposed the measure. He deemed it litical economy to which we have to often and so vaidly
, objectionable in every constitutional point of view. He appealed, for the purpose of convincing the majority of spoke of the various ingenious arguments urged in favor the inexpediency and injustice of the course they have of this project, and of others of a similar nature. The been pursuing. That it is equally unwise and unjust to Buffalo Road bill had been objected to, because it was too attempt to direct the course of national industry by Golong; and this one might be so objected to, because it was vernment restrictions that individual sagacity and interest too short. This circumstance reminded him of the lady will infallibly find out and pursue those employments that (and ladies were sometimes fond of complaining) whose are most profitable--are positions in which the enlightened busband was stated to find the bread occasionnlly burnt, writera on the science of political economy, in every part and occasionally mere dough. The road bad been called of the world, almost unanimously concur. Yes, sir
, it is national in its object, because it led from one point of the a singular and striking proof of the soundness of the docUnion to another. Now, be asked whether every road trines for which we are contending, that, for the last ball throughout the United States might not be said, by a century, almost all the philosophers and political econoparity of reasoning, to be a national road; for all of them mists of Great Britain and Fralice, in the midst of commerled from one point of the country to another. This argu- cial restrictions imposed by their own Governments, have ment, therefore, was utterly fallacious. He concluded by boldly maintained the folly and injustice of those restriean earnest deprecation of the passage of the bill. tions. Theirs is the disinterested testimony of eplightened Mr. CARSON objected to the bill
. He was opposed to minds, seeking only for truth, and having no motive to * system which went to make the Governinent of the pervert it. But I pass that over. Nor shall I now enter into Union a stockholder, from sordid views of interest, in pub- any argument (as I have done in former discussions of this lic companies incorporated by a State.
subject) to prove to gentlemen from other parts of the Mr. ÖROCKETT said that he did not rise to make a Union, that the interest of a majority of their own constispeech upon the subject. Indeed, he was convinced in his tuents would be better promoted by reducing the duties own mind, tbat, if they were to speak for five days upon it, they have been so anxious to increase. I will barely state, not a single vote would be changed. Every one, he that I do most sincerely and conscientiously believe that, thought, had already made up their minds with respect to even in those parts of the Union for whose exclusive adit. He should therefore call for the previous question. vantage the existing high duties have been imposed, the
The call was seconded by a vote of yeas 101; Days not interests of pine men are sacrificed where that of one is counted
promoted by them. Nothing can be more clearly demonThe main question, on the passage of the bill, was then strated, in my opinion, than that, even in Massachusetts
, put, and decided in the affirmative by the following vote : and Vermont, and Pennsylvania, the great mass of the yeas, 102Days, 86.
community, the small farmers, and the persons engaged So the bill was passed, and sent to the Senate for con- in handicraft employments, are subjected to unjust and incurrence.
jurious burdens, to promote the interests of a comparatively THE TARIFF LAWS.
small pumber of large ca pitalists. But, sir, it is now too
late to urge this view of the subject; and perhaps it would The House then again went into Committee of the not be very becoming in me to attempt to school gentleWhole, Mr. Polk in the chair, on the bill “altering the men from other parts of the Union in wbat relates to the several acts laying duties on imports," and the amendment peculiar interests of their own constituents. I shall, there proposed thereto by Mr. McDUFFIE.
fore, take it for granted that the existing system of coni. Mr. McDUFFIE resumed, and spoke Dearly two hours mercial restrictions has been established by the majority of in continuation of his argument.
Congrese, from a deliberate convietion that it is calculated [The following is a full report of the remarks of Mr. to promote the interests of their constituents, and that MOD.]
there is no probability that the opinion of that majority Mr. McDUFFIE said that he entirely concurred with will undergo a change. Now, sir, however much I may the chairman of the Committee on Manufactures as to the be disposed to question the rights and the powers of the expedievoy of providing for the faithful collection of the majority in some other respecte, I agree that they have revenue; but, differing very widely with that gentleman the undoubted and exelusive right to determine for themas to the best practical mode of effecting the object, be selves what will best promote their own interests. How begged leave to submit the amendment which he had pre- far they have a right to decide upon the interests and rights pared for that purpose. I propose [said Mr. McD.) to of others, is quite another question, I shall assume, then, secure a strict and honest observance of the revenue laws, as the basis of the remarks I intend to offer, that the sys not by arbitrary penalties imposed at the discretion of the tem of probibitory duties, which aims at the ultimate excluofficers of the customs, but by rendering the laws them- sion of all those artieles of foreign merchandise which the selves so just, and moderate, and equitable, that the great souther States bave an interest in importing, is the fixed temptation to evade them, which is now held out by the and unalterable policy of Congress. I sincerely deplore high rate of the duties, will be in a great measure, re- the fact; but I should be guilty of exciting false and delomoved. As the amendment I have offered obviously opens sive hopes in my constituents, if I did not declare it. Sir
, for discussion the policy of the entire system of prohibi- ! no man who will reflect upon the progress of this system
APRIL 29, 1830.]
[H. OF R.
for the last twelve years, cau indulge the slightest hope | which it is obtained ; and every imposition of duties upon that it will ever be abandoned by those who have imposed that commerce is a burden of taxation thrown upon the it upon us. From year to year the duties have been in domestic industry by which it is sustained. If, therefore, creased and the system extended, and, at each successive you would know what stake any particular portion of the enlargement of the circle of monopoly, the majority in Union has in the foreign commerce of the country, you Congress has uniformly increased. So far from perceiving have only to ascertain what proportion the exports of do any indications of a reaction here, it seems obvious to me mestic productions from that part of the Union bear to that the more odious, and oppressive, and intolerable the the whole amount of foreign merchandise imported for system is rendered to the people of that portion of the consumption. How, then, are the burdens imposed by Union whose rights it grossly violates, and whose interests this Government, regarding the impost duties as a mere it is calculated to destroy, the more determined and obsti system of revenue, distributed among the various States Date are the majority in adhering to it, and extending and sections of this Union! If I shall succeed in showing its operation. Placing the question then upon the footing that the States engaged in the production of cotton, to on which it is placed by the advocates vadithis system-con- bacco, and rice, are taxed by the Federal Government in eeding to them the right and the capacity to judge of their proportion to the amount of their exports, it will follow own interests--yielding the point, as l'am compelled to that those States pay very nearly two-thirds of the whole do, that the prohibitory system does really promote what amount of the federal revenue. It will also follow that they regard as their true interests, I sball proceed to de. the States engaged in the production of cotton and rice monstrate, as I think I can most conclusively, that the inte alone, with a population of little more than two millione, rest of the majority thus to be promoted consists in the pay more than one-half of that revenue. I am aware absolute anzibilation of the rights and interests of the mi- sir, that these propositions are calculated to startle those nority.
who have not examined the subject attentively. GentleIo this state of facts, a very grave and momentous ques- men will think it scarcely possible that any population in tion irresistibly forces itself upon the consideration of this the world could have existed, in tolerable comfort, under iu body: how far it is the right of the majority to destroy the such a weight of taxes. I will proceed, then, to the proof
separate and peculiar interests of the minority: and bow of the proposition, that the exports of the planting States alt far the minority are under any constitutional or moral obli- indicate the proportion of federal taxes paid by these tion to submit to so monstrous eu outrage.
States, taking fairly into view the entire operation of our Sir, I am well convinced that the people of the United fiscal system. And I beg that those gentlemen who are in * States have not realized, even in a partial degree, the da- favor of the existing policy, will examine my argument mi ture and extent of the oppression under which the people critically, and, if they can detect any fallacy in it, that they
of the Southern states are laboring. I shall proceed, will expose it to this committee. My sincere desire is to
therefore, to inquire, in the first place, what is the opera- arrive at the truth. If I am in error, it is my anxious wish * tion of our system of impost duties upon the various that it may be clearly pointed out, as very important issues i portions of the Union, regarding it merely as a system of may probably hang upon it. revenue.
If the southern planters were to export their own proHas it any pretensions to be regarded as a just and equal ductions in their own ships, and import, in the same way, system of taxation? Is not the fact undeniable, that almost the merchandise obtained in exchange for it, would any As the whole burden of federal taxation is thrown upon those doubt exist that they actually paid into the treasury an
branches of productive industry which furnish the ex- amount of taxes proportioned to their exports ! Export pe changes of our foreign commerce, while all the other ing productions to the amount of thirty-seven millions of do branches of domestic production are free from taxation, dollars, they would pay, assuming the average rate of the 18 and a large portion of them derive considerable bounties, duties even at forty per cent, fourteen millions eight bun. indirectly, from the very burdens imposed upon those dred thousand dollars
, while the States producing cotton Al productions which constitute the staples of foreign com- and rice would pay twelve millions. Now, as the import
merce? If I have not entirely mistaken the true operation ing merchant is nothing more than the agent of the planter, Se of the revenue laws of the United States, there never was the true operation of impost duties will be much more pie a more unequal and unjust system of taxation devised by clearly perceived by dispeusing with this agency. It tends many Government, of ancient or modern times.
to confuse the inquirer, by keeping out of view the real A réference to the treasury statements of the com- parties to the proceeding: The merchant certainly bears merce of the United States will show that the whole his own share of the burdens of federal taxation; but the al amount of the domestic productions annually exported to burdens of the planter are in no degree diminished by that a foreign countries, taking an average of years, is something fact. I assume, then, that the planter is subjected to pre
less than fifty-eight millions of dollars.' Taking this to be cisely the same burden, as a planter, that he would be if the aggregate value of the domestic exports of the whole be bad no factor or commercial agent, but exported bis own Union, it may be estimated that those portions of the produce himself, and imported what he obtained for it southern and southwestern Slates which are engaged in abroad. Why, then, is it denied that he is taxed in prothe production of the great agricultural staples of cotton, portion to the amount of his exports $ It is denied, upon tobacco and rice, constituting less than one-third part of the assumed ground that the producer pays no part of the the Union, export to the amount of thirty-seven millions tax, as a producer, but that the whole burden falls upon of dollars; and those portions of the States just mentioned, the consumer of the articles subjected to impost duties. which are engaged in the production of cotton and rice, Now, although, as I shall hereafter attempt to show, the constituting less than one-fifth part of the Union, export condition of the planter would be very little better, even to the amount of thirty millions of dollars. Now, sir, it if it were true that the consumer paid the whole tax; yet would be difficult to imagine a proposition in political I deem it important to refute the common error, that indieconomymore undeniable, than that the amount of im- rect taxes, laid upon production, fall ultimately and exclaposts which belong to each respective portion of the Union, sively on consumption. I know, sir, that indirect taxes must be proportioned to their exports. It is wholly im- do not exclusively rest upon those classes from whom they material who the carriers and importers of the mer- are actually levied. But upon what principle of reason or chandise received in exchange for domestic productions, common sense cap it be maintained that no part of them or through what custom-house it happens to pass; it must rests there? still be regarded as constituting the commerce of that por Such an idea never would have been indulged for a motion of the country, in exchange for the productions of ment, but for the disguised form in which indirect taxation