Page images

H. OF R.

Pay of Army Officers.


no doubt but that the heads of the departments of the Government, the members of Congress, and their particular friends, had enjoyed a very large share of the benefits resulting from this mode of expending the public money. Establish a few more institutions of the same character, and what is the consequence? Why, sir, it must be to take the Government out of the hands of the people. And, if it is so important that you should educate officers for your regular Army at public expense, it is equally as important to educate persons at pubGovernment; and, by the same rule, when you establish those institutions, you must exclude all who are not admitted to be educated there from a participation, or even a chance of obtaining those offices. Sir, I have said, on a former occasion, it was an aristocracy; and I repeat it to be one, of the rankest order, not only that ever existed in this Government, but that ever existed in any known Government on the face of the earth. I have repeatedly challenged the supporters of this institution to meet me on this point, and show its Republican features; but they have not as yet undertaken it, nor is it in their power to controvert the facts I have stated to the House.

made one of this "privileged order?" Or what inducements are held out to the officers of the militia to improve in military science, so long as these highly favored cadets are to hold of right all the commissions of your Army? You keep out all others to give places to them. But, sir, withdraw your support from this aristocratic institution, and abandon this system of keeping up a privileged order in our country, and military science will, I have no doubt, soon become a part of the instruction at other academies and colleges in the United States. He said, if he was correctlylic expense to fill all the other departments of the informed, there was an institution now in existence in the State of Vermont, (he alluded to the school under the direction of Captain Partridge,) where every branch of military science was taught to the same perfection that it was at West Point, and he had no doubt that it would be sufficient to furnish the Army with plenty of officers, could they have a preference given them, without the expenditure of the public money to qualify them. I am in favor, said he, of military science, when taught on any general plan that will diffuse it among the great mass of the people, and I am opposed to this kind of science being confined to a few, as is the case, in regard to the course heretofore pursued. He denied the right of the House of Representatives to appropriate the people's money to any such partial purposes. I will admit, said he, that benefits are derived from this institution to all those who obtain so much of the favor of the Executive as to get their sons not only educated at the public expense, but receive large sums of money besides, as a bounty.

This benefit, I have no doubt, is generally bestowed on the rich; the poor never have nor never will obtain much of it; and he did not know that it added much to the science of the country in general; for those persons who had their sons educated at this academy, at the public expense, were generally able to give them an education at their own expense, and would do so if deprived of this privilege, which enabled them only to save the expense they would otherwise incur, and lay up something besides out of the pay given the cadets. This institution was first set on foot, said Mr. C., in the year 1802, when only ten cadets were allowed to be kept there; and this continued to be the whole number until the year 1812, (about the time the declaration of war took place,) when the number of the cadets was increased to two hundred and fifty, the present number allowed by law, with the pay of sixteen dollars per month, and two rations each; some other emoluments have been allowed, he believed, besides. Thus it has crept along, in the shade of executive and legislative patronage, about eighteen years, without any inquiries having been made respecting the amount of public money expended on it, or the people of the United States knowing much about the policy or principles it is calculated to promote. He believed he could venture to say that the people knew very little about this Military Academy; nor had they generally enjoyed much of its benefits, notwithstanding the vast amount of their money that has been expended to keep it up. He had

Gentlemen misunderstand me when they suppose that I am opposed to the encouragement of military science. If they will only take the trouble to examine the provisions of a bill I have reported to the House, (by the direction of the committee on the subject of militia,) they will find I am in favor of diffusing military science throughout the whole United States, not only to extend it to every State and Territory, but equally to every brigade, regiment, and even to every captain's company. They will there see a plan proposed annually to teach and instruct 60,000 (being the whole number of the militia officers of the United States, of every grade) in all the duties necessary for a state of war; and that, too, on principles of republicanism, on principles consistent with, and congenial to, the free principles of our own Government. This was, he said, a great system, for it was calculated to diffuse military science throughout the whole United States, and to extend it equally to every militia officer. This system has been objected to, in conversation and out of doors, because it will cost too much; but if the House should, in the course of the session, indulge him so far as to take up the bill he had referred to, he would show, by arithmetical calculation, that this system to extend military science to the whole militia of the United States would cost less than $500,000 annually, a sum not much greater than was required to maintain, in the regular service, one regiment, and only five times the amount expended at this Military Academy; the sum he had stated he could show would be sufficient to encamp the whole militia officers of the United States one week, for instruction, in each year, and pay them their full pay, as though they were in service, also provide them with rations. His course was to retrench the expenses of this Military Academy, in order to enable us better to adopt the system he had alluded to.


Public Land Debt.

H. OF R.

But, Mr. Speaker, if we keep up a Military the members of this House and of the Senate, as Academy at the public expense, for whose bene- well as the Executive and heads of Departments, fit should it be maintained? I say, sir, it ought to for it is them, and their particular friends, who be for the benefit of the orphan of him who has enjoy the whole benefits of this vast expenditure fallen in defence of his country; but they have of the public money; nor do I believe they will not enjoyed the benefit of this institution, nor ever can, until you change your laws on the subject. I hold the doctrine that there is an obligation on the part of the Government to support the widow and orphan of those who have fallen in its defence, until they are able to protect and support themselves; but what have you done for them? Why, sir, you have turned them off at the age of five years; they are driven from the door of your bounty, to starve or be supported and protected by their friends, or the society of their neighborhoods, to give place to these favorites-this privileged order, composed of the sons of the wealthy, who never fought in your defence. This is what we are doing; and I beg gentlemen to reflect, and look at the course they are pursuing. I am indeed glad that the orphans of those whose blood has been shed in defence of our liberty have been taken notice of by Congress; but let us see what it is we have done for the family of a poor soldier whose life has been sacrificed on the altar of our liberties, and has left in our charge a wife and nine helpless children. We have, it is true, allowed them half pay for five years, amounting, in the whole period, to $240: this is all you have done to support this whole family, of ten times in number, for five years, while you give a much larger sum to support the son of a rich man, who never shouldered a gun in the defence of his country, one year, as a cadet at this Military Academy. You have given each of the orphans I have alluded to only forty cents per month for support, while you give a cadet thirty-one dollars per month in pay and rations for his support.

You have given your orphans only four dollars and eighty cents each year.

And have given your cadets three hundred and seventy-two dollars each year.

You have given your orphans only twenty-four dollars each, in the whole five years.

And have given your cadets one thousand eight hundred and sixty dollars each in the same period, in pay and rations, besides other emoluments that are not taken into view in the above estimate.

Mr. Speaker, I ask you, and I ask every member of this House, if this looks as if we had been governed either by the principle of justice or equality. No, sir, we have abandoned them long since, and pay no regard to them whatever, for the purpose of creating and supporting this odious aristocracy. I have found great difficulty in even obtaining an inquiry respecting it, and I fear it will be still more difficult to put it down. I fear the anticipations of a very respectable and intelligent correspondent of mine will be realized, who, after speaking of the course I have heretofore pursued, and am now pursuing, in regard to this institution, in terms of approbation has said, "he feared all my exertions would be unavailing, because it gives patronage to all the members of Congress." Yes, sir, it is too true: it does give patronage to 16th CoN. 2d SESS.-38

unite with me in reducing the expenditure of the public money on it until forced to do so by their constituents, who will remain silent on this subject just so long as they are kept in ignorance. This has been the case heretofore, I have no doubt; but the people generally have known little or nothing about the principles on which it was conducted, nor the effect it is calculated to produce in our Government. But, sir, so far as it is in my power to give the people of the United States information, they shall have it, on this subject as well as on all others. It is their right to know the purposes to which you appropriate their money; and they ought to know and understand truly the principles on which we legislate. I deny that any public benefit whatever is derived from this Military Academy. Your Army would be as well filled with officers without it as it was with it— perhaps better-and with an equal portion of military science. Put down this aristocracy, this way of monopolizing the offices in the Army, and leave them free and accessible to all, on the ground of merit alone, and you will always find a sufficient number who will qualify themselves in order to obtain them. But, so long as you keep up this system of giving such bounty without regard to merit-this system of a kind of hereditary succession to offices from which all others are excluded, you suppress and discourage every possible motive in others to obtain the qualifications requisite to fill those offices. Such a course is calculated in the end to sap the very foundation of our liberties, and will not, I have no hesitation in saying, be supported by the people in any part of the United States, when they fairly examine and properly understand the effects that it is calculated to produce in our Government.

Mr. WARFIELD replied to Mr. CANNON, and, the question being taken on Mr. CANNON's motion, it was decided in the negative, 70 to 31.

The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, without a division.


On motion of Mr. CROWELL the several orders of the day were postponed, in order to take up the bill from the Senate for the relief of certain purchasers of public lands; and the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the said bill.

Some time was spent in Committee of the Whole on the bill, in the course of which Mr. CROWELL made some remarks in favor of the bill, Mr. McCoy, and Mr. ALLEN, of Tennessee, against it, and Mr. WooD, rather in doubt on the subject than in opposition to the bill. Mr. CAMPBELL, Mr. ANDERSON, Mr. HENDRICKS, and Mr. COOK, suggested and supported the propriety of the Committee's rising and obtaining leave to sit again, it being obvious that the House had prematurely entered on the subject, and were not prepared to act

[blocks in formation]

upon it. [There were barely a hundred members in the House, many being absent, attending the argument on the great question this day argued in the Supreme Court.]

Mr. ALLEN, of Tennessee, observed, that he was in favor of the motion made by his honorable friend from Virginia, to strike out the second section of the bill before the Cominittee, and would be glad to see the first section go with it, being opposed to the principle entire.

Sir, said he, before I can agree to part with as much of the public revenue as is contemplated to be thrown away by this bill, I must be better satisfied that the objects upon whom it is to be bestowed deserve it. If the people learn that debts can be paid with petitions and fair stories, you will soon have your table crowded. The next application will be from those who have completed their payments, asking Congress to refund as much as will place them on an equality with those now to be relieved. Numbers have already forfeited, and thought themselves well out of a bad bargain at that; but, have they not a fair claim on having returned to them all that was paid, if you cancel the contract and prevent such an occurrence with others. Sir, if we begin the work either with a view of doing justice, or an act of beneficence, there is no point at which we can stop without greater cause of complaint. At this time the Government is under no obligation or promise, directly or indirectly, to meddle at all in this matter; but, advance one step in changing the contracts of these people, and, by a legislative interference, alter the relation between debtor and creditor, and you will have to go the whole length; nothing short of the land, in their own way, and at their own price, will suit them. We are told there is not money in the country to pay this enormous debt, and to attempt exacting it is requiring from the people who owe it impossibilities. Not so, Mr. Chairman. Let them alone, and the existing laws will set the matter right; in five years, the Government will either have the money or the land; and the situation of him who has had the worst of itif you please, forfeited his claim to the land on which he has paid something-still his situation is preferable to that of all others who went in debt for property when every thing run high, and, as it were, was at a bubble price, which bursted round him before pay day came. The purchaser of public land under existing laws is relieved from debt by forfeiting a bad bargain, losing only onefourth, or the sum paid in advance, often in that way advantageously getting out of a bad bargain. But, between individuals, the last farthing must be paid, whatever may have been the loss upon the purchase; and in every part of the country you may find men that have purchased property that would not now sell for half the sum given for it. No relinquishment for them; no cancelling the contract, or compounding with creditors, as long as there is any thing found to make the money out of, although the money for which the debt was raised will not satisfy one-tenth part thereof under an execution. What has that class of debtors done to prevent their sharing in this benevolent act of


grace? Have they no part in the common stock about to be distributed? We have the same right to relieve the one as the other; the difference is only between giving money out of the Treasury and permitting that to be withheld which ought to be there. I know of no class of men who have less claim upon the paternal indulgence or gracious favor of the Government than most of the purchasers of public land-I mean that portion most clamorous for relief, and the most to be benefited by this bill. They associated themselves in companies, with all the money the banks (with whom they were mostly connected) could lend, and at the auction sales put down all competition from actual settlers; the prudent man's home was bought over his head, at a price he could not give for it. It is now in the hands of one of these speculators, who has other lands adjoining. Will you pass a law that permits him to keep it by a relinquishment of other bad bargains, thus avoiding the payment of a price which deterred the occupant from buying? Certainly nothing is more unjust.

Such is the effect intended to be produced by the first section of this bill, going to make the Government insure a profit to him who bids highest, and a party with him, in fact, in a fraud practised on others by a show of price never intended to be paid. Could any scheme be invented more effectually to suit the purpose of those who were determined to have the choice that they have had, and, after selecting and buying all they wanted, and effectually trying the market, and finding what could be made out of the speculation, we must play to their hand, and secure to them all that is profitable, and relieve them from that which is not. I don't know who would not buy lands under these circumstances.

Sir, I am aware that these remarks do not apply to all the purchasers of public land, and that many actual settlers will find great difficulty in making payment; but they never would have thought of coming here with such a demand as this bill embraces had they not been encouraged by that knowing class which depends on management to get relieved, and out of the toils they had intended for others. I do not believe that many of the actual settlers on tracts purchased alone for cultivation are going to forfeit their lands, notwithstanding all we have heard said. They have carefully laid up every dollar that they have been able to lay their hands on since the purchase; the sum lacking they can procure at a trifling sacrifice, which they are content to make. The land forfeited will be by the speculator, whose only dependence was on making sales to meet the purchase money. If he has been disappointed, has he any right to call on the whole community to bear his loss? No; no more than they would have had to share his profit, had his expectations been realized. Let us not direct all our sympathy to one particular class of traders; others are looking

[blocks in formation]


Reduction of Salaries-Pay of Army Officers.

no control. What will they say at this display of beneficence towards those who only have themselves to blame?

If sympathy and feeling are permitted to guide us in legislating for the Union, have the purchasers of the public land any right to the exclusive exercise of it? I think not; and, in making this demand, their friends have inconsiderately defeated an object, that might have been attained, by going too far, and asking too much; for, whatever might have been my course towards them in times of peculiar difficulty like the present, had their application been confined to an extension of time only, I have no hesitation in saying that what they now claim is unreasonable, and has put me on my guard against doing any thing that encourages demands that must lead to a total abolition of the whole debt. Before we begin this gracious act, would it not be well to inquire whose money it is we are bestowing away, and think of an old maxim, which teaches us to be just before we are generous?

On motion of Mr. ANDERSON the Committee rose, reported progress, and obtained leave to sit



On motion of Mr. CULBRETH, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union to take into consideration the bill for a general reduction of the salaries of the officers of the Government.

The bill having been read

Mr. CULBRETH stated that the Committee had been influenced by different considerations in agreeing to the report; but that, for himself, he had been influenced by the single consideration whether the salaries in the several cases embraced by the bill are or are not at present more than sufficient. Where he thought them no more than sufficient he had voted against their reduction, and for their reduction where he thought them otherwise.

The Committee then proceeded with the consideration of the details of the bill.

On motion of Mr. KINSEY, after a considerable debate on the merits of the Patent Office, its duties, &c., that part of the bill which proposes to reduce the salary of the Clerk of the Patent Office to five hundred dollars per annum, was stricken out.

On motion of Mr. LIVERMORE, the part of the bill which proposes to reduce the salary of the Superintendent of the Patent Office to one thousand dollars, was also stricken out.

H. OF R.

dington, proprietors of a large amount of real property in the City of Washington, complaining of the conduct of the corporate authorities in the said city, and of the exorbitant amount of taxes levied and collected by them, and praying that further provisions may be enacted by Congress upon the subject of the imposition and collection of taxes in said city; which petition was referred to the Committee for the District of Columbia.

Mr. NEWTON, from the Committee of Commerce, reported a bill for the relief of Nathaniel Carver, and others; which was twice read, and committed.

Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, from the Committee of Ways and Means, reported a bill further to amend the several acts relative to the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments; which was twice read, and committed. [This bill proposes to abolish the agency of the Treasurer for the War and Navy Departments.]

Mr. FORREST presented a letter addressed to him by Lieutenant Colonel George Bomford, accompanied with sundry documents, in relation to the loans of gunpowder and other munitions of war, from the public magazines, to private individuals; which were ordered to lie on the table.

Mr. FULLER, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, reported the bill from the Senate for the relief of Samuel Tucker, late a captain in the Navy of the United States, with an amendment. Mr. METCALF moved to refer the bill to a Committee of the Whole.

Mr. COBB moved that the bill be postponed indefinitely, which motion was negatived, by yeas and nays-79 to 66.

The amendment to the bill having been agreed to, the question was taken on ordering the bill to a third reading, as amended, and decided in the negative, by a majority of one vote. So the bill was rejected.

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have passed a bill, entitled "An act to establish an uniform system of bankruptcy throughout the United States," in which they ask the concurrence of this House.

The bill was read twice, and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.


An engrossed bill, entitled "An act to fix and equalize the pay of the officers of the Army of the United States," was read the third time; and on the question, Shall the said bill pass? it passed in the affirmative-yeas 106, nays 39, as follows: YEAS-Messrs. Adams, Alexander, Allen of Ten

A motion, by Mr. SERGEANT, was under consideration for excluding the Librarian's compensation from the proposed reduction; when the Com-nessee, Anderson, Archer of Maryland, Archer of Virmittee rose and reported progress.

Mr. LIVERMORE moved to discharge the Committee of the Whole from the further consideration of the bill, and to lay it on the table; but the motion was negatived, 63 to 48.

TUESDAY, February 20.

Mr. KENT presented a memorial of Joseph Pearson, Thomas Law, and Daniel Carroll of Dud

ginia, Baker, Ball, Barbour, Bateman, Bayly, Beecher, Cocke, Crafts, Culbreth, Culpeper, Cushman, CuthBoden, Bryan, Buffum, Campbell, Cannon, Cobb, bert, Dane, Dennison, Earle, Eddy, Edwards of N. Carolina, Fay, Fisher, Floyd, Foot, Forrest, Fuller, Garnett, Gray, Gross of New York, Gross of Pennsylvania, Guyon, Hall of New York, Hall of North Carolina, Hardin, Hendricks, Herrick, Hibshman, Hill, Hobart, Hooks, Hostetter, Jackson, Jones of Virginia, Kinsley, Lathrop, Lincoln, Maclay, McCoy, McCreary, McLean of Kentucky, Mallary, Marchand, Meigs,

[blocks in formation]

Metcalf, Monell, Montgomery, R. Moore, T. L. Moore, Morton, Moseley, Murray, Nelson of Massachusetts, Nelson of Virginia, Parker of Massachusetts, Patterson, Phelps, Philson, Plumer, Rhea, Rich, Richards, Richmond, Robertson, Rogers, Ross, Russ, Shaw, Silsbee, Sloan, Southard, Stevens, Strong of Vermont, Tarr, Terrell, Tomlinson, Tracy, Tucker of Virginia, Tucker of South Carolina, Tyler, Upham, Van Rensselaer, Walker, Wendover, Williams of Virginia, Williams of North Carolina, and Wood.

NAYS-Messrs. Abbot, Allen of New York, Baldwin, Brush, Butler of Louisiana, Case, Clark, Cook, Crowell, Darlington, Davidson, Dewitt, Dickinson, Folger, Ford, Hackley, Johnson, Jones of Tennessee, Kent, Little, Livermore, Mercer, S. Moore, Neale, Newton, Parker of Virginia, Pinckney, Pitcher, Reid, Ringgold, Sergeant, Simkins, Smith of New Jersey, Smith of Maryland, A. Smyth of Virginia, Street, Swearingen, Udree, and Wallace.


The Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union were discharged from the further consideration of the bill to reduce the salaries and fix the maximum of the compensation of certain officers and other persons employed in the Civil Department of the Government.

Mr. CROWELL then moved that the bill lie on the table; which being negatived.

The House then proceeded to consider the bill: when, Mr. SILSBEE moved to amend the same by adding five hundred dollars per annum to the salary of each of the Commissioners of the Navy Board; which motion was negatived,

Mr. Wood moved to strike out of the first section of the bill these words: to the Commissioner of the Public Buildings, one thousand five hundred dollars. Agreed to.

Mr. ROBERTSON moved to insert, after the word dollars, in the 22d line of the first section of the printed bill these words: "To the Secretary of the Senate, three thousand dollars; to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, three thousand dollars." Negatived.


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The bill was then further amended: when Mr. CAMPBELL moved further to amend the same by inserting the following sections, to come in after the first sections thereof, viz:

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That at every session of Congress, and every meeting of the Senate in the recess of Congress, each Senator shall be entitled to receive six dollars for every day he shall attend the Senate, and shall also be allowed six dollars for every twenty miles of the estimated distance by the most usual road from his place of residence to the seat of Congress; at the commencement and end of every such session and meeting; and in case any member of the Senate shall be detained by sickness on his journey to or from such session or meeting, or after his arrival shall be unable to attend the Senate, he shall be entitled to the same daily allowance; and the President of the Senate pro tempore, when the Vice President shall be absent, or when his office shall be vacant, shall, during the period of his services, receive, in addition to his compensation as a member of the Senate, six dollars for every day he shall attend the Senate: Provided, That no Senator shall be allowed end of one such session or meeting, to the time of his a sum exceeding the rate of six dollars a day from the taking a seat in another.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That at every session of Congress, each representative and delegate shall be entitled to receive six dollars for every day he also be allowed six dollars for every twenty miles of shall attend the House of Representatives, and shall the estimated distance by the most usual road from his place of residence to the seat of Congress, at the commeucement and end of every such session; and in case any representative or delegate shall be detained by sickness on his journey to or from the session of Congress, or after his arrival shall be unable to attend the House of Representatives, he shall be entitled to the same daily allowance; and the Speaker of the House Mr. SERGEANT moved to strike out from the of Representatives shall be entitled to receive, in adfirst section of the bill these words: "To the Li-dition to his compensation as a representative, six dolbrarian, one thousand dollars ;" which motion was also negatived.

Mr. SILSBEE moved so to amend that part of the first section of the bill which relates to the salaries of the Naval Constructors, to read thus: "To the first Naval Constructor, two thousand three hundred dollars, and to each of the other Naval Constructors, two thousand dollars; which being negatived,

lars for every day he shall attend the House: Provided, always, That no representative or delegate shall Mr. ČoсKE moved to amend the first section of be allowed a sum exceeding the rate of six dollars a the bill by adding five hundred dollars to the sal-day from the end of one session to the time of his ary of the First Comptroller of the Treasury. taking his seat in another. Negatived.

Mr. NELSON, of Virginia, then moved to amend the bill by inserting after the word designated, in the fifth line of the second section of the printed bill these words: whose compensation exceeds eight hundred dollars per annum ; so as to confine the reduction of twenty per cent., therein provided, to such salaries as exceed eight hundred dollars per


SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the said compensation which shall be due to the members of the Senate shall be certified by the President thereof; and that which shall be due to the representatives and delegates shall be certified by the Speaker, and the same shall be passed as public accounts, and paid out of the public Treasury.

The said amendment was read; when
The House adjourned.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »