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This is a very grave charge certainly- the United States to all foreign countries. amounting as it does, in the one instance An interest of this magnitude, daily aug. to gross inconsistency, and in the other menting, in which so many States and so to deliberate treachery-and, therefore, large a portion of our citizens participated, we subjoin the evidence. In his Annual naturally commanded the attention of ConMessage, on 2d of Dec. last, the Presi- gress, and properly received its fostering
Safe harbors were much needed, dent refers to the Report of the Secretary and a system of improvements, with a of War, which accompanied the Message, view to provide them, was commenced in for information concerning the state of 1824. The total amount expended upon the army, of the defences of the country, these harbors is $2,861,964.' The objects and the condition of the public works, and to which these appropriations have been says: “I invite your attention to the sug- applied, and the amounts of them from gestions contained in that report, in rela. 1824 to the present time, are specified in tion to the prominent objects of public the annexed report, together with an estiinterest."
mate of the further sums required for the The Report thus emphatically com
ensuing fiscal year. The works, so far as mended to the attention of Congress, has they have been prosecuted, give abundant these observations on the Report from the will in the end be realized to the fullest
assurance that the anticipated advantages Bureau of Topograpical Engineers, with extent. It may be proper to remark that in whose charge and care are all the in- these improvements are not without benefit provements of our harbors and rivers:
in a military point of view. Should it ever
become necessary to have a naval force up. “The report from the Chief of the Corps on these Lakes, the numerous and commoof Topographical Engineers, hereto ap: dious harbors thus provided by the aid of pended, has been prepared with care and the Government will contribute to its safeindustry; it embraces objects of great pub- ty and successful operations. Besides, there lic concern, and furnishes most desirable are now employed in the commerce of these information, in regard not only to the Lakes a great number of large-sized and works upon which expenditures have been stoutly-built steamers, which would not made during the last season, but to those have been placed there by individual enwhich are likely to be prosecuted during terprise but for the safety and accommodathe ensuing year. The details of the ope- tion afforded by these harbors. In case of rations and the results of the past year fur. a public emergency, these steamers can be nish satisfactory proof of the advantages of expeditiously converted into effective vesconfiding the executing, as well as the sels of war and rendered subservient to planning, of works of this character to men military operations. Nor are the economy of scientific acquirements, professional and facility of transporting troops, muniskill, and practical experience. Such du- tions of war, and supplies, to be overlooked ties are properly assigned to those who, by in estimating the public advantages of the education, constant study, and long labo. Lake improvements. It is also said that rious practice, have acquired the requisite our best seamen are those who have been qualifications to superintend and properly trained in the navigation of our Lakes. execute them. The objects brought into “ The number of lake harbor improveview in the report of the Topographical ments authorized by law is twenty-six. Bureau are not of exclusively military char. Good harbors have been made where none acter, but many of them, however, have an existed before, and the expenses of conintimate relation to the defence of the struction have not, in the whole, exceeded country, and all are regarded as public the estimates prospectively presented. works directly connected with, and essen These results give assurance that the plans tial to, our external or internal commerce. were judiciously conceived, and the work Most of these works were authorized or economically and skillfully executed. undertaken some years ago; but little was “The public usefulness of these improve. done upon them during the past year, in ments will be better appreciated, when it consequence of the failure of the appro- is considered that by means of them a most priations for that purpose.
dangerous navigation has been rendered “ The Lakes are almost entirely destitute comparatively safe, a large shipping interof natural harbors. Navigation upon them est has been created upon our Lakes, and was exposed to immediate perils, and not facilities and shelter afforded to a comunfrequently attended with frightful loss of merce now estimated at a hundred millions life and property. With the settlement of dollars annually, and increasing with and growth of the Western country, the surprising rapidity, in which six States are commerce upon these inland seas has ra directly and all sections of the country inpidly increased, and its estimated annual cidentally, interested.” amount now exceeds in value the entire exports of the products and manufactures of After thus showing the importance of
the lake navigation and of improving had been consulted generally about the their harbors, he then goes on to show items in the Harbor bill, and that he intithe necessity of improving the great riv. mated no doubts or objections concerners of the West, and also the Hudson ing such appropriations. Mr. Thompson, river.
of Pennsylvania, is thus reported to have Here are the strongest recommenda- spoken :tions by the cabinet officer having in spe. cial charge the whole subject, that ihe “ The reminiscences connected with government should prosecute various this veto were of a very unpleasant charworks for the promotion and protection acter. Why was no notice, not the slightof Lake and River commerce, and to these est intimation, given that the President recommendations the President himself could not, consistently with his views of invites the attention of Congress, as duty, approve the appropriations in the “concerning prominent objects of national bill? When he knew the house to be earninterest.” Is it possible to exonerate the estly engaged in discussing the recom
mendations of these appropriations by one President, in view of his subsequent of his Secretaries, and the estimate for course on the River and Harbor bill, from them submitted by himself, why had he the charge of deliberately setting, at abstained from saying a syllable about any nought his own recommendations, and of doubt of their constitutionality in his own leading Congress into appropriations for mind? Mr. T. would here call on the the purposes set forth in the Secretary of gentleman at the head of the Committee on War's report, under the belief that the Commerce, (Mr. McClelland,) and on the President desired and approved them – gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. Constable,) when he was all the while opposed on
a member of that Committee, to declare constitutional grounds, to the whole here in their places whether they had not scheme. What could be the motive for shown him the bill, and whether he had
in person called upon the President and such duplicity? Possibly some clue to intimated any objection to the items it conthe difficulty may be found in the facts tained? He asked the chairman to say we are now to relate and comment upon. whether the President was not fully aware When the bill was returned to the House of everything this committee had inserted with the President's objections, one of in the bill ? the partisans of the President-Mr. “[Mr. McClelland observed a profound Brinckerhoff—is thus reported in the silence.) Union :
“Mr.T. would call on the gentleman from
Maryland to say whether the President had “I am anxious, and long have been
expressed any doubts or objections as to
the items in the bill? anxious, that it should become a law. I
“ Mr. Constable replied, but in too low a have entertained apprehensions, however, voice to be distinctly heard by the Reporter, that it would not; I have been apprehen- especially as there was a crowd of members sive that it would be defeated by an Execu- in the aisle near his seat, and some restlesstive veto; and had my humble advice
ness and movement in the hall; but he was been taken by my friends, I believe it understood to say that the President had would have been saved from this fate. I objected to but one of the items. am not at all disposed to play the croaker,
“Mr. Thompson resumed. Had this been or the prophet of the past, but had my friends postponed the vote on the tariff other legislation of the House ? Was it a
a plan laid for the purpose of affecting bill for one week, as I advised them to do, soothing song to lull the friends of this this bill would have become a law. I am
River and Harbor bill to sleep until after a satisfied of it, sir.”
certain vote should have been given ? Mr.
T. would mention a fact that was astonishHere it is distinctly intimated of the ing and startling. The day before the vote President by one of his own supporters, on the tariff the government organ came out that his apparent favor to the Harbor bill IN Favor of this Harbor bill, and the very was only to catch votes for the Tariff bill, day after that vote it came out as strongly and it is charged, that if the latter had
He heard it said by some been held in suspense until after a deci- gentleman near him that that was easily sion upon the former, there would have explained. No doubt of it. A man must been no velo.
be poor indeed in invention who could not The following report of proceedings to help a political associate out of a scrape.
get up some sort of apology, however lame, in the House of Representatives on Mon. But it would not do for the old editor to day, 3d of August, seems to prove what say that he did not know what went in his bas been stated above, that Mr. Polk
own paper ; it was his duty to know.
“Mr. T. said that all the House must have anything of what he had said. He had witnessed the expressive silence of the said that the answer was a strong fact; but chairman of the Committee on Commerce a much stronger was the recommendation when interrogated on a plain matter of of the President's own officers, sent to the fact. Colonel Abert, of the Topographi. House by himself, without the slightest in. cal Bureau, had told Mr, T. that the Presi- timation of disapproval. No such a word dent was shown all the items in the bill, was to be found when these estimates and and had intimated no constitutional objec. recommendations were referred to; yet in tion to any of them, but had only cut down these estimates and recommendations all the amount of appropriations which had those rivers and harbors were included been at first proposed.
which the Committee had subsequently in. “Mr. Payne here interposed, and asked serted in the bill, and which the President Mr. T. whether he meant to say that the now thought so entirely unconstitutional. chairman of the Committee on Commerce Mr. T. was as loth as any other member of (Mr. McClelland), and the gentleman from that House to say anything against the Maryland (Mr. Constable), had showed the President; perhaps his habitual caution President the items in the Harbor bill, and had prevented him from sooner expressing that the President had assented to them? his opinion, and perhaps not. But be that as
“Mr. Thompson replied that the gentle. it might, Mr. T. looked upon this veto as man from Maryland had said that, with a the commencement of a revolution in the solitary exception as to one of the items, principles and practice of this Government. such was the fact.
The tariff had been overthrown. Mr. T. “Mr. Thurman suggested to the Chair had stood it all; his own State stood trem. that it was out of order to refer to conver- bling on the verge of ruin; still he had not sations held with the President.
complained of the President. Surely, if “ (Many voices: Out of order! that's he had any constitutional scruples in his a pretty story ;''must not tell, eh ?'] mind, frankness and candor would have
“Mr. McClelland was understood to say required him to communicate them before he had not heard or had not understood this late hour ; but had there been a word Mr. Thompson's inquiry. The gentleman like it? Mr. T. said he saw indications of from Alabama (Mr. Payne) had asked him warmth in some quarters around him. He whether he had said that he had presented cared little for warmth; but he warned the Harbor bill to the President with its gentlemen that he did not wish his words different items. He did not consider him- misrepresented; he did not practice misreself bound to state, nor was it proper for presentations of others, and, if attempted him to state any conversation he might towards himself, he should not submit to have had with the President ; he considered it. He had called upon a witness, but that all such conversations as confidential; yet witness refused to testify; the House was he would state that in any consultation he certainly at liberty to draw its own infe. might have had with the President, he rence.” had not submitted the bill to him nor conversed about the particular items it contained.
If there be any approach to accuracy “Mr. Constable said that he had never in these representations thus made on the seen the bill till it came to this House. floor of Congress, it follows that Mr. Polk He had had a conversation with the Presi. had permitted bis friends to believe-1st, dent about one item of it only. In that while the Tariff bill was yet in suspense, conversation the President expressed a
that he was not opposed to the Harbor general opinion only.
bill; 2d, that its appropriations were “Mr. Thompson said the chairman of the Committee on Commerce had now given a
mostly for objects presented by Mr. limited answer to his inquiry.
Polk's own cabinet; and lastly, that he “Mr. McClelland said he hoped the gen
himself had been consulted about them, tleman from Pennsylvania had no desire to
and had not made any objection on prininjure him. He had positively and une- ciple, but contented himself with reduquivocally declined answering the inquiry. сing some of the estimates.
“Mr. Thompson emphatically declined In the face, nevertheless, of such inall purpose to injure Mr. McClelland, of consistency and such duplicily, the favor whom he spoke in terms of the highest of an honest people is still claimed for a respect. "Mr. T. went on to say that what had stances, exercised one of the extremest
chief magistrate who, under such circumnot been proved by his inquiry remained unproved, for there was no other witness. prerogatives vested in him for special Mr. T. had made no charges; he had sim- purposes by the Constituñon, to defeat ply asked a question as to a fact, and he one of the great ends for which that Conwould leave it with the House to say whe- stitution was ordained—the promotion of ther the answer he had received disproved the general welfare.
Dismissing, then, the pretended consti- two millions in public works, which, if tutional scruples of the President as ut- completed, would in one year save terly unfounded in themselves, and as to them more than their whole cost, is contradicted, moreover, by the practice rejected. Here, again, it cannot be misof his predecessors, to whose example he placed to reiterate the remark that in nevertheless appeals—we propose to de- thus assuming to decide upon the provote the remainder of this paper to an- priety and expediency of money expenother view taken of the subject in the Veto ditures, the President palpably invades message.
the exclusive province of the legislature, Mr. Polk says:
and violates, without peradventure, the very
Constitution for the inviolability of “If no constitutional objection existed which the measure is adopted. to the bill, there are others of a serious na But what, in fact, are the interests, ture which deserve some consideration. what the claims, which Mr. Polk treats It appropriates between one and two mil
as secondary, and of less urgency than lions of dollars for objects which are of the demands of an aggressive executive no pressing necessity; and this is proposed war? It is Mr. Polk who invokes this at a time when the country is engaged in a foreign war, and when Congress at its
test of the wisdom and constitutionality present session has authorized a an, or the of the Veto, and by it, therefore, let him issue of treasury notes, to defray the ex
be tried and judged. penses of the war, to be resorted to if the Let us begin with the Mississippi
exigencies of the government shall require and its great navigable tributaries. So it.' It would seem to be the dictate of wis miraculous has been the increase in dom, under such circumstances, to husband population, wealth, and improvement of our means and not to waste thein on com the great valleys drained by these waters paratively unimportant objects, so that we may reduce the loan or issue of treasury houn, in the report made by him in the
that, to quote the language of Mr. Cal. notes which may become necessary to the
Senate, on the memorial of the Memphis smallest practicable sum. It would seem to be wise too, to abstain from such expen
Convention-“ What 60 years ago was ditures with a view to avoid the accumula
one vast region, with little exception, of tion of a large public debt, the existence forest and prairies, over which a few of which would be opposed to the inter- hundred thousand savages wandered, has ests of our people, as well as to the genius now a population but little less than of our free institutions.”
nine millions, with great and flourishing
cities, abounding in opulence, refined in Mr. Polk here treats the protection manners, and possessed of all the comand security of the hundreds of millions forts and even elegance of old and polof dollars, and the hundreds of thousands ished communities.” But great as this inof lives, annually put at hazard upon crease is, it is nothing, according to Mr. our great lakes and upon the great rivers, Calhoun's calculations, to what may be which are the outlets of the internal com- anticipated in the next 60 years. Acmerce of the country—as objects of no cording to the first census in 1790, the “pressing necessity” and comparatively population of the whole region drained unimportant." An executive war, un- bythe Mississippi did not exceed 200,000. necessarily and wantonly provoked, en. In 1840 it exceeded 6,300,000, and at this tered into in defiance of constitutional re- moment, taking the same ratio of increase strictions—for which, on the subject of as that between 1830 and 1840, it falls internal improvement, he professes so little short of nine millions of people. In much respect-and carried on with most sixty years hence, unless some shock wasteful prodigality-a war undertaken should occur, which would convulse or for the extension of slavery, and of the overthrow our institutions,” Mr. Calpolitical power derived from slavery-is, houn estimates that the population of the in the judgment of Mr. Polk, of far high. valley will reach sirty millions. Its er importance than the protection of the commerce has increased even more rapgrowing commerce or the priceless lives idly than its population. According to of the freemen of the great States border- a memorial presented to Congress by the ing on our inland seas; and while tens citizens of Cincinnati relative to the im. of millions are lavished upon the waste provement of the navigation of the Misand destruction of war, millions irrevoca- sissippi and Ohio rivers, so late as 1817, cably squandered, and which bring no “the whole commerce from New Orleans return, the proposal to invest less than to the upper country was transported in
about 20 barges of 100 tons each, making in the temperate zone, and occupying a only one trip a year. The number of position midway between the Atlantic and boats employed on the upper Ohio could Pacific oceans; unequaled in fertility and not have exceeded 150, of 30 tons each, the diversity of its productions; intersected making the trip from Pittsburg to Louis- in every direction by this mighty stream, ville, and back, in about two months, including its tributaries, by which it is and about thrice in the season--the ton- navigation of upwards of 10,000 miles, with
drained, and which supply a continuous nage of all the boats ascending the Ohio
a coast, including both banks, of twice and the lower Mississippi was about that length, shall be crowded with popu6,500.”. Upon the same authority it is lation, and its resources fully developed, stated that the number of steamboats em- imagination itself is taxed in the attempt ployed in 1843 in navigating the Missis- to realize the magnitude of its commerce. sippi and its tributaries, was 450, of the Such is the present state of the commerce average tonnage of 200 tons, making an of the Mississippi, including its tributaries, aggregate of 90,000 tons, and the value according to the best data that can be obper ton was about $80, making an aggre- tained, and such its future prospects.” gate value of seven millions two hundred And yet this enormous commerce, and the thousand dollars, employing 15,750 per- precious lives employed in carrying iton, sons in their navigation, and the expense are to remain exposed to annual losses of navigation at twelve millions two of great extent and severity, because hundred and fifty thousand dollars—the Mr. Polk considers them as of secondary number of flat boats engaged in the same importance to the conquest of some barren navigation is estimated at 4,000, employ- coast on the Pacific, or some extension of ing 20,000 persons, at an annual expen- the area of Slavery on the Gulf of Mexico. diture of $1,380,000. The annual value What their annual losses are may be of the products of the valley borne on partly gathered from the following statethat river and its tributaries, is estimated ment: A Report of the Secretary of the at $120,000,000—and that of foreign Treasury, (House Doc. 170, 3d. Ses. products at $100,000,000, making, the 27th Congress,) transmitting the copy of enormous total of 220 millions of dollars. a letter from the Collector of St. Louis,
These were the estimates, and this the states that, of 126 steamboats enrolled at condition, of the navigation and commerce St. Louis, and trading with that port in of the Mississippi and its tributaries in 1841-2, 29 were lost. Of these 29, 1843. The growth of both have since 20 were lost by snags or rocks, which been very great. According to the last could be removed. The money loss was Annual Report of the Treasury Depart. estimated at $876,700; and 42 human ment, on the Commerce and Navigation beings perished. Assuming the accuof the United States, the steamboat ton- racy of these statements, and that the nage on the western waters, on 1st June, loss of the St. Louis boais during the 1845, is 158,713 tons—the number of period specified is a fair annual ave. boats is now estimated at 900, at an rage, and that the average loss on all the average tonnage of 173 tons, making in Mississippi boats is in the same proall an aggregate of 161,787 tons.
portion—the annual loss of all the boats Estimating then,” says Mr. Calhoun, employed in this navigation, estimating " that the number of persons employed in them at 900, would be 107}; and it navigating the Mississippi and its tribu. the damage to cargo be put at the same taries, and the expense of navigation, and rate as that to the boats, it would make the value of boats and cargoes to be what an annual aggregate loss of $2,601,200 the Cincinnati Committee make them, the-of which two-thirds would be ocpresent annual value of the commerce of casioned by snags, logs and rocks, in the river and its tributaries, would exceed other words, by causes susceptible of bethree hundred millions."
ing removed. An additional fact, show“ But (adds Mr. Calhoun) however great ing the dangers of this navigation, it may be, it is but the beginning. If mentioned by the Cincinnati memorial, the commerce of the valley shall increase is very significant, viz.: that many Inin proportion with its population, and
surance Companies refuse to take risks nothing should occur to impede that, it will in a short time be more than quad- that on the best of them the premium
on the steamboats on these waters, and rupled. Looking beyond, to a not very distant future, when this immense valley, charged is from 12 to 18 per cent. Ex. containing within its limits 1,200,000 perience having established the practicasquare miles; lying, in its whole extent, bility of removing the obstructions and