« AnteriorContinua »
Jas. 14, 1836.]
Sufferers by Fire in New York-National Defence.
The question was here taken on Mr. Calhoux's atives, announcing that the House bad appointed a Commotion, and it was lost: Yeas 9, nays 34, as follows: mittee on Enrolled Bills on the part of the House.
YEAS—Messi's. Brown, Calhoun, Clay, Cuthbert, Da. The Senate concurred, and the Chair was directed to ris, Ewing, King of Georgia, Moore, Preston--9. appoint a committee on the part of the Senate; where.
Nais- Messrs. Benton, Black, Buchanan, Clayton, upon, Mr. Naudain and Mr. Niles were apppointed.
of Columbia be not received, was taken up. Wright-34.
Mr. RUGGLES suggested the propriety of dividing Mr. KING, of Georgia, said it was perfectly apparent the question on the petitions, and taking the vote sepa. that the Senate intended to pass this bill without any rately upon them. amendment. With all his heart would he make up this Mr. WEBSTER, in reference to the time of day, said whole loss of seventeen millions to the city of New it would, in a few minutes, be time to pass to the unYork, if it could be done without any dangerous conse finished business, which was the special order of the quences. It had been said that this bill was intended day, and expressed a hope that this course would be to extend relief to those who had suffered by the fire, adopted by unanimous consent. and not to operate as a bounty to those who bad sus Mr. LEIGH expressed a wish to know at what pretained no loss. It had been stated that the capital of cise time this subject would be again taken up, as he was New York was increased in value; that was one argu- desirous to make some remarks on the subject. ment used to hurry the passage of the bill. It was ad The CHAIR said it would stand the first in the ordimitted on all hands that the rate of interest had increas-nary business of the morning. ed, in addition to the enhanced value of goods. This, The subject was, by unanimous consent, passed over. however, was not what he rose to speak of. He rose
NATIONAL DEFENCE. to fulfil his promise, to submit an amendment striking out the proviso in the first section to which he had be. The Senate took up Mr. Bentor's resolution to ap. fore referred.
propriate the surplus revenues for purposes of national Mr. K. here read the proviso, as follows:
defence. “ Provided, That those who are within the provision
Mr. EWING, of Ohio, rose and addressed the Chair of this section, but who may have paid their bonds subse
as follows: quent to the late fire, shall also be entitled to the bene. Mr. President, the resolutions which gave rise to the fit of this section, and that the said bonds shall be re discussion a day or two since, and which are now before newed from the day when the same were paid, and said the Senate, have been almost wholly lost sight of, and payments refunded."
the debate has turned upon matters relating to them but This was taking money out of the treasury to lend incidentally. Those matters I shall not overlook in the for three, four, and five years, without interest, and had remarks which I propose to offer to the Senate; but I been characterized by a Senator from Massachusetts as
will in the first place give my views of the resolutions the measure of a prudent creditor to secure his debt. themselves, or rather of the resolution; for I deem the Now, lie asked, did not this debt lose its character eo first only of importance, and shall consider that only. instanti, from the very moment it was paid. So soon
This resolution proposes to set apart the surplus rev. as the debt came into ihe treasury, it was the property
enue now on hand, and, as I understand it--for it is not of the United States, and they had just about as much
very definite in its language-lhe accruing surplus for right to lend it as to lend the whole seventeen millions the future, to be applied to the purposes of national de. that had been lost by the fire.
fence. Now, before I vote for this resolution, I wish to Mr. K. then moved to amend the bill by striking have a definite idea of its meaning-not a vague, conout the proviso in the first section above quoted.
fused notion of something about it that may or may not Mr. BUCHANAN said he had but a single remark to
be well enough; but I must understand it, especially the make. To adopt this amendment would be to punish important words which are the substance, the very body those merchants who had paid their bonds punctually and soul, of the resolution; that is, the surplus revenue; notwithstanding the distress, and to place them in a
what is it? worse situation than others who had been either unable It certainly is not any thing that is wanted for the puror unwilling to pay. This he could never consent to do. poses of Government, which are, I believe, generally,
The question being taken on Mr. King's motion, it the civil list, foreign intercourse, military service, in. was lost without a division.
cluding the building and arming fortresses, &c., and the The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third naval service, including the gradual improvement of the reading
navy. These, if not all, are some of the ordinary exOn motion of Mr. WEBSTER, the Senate proceeded penditures of the Government; and so long as any money to the consideration of executive business; and, after is wanting for these, there can be no surplus revenue; remaining a short time with doors closed,
and if an extraordinary occasion should arise when it was The Senate adjourned.
necessary to summon and concentrale all our energies
upon any of these objects of expenditure, there could THURSDAY, JANUARY 14.
be no " surplus revenue” until that necessity was met
and satisfied. This, then, seems to me to be the interSUFFERERS BY FIRE IN NEW YORK. pretation of the resolution: After we have expended On motion of Mr. WRIGHT, the Senate proceeded all the money that it is necessary to expend, or which to consider the bill for the relief of the sufferers by fire in can be expended upon our fortifications and our navy, New York, which yesterday passed to its third reading. we will set apart all the residue of our available means, The bill was read a third time, and passed, and sent to to be applied to the same objects. the House of Representatives for concurrence.
Mr. President, I am in favor of making as perfect as
possible our national defences, and will go as far as any COMMITTEE ON ENROLLED BILLS.
gentleman to effect that object: but I must go about it, A message was received from the House of Represent. if at all, in the ordinary and legitimate mode of legisla
National D fence.
[Jan. 14, 1836.
tion. I am not disposed to consider that a thing to be forward too rapidly. But if this large and sweeping done only when we bave nothing else to do—a matter to appropriation be made, and the President take the spend money on, instead of a necessary duty to be per necessary time to apply it, what is the effect? It formed. I would appropriate, not out of the surplus, places the whole surplus revenue at once in his hands but out of the revenue of the nation, so much as is ne by law. It is out of the ordinary control of Congress, cessary, and as can be applied and expended advantage- or, more properly, in a situation in which Congress ously, from year to year, upon these objects; but, have has not generally exercised a control over it, and there ing done all that was necessary, I would not by resolu. it would remain for years; the unexpended balances in tion determine to expend or to set apart all the residue the hands of the Executive rising from eiglit millions, of our national funds to those objects, however impor- the present amount in hand, to twenty, thirty, or forty tant, after they have been fully answered. Nor am 1 millions of dollars. This would be equivalent to a law disposed, in this matter of public defence, to thrust the that the President should deposite the public money Senate in advance of the Executive, or to lend my aid where he pleased, and the accumulating surplus should in enabling Congress to usurp this important function of remain, to an indefinite period, subject to his disposithe Chief Magistrate of the Union.
tion and control. The President is commander-in-chief of the army and It will not soon be forgotten that the ordinary appronavy of the United States; as such, it is his duty to see priation for fortifications failed the last year in the that they are at all times well appointed, and in a situa. House of Representatives; for what reason I shall not tion to perform the services which the exigencies of the just now inquire. Yet, not withstanding this, the baltimes may require of them. If money is necessary to ance of old appropriations was not all expended. The finish or to repair our forts, to arm, to man them, or to whole amount of unexpended appropriations on hand is erect new ones, it is from him that this information should stated by the Secretary of the Treasury at $7,595,574. come to us, and we cannot properly act upon it coming That part of this is of the appropriations for fortificafrom any other source. Nay, the constitution enjoins tions i infer from the fact that, in the report of the on him the duty of communicating such matters to Secretary of War, he states, as an excuse for the slow Congress.
progress made in some of the fortifications, that me“He shall, from time to time, give to the Congress in chanics and laborers could not be procured to perform formation of the state of the Union, and recommend to the work. If we should now appropriate the whole their consideration such measures as he shall judge ne- surplus revenue of twenty millions, how many years cessary and expedient.'
would it remain on hand unexpended, swelling the If, ihen, he deems it necessary or expedient that ap: fortunes of the favored capitalist, or ready for use as the propriations of public money should be made for our convenient instrument of corruption? fortifications or our navy, let him tell us so; and not tell But the Senator from, Missouri tells us that the seaboard us, in the language of this resolution, that he wants all is defenceless, that our forts are unfinished or dismantled, we have, or all the surplus; but let him—as all his pre- and our navy unfit for service. He has drawn an apdecessors have done-let bim tell us the amount wanted, palling picture of the wretched state of these our arms and which can be expended advantageously upon these of defence, which clearly indicates somewhere a degree objects—the specific objects to which it oughi to be ap of shameful negligence or mismanagement; and where plied—and I, for one, will go far, very far, in the way does this heavy responsibility rest? of appropriation, to satisfy all his requisitions.
The present Chief Magistrate, and those who act I am opposed to this resolution for another reason. with him, have held the control of this Government for Its prime object does not seem to be the defence of the now alınost seven full years. At the time they received country, but the expenditure of the surplus revenue. it from the hands of their predecessors, no complaint It is not offered because a fort is wanting here, or a fleet was made of the state of the defences of the country; there, to guard our coast or protect our commerce. It nor do I believe there was then any reason for such is because we bave plenty of money, and this is a good complaint. They were in a state of steady and regular way to get rid of it. The object, then, being chietly to improvement, gradually becoming all that was necesspend money, and but as an incident to build fortifica- sary for the security of the country. Why are they tions, it must be expected that those who shall have the now in the miserable condition described? Why have charge of it will pay special attention to their principal they been for so many years neglected by this adminis. duty--spend it fully and effectually--spend much money, tration, which has been all-powerful in the nation, and though they may build but few ships or fortresses. But which has possessed a treasury full even to redundance? it seems this resolution is not of itself an appropriation; Has the Senate interposed to prevent appropriations for it merely declares that the whole surplus revenue-the these objects? No, never-never, within my knowledge twenty millions of money now in the hands of the and recollection, in a single instance. No appropriaExecutive, and the accruing surplus-shall be set apart tion which was asked for by the Executive for these for this purpose. It, then, amounts to this; that this objects has, as far as I know, been withheld, diminishmoney shall remain where it is, in the coffers of a few faced, or given grudgingly, by this body. Why, then, is urite banks, to be used by them to increase their divi. this the state of our country at this time, if indeed it be dends, until, some eight or ten years hence, it can be so? Sir, here is the solution: This has been an admin. appropriated, and some four or five years thereafter istration whose capacities and whose powers have been expended upon our navy or our fortifications.
fitted and directed to pulling down every thing and to i have said that I am prepared to go very far, as far as building up nothing. Look around throughout the may be within any reasonable bounds, in voting appro- country, and see if there is a single monument, a great priations for our fortifications and navy; but to all this, and important monument, raised by it, or founded by it, however proper and necessary, there is a limit, which it to rise hereafter, and extend its beneficence to future is injurious to the very object to pass. If there be an times. But it has been successful in the works of de. attempt to apply too much money to these objects, and struction. One after another the institutions of the hasten them overmuch, you necessarily intrust their country have been made to fall or totter before it; execution, in part, to incompetent engineers or superin but nothing has been built up, nothing strengthened, tendents. You have to employ inferior workmen, and save only the executive power itself. There was no to use defective materials; so that the very object of time to erect fortifications; to build, to equip, or to reour solicitude sustains injury from the effort to urge it pair our ships; our foreign defences occupied no por,
Jar. 14, 1836.]
tion of the attention of our Executive or his Depart. | whole land, so far as a newspaper circulates, but the ments. And the consequence seems to be-what any refutation of the charge, and the admission that it was one might have predicted--our seaboard is now defence | unfounded and mistaken, will never find its place in one less, and subject to the mercy of the first Power that of them-no, not one; and the honest yeomanry of the may see fit to attack us.
country, who read and believe, will be led thereby to But the Senate of the United States are charged suppose a state of things existed which did not in fact here, upon their own floor, and by a member of their exist, and be led to an unjust and injurious censure own body, with high crimes against their country, be of the conduct of some of their public agents. It is cause of this unprotected state of our maritime frontier; therefore unfortunate that the honorable Senator had as if we were to go in advance of the Executive, to not better refreshed his recollection before he made procure for him and hunt out the objects of necessity, and this accusation. This is the second specification in offer him appropriations, and ask him to expend them. his bill of indictment against the Senate; but, lastly, But the last session of the Senate was the one in which and chiefly, the loss of the fortification bill of last year, many and heavy crimes are said to have been commit. | the whole blame of which he very liberally and gen. ted, in the refusal of appropriations. The Senator has erously takes upon this body. Let us look to it; it is produced here a schedule setting out, one after another, easy to make charges, with or without foundation; and a list of our misdemeanors; and first, is our refusal to in this case, fortunately, the proof is at hand, and is dipass, last winter, a resolution similar to that which is rect, clear, and conclusive.' This is the bistory of the now under consideration. He might have spared him- transaction: The fortification bill was passed in the self the trouble of enumerating this; for, unless I am House on the 21st day of January, and on the same day deceived, he will soon have another instance, a fresh sent to the Senate. The relations of our country with repetition, of the same offence.
France were upon that day precisely the same as they Sir, anxious as I was, and as I am, that the necessary were on the 3d of March, at the close of the session. defences of the country should be duly and promptly The bill at that time contained no appropriation of three attended to, I did not and I will not vote for this crude, millions for the general purpose of defence; and, if it unformed, and shapeless proposition, nor any other like had been deemed necessary, can any one doubt that it absurdity, though it may seem to tend to the effecting would have been inserted by a committee in the confiof a desirable object. I require something more-not dence of the Executive, and hy a House devoted to his merely that the object be a good one, but that the interests? But no such thing. The bill came to this means of effecting it be appropriate. But I let this go body containing appropriations for fortifications to the for what it is worth, and proceed to the next specifica- 1 amount of about $450,000; an amount evidently too tion. The Senate is charged with having put down an small for the energetic prosecution of the works on amendment which the Senator from Missouri proposed hand. The Committee on Finance, to whom this bill last winter to the fortification bill, containing an addi. was referred, detained it for some time, that information tional appropriation of $500,000. This matter is one of might be obtained which would enable them to supply which I have no recollection whatever. It appears that the deficiencies of the bill, and make it what it ought to the proposition was made by the honorable Senator have been when it came to us from the House. I can from Missouri by order of the Committee on Military say, sir, for I was then a member of that committee, Affairs; and my honorable friend from Delaware (Mr. that it appeared to be the anxious wish of the chairman, CLAYTON) has already put that matter at rest, in the as well as of all the other members, to do every thing brief but forcible exposition which he gave us of it the that could be done to supply the deficiency arising from other day. The Senator from Missouri gave up the the neglect or inaction of the other branch of Congress, point, and admitted, most expressly, that, though he and to make up to the public service what they had left presented the proposition, he abandoned it on a sug- deficient. The bill was reported back with various gestion; and such I see, on inspection of the papers of amendments, increasing the appropriations about two that day, was the fact. It is reported shortly, thus: hundred thousand dollars. With these amendments, it
“ Mr. Bextos moved to amend the bill by inserting was returned to the House on the 24th day of February, an additional appropriation of $500,000.
wliere it slumbered until just at the close of the session, “At the suggestion of Mr. WEBSTER, the considera at a late hour of the last evening. Until that hour we tion of this amendment was waived by Mr. Bexton for had supposed the amendments of the Senate had been the present.”
agreed to by the House, and that the bill had become, So that, on a conversation between the Senator from or was about to become, a law, without any further acMissouri and the chairman of the Committee on Fiction on our part; but on the evening of the 3d of March, nance, the honorable Senator, in effect, withdrew his after the Senate had taken its recess, and after the proposition; and he has now charged this Senate with a chamber was lighted up for the night, in the midst of dereliction of duty, and a want of patriotism, because multifarious and pressing business, both legislative and we did not adopt the measure, which he presented, it is executive, which was then crowded upon us, this bill true, but put out of our power by virtually withdrawing was returned to us from the House, with an amendment it. What did we know of the necessity or the propriety to one of the amendments of the Senate, appropriating of his proposition? He who presented it did not ex the round sum of three millions of dollars, " to be explain it, did not press it, did not ask for its adoption, pended in whole or in part, under the direction of the but expressly declared that he would not press it, which President of the United States, for the military and na. on this floor is equivalent to saying that he did not wish val service, including fortifications, and ordnance, and it to be adopted.' It is most unfortunate that the Sena- increase of the navy" —
--an amendment giving $3,000,000, tor from Missouri did not recollect the actual state of attached to an amendment making an appropriation of things before he advanced this, among the other grave perhaps $75,000—thrust in upon us here in the very last charges against the Senate. It is true, as I have already moments of the session--no time left for deliberation, said, that when this special matter was commented upon none for reference, none to enable us to modify or by the Senator from Delaware, the gentleman from amend; it involved, in the very nature of things, immeMissouri gave it up, and admitted that it was he, and diate acceptance or immediaté rejection. Waiving for not the Senate, that had disposed of that proposition. a moment the decisive objection growing out of a solBut all who understand the tactics of the party press emn requisition of the constitution, what was there as a know that his charge will be sent abroad throughout the matter of expediency which could permit us to accept
[Jan. 14, 1836.
it? It was not recommended to us or asked for by the and arming our fortifications. The bill was still in the President; he had sent us nu message-informed us of hands of the House of Representatives, and it was no public necessity that required it-expressed no wish in their power still to have made it a law in a few that it should be made. It was not an ordinary appro. moments time—a law with the addition of $800,000 to priation; for all that was ordinary and in the usual course the ordinary appropriations, and with a full million added of the Government had been already hunted up by the to the original bill as they had sent it to the Senate. We committees of the Senate, and inserted in that or other waited until late at night, and the bill was not named in bills, in place or out of place, wherever we could put their body again. Message after message came to us, them, so that the wheels of Government should not stop. but this came not. Before the session closed, a message This amendment was sent to us by the House, but on was sent by this body to the House, respectfully reminde whose responsibility. It was first acted on there in ing them of the bill, and the agreement of the committee Committee of the Whole on the 3d of March, and passed, of conference. It was read in the House, but no answer with little examination or discussion. We had not even was returned. There sleeps the bill, and there let it the authority of that body, such as it would have been sleep for ever. And if any evil has happened or shall had their vote passed upon deliberation, with time for happen to the country, for the want of the appropriadiscussion. Under these circumstances, I say, without tions which it contained, let the censure of the nation hesitation, it is my firm belief that those who caused that fall, I care not how heavily, on those who contrived and amendment to be inserted knew that it would not pass produced its loss. this body, and did not intend that it should pass it. The Mr. GOLDSBOROUGH, of Maryland, said, when very sum appropriated—the time which was chosen to these resolutions and inquiries were first presented to send it to the Senate—the necessity of passing it, if at the Senate, he regarded them as matters of business, as all, out of all the rules and without the application of measures designed to have a bearing upon the great naany of the guards which legislative bodies never can tional interests. But his surprise was not greater than properly dispense with in the appropriation of public the mortification he felt, when he found that the whole money-must have satisfied those who controlled this was made conducive to a rituperative and indecorous matter, and who gave it movement and direction, that attack upon this Senate. Nor were these feelings at all it must be rejected by the Senate. But, lest there allayed when he heard from the lips of the mover of the should be any doubt on the subject, lest it might have resolutions, accompanied with an air of menace, that taken it with all the objections to which it was otherwise the accusation thus made should be made known to the liable, it was sent to us in a form, and in substance tno, people. That what should be made known to the peoviolatory of the spirit of the constitution. It would have ple! Tha the Senator from Missouri charged the Sen. been an appropriation in form, but not in fact. It would ale of the United States of faithlessness to their dutyhave been voting money generally into the hands of the of a total disregard of the national security and desence; President, to appropriate as he might think fit, provided and that it was owing to their opposition to the grant of it were applied for the purposes of national defence. three millions, sent in the last night of the session as an And it would have been putting it in the power of the amendment to the fortification bill, that the United President to raise an army, to make and to carry on States have not now a fleet upon the ocean equal to war, without the further aid or interposition of Con that which he represents as about to be sent from
I do no: believe, sir, that any man who reasoned France upon our coast tu overawe the councils of the could think for a moment that that measure could or country. ought to pass this body; and I am yet to be convinced Now, sir, as to this unjust and gross accusation, my that the friends of the administration here would have reply is, distinctly, that it is wholly unfaithful to the given it their votes, if they had believed that their votes history of the proceedings in the Senate, and unfounded, would have made it a law. They would at least have in letter and in spirit. weighed well the matter, much better than they could Before he made any further remark opon this accu. have weighed it during the hour that it was pending sation, and the circumstances supposed to lead to it, he here, before they would have assumed the responsibility would advert to the paper on the table, containing the which the passage of that measure involved.
resolutions and inquiries, and would still continue to But, sir, it was rejected. I do not stand here to de. treat it as a matter of national concern. If the subject fend myself for the part I took in its rejection, nor to before the Senate is really intended for defence, he apologize for the act. 1 stand ready now, and at all would endeavor to make it stronger; if a matter of natimes, to proclaim the participation which I had in it tional interest, he wished to make it more national; and to claim it as one of the good works which I have help if it is designed to be adopted, he Aattered himself that ed to perform; and to avow that the like, coine when it the amendinent he held in his hand, and which he would will, or where it will, before me as a subject for my read as part of his remarks, will secure it greater action, will meet a like immediate and indignant rejec strength in the Senate. tion.
Strike out all of the first resolution after the word Bul, sir, the bill to which this three millions is an Resolved, and insert, That the general defence and per. amendment was also lost. How, sir, and where? Not manent security of the country are principal objecis of in the Senate. The bill was perfectly safe, if the House the national care, and therefore adequate and liberal chose that it should be so, after the rejection of this specific appropriations from the public revenues ought amendment. It was returned to them much better than regularly to be set apart and applied to those purposes. when they first sent it to the Senate-with much more This amendment, it will be seen, has a decided advan. extensive appropriations for our national defence; and tage over the resolution designed to be stricken out, as that body had nothing to do, in order to make it a law, it pledges the whole revenue, as far as it can be expend. but pass the bill wlien returned to them, without the ed, to the national defence, instead of confining it to a amendment which the Senate had rejected. This they surplus, which, although large now, may not be so ample did not do. They asked for a conference, which was at in future; nor is it fit ihat the public defence should be once conceded. The conferees met, and the chairman measured by surplus revenue. One of the chief objects of the Committee on Finance returned in a few mo. of appropriation ought to be for defence; this should be ments, and reported an agreement to strike out the made with ample but proper liberality from the public three millions, and appropriate $300,000 for the increase income generally, and not rendered dependent upon of the navy, and $500,000 additional for the repairing casual surplus. Besides, as was well remarked just now
Jax. 14, 1836.]
by the honorable Senator from Ohio, (Mr. Ewing,] we prospects of peace, and in contradiction to their own know nothing of surpluses until all the demands of the action, and the united action of all Congress, this Senate Gorernment and country are supplied; then, when all could have plotted to prevent Congress from “clothing demands are supplied as far as can be expended, it the nakedness of the land," was, he must confess, utterseems to be unnecessary further to apply surpluses to ly incomprehensible to him. any of those purposes.
Again, sir, suppose these three millions had been Besides this, sir, there are other objections to this voted on the 3d of March last at night, without specific application of the surplus revenue, not only because it cation or limit, by what magic could the Senator have is, and ought to be, made useless by amply providing transmuted these millions, in the short period of nine for all national demands before a surplus is ascertained, months, into ships equal in number to Admiral Mackau's but because it interferes with (he knew not if designed) Aeet, which he represents as about to be on our coast? the proposition of the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Did not the Senator count that fleet at sixty sail; whilst Clar) to appropriate the surplus revenue from the pub- the whole of our own feet is, in commission eighteen; lic lands to the States, which he believed to be a favorite in ordinary twenty;. on the stocks thirteen; constituting object with the people in the States, and because it also an aggregate of fifty-one vessels? Yet the Senator interferes with a proposition of like import, but more would have converted three millions into sixty ships, extensive, introduced by the Senator from South Caro with our whole navy thus situated, and in a space of lina, (Mr. CALHUN.]
time that would have rendered it a miraculous operation. So far upon the amendment. When the Senator from We have had some evidences from the Senator that Missouri, availing himself of his resolutions, commenced he was a second Midas, who turned all he touched into his attack upon the Senate, by giving us some account gold; and now we are to presume that he intends to of a French officer who had exchanged friendly saluta.
amuse us with another humbug, in a miraculous augmenttions with those of our own ships on the ocean, ar.d read | ation of the navy of the United States. an extract from a French journal, stating that a French In order that the world may see that there is no fleet was to be sent upon our coast too powerful for any evidence before us that the Executive entertained such that our country could furnish, he represents this feet ideas as those of the Senator, I turn you to the report as sent here to menace us, and significantly asks the from the Navy Department, of the 5th December, wliere question, why is it that we have not a fleet arlequate to we find that less than half a million of dollars is required meet them? Which interrogatory he as significantly an by that Department to fit out one ship of the line, six swers for himself, by ascribing it to this Senate; that it frigates, nineteen smaller vessels, and one steam frigate, is owing to their rejection of ihe three millions added to for the year 1836; which last steam frigate can be comthe fortification bill, which was sent to the Senate, with pleted, he says, in the course of the year. And from out specification, on the night of the last day of the the Secretary of War's report on the 30th November, past session; and this rejection, he insinuates, was done we learn, substantially, that new estimates are submitwith a view of preventing the “clothing the nakedness ted, because no appropriations for fortifications bad of the land.”
been made last year. He further states that some forts Now, sir, if such could have have been the design of have been completed, others recommended, in con. the Senate, they must have had some motive for this act tinuation of the system of defence; and that a number of of treachery, and there must bave been some grounds to our important harbors are either wholly undefended or expect a condition of things when such a design could partially protected; and he then adds, as a system adapthave been made to be felt, as in case of a war. Let us
ed to this condition of the defences, this suggestion, viz: see how the Senator and bis positions agree with each
"an adherence to the general plan of defence, and a other in sustaining such an accusation. By reference to gradual prosecution of the work as the national finances the proceedings of the Senate of last session, we shall and other considerations may justify, seem to be de. find that, upon due consideration, the Senate unani. manded by a just regard to the circumstances of the mously resolved that it was "inexpedient to adopt country, as well as by the experience which the events any legislative measure in regard to the state of affairs of the last war forced upon us.” with France." By looking at the history of the pro. Now, sir, according to these reports, we see no such ceedings of the other branch of Congress, as now lipon pressing emergency, no such urgent demands as the record, we find that the House, so late as the 2d of Senator sels forth. If they had existed last session, March, after a full view of all the despatches sent by when the three millions were asked for, why are they the Executive, unanimously decided that the "treaty
not included in the estimates now, when nothing more with France should be maintained, and its execution ind is said to be required than the usual appropriations? It sisted on," and said no more; and we see also that a is the duty of the Departments, acting under the resolution, “That a contingent preparation ought to be authority and direction of the President, to make known made to meet any emergency growing out of our relato Congress full estimates for every specific object which tions with France,” introduced by the chairman of the the national interest may demand; and to such applicaCommiliee on Foreign Relations in that House, was by tions alone can Congress pay attention. that chairman, on the same day, the 2d of March, laid But, sir, there is another document to which he must upon the table, where it quietly reposed during the call the attention of the Senate—it is the late executive short remnant of the session. Stronger proof than this message, which speaks a language that he was scarcely we cannot have as to the unanimous sense of Congress able to comprehend; or, if he did comprehend it, nie against the probability of any hostile change in our French regretted it. After stating that loss and inconvenience relations. This, it will be observed, was no party vote- bad been experienced from the failure of the bill conno vote of the administration's friends no vote of the taining the ordinary appropriations for fortifications, the opposition--but a unanimous vote of every member in message goes on: “ This failure was the more regretted, each House. By the Senator's own showing, too, the not only because it necessarily interrupted and delayed other day, from his French authorities, all was peaceful the progress of a system of national defence, projected and harmonious in France - 10 manifestation of a change, immediately after the last war, and since steadily or of an intent to change, our peaceful relationships; and pursued, but also because it contained a contingent apthis state of things he dates as late as the month of April propriation, inserted in accordance with the views of the past, some fuur wet ks at least after the adjournment of Executive, in aid of this important object.” And why Congress. How, then, in the midst of all these fair were these executive views not made known? Am I to