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confidence, as if he had detected in me an inconsistency. Judging from the gentleman’s manner, a stranger to the course of the debate and to the point in discussion would have imagined, from so triumphant a tone, that the honourable member was about to overwhelm me with a manifest contradiction. Any one who heard him, and who had not heard what I had, in fact, previously said, must have thought me routed and discomfited, as the gentleman had promised. Sir, a breath blows all this triumph away. There is not the slightest difference in the sentiments of my remarks on the two occasions. What I said here on Wednesday is in exact accordance with the opinion expressed by me in the other House in 1825. Though the gentleman had the metaphysics of Hudibras, though he were able
“to sever and divide
he yet could not insert his metaphysical scissors between the fair reading of my remarks in 1825, and what I said here last week. There is not only no contradiction, no difference, but, in truth, too exact a similarity, both in thought and language, to be entirely in just taste. I had myself quoted the same speech; had recurred to it, and spoke with it open before me; and much of what I said was little more than a repetition from it. I need not repeat at large the general topics of the honourable gentleman's speech. When he said yesterday that he did not attack the Eastern States, he certainly must have forgotten, not only particular remarks, but the whole drift and tenour of his speech; unless he means, by not attacking, that he did not commence hostilities, but that another had preceded him in the attack. He, in the first place, disapproved of the whole course of the government, for forty years, in regard to its disposition of the public lands; and then, turning northward and eastward, and fancying he had found a cause for alleged narrowness and niggardliness in the “accursed policy” of the tariff, to which he represented the people of New England as wedded, he went on for a full hour with remarks, the whole scope of which was to exhibit the results of this policy, in feelings and in measures unfavourable to the West. I thought his opinions unfounded and erroneous, as to the general course of the government, and ventured to reply to them. The gentleman had remarked on the analogy of other cases, and quoted the conduct of European governments towards their own subjects settling on this continent, as in point, to show that we had been hard and rigid in selling, when we should have given the public lands to settlers without price.
I thought the honourable member had suffered his judgment to be betrayed by a false analogy; that he was struck with an appearance of resemblance where there was no real similitude. I think so still. The first settlers of North America were enterprising spirits, engaged in private adventure, or fleeing from tyranny at home. When arrived here, they were forgotten by the mother country, or remembered only to be oppressed. Carried away again by the appearance of analogy, or struck with the eloquence of the passage, the honourable member yesterday observed that the conduct of government towards the Western emigrants, or my representation of it, brought to his mind a celebrated speech in the British Parliament. It was, Sir, the speech of Colonel Barré. On the question of the Stamp Act, or tea tax, I forget which, Colonel Barré had heard a member on the treasury bench argue that the people of the United States, being British colonists, planted by the maternal care, nourished by the indulgence and protected by the arms of England, would not grudge their mite to relieve the mother country from the heavy burden under which she groaned. The language of Colonel Barré, in reply to this, was, “They planted by your care 1 Your oppression planted them in America. They fled from your tyranny, and grew by your neglect of them. So soon as you began to care for them, you showed your care by sending persons to spy out their liberties, misrepresent their character, prey upon them, and eat out their substance.” And how does the honourable gentleman mean to maintain that language like this is applicable to the conduct of the government of the United States towards the Western emigrants, or to any representation given by me of that conduct? Were the settlers in the West driven thither by our oppression? Have they flourished only by our neglect of them? Has the government done nothing but prey upon them, and eat out their substance? Sir, this fervid eloquence of the British speaker, just, when and where it was uttered, and fit to remain an exercise for the schools, is not a little out of place, when it is brought thence to be applied here to the conduct of our own country towards her own citizens. From America to England, it may be true; from Americans to their own government, it would be strange language. Let us leave it, to be recited and declaimed by our boys against a foreign nation; not introduce it here, to recite and declaim ourselves against Our OWn. But I come to the point of the alleged contradiction. In my remarks on Wednesday, I contended that we could not give away gratuitously all the public lands; that we held them in
trust; that the government had solemnly pledged itself to dispose of them as a common fund for the common benefit, and to sell and settle them as its discretion should dictate. Now, Sir, what contradiction does the gentleman find to this sentiment in the speech of 1825? He quotes me as having then said that we ought not to hug these lands as a very great treasure. Very well, Sir, supposing me to be accurately reported in that expression, what is the contradiction? I have not now said that we should hug these lands as a favourite source of pecuniary income. No such thing. It is not my view. What I have said, and what I do say, is, that they are a common fund, to be disposed of for the common benefit, to be sold at low prices for the accommodation of settlers, keeping the object of settling the lands as much in view as that of raising money from them. This I say now, and this I have always said. Is this hugging them as a favourite treasure? Is there no difference between hugging and hoarding this fund, on the one hand, as a great treasure, and, on the other, disposing of it at low prices, placing the proceeds in the general treasury of the Union? My opinion is, that as much is to be made of the land as fairly and reasonably may be, selling it all the while at such rates as to give the fullest effect to settlement. This is not giving it all away to the States, as the gentleman would propose; nor is it hugging the fund closely and tenaciously, as a favourite treasure; but it is, in my judgment, a just and wise policy, perfectly according with all the various duties which rest on government. So much for my contradiction. And what is it? Where is the ground of the gentleman’s triumph” What inconsistency in word or doctrine has he been able to detect? Sir, if this be a sample of that discomfiture with which the honourable gentleman threatened me, commend me to the word discomfiture for the rest of my life. We approach, at length, Sir, to a more important part of the honourable gentleman’s observations. Since it does not accord with my views of justice and policy to give away the public lands altogether, as mere matter of gratuity, I am asked by the honourable gentleman on what ground it is that I consent to vote them away in particular instances. How, he inquires, do I reconcile with these professed sentiments my support of measures appropriating portions of the lands to particular roads, particular canals, particular rivers, and particular institutions of education in the West? This leads, Sir, to the real and wide difference in political opinion between the honourable gentleman and myself. On my part, I look upon all these objects as connected with the common good, fairly embraced in its object and its terms: he, on the contrary, deems them all, if good at all, only local good. This is our difference. The interrogatory which he proceeded to put at once explains this difference. “What interest,” asks he, “has South Carolina in a canal in
Ohio?” Sir, this very question is full of significance. It de
velops the gentleman's whole political system; and its answer expounds mine. Here we differ. I look upon a road over the Alleghany, a canal round the falls of the Ohio, or a canal or railway from the Atlantic to the Western waters, as being an object large and extensive enough to be fairly said to be for the common benefit. The gentleman thinks otherwise, and this is the key to his construction of the powers of the government. He may well ask what interest has South Carolina in a canal in Ohio. On his system, it is true, she has no interest. On that System, Ohio and Carolina are different governments, and different countries; connected here, it is true, by some slight and illdefined bond of union, but, in all main respects, separate and diverse. On that system, Carolina has no more interest in a canal in Ohio than in Mexico. The gentleman therefore only follows out his own principles; he does no more than arrive at the natural conclusions of his own doctrines: he only announces the true results of that creed which he has adopted himself, and would persuade others to adopt, when he thus declares that South Carolina has no interest in a public work in Ohio. Sir, we narrow-minded people of New England do not reason thus. Our motion of things is entirely different. We look upon the States, not as separated, but as united. We love to dwell on that union, and on the mutual happiness which it has so much promoted, and the common renown which it has so greatly contributed to acquire. In our contemplation, Carolina and Ohio are parts of the same country ; States, united under the same general government, having interests common, associated, intermingled. In whatever is within the proper sphere of the constitutional power of this government, we look upon the States as one. We do not impose geographical limits to our patriotic feeling or regard; we do not follow rivers and mountains, and lines of latitude, to find boundaries, beyond which public improvements do not benefit us. We who come here, as agents and representatives of these narrow-minded and selfish men of New England, consider ourselves as bound to regard with an equal eye the good of the whole, in whatever is within our powers of legislation. Sir, if a railroad or canal, beginning in South Carolina and ending in South Carolina, appeared to me to be of national importance and national magnitude, believing, as I do, that the power of government extends to the encouragement of Works of that description, if I were to stand up here, and ask, What interest has Massachusetts in a railroad in South Carolina? I should not be willing to face my constituents, These same narrow-minded men would tell me that they had sent me to act for the whole country, and that one who possessed too little comprehension, either of intellect or feeling, one who was not large enough, both in mind and in heart, to embrace the whole, was not fit to be entrusted with the interest of any part. Sir, I do not desire to enlarge the powers of the government by unjustifiable construction, nor to exercise any not within a fair interpretation. But when it is believed that a power does exist, then it is, in my judgment, to be exercised for the general benefit of the whole. So far as respects the exercise of such a power, the States are one. It was the very object of the Constitution to create unity of interests to the extent of the powers of the general government. In war and peace we are one ; in commerce, one; because the authority of the general government reaches to war and peace, and to the regulation of commerce. I have never seen any more difficulty in erecting lighthouses on the lakes than on the ocean; in improving the harbours of inland seas than if they were within the ebb and flow of the tide; or of removing obstructions in the vast streams of the West, more than in any work to facilitate commerce on the Atlantic coast. If there be any power for one, there is power also for the other; and they are all and equally for the common good of the country. There are other objects, apparently more local, or the benefit of which is less general, towards which, nevertheless, I have concurred with others, to give aid by donations of land. It is proposed to construct a road in or through one of the new States, in which this government possesses large quantities of land. Have the United States no right, or, as a great and untaxed proprietor, are they under no obligation to contribute to an object thus calculated to promote the common good of all the proprietors, themselves included ? And even with respect to education, which is the extreme case, let the question be considered. In the first place, as we have seen, it was made matter of compact with these States, that they should do their part to promote education. In the next place, our whole system of land laws proceeds on the idea that education is for the Common good; because, in every division, a certain portion is uniformly reserved and appropriated for the use of schools. And, finally, have not these new States singularly strong claims, founded on the ground already stated, that the govern. ment is a great untaxed proprietor, in the ownership of the soil It is a consideration of great importance, that probably there is in no part of the country, or of the world, so great call