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DEBATES IN THE SENATE. courteous and conciliating, that he gained the esteem of
all his associates. As a mark of the respect which the HOJDAT, DECEMBER 4, 1826.
Senate entertain for his character and memory, I beg
leave to subinit the following resolution : The Hon. Jour C. Calcotx, Vice President of the
Piccoled, That the members of the Senate, from a deUnited States, took the Chair at 12 o'clock, and the roll sire of showing every mark of respect due to the memory being called over by the Secretary, (Walton LOWRIE, of the Honorable JOSEPH M'ILVAINE, deccased, late a Esq.) it appeared that thirty-eight members wero pre- 1 Senator from the State of New Jersey, will go into mourn. sent.
ing for him one month, by the usual mode of wearing Tbe usual message was communicated to the House
1 crape round the left arı. of Representatives, of being formed, &c. And the agua! |
The resolution was unanimously agreed to. standing orders agreed to. HONORS TO THE DEAD.
Tumpay, DBCEMBER 5, 1826. Mr. CLAYTON rose, and addressed the Sonate as Mr. SMITH, from the Joint Committee appointed to folloss:
wait on the President of the United States, and “ inforın In consequence of the lamented death of my late col-" him that quorums of the two Houses have assembled, league, Mr. VAN DIKE, during the last session of the "and that Congress are ready to receive any communicaSenate, but at a period so late that intelligence of the “tions he may be pleased to make," reported, that the event did not arrive here before the termination of the committee had performed the duties of their appointment, session, I now take occasion to propose the usual resolu- and that the President of the United States answered that tion testifying the respect of the Senate for the memory he would make a communication, in writing, to the two of the deceased, and their regret for his death. His Houses of Congress, this day, at twelve o'clock. amiable temper and gentlemanly deportment-his talents Soon after which, the private Secretary of the Presiand high standing in this body, were too well known to dent, (Mr. J. Adams,) came in, and delivered the Mos all the members to need any eulogy from me. As le sage, (which will be found in the Appendix.) was known to them all, so must his memory be respected The Message was read; and, on motion of Mr. and his death lamented ; and, therefore, I propuse the HOLMES, following resolution :
Ordered, That three thousand copies of the said mes. Resolved, That the members of the Senate, from a de. sage, and fifteen hundred copies of the documents accont: sire of showing every mark of respect due to the memory panying it, be printed for the use of the Senate. of the Hon. NicgOLAS Vas Dyke, deceased, late a Sena-, tor from the State of Delaware, will go into mourning for
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1826. Tin one month, by the usual mode of wearing crape round
BANKRUPT SYSTEM. the left arm. The resolution was agreed to, nem. coz.
Yr. HAYNE rose, pursuant to notice, to introduce " A Mr. DICKERSON then rose, and said,
“bill to establish a uniform system of bankruptcy through Mr. PRESIDENT : The melancholy duty devolves upon "out the United States." An apology might, perhaps, me, of announcing to the Senate the death of my late col- be considered as due to the Senate for introducing a subleague, the Hon. JOSEPH MỘILVAINE. Mr. M'ILTAINE ject of so much importance to their consideration, at an was selected, by the Legislature of New Jersey, to re- carlier period of the session than is usually devoted to any present the State in this body, from a knowledge of his serious businesg. The relation, said Mr. H. in which I learning, talents, and integrity. Unfortunately, during stand to this question, and the deep and growing interest the whole time of his being associated with us, he was the it has excited in the public mind, will, I trust, be deemed victim of a painfiel disease, which terminated only with a sufficient excuse for my not permitting a moment to be his life. Notwithstanding, he assiduously performed all lost in bringing it again to the view of the Senate. When, the duties of his station, as far as the debilitated state of at the conclusion of the last session, I found myself rehis health would permit; and, in all his intercourse with luctantly compelled to acquiesce in the necessity of its the Senate, his deportuent was of a character sol postponement, in consequence of its being found impos
Vol. III. ?
Imprisonment for Debt.
(Dec. 7–12, 1826.5
sible to obtain a final decision on the question at that time; The question being then taken on the resolution of Mr. in moving to lay it on the table (by direction of the com CHAMBERS, it was decided in the affirmative, by yeas mittee of which I was the organ,) I accompanied that mo. and nays, as follows : tion by the pledge that I would call it up at an early pe. YEAS-Messrs. Bateman, Bell, Bouligny, Chambers, riod of the present session. That pledge I now rise to Chase, Clayton, Edwards, Harrison, Hendricks, Holmes, redeem. The bill which I now propose to introduce, is Johnston, of Lou. Knight, Marks, Noble, Reed, Robbins, the same that was reported at the last session, and which Rodney, Ruggles, Sanford, Seymour, Silsbee, Smith, Md. then underwent a discussion sufficient to make the Senate Thomas, Van Buren, Willey-25. acquainted with its essential principles and leading pro. NAYS-Messrs. Barton, Benton, Berrien, Branch,
Chandler, Cobb, Dickerson, Eaton, Findlay, Hayne, In introducing this bill, I do not intend to adopt it as Johnson, of Ky. Kane, Macon, Rowan, Smith, of s. c. my own, nor to give my approbation to all of its provi- Tazewell, white, Williams, Woodbury-19. sions. There are several particulars, in which, in my! Adjourned to Monday. own opinion, it may be improved. Indeed, I hold in my hand several an.endments, which, at a proper time, I in
MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1828. tend tu offer. My object now is merely to bring up the The Senate proceeded to ballot for committees, acsubject for investigation, in the mode which will occasion cording to the rule established at the last session, and the least possible delay. To accomplish this, it has ap amended at this. peared to me, and to the friends with whom I am acting, ! The chairman of each committce was separately ballotmost advisable to call up the bill reported at the last ses- ted for, and then the other members of each committee sion, and to refer it to a committee, who, taking into con- collectively. In no case was a second balloting necessary. sideration all the amendments that have been, or may be, suggested, may report a system as free from objection as
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1826. possible. In conclusion, said Mr. H. I will only further remark,
IMPRISONMENT FOR DEBT. that the friends of this measure cherish the hope that eve. Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, rose, and said, that he ry facility will be afforded by the kind indulgence of the had given notice a few days since that he would ask leave Scnate in bringing it to an early and final decision. It is to introduce a bill for the abolition of Imprisonment for believed that hardly any question now pending before Debt. He hoped, in now fulfilling his engagement, it Congress has excited decper interest in the public mind. I would not be considered an intrusion, if he delayed the In almost every commercial city of the Union the subject Senate with a few brief introductory remarks. If he had has been taken up, in a spirit which manifests how deeply entertained a single doubt as to the claim of the subject the feelings and interests of the commercial community to attention, either as regarded principle or expediency, are deemed to be involved in it; while the unfavorable he should not have been so confident, or so persevering, opinions which have existed in relation to it, in other por- in pressing this measure ripon the Senate. The subject tions of the Union, have been gradually wearing away, had already been agitated, and met the approbation of a until the public mind seems to be every where prepared majority of the body. But, on a former occasion, time for the judicious exercise by Congress of the power ex- was not afforded for a final decision. Imprisonment for pressly vested in them by the Constitution, “ of establish- debt had no advocates among the generous and enlight"ing uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies through-ened portions of our citizens : it had no advocates among “out the United States.” Believing, as i sincerely do, the generous or benevolent classes of mankind, in any that the exercise of this power in a just, though kindly country. Nor had it been considered, by such men, other spirit, looking with an equal eye to the security of credi. than a barbarous custom, since the days of Greece and tors and the relief of honest and unfortunate debtors, will Rome, when a debtor and his whole family were sold into be of vast importance to the character and permanent in- slavery, for the satisfaction of a debt which it was out of terests of this country, I now ask leave to introduce this his power to discharge. To Mr. J. imprisonment for bill, for that purpose ; and shall, at the proper time, move debt seemed as horrible as the Spanish Inquisition : they to refer it to a select committee.
were both unjustifiable before God and man ; nor was the Leave having been given, the bill was accordingly in- Inquisition more disgraceful to the Spanish Government, troduced, and read a first time.
than was the barbarous custom of imprisoning harmless
debtors in this free and enlightened country. He beTHURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1826.
lieved imprisonment for debt had caused as many sighs
and tears from the wretched sufferers under its inflictions, The bill to establish an uniform system of bankruptcy as the Inquisition—that mighty instrument of the basethroughout the United States, was read the second time, ness and power of tyranny; and nothing but deep-rooted and, on motion of Mr. HAYNE, was referred to a select prejudice in the minds of the People had perpetuated it committee of seven members.
in enlightened and liberal Governments.
It baci been his unhappy lot to see a free man, who had Friday, DECEMBER 8, 1826.
fought for his country-a man who was not meant by: PRELIMINARY BUSINESS.
nature for a slave, but who was born to the possession of
the liberty which he loved-walking, dejected, through The following motion, by Mr. CHAMBERS, was tak. the public street, a prisoner, attended by a petty officer, en up :
because he had forfeited his bond, and was unable to "Resolved, That, in the appointment of the standing meet an obligation made with honest intentions. By committees, the Senate will proceed by severally appoint- some, it might be supposed that it was not in the power ing the Chairman of each committee, and then by one of Congress to change this system : but it would not be ballot for the other members necessary to complete the sufficient for him to go home to his constituents, who had same ; and a majority of the whole number of votes given ennobled themselves by entirely abolishing imprisonnent shall be necessary to the choice of chairman.”
for debt, and say that there were insuperable difficulties A short discussion took place on the expediency of the to obstruct the passage of this bill ; that, great as the evil mode proposed by the resolution, in which the mover confessedly was, there was no remedy within the reach of and Messrs. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, BENTON, MACongress. This would not be satisfactory: for he had C'ON, VAN BUREN, and HOLMES, took part.
never read in any newspaper, and had never heard from
Dec. 13, 1826.)
Ty politician, or even from a stump orator, one sentence, subject, to treat it, at least with patience and forbearso far denying the inherent freedom of man, as in any ance? And did not his scat entitle his proposition to be manner to advocate imprisonment for debt.
treated with proper attention ? As to the committee to In the picture of London, Mr. J. said, which had late which the matter should be referred, he was not solicily accidentally fallen into his hands, he had read a descrip- tous to be one of its members : he did not care if he never tion of a monument erected in honor of the benevolent served upon a committee again, so far as the honor of the Hovard. Why was a monument built to his memory ? | appointinent went. Ilis only wish in this case was, that What had be done to merit such distinction. He visited the bill might be put into the hands of a committee-whicand cheered the prisons of the unfortunate ; he alleviated ther special or not, he was not particular ; but at all events, the distresses of individuals torn from their friends by the that the matter should be deliberated upon. merciless provisions of the law. And such a monument Mr. J. concluded by remarking, that the remainder of vould never have perpetuated his memory, had not im- his term of service as a Senator, embraced three years, prisonment for debt been acknowledged as a violation of and in that time he wished this bill to be fully acted upon. the principles of humanity. Should it not, then, if such Whatever might be the decision upon its merits, he conduct was applauded in the subject of a monarchy, be should, as was his duty, submit. But, while that deci. approved and imitated by a free and generous People) sion was suspended, thinking, as he did, he felt it to be
Mr. J. said, he did not intend to go at length into the his duty to press the subject to an issue. He repeated subject at present ; and he relied on his venerable friend that, on a former occasion, it met with obstructions which from North Carolina, (Mr. Macon) and other of his fellow- he had not allowed himself to expect : and it had caused! Senators, whose opinions corresponded with his own, to him the deepest regret that, on a subject on which his support and assist him in hereafter discussing the merits conceptions were so clear, and which seemed to him so of this bill. He should close with a few more remarks. unquestionable, he should have to encounter hostile opinHe looked upon imprisonment for debt to be equally a ions. But he hoped, on the present occasion, to be more violation of the Declaration of Independence and of the fortunate ; and that the Senate would grant him a com. Constitution, as would be the erection of an established mittee as favorable as possible ; and then, that the bill religion. It equally violated the principles for which our might be rejected-or pass, to the immortal honor of this fathers shed their best blood. It violated the rights of assembly. man, as defined by the charter of our liberties, by chain- Mr. JOHNSON then, having obtained leave, introduced ing him in solitude, and debarring him from the use of his the bill, which was twice read by general consent, and locomotive powers, and he asserted that this system of rcferred to a select committee. imprisonment had its origin in judicial usurpation. He vould go no farther back than to its origin in England, to
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1826. prove this position. In a remote period of the history of
PUBLIC LANDS. that nation, it would be found that the Courts assumed the Mr. BARTON submitted the following resolution : power of imprisoning the body on mesne process, and al Resolved, That the Committee on Public Lands be inthough this rigbt was continually restrained by Parliament, structed to inquire into the expediency of encouraging it at length became authorized, by long practice and by the cultivators of the soil, and multiplying the number of the Government.
freeholders in the United States, by making donations of This barbarous custom, which had been copied by us small tracts of such of the public lands as shall have been from England, bad its origin in usurped power. Should
previously offered for sale, and remained unsold for a this country, then, go on to sanction it? Would it not given time, to such persons as will actually inhabit and rather be but acting according to the dictates of justice cultivate the same for some reasonable term of years. and humanity, to abolish it entirely? In the course of Mr. BARTON explained his object by remarking, that the proceedings, it would be assumed and established, he had no intention to attempt the subversion of the systhat philanthropic and liberal minds had, in every age, tem now practised by the United States. It was not his denounced it, and that, wherever it existed, it was sup- design to disturb that system at all. While the former ported by an aristocracy, at war with rational liberty, and credit system existed, it was well known that there were by the cruelty of hard-hearted creditors. History would many companies who purchased lands, and with whom no show that it had fomented discontents, which ended in private individual was able to compete. To a considerarevolt and bloodshed; and it would be shewn to be in ble extent, the same evil now existed ; and, he did not utter violation of the Holy Scriptures. On the other doubt that, at the present moment, there were great hand, it would be established, that, where imprisonment numbers of enterprising young men disposed to emigrate for debt had been abolished, a salutary restraint upon un- and make settlements on new lands, but who have not the due credits had ensued. A more equitable and more means of competing with more wealthy purchasers. He confidential state of things existed in the relations of conceived that an improvement, in this respect, might be debtor and creditor, and honor and justice had taken the effected, without a violation, on the part of the United place of vengeance panting for the pound of flesh, to be Statey, of any of its engagements, and without encroachcut off nearest the heart. It could be shewn, that, wher-ing upon the revenue drawn from the sale of lands. He ever this system had been abolished, the change had been thought some plan, like that which he now proposed, attended by the most beneficial effects, instead of those would have a tendency to pluck up by the roots the evil evil consequences, which many of the enemies of this bill arising from monopoly. It would increase the number of anticipate.
actual settlers, on a plan that would place it out of their Believing these facts, Mr. J. called on the wisdom and power to become speculators, and which would protect the patriotism of the Senate, to aid him in abolishing a them from those who might be disposed to speculatc. His feature of the laws which could be shewn to be a dis-l resolution was merely intended to throw out suggestions, grace to the country, and a relic of despotism, which to be matured as should be deemed expedient. Whether it became their duty to obliterate. On a former occasion, any plan of his own should be adopted, or whether one he bad hoped that this subject would meet with more was hit upon by the committee, was to him immaterial. courtesy than was then extended to it by his brother His object was, that the subject should undergo a thoSenators. He had had an up-hill task ever since he first rough inquiry, as he conceived that the present law proposed the subject, and had obtained its introduction ought to be repealed, or adhered to with good faith. with great difficulty. He asked whether it was not a The question being then put on the resolution, it was parliamentary practice, when a member proposed a new agreed to.
Columbian College. ---Public Lands— Internal Improvement.
(Dec. 14, 15, 1826.
Thursday, DECEMBER 14, 1826.
opening of roads and constructing canals within the
same." THE COLUMBIAN COLLEGE.
The resolution having been read Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, said he held in Itis hand Mr. REED said, that, before the question was taken A copy of a bill presented to the Senate in April, 1821, for upon the adoption of this resolution, and the reference of the relief of the Columbian College of the District of it to a committce, he asked the indulgence of the Senate, Columbia. The object of the bill was, that the Secretary | while he submitted a few remarks, by way of explanation of the Treasury be authorized to relinquish a demand of the subject to which the resolution referred. The reagainst the College of $25,953. He also held in his hand
solution contemplates two distinct topics of inquiry ; and, a r«port made upon the subject by Mr. BARBOUR, stating i although the first may not be an usual subject of referfacts in relation to the bill, which had previously been
ence to a committee, yet he had deemed it of so much presented, and which would be found in the second vo- importance, and so connected with the other branch of lume of the documents. The design of this proposition the inquiry, that he thought it safest not to disu nite them was, to relieve the College from a debt due by that insti in the resolution which he had offered. The first subject tution to the Government, and he rose this morning to in- of inquiry contemplated by the resolution, relates to the troduce a resolution to bring the subject again before the constitutional power of Congress over the public domain Senate.
of the United States, and its competency to dispose of Mr. J. said, it was well known that the charter of the such public domain according to its discretion in the exColumbian College originated in a petition presented by ercise of its sovereign powers. And, secondly, it prohim to the Senate, which was referred to a committee, post's an inquiry into the justice and expediency of ap. deliberated upon, and resulted in Congress giving exist- propriating portions of the national domain for the purence to this institution, which now depended on the libe- pose of improving, in the modes pointed out in the reso. rality and bounty of the country. It was not wonderful iution, the internal condition of the States, respectively, that this establishment should find itself in embarrass within which the public lands are situated. It must be ments, when it was considered that, in so short a time, an agreed, on all hands, that both those topics of inquiry are institution of so muci importance had grown out of its highly interesting ; not only to the particular States who feeble beginnings. The public were now enjoying the may be considered more immediately interested, but also binefits of an institution of a high charactershe might to the entire Confederacy. say, which was scarcely surpassed by any in the Union ; In regard to the first branch of the inquiry, Mr. R. said an institution in which, not only the branches of science he did not mean to go into a full and elaborate argument. and useful knowledge were taught, but which joined to It was a question of constitutional law, and of legislative its other advantages a seminary for the instruction of Me-power, which every meinber of the Senate would fed dical Science. Yet, while, as far as the encouragement inclined to determine for himself. He would, however, of the public extended, this institution was going on in ask leave to be indulged in a few observations upon this an increasing prosperity, it is found to be encumbered part of the subject, in vindication of his own opinion, that with a debt which may prove its destruction, by inclucing the powers of Congress over the public lands was a plea sacrifice of the property of the institution, unless relief nary and unrestricted power. If we look alone to the is obtained. If the United States were to press the de Constitution of the United States, the charter which alike mand, the property must be sold before its amount could defines the powers of the Government and the riglıts of be realized. But, if the Congress of the United States the citizen, as the source of our authority, it would seem were satistied that, by such a sacrifice, the demand of the to be diflicult to find room for the least doubt in regard to Government would be discharged, Mr. J. was confident our own powers. That Constitution declarcs, article 4, that such a measure would not be resorted to. He had proof section 3, that the “ Congress shall have power to dispose that Congress would take the most generous course : for “ of, and make all needful rules and regulations respectproof of its disposition had already been hac, in a release “ing, the territory or other property belonging to the which it had of a demand held against the institution. “ United States." Words could not be more explicit His object was to bring the subject scriously before the than the words used in this section, to convey a full, ab. Senate, and he loped the committee woull see the im. solute, and supreme power to the Congress of the Unitportance of acting upon it with us much promptness as ed States to dispose of their public lands in any manner the other subjects under their consideration would allow. / which they might deem proper. Power is given “to disHe had documents to show that the College was taking • pose of, and make all necuful rules and regulations remeasures to obtain assistance, so that, if released from “ specting, the territory of the United States." this denand, the institution would be enabled to go on How they shall “ dispose of it," and what "rules and unembarrassed in the prosperity to which it isad arrivedd. regulations respecting”it, might be deemed “needful,” He was convinced that no Senator would feel a disposi- are left to the sound discretion of Congress, in the exer. tion to blight its prospects, and that none could wish to cise of its sovereign power over it. Reasoni, justice, and sce the District of Columbia deprived of an institution the nature of things, might, indeed, control the exercise which bid fair to equal any in the country.
of this power'; but the power, itself, is as ample as deleMr. J's resolution lies on the table until to-morrow. gated power can be. It has been supposed, however,
that this power over the public domain, conferred on Con. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1826.
gress by the Constitution, is subject to limitation and con
trol by the condition contained, or supposed to be con. PUBLIC LANDS-INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT.
|tained, in the treaties with foreign Powers, and the acts The following resolution, presented yesterday by Mr. of cession from particular States, by virtue of which the REE!, was taken up:
I public lands have been acquired. The titles of the Unit“ Resolved, That the Committee on Public Lands be ed States to its domain, are, obviously, divisible into two directed to inquire into the constitutional power of Con- classes, both in reference to the nature of the acts by gress to dispose of the public lands, or any part thereof, which such titles were acjuired, and the times at which within any State, for the internal improvement thereof; such acquisitions were made. Our titles to the public and, also, into the justice and expediency of appropriat- lands in Louisiana and Florida were acquired by virtue of ing a portion of the public lands in each State, in which treaties made, respectively, with France and Spain, the such lands are situated, to the improvement or the nari. iormer sovereigns of those Territories; and, in point of Babic streans in such States, respectively, and to the time, those acquisitions were made since the era of the