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veys of different parts of the country, and authorized the employment of the Engineer Corps in that service. Soon after the passage of this bill, the accession of a new administration, decidedly favourable to Internal Improvement, gave the system a new impulse, and from that time forward Congress enacted many laws affirming and enlarging these powers. They subscribed a large amount of stock to the Ohio and Chesapeake Canal, to the Dismal Swamp Canal, and the Louisville and Portland Canal. They made appropriations for the improvement of numerous harbours, rivers, &c. &c.,— for the making of Military Roads,-for the continuance of the Cumberland Road, and various other public works. A practical check was given to this system by President Jackson, in his Veto on the Maysville Road Bill, of which I shall speak hereafter. Congress, however, remained unchanged. By the passage of the Harbour Bills, and numerous other items for roads and improvements in other bills, they have manifested a fixed opinion in favour of their power to construct roads and other public works.

171. The result deduced from this Legislative History is, that Congress have uniformly asserted their power, under the Constitution, to construct and hold, with the public funds, public works, under the denomination of Internal Improvements. We shall now examine the opinion of another branch of the government.

§ 172. 2d. Of the Executive opinions. During the administration of Washington and the elder Adams, the power of Congress in respect to Internal Improvements was neither exercised nor much examined, and therefore no executive opinions were formally advanced. Under the administration of Mr. Jefferson, we have already seen the compact was made with Ohio, and the Cumberland Road undertaken. To both these acts Mr. Jefferson gave his assent, and it is difficult to see in what respect the works differ from other public improve

ments; yet, by his message of December 2d, 1806, he denied the power of Congress to make roads and improve water-courses, though he earnestly recommended the grant of such powers by the states. The reason given was, that this power was not enumerated among the powers of Congress. The authority of Mr. Jefferson, therefore, may be considered as decidedly against the power to make internal improvements, though he was most earnestly in favour of granting such a power to the government.

§ 173. Mr. Madison, in 1796, spoke in favour of a resolution relative to a survey of a road from Maine to Georgia; yet, in 1815, in his Message to Congress, while strongly recommending to Congress "the great importance of establishing throughout our country the roads and canals which can best be executed under national authority," intimated that any defect in the constitutional power might be supplied in the mode provided by the Constitution.

In 1817, Mr. Madison placed his Veto upon the bill providing means for the construction of roads and canals, and the improvement of water-courses. He denied the constitutional power of Congress to make such works, and thus gave his judgment also in the negative.

§ 174. In Mr. Monroe's first message to Congress,1 he declared his agreement with his predecessors, and doubt of the constitutionality of such works. After the passage of the Resolution of Congress, in 1818, affirming the power, he is understood to have withdrawn his opposition, and during his administration, appropriations for such purposes greatly increased. In 1822, however, he placed his Veto2 upon the act for the erection of Tollgates and the collection of Tolls on the Cumberland Road. This he considered as requiring the juris

1 December, 1817.

2

May, 1822.

diction and sovereignty of the soil, which the general government did not possess.

§ 175. Mr. John Quincy Adams strongly recommended and encouraged Internal Improvements. During his administration, the system seemed to have become a part of the permanent policy of the country. Numerous surveys were completed, and large sums appropriated for various public works.

§ 176. General Jackson, while a member of the Senate, is understood to have had no constitutional scruples upon the subject; but, by his Veto upon the well-known Maysville Road Bill,' he gave his influence in the negative. In whatever manner this document may be judged of, during the heat of temporary party controversies, there can be no doubt that it contains a temperate and judicious review of the question, and a correct decision upon the particular point submitted to him. That point was, the propriety of constructing by the general government a local road entirely within one state. There is no doubt that if the power of making Internal Improvements exist in the general government, it must be confined to national, not local objects. General Jackson, however, went further than this, and deemed that all the power which had been uninterruptedly exercised upon this subject, viz. that of appropriating money, was insufficient and unsafe for the successful prosecution of national works. He regarded it, notwithstanding the usage was admitted, as improper to exercise powers not granted, and which might easily be conferred.

§ 177. Since this message, the Executive influence has been altogether opposed to Internal Improvements, and they have made little progress.

§ 178. We have now seen that the opinions of Presidents Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Jackson

1 Message 27th May, 1830.

were opposed upon constitutional grounds to the exercise of such a power by the general government; but that all of them, except the latter, were in favour of the measures themselves, and under all their administrations, except also the last, many national works were undertaken. President Adams alone conceded both the theory and practice.

The conclusion of the whole then is, that the weight of Legislative authority has been uniformly in favour of the power, while that of Executive authority has been against it.

§ 179. 3d. Of Judicial opinions we have none except general decisions upon the indirect powers of Congress.

The Supreme Court decided, that a contemporary exposition of the Constitution practised, and acquiesced in for a number of years, fixes the construction of the Constitution, and the court will not shake or alter it.1 Also, that there is nothing in the Constitution of the United States which excludes incidental or implied powers.2

The two principles here cited might be considered as showing an inclination in the Supreme Court to sustain the power claimed by Congress. Yet, as it may be long before the question will come before that tribunal, it may be considered as open to discussion.

180. Clause 8th. To promote the progress of science and the useful arts, by securing, for limited times, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries :

§ 181. In England it was solemnly decided,3 that an author had, by Common Law as well as by Statute, an exclusive right to his own works. In this country, Copy-rights and Patent-rights are derived from Acts of Congress, founded on this provision of the Constitution.

11 Cranch, 299. Rep. 2303.

24 Wheaton, 316.

34 Burrows'

§ 182. The acts relative to Patents direct that "Patents may be obtained for any new and useful art, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter not known before the application." The term for which a Patent may be obtained is fourteen years. Such a law

would seem to be an effectual protection to inventors against an infringement of their rights, yet we may see in the Life of Whitney2 of how little avail it is against the pressing interests of society. In Georgia, no jury could be found to give him a verdict of damages for the open violation of his Patent for the Cotton Gin,—an invention which had doubled the value of cotton!

§ 183. Copy-rights were formerly secured for fourteen years; now, by the Act of February, 1831, in every respect better than the former, the term is prolonged to twenty-eight years, and at the expiration of that time, he (or, if he be dead), his wife or children, may renew it for fourteen years longer.

§ 184. Clause 9th. To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court: To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the Law of Nations:

§ 185. In another place we shall consider what relates to the Supreme and Inferior Courts.

By the Law of Nations, and by the Common Law, Piracy is defined to be-robbery on the high sea, that is, the same crime which, when committed on the land, is denominated robbery.3

§ 186. Felony, at Common Law, comprises every species of crime which occasions the forfeiture of lands and goods. These, under the English Law, were most crimes punishable with death, such as murder, forgery, theft, &c. But this does not include all offences on the high seas; for example, Lord Coke says that piracy is

1 Acts of February, 1793, and April, 1800. man's Journal. 3 Blackst. Comm. 71, 72.

2 See Silli

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