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GALES & SEATON'S
Register of Debates in Congress.
TWENTIETH CONGRESS...SECOND SESSION:
FROM DECEMBER 1, 1828, TO MARCH 3, 1829.
DEBATES IN THE SENATE.
sand dollars of the people's money, and then say, by their neglect of the road, that they had been prodigal upon a He had, at a former time, introduced a motion, which passed both Houses, providing for the erection of toll-gates upon this road, which had afterwards been defeated upon constitutional principles. At an early day in the last session, he had introduced a bill, which was referred; but, from the pressure of other more important business, it was not possible to act upon it until the close of the session. The road had now become so bad that it was almost impossible to travel it, either upon horseback or in carriages, and it must soon be abandoned by the mail carriers: for they would not be able to travel upon it, and fulfil their contracts. The State of Maryland, he believed, (and if he was mistaken the President would be able to correct him) had given up to the United States all jurisdiction over such part of the road as went through their sovereignty. The State of Pennsylvania had also given the General Government power to erect toll-gates within their limits. The State of Virginia now only retained any authority over the road: and as it was only fifteen miles from Alexandria where it left that State, he did not think that it was essential to have the privilege; for it was not necessary to have a gate within their limits; and even if Virginia should withhold such liberties as might be desirable, still the road might be preserved.
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 3, 1828.
THE CUMBERLAND ROAD, &c.
It was important, not only to the interest of the Western States, but to the character of this country. It was not possible that the Senate would allow its wisdom to be impeached, by saying, that we can expend the people's Mr. JOHNSON, of Ky. gave notice that he should, to- money upon this object, but we cannot improve and premorrow, or on some subsequent day, move for leave to intro- serve it after it is completed. It was not of much conseduce a bill, entitled "A bill for the preservation and repair quence to him, but he called solemnly upon the Senate to of the Cumberland Road." He said, the subject had call- consider the subject; to know if it was not their duty, ed for and received the attention of Congress for the last either to abandon the road to the States through which it twenty years, and that one million seven hundred thou-passed, or to exert the power given to them, for its presersand dollars had been expended upon the road, and that vation. The road was the grand thoroughfare between at this time the road from Cumberland to Wheeling was the East and the West, by which goods and travellers from going rapidly to destruction. The road which has been all the Atlantic cities approached the Western country; and the boast of the United States, and a credit to the country, yet this leading communication would soon be abandoned would not, in a few years, be worth a single cent. It by the traveller, by the mail-contractor, and by the naseemed to him, that it was the duty of Congress to act up- tion. on this subject, and to dispose of the road in some manner; and not let it be said to the American people that Congress could expend one million seven hundred thouVOL. V.-1
We might as well have thrown the bills into the fire, or have melted the silver and thrown it to the four winds of heaven, as have expended one million seven hundred
Cumberland Road.-Printing for Congress.-Judiciary System, &c.
he might say two millions of dollars upon this road, and then to leave it in its present condition.
While he was up, he would take the liberty to inquire into a new order of the Senate. It had been the practice, for many years, for members of the Senate to introduce their friends upon the floor of the Senate chamber. He had been called out this morning to see a gentleman from his own State, and when about to lead him into the chamber, he had been stopped by the officer, who said he had the President's written order to admit no person but the members. He did not dispute the authority of the President, but as he had been deeply mortified, he thought it proper to ask for an explanation.
The President (Mr. SMITH of Maryland) called for the reading of the 47th rule of the Senate, which gives certain powers, in relation to the admission of persons into the chamber, to the President of the Senate.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1828.
This day's sitting was principally taken up in debating whether the Standing Committees should be appointed this day or on Monday next. A resolution for appointing them on Monday finally prevailed.
[DEC. 4 to 16, 1828.
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, 1828.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1828.
Agreeably to notice given on Wednesday, Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, asked and obtained leave to bring in a bill for the preservation and repair of the Cumberland road; which was read a first time. Adjourned to Monday.
THURSDAY, DEC. 11, 1828.
The Senate was chiefly occupied in business of a preliminary nature. Adjourned to Monday.
Mr. SMITH said that he had been requested, by several of the members, to issue the order in question; that he had doubted the right, but, although being satisfied in that respect, he had still declined interfering, preferring that it should be postponed until the arrival of the Vice President, (Mr. CALHOUN.) The members replied to his objection, that it was a necessary order; and that the sooner it was made the better; that the new gallery had been constructed for the use of the members, and to that place they could take their friends, instead, as formerly, of intro- In offering this resolution, Mr. E. said that he might as ducing them upon the floor. He had therefore given the well declare his object in doing so at this time as at any order; but he was perfectly willing, if it was agreeable to other. It would be recollected that, at the last Congress, the Senate, to countermand it. a gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. CLAYTON) had submitMr. JOHNSON replied that he wished to give no trou-ted a resolution to change the mode of electing a public ble to the Senate. He had been greatly mortified at the printer, by requiring a majority of votes to elect, instead refusal to admit his friend, or rather his friend's friend, a of a plurality, as prescribed in the joint resolution of 1819. gentleman from his own State. He might be wrong, but It was at that time maintained, that, as it was a joint resohe differed in opinion with the members who had request-lution of the two Houses which prescribed that a plurality ed the order. He had derived great advantages from of votes should elect, the Senate was incompetent, of ithaving his friends upon the floor, where he could converse self, to change the mode. The amendment now submitted with them without leaving the chainber; the chamber had by him, Mr. E. observed, was intended to do that directly, been frequently crowded to hear the eloquent gentlemen and by law, which had been attempted to be done by the around him upon great and important questions. It gave vote of one House of Congress only. solemnity to the body to have them so surrounded. There had never been any complaint about the conversation in the room. If it was put to him to say, he should vote against the change; but, as it was, he should say no more about it.
TUESDAY, DEC. 16, 1828.
THE JUDICIARY SYSTEM, &c.
The following resolution, yesterday submitted by Mr. WHITE, was taken up for consideration:
MONDAY, DEC. 8, 1828.
The Senate, agreeably to the orders of the day, proceeded to the election of their Standing Committees, and succeeded in electing five of them.
MONDAY, DEC. 15, 1828.
PRINTING FOR CONGRESS.
Mr. EATON asked and obtained leave to introduce the
following joint resolution, amendatory of the joint resolution of 3d of March, 1819; which was read the first time, and ordered to a second reading:
"Resolved, &c. That, within days before the adjournment of every Congress, each House shall proceed to vote for a printer to execute its work for and during the succeeding Congress; and the person having a majority of all the votes given, shall be considered duly elected; and that so much of the resolution, approved the 3d of March, 1819, entitled "A resolution directing the manner in which the printing of Congress shall be executed, fixing the prices thereof, and providing for the appointment of a printer or printers," as is altered by this resolution, be, and the same is hereby, rescinded."
Mr. WHITE observed, that, in submitting this resolution for the consideration of the Senate, he had merely performed a duty imposed upon him by the Legislature of hisown State. They had instructed him to keep the attention of Congress directed to the subject until not only Tennessee, but all the States, were placed upon the same footing. In his State there were two classes of United
States' Courts-the District and the Circuit Courts. He then went into a statement of the duties of the Courts in the several States, and said that, in Tennessee, they had nominally the assistance of the Judge of the Supreme Court, but so much other business was there to be transacted, that the Associate Judge of the Supreme Court could but seldom attend, and the assistance was but nominal; it was not in the power of the Judge to attend to his other duties, and regularly attend the Courts where he [Mr. WHITE] lived. The object of this resolution was to The President communicated the annual Report of the obtain for the subject the attention of the committee, to Secretary of the Treasury on the state of the Finances; the end that they might propose some course by which, which was read, and 1500 extra copies ordered to be print-what was considered sufficient and proper for one State, ed for the use of the Senate. [See Appendix.] should be conceded to all the twenty-four States. Three
TUESDAY, DEC. 9, 1828.
The Senate concluded the balloting for the remainder of their Standing Committees.
"Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed to inquire into the propriety and necessity of so amending the Judicial System of the United States as to place all the States in a similar situation; and furnish to the citizens of each an equal opportunity of having a due administration of justice.'
Pension Bills.-Congress Printing.
DEC. 16, 1828.]
plans had been talked of for the purpose of obviating the difficulties under which some of the States now labored. Some had thought that the best course would be to increase the number of the Judges of the Supreme Court, so that they might be enabled to transact their business here, and have sufficient time to travel upon the Circuit. Others had thought it advisable to have the Circuits without the interference of the Supreme Court Judges, and had therefore proposed to lessen the number of those Judges, to take from them their circuit duties, and let the District Courts discharge all those duties. Others had thought that it would be an improvement to have the Supreme Court located at one place, and if it was unsafe to have District Judges alone, to appoint Circuit Judges for their assistance. His object was to have the subject considered by the intelligent Judiciary Committee; to leave it entirely to them; and for them to propose one of these courses if they believed it to be correct, or, if not, some
His impression was, that, if the Circuit duties were taken altogether from the Judges of the Supreme Court, leaving that only an appellate Court, that the present number of Judges was larger than was necessary. There were now seven of them. Since the last session of Congress their number had been decreased by the death of one of the Judges. If the number of Judges was ever to be lessened, it should be done at a time like the present, when there was not only no incumbent, but there had been no nomination made for an appointment to fill the vacancy. No man, therefore, would be unfairly treated by being turned out of his office, and no man's feelings were interested in favor of any applicant.
He hoped the resolution would be adopted, believing the present as favorable a time as could present itself to have a consideration of the whole subject. The committec would have it in their power to recommend any plan they should think proper, either one of those he had mentioned, or any other; and with this short explanation of the objects of the resolution, he left it.
Mr. KNIGHT said, the only object of this amendment paid for the printing than was necessary. They did not, was economy; as it was his impression that much more was by the adoption of this amendment, bind themselves to elect the person sending in the lowest proposals. He supposed it might be done for a much less sum than it was at present; and when they had before them the several propositions, they could elect whomsoever they pleased. It would also produce competition, the result of which would be a reduction in the prices. He was confident that at least twenty-five per cent. more was paid than it could be done for, and equally well done. The same course, of advertising for the lowest proposals, was pursued by all the Departments, and as he believed that it would save a considerable sum, he hoped the course he proposed would be pursued by Congress.
Mr. EATON hoped that the amendment would not be adopted. When he was first in Congress, the system proposed by the gentleman from Rhode Island was the regular system pursued; but all who remembered the time he spoke of, and remembered the manner in which the work was done at that time, would oppose a return to the system. The work was miserably done, and the Secretary of the Senate was frequently obliged to apply to other than the regular printer to the body, to have the work done in season. The Senate ought not to ask any printer to do their work for less than it was worth. If too much was paid for it, let the sum be reduced; and if too little, let it be increased; but he was opposed to the plan of setting it up to the lowest bidder. He wished to have the journals and documents go down to posterity printed in a proper manner. The Senate, perceiving the difficulties under which they labored, had, a few years since, referred the subject to Mr. Wilson, a member from New Jersey, who had been all his life a printer. He graduated the prices, and they had been the established prices ever since that time. The price of labor had not diminished in the country since that time; the price of paper and materials had not diminished; and he did not know that the work could be afforded any cheaper. Still he had no objection to an investigation of the subject, and to having the price lowered if too much was now paid. Many men would be induced to do it for a very reduced price, and at no profit, for the sake of doing it; but he was in favor of having it done well. His proposition was a very simple one, merely having for its object the change in the mode of electing, so that a majority, instead of a plurality, should be necessary to the choice. This was a common course in elections, and in many States even the members of Congress were elected by majorities. This same proposition had been made two years ago, at which time the Senate were in favor of it. The object of it was, that no person could get the place who was not the choice of the Senate. The result of the amendment would be, that five, six, or a dozen men, would come there with their propositions; the Senate would be bothered with them; it was putting the printing of the "And it is further resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate up to the lowest bidder, and an individual not the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives, at choice of the Senate, had an opportunity of being elected. every session of Congress, (including the present) when Mr. KNIGHT thought the gentleman from Tennessee such printers are to be chosen, shall severally give notice, misconceived the object of his amendment. He only in three of the public papers, printed in the City of Wash- asked for that information which was necessary to aid ington, six weeks in succession, for sealed proposals to be him in the choice, and which those who had not been made to either of them of the terms for which the public in the Senate so long as the gentleman from Tennessee printing will be performed for each House, for the suc- were in want of. The same course had been adopted ceeding Congress; and that such proposals shall be and in the several Departments. No alteration was made in remain unopened, until the last Monday in February follow-the original resolution, and it was merely an addition, ing, when those made to the Secretary of the Senate which did not interfere with it.
The resolution was then agreed to. Agreeably to notice yesterday given, Mr. NOBLE asked and obtained leave to introduce bills-granting pensions to sundry Revolutionary and other officers and soldiers, and for other purposes; and for the relief of sundry officers, soldiers, and widows; which were read the first time.
Mr. NOBLE, in introducing the first of these bills, made a few remarks to show that no blame was imputable to the Chairman of the committee for their not passing through both Houses at the last session. The bills came to the Senate too late to allow a proper examination of the papers connected with the respective cases; and he would tell the Senate now, that, in case these petitions, memorials, and bills, were not acted upon, he would not be held responsible for the delay. He said so now.
The joint resolution yesterday introduced by Mr. EATON was taken up, read a second time, and considered. Mr. EATON moved to fill the blank with the word thirty, which was carried.
Mr. KNIGHT then submitted the following, as an ad
shall be opened by the presiding officer, and in the presence of the Senate, and those made to the Clerk of the House shall be opened by the presiding officer, and in the presence of the House; and the election of printers shall be made at such time thereafter as each House may think proper.'
Mr. EATON could see no object in applying to printers for their terms, unless the Senate were to be governed by those terms after they were received. He therefore moved that the whole should be laid upon the table, and the amendment be printed; which motion prevailed.
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 17, 1828.
The Senate, on motion of Mr. EATON, proceeded to the consideration of the joint resolution providing the mode for the election of a public printer; the question being on the amendment offered by Mr. KNIGHT.
Mr. EATON rose and said he had a few remarks to make upon this subject. It was a rule of the Senate that, when a bill or resolution had passed to its second reading, either to consider it in a Committee of the Whole, or refer it to a Committee. In this case he preferred the former course. If it were any thing involving an important principle, he should think it proper to have it considered by a Committee; but this was not a case of that sort; it was merely a proposition to amend the joint resolution of the two Houses upon this subject, by changing the mode of election, and making a majority of the whole votes necessary to the election, instead of a plurality-to know whether a majority or a mere plurality should rule there, and govern them in their elections. The resolution of 1819 says, the choice shall be by the highest number of votes given. Now five or six persons might apply for the situation, and by dividing the votes, one might be elected by only thirteen or fourteen votes; and thus a person be foisted upon us who was not of our choice. This mode of advertising for proposals, as proposed by the gentleman from Rhode Island, was putting it up to the lowest bidder: for he could make nothing else of it, although the gentleman had endeavoured to explain a difference. Why should we call upon them if we do not mean to be compromitted in our choice by the proposals sent in If the gentleman thinks the schedule of prices adopted in 1819 is unfair, and that we are paying too much, let the matter be referred to a Committee, who shall receive proposals, and fix the proper prices; but that the prices were too high, no man there was competent to say--he believed that they were not. When he came into the Senate, in the year 1819, a person was printer to that body, who was selected on account of the lowness of his proposals, and it was frequently the case, that the Secretary was ordered to get the printing done by private contracts. He was not prepared to go back to such a state of things. The printing was now done well, and done upon the schedule of prices fixed by a member who was himself a printer; he took that fact as prima facie evidence that they were not paying too much for their printing. It was fixed, for the common documents, at one dollar a page, and at that price the six hundred copies were printed. A close miserly way of paying for the printing was not the true economy. Pay well for the work-that was economy. Some of the documents, printed upon the old system, at the lowest price, were upon so poor paper that they almost fell to pieces upon being turned over. It was the worst kind of economy, that which was called cheapness. He could not conceive the propriety of changing the present system, or the object to be attained by the addition of the proposed amendment. It was said that it was the plan pursued by the War Department, and the Commissariat Department, both of which advertised for proposals to furnish clothing and other necessaries at the lowest prices. It was proper that they should; an immense saving might be made by it: but the Senate could save nothing by the adoption of a similar course, as they did not know what was a fair price to pay, and might be disappointed in the work. He would ask the gentleman from Rhode Island not to press this amendment to his resolution, when it had no bearing upon the resolution-the object of which was
[DEC. 17, 1828.
to change the mode of election from a plurality to that of a majority.
Mr. KNIGHT said that, when he proposed his amendment to the resolution, the object of it appeared so palpable upon the face of it, that he did not suppose it would meet with any opposition at all. The amendment he proposed was in accordance with the practice of Government for many years. The Departments all did the same thing. The Navy Department always advertised for the lowest proposals to furnish them with provisions; the War Department always advertised in this manner, through the Commissary, for clothing for the army, &c.; the Post Office Department for the lowest proposals to carry the mails; the Treasury Department always advertised for its loans, and other objects applicable to that Department. They do not, however, always give the contract to the lowest bidder. His amendment merely proposed to advertise for the lowest proposals; but would not bind the Senate to select the person who bid the lowest. They could, after receiving the necessary information, take all things into consideration; and, if the lowest was able to carry his contract into execution, it was for the general good that he should be elected. The resolution was inore for information, than for the purpose of forming a contract. The information he wanted was, whether they were now paying too much; it was his impression that they were; if his amendment was adopted it would tend to promote competition. It was proper to give the printer a fair compensation for his services; and when the information for which he asked was obtained, they would be able to vote understandingly upon that point. At a former session, the Senate had pursued this course, in directing the War Department to advertise for proposals for furnishing a certain number of copies of the military tactics; the Department did so, proposals were received, the Senate acted upon them, and there was no complaint that the work was not well done. That was the system he now proposed to adopt. If this course was now pursued, a number of proposals probably would be before the Senate, and some judgment could be formed. It was a fact, that every body was acquainted with, that the price of printing was now lower than formerly. Type was made in various parts of the country, paper was cheaper, and steam had been applied to the purpose of printing. Taking all these things into consideration, he had arrived at the conclusion that the Senate was paying too much for its printing. At the last session we had paid $22,000 to our printer. This was a very considerable item in the expenditure; in the House it was more considerable. His opinion was, that the printing might be done, and well done, for a less amount than we now paid. The adoption of the amend ment would give them information: they would have all the facts before them, and the Senate could make choice of whomsoever they pleased. He had done no more than his duty in bringing it before the Senate for their consideration. In regard to the manner in which the work had formerly been executed, previous to 1819, and of which the gentleman from Tennessee complained, they had always stipulated for the manner and form in which the work should be done, and it was always in their power to take another, if the printer did not do his work to their satisfaction.
Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, said, it was not his purpose to start objections to the amendment of the gentleman from Rhode Island. The gentleman said it was not his object to bind the Senate to choose the person who should send in the lowest proposals, and yet he made a proposition to that effect, connected with the mode of electing the printer. He wished it had been made an isolated proposition, and submitted for the consideration of a committee, that they might send for persons and papers, and examine the subject, and if too much had been paid, reduce the prices. Such a proposition would have received the