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Reduction of Duties.
[Dec, 24, 1832.
tion of still greater evils. The two Houses of Congress and beef, and pork, because the soldier must eat; and on had already less, and the Executive Department more cotton, because he must have shirts to wear. Thus you influence than they ought to have.
might protect every thing, or nothing. The Secretary is Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN rose, and expressed his re- now required to tell precisely what are his views, and gret that he should be obliged, in this instance, to differ when the Senate had got at his meaning, they could then with his friend from Maine. The reports of the Secre- judge for themselves. Acting under the provisions of tary of the Treasury to the two Houses were made in obe. the act of 1789, they called on the Secretary to give, in dience to a special act of Congress, and not at the requi- a satisfactory manner, those views which he had now sition of the President. It was an official document, call- given unsatisfactorily. It was desired to know if he was ed for by both Houses of Congress, to have all the influ- in favor of no tariff, or of a tariff, and if a tariff, if of ence which its character would enable it to exercise. The a tariff up to the hub. One section of the country had call was therefore addressed to the Secretary, not to the claimed this administration as anti-tariff, while another President, because the President could exercise no con- had regarded them as advocates of a tariff. It was wishtrol over the matter. He would call on the Secretary for ed to have this problem solved, to have this question setthis reason. The Secretary had stated that by a tarifftled. The President might have on this subject different policy, based on proper principles, a reduction of six views from the Secretary. Under Uris resolution, the millions might be made, without prejudice to the claims Secretary would be bound to give his opinion as to the of existing establishments. Here, then, was a very import- points in which he differed from the President. The ant fact. It was desirable to know what the Secretary Senate would then determine which they thought right, means by "a tariff policy based on proper principles.” and which wrong, or whether either of them was right. One object of the resolution of the Senator from Missis. Amidst all the conflict of opinions, it was the proper sippi was to fix these generalities. An Executive officer course for the Senate to go right on, and to do their duty. had told the Senate of a tariff based on proper principles? Mr.'BROWN said it was his wish to gratisy the gentleIn another part of his report, the Secretary explains bis man from Maine, and to obtain such information as would meaning, to counteract foreign legislation, to protect our expound to him what a judicious tariff was. But he was own industry, to cherish those branches within oursclves attracted by a bigher motive than this. He wished the which supply the means of preserving our national inde- Senate to act on this subject at once. It was important pendence.
that there should be instant action. He agreed generally The resolution proposed to ask the Secretary what was with the other Senator from Maine, as to the inexpedibis view of the extent of these general terms, which did ency of calling for opinions, as a general rule. But he not depend on their grammatical construction, but on the did not feel disposed to apply the principle in this case. manner in which the mind of the Secretary was brought The gentleman had said that he would not give the deto bear on the subject. If the question as to the most partnient too great influence. The opinions of the Treaimportant article to be protected were to be put to his sury Department last session were not so fortunate as to colleague, he would unquestionably reply, iron; and a receive the registration of the Senate. This was proof that majority of the Senate, perhaps, would say woollens. they did not carry with them so much influence as that It had gone through the country, that a reduction could gentleman had supposed. The officer only acted under be made of six millions. It was necessary to know how the direction of the Senate in communicating bis views. this could be effected. And to obtain this knowledge, He hoped that all false notions of etiquette would be disthey must send to the department whence the suggestion carded. He wished that the country should meet the crihad been communicated. Their constituents must know sis, and the sooner the better. Believing the Secretary what was meant It was a plain, practical, common sense to be most conversant with the subject, from his habits inquiry, what was intended by means of national defence? and his opportunities, he would prefer at once to apply Did the phrase refer to arms and munitions, to powder, to him for a bill. The Senate could then accept or recannon balls, and the like? It was proper that they ject at their pleasure. He had the same object in view should have a definite and practical answer. Thus view. with the gentleman, but thinking the resolution of the ing the subject, he must give his vote in favor of the re. Committee on Finance the most specific, he would now solution, and against the amendment of the Senator from move to insert that as a substitute for the present. Alabama.
He then moved to strike out all of the resolution after Mr. HOLMES acquiesced in the correctness of the the word “Resolved,” and to insert as follows: views which had been taken by the gentleman from New “ That the Secretary of the Treasury be directed, with Jersey as to the relative duties of the President and the as little delay as may be, to furnish the Senate with a proSecretary; and to revive the fading recollections of the ject of a bill for reducing the duties levied upon imports, provisions of the act of 1789, which created the Treasury in conformity with the suggestions made by bim in his Department, he read so much of it as prescribed the annual report.” duties of the Secretary. He then adverted to the facility Mr. TYLER said that he was pleased to find that gen. with which the present Secretary suited his opinions to tlemen who were known to be the advocates of the tariff the tone of tlie Congress to whom they were addressed. were in favor of this call upon the Secretary: He thought His views appeared to be in a constant state of mutation, it furnished somewhat a favorable augury, that the Senaand he was very well disposed to fix him on this point, tor from New Jersey, (Mr. DICKERSON,) standing at the and to discover what he really did mean. In the opi- head of the Committee of Manufactures, should be found nions of some, iron and lead would be deemed articles of voting for a call on the Secretary of the Treasury for inthe highest importance for defence. But the fable of the formation in relation to a subject on which that honorable gentleman from Mississippi did not strictly apply here, Senator had bestowed so much labor and attention. He where there were no fortified towns, to render iron, could not but hail it as an evidence of a disposition on the wood, and leather the most essential articles. Other com- part of that Senator to make a proper abatement of the modities here superseded those. The soldier, in these taxes, and to contribute someiling towards restoring times, must have his blanket to clothe and protect him. public harmony. What other motive could influence Consequently flannel was an article of great necessity. gentlemen in making the call, he could not imagine. Mr. The soldier, it was true, must fire his musket, but if lie T. said he had voted against taking up the resolution of were to perish of cold for want of a blanket, he could no the Senator from Mississippi to-day, for reasons which longer fire it. So also, on the same principle, it might must be obvious to all. The vacant seats which presented become necessary to impose a protecting duty on flour, themselves in every direction, seemed to oppose an action
Dec. 24, 1832.)
Reduction of Duties.
at this time; but as the Senator form North Carolina, (Mr. nomy. We have enough of them. It is action-action, Browy) had moved the resolution from the Finance Com- we want. Action must be had, to stand still is ruin to mittee in substitution of that moved by Mr. PoIndEXTER; ourselves, ruin to our country, and destructive to the he proposed to say but a word or two in its favor. He brightest and best hopes of the world. The republic is preferred it to the proposition of the Senator from Missis- in danger. It is upon the verge of a precipice. The resippi; because that proposition might give rise to a dis- public must be saved, liberty must be preserved. The organization on the protective system, when he (Mr. T.) Union must be saved. We all have an equal interest in wanted a substantive tangible response. The country the perpetuity of liberty, in the preservation of the rehad had long dissertations on political economy, volumes public. The humble tenant of the humblest log cabin in the form of reports had been written on the subject. feels the inspirations of liberty and rises into dignity with He was sick of them, and he believed the country nau- a consciousness of its possession, as well as he who is seated at them. We want, said Mr. T., no more homilies, clothed in purple and fares sumptuously every day. He but a practical measure on which every man in the coun- feels that this is his country, the freest country under the try may lay his hand as something tangible and certain. sun, and that every part of it is his country. This bright lle wanted to introduce no British custom, but he wanted and glorious image in his mind must not be marred or a bill with the stamp of the treasury, and why not have broken into fragments; it must be saved; its integrity it should we now stand on mere forms, when the must be preserved. It is the great solace and pride of country is menaced with civil war, and a threat is made his life, as it is the richest, perhaps the only heritage of to collect the taxes at the point of the bayonet? When his children. Sir, it is time to act, to act ourselves. The he was called on for military force, he should be disposed initiatory process can soon be consummated through the to inquire whether every other means had been exhaust- ordinary organs of this body. The committee will do ed, before resort was had to the sword. Let us, then, its duty and do it quickly. The great work will remain call upon the Treasury for its project, and let is not for ourselves. Let us come to it in a spirit of kindness alarm ourselves at the idea that we are to become ser- and conciliation, with a determination to save the repubviles and minions to the Executive, because we call upon lic. It is a great work; we must bring our minds and our it for aid in the present important crisis. He, however, hearts up to the great occasion. It is for ourselves, for begged gentlemen to believe that he was not trembling our children, for-posterity. Do our duty and the counwith fear and apprehension of danger. He should but try will be saved; the arm of the oppressed, the world poorly represent his State, which in the present crisis over; will be nerved; and every heart that throbs for was as unterrified as at any precedent period of her liberty will derive solace and consolation from the noble history, if he could give council to fear. He honestly example. But is it true that we are not equal to the lored the Union, however, and be deemed it right that occasion? Is it true that the severe party discipline of every conceivable effort should be made to save it. He the last long session has confirmed in us habits of inaptibelieved it better to vote for the resolution from the Com- tude for any other than petty and insignificant party mittee of Finance, because it was plain and direct in its struggles? That we are incapable of lifting all our object, and he accordingly should do so.
thoughts, and bringing all our affections to the rescue of Mr. MANGUM said, that he preferred the amendment our country? Must there be a new shufle, cut, and deal? proposed by his honorable friend and colleague, (Mr. Must our old habits, old passions, and our old sentiments, Browx,] to the original resolution: that he should vote be thrown into the great alembic of the ballot box, and to insert it, but upon the final vote of adoption he should our patriotism be purified, exalted, and quickened, by :: go against the whole measure in every form. He had being passed through the crucible of a new election? occasion, a few days ago, to intimate his opinion upon the Sir, said Mr. M., the country, the whole-country, will resolution proposed to be substituted, when it was first be saved-not at the edge of the sword, or the point of reported by the Committee on Finance, and then re- the bayonet; that idea is revolting to our people and alien gretted his inability to take as favorable a view of its to the genius of our institutions. It cannot be saved by principles and policy, as did many of those gentlemen force. The present generation will brand with infamy, with whom he usually acted, and for whose juugment, and all posierity will execrate him who first sheds a broupon most occasions, he entertained a profound respect. ther's blood in civil strife. A Government based upon the Time and reflection had served but to mature his first stable foundations of opinion, and the affections of the peoand hasty impressions into settled conviction; and he had ple, can be saved only by the public opinion and the affecbeen gratified to perceive, that reflection had led many tions of the people; and the hot burning curses of an outof his friends to distrust their first impressions, and to raged and indignant people will pursue and consume him vote to lay the resolution on the table. There, he sup- who, in civil strife, shall shed the blood of any of our peoposed, it would have slept, had it not been deemed less ple, whether upon Sagadahoc or the Balize, upon any other objectionable than the resolution of the Senator from plea than that of inevitable necessity. But the country Mississippi, (Mr. POINDEXTER,) and was revived simply will be saved. It may not be by the politicians: in them as a substitute.
I have but little confidence, It will be saved by the peoSir, said Mr. M., why shall we longer palter with this ple. I repeat, emphatically, the people, who, in every subject? Is this a time for whimsical, capricious, and portion of this great and once happy confederacy are sigingenious evolutions in parliamentary tactics? Is this a nally distinguished over all other people for moderation, time for the ability and patriotism of the United States' justice, a love of liberty, and love of country. They will Senate to be exhausted in embarrassing moves, or to be awaken to the oppressions which, by party and unprinciattenuated in parliamentary manæuvres? Is the game to pled combinations, have been practised upon their brebe resumed which was played through the last eight ihren of the South. They will rise in their strength in months' session, upon the great political chess-board the most distant parts of the confederacy to advocate and Were its results so profitable to the country, or so honor- defend their brother's cause. They will hurl the oppresable to the national councils? Sir, it is time to have done sor from his bad eminence, and scare the vulture from his with this. Is not the grave, the indignant rebuke of the prey. Liberty is our common inheritance, and they will American people still sounding in our ears? Shall we sit guaranty it to every portion of our great political bro. here to be amused by.witty gentlemen, to taunt a Secre- therhood. The people's interest every where is best and tary, or to embarrass each other? Sir, the period for most permanently secured by equal laws, and a just adlengthened debate has passed. The Senator from Vir- ministration of the Government. They know it, and so ginia has well said, we want no homilies on political eco- ultimately they will have it. In the glorious East, on the
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(Dec. 24, 1832.
extreme verge of the republic, we have friends and allies, the resolution now offered as an amendment, some days firm friends and allies, who are more terrible to the rapa- ago, when brought forward under the auspices of the Fi. cious monopolist than an army with banners. Our peo- nance Committee. But how is it, said Mr. M., that the ple are too just, too generous, and too magnanimous, to opposition benches all rally to the support of the resolusuffer oppression to be long practised upon any portion of tion? How is it that they evince so much anxiety to learn their brethren, when their attention shall be awakened to the details of the Secretary's plan? Wherefore do they its existence.
call so loudly and earnestly for the light that the Secreta. Sir, said Mr. M., I am opposed, upon principle, to a ry may shed upon the subject? Do they mean to profit by call upon the Executive, or any head of a department, for it? Have they any respect for the Secretary's opinions? a bill embracing such momentous interests. "Its tendency Do they mean to be guided by the lamp he may carry into would be to an amalgamation of the different departments the mazes of political science? Have they not denounced, of the Government, which should always be kept sepa- in all the moods and tenses, his annual report? Have they rate and as distinct as practicable. Congress is emphati- the slightest inclination to lend a willing ear to his councally the legislative branch of the Government. Upon ussels, and a cordial support to his plan? Wherefore, then, the constitution devolves the responsibility, and upon us do they manifest so much anxiety? Do they suppose we should fall the labor. If the Secretary of the Treasury are children? Do we not k.ow that b-l-a spells bla? All can aid our committees, his services, I am sure, will be at understand the object. The Secretary's plan is to be em. their command when requested: they have been hereto. bodied; it is then to be averred that it is in total disregard fore, they will be again, if desired. That officer, said of the prosperity of various branches of industry; an apMr. M., is prepared, with á candor and decision as honor- peal is to be made from his remorseless sacrifice of their able to himself as he trusted they would be useful to the interests to the Legislature. The tocsin is to be sounded; country, to come up to the great occasion, and to meet old prejudices awakened; old passions to be aroused; a any responsibility. But not upon him was he willing to gathering of all the clans, whether from North, South, call in the form proposed for a bill. That course, though East, or West--of personal enemies, of political enemies, harmless now, may be drawn into precedent in bad times, and all sorts of enemies, with all sorts of passions, to assail and tend to throw upon a popular idol responsibility that the man, and demolish his system. Sir, it would be the ought always to rest upon the representatives of the States first target in the world; it would be assailed by malignity and the people. Sir, said Mr. M., I have always admired with all sorts of missiles. I saw this game last year. Par. the noble sentiment thrown out in his place here, by that don me, gentlemen, I shall not play at it. “beau idéal,” of an able and dignified Senator who lately Yet, said Mr. M., it is very strange that our bitterest represented with so much honor to himself and usefulness enemies should be so anxious to take counsel from this to his country, the ancient and “unterrified" common- administration. The events of the last few months have wealth of Virginia, (Mr. TazewELL,] to wit, that the in- produced strange changes in this world of ours. Is not a troducing into this chamber the opinions of the Executive Presidential election, sir, especially if the majority be to influence our deliberations, or as a “makeweight” large, a sort of panacea for chronic political distempers? upon any question under consideration, ought to be re- wlien the United States' Bank was under consideration garded as a breach of order. The sentiment was uttered last session, the opposite benches averred that it was the in bad times, but it is just at all times. Much stronger right arm, and only efficient arm of the Treasury Depart. would an objection lie to eonferring upon the Executive ment. And, although in the whole of our former bistory, the initiatory process of our peculiar legislative duties. when that question came up, it was under the anspices Mr. M said he objected to the resolution because it con- or with the advice of the Treasury Department, yet on tained a call, wat for facts, but for opinions. Sir, said he, that occasion they repudiated all such advice. When my I object to a call for the opinion of this or any other admi- honorable friend (Mr. Bestox) moved the reference of nistration; and in reference to this, judging from a late the bank bill to the Secretary of the Treasury for his reproclamation which had produced so much sensation, and port in regard to its adaptation to the purposes of that which had found almost universal acceptation among the Department, what was the vote of the opposite benches bitterest revilers of the President, he was constrained to They musi well remember, and if they feel any pleasure say he liked their practice much better than their specu- in the reminiscence when placed in juxtaposition with lations; their works better than their faith. But let that pass. their present course, they ought to enjoy it. I trust 1
The Senator from Mississippi, said Mr. M., complains shall be among the last who would seek to deprive them that those who set themselves up to be the exclusive of an enjoyment so exceedingly peculiar. They will par. friends of the administration, and who, in consideration don me, I trust, for remembering with pleasure that I then thereof, enjoy exclusive privileges in reference to per: declined, as I now repudiate, any foreign aid in our prosonal intercourse, oppose his resolution. For myself, said per duties. Sir, said Mr. M., it is time to have done with Mr. M., I set up for no exclusive loyalty, nor am I con- ihis game upon the great political chessboard. One would scious of enjoying, in that respect, any exclusive privi- think gentlemen would not pursue so bad a run of luck. I leges. It is as much as I can do at this perilous crisis-a trust they will not. But, whatever may come of these crisis of universal alarm, and one signally marked with the embarrassing moves, I have one firm reliance-the people most flagrant dereliction of principle, to walk forward will set these thing to rights. It is upon their moderation, and steadily upon my own principles-principles which I their justice and their patriotism, that all my hopes repose. believe to be conservative of liberty, of the Union, and of Mr. TYLER said, that the Senator from North Carolina harmony and brotherly love throughout our extended and [Mr. Maxgum) had represented certain members of the once happy borders.” At this perilous crisis I know no House as being influenced, in their advocacy of the reso. man, and will support no man, further than I may believe lution now under consideration, by a desire to hold up a he may be instrumental in saving the republic, and pre- target to be shot at from Maine to Georgia, and that the serving the liberties of the people. I go for my country, bill which was called for was designed as that target. my whole country, and, first of all, for the liberties of the Surely, said Mr. T., the Senator could not have designed people. In pursuing this course faithfully, I feel the gra- to embrace me in that remark. [Mr. Maxgum said certifying assurance that I represent truly, as it is my object tainly not, he had no such intention.] Mr. T. said that he to do, a State as devoted to union and the great princi. did not believe that the gentleman, with whom he had ples of constitutional liberty as any other under the sun. always maintained the most friendly relation, had so deMr. M. said he opposed the Senator's resolutions upon signed; but the generality of the expressions which had principle and policy, as he had, in like manner, opposed been used, and which would not be as well understood
Dec. 24, 1832.)
Reduction of Duties.
elsewhere as here, had required the express disclaimer of the Treasury was the mere agent of this body. It was which the Senator had made. He could not permit an in no spirit of dictation that the information asked for imputation to exist against him even by remote inference. would be given. The projet of the Secretary would He was actuated but by a single motive-a desire to tran- challenge just so much admiration as its merits may dequillize the country by a movement on the tariff. He serve. In the settlement and adjustment of this great could not concur with the Senator in the objections he question, he cared not what set of men was employed, or had thought proper to urge against the resolution. He from what department the materials were obtained. His saw an obvious propriety in adopting it, and so thought object in urging this matter was for what he considered the Committee of Finance who reported it; and why not beneficial purposes. He cared not from what department avail ourselves of the aid of the Executive Department in of the Government aid was invoked. If it could be beneadjusting existing difficulties? Why not bring the whole ficially exerted at this moment, it ought to be done, for power of the President to bear upon this vitally important there never was a period when the beneficial action of the subject, as well here as with the people. The Senator Government was more imperatively required. waived all the advantages of our position; what were they? With these considerations, he had ventured to submit Heretofore the South had been left alone to its own exer- this proposition of the Committee on Finance in lieu of tions to get rid of the tariff: we had here but our fifteen the resolution of the gentleman from Mississippi. He unor eighteen votes. The administration was represented, derstood that the resolution bad come into this body with as best suited the purposes of the respective disputants the almost unanimous concurrence of the Committee, who on this side and on the other. Gentlemen were ever. were well aware that the Secretary had all the materials more guessing at what was meant by a judicious tariff. before him for the formation of a projet of a bill. The explanation was now given; and a judicious tariff was Mr. BIBB said that although he had voted in favor of now understood to mean nothing more or less than a tariff the consideration of the resolution, he should vote both for revenue. The President and Secretary recommend against the amendment and the resolution. It was his ina reduction on the protected articles to the extent of tention to give his vote against both the resolutions. The $6,000,000. Is not too much asked of us when we are present was truly deemed an awful emergency. The porequired to waive the advantage of this new condition of litical atmosphere was black with portentous clouds, affairs, by listening to the suggestions of what he believed which threatened to break in civil war. He wanted to to be a false delicacy? He claimed all the benefits and meet the emergency with legislation, as speedily and as advantages of this situation of things; and he had a right efficiently as possible, and not, by pouring oil, to add vito require all the aid that the Executive could afford" to gor to the flame which already rag'ed. If the bill or projet carry out its own suggestion. The country expected which was called for from the Secretary would have the every man to do his duty; and he was satisfied that the Se- effect of uniting the votes of that body, or even would cretary of the Treasury would promptly answer a call of bring about the reduction which was proposed, without the Senate. Shall we, then, be deterred by a mere dispute losing a vote, he would then vote for it, were it not for yet about forms, now that we stood upon a dangerous preci. another reason. He was most anxious to avoid a contest pice; he boped not.
at home, which would array brother against brother, but Mr. BROWN stated that he would be the last to do he would not, in times of such difficulty and danger, conany thing which would violate the constitution, or would sent to establish a precedent which might be productive imply a bending to the departments. But he had been of future evil. Civil war was undoubtedly one of the wholly unable to see what danger there was of increasing greatest of evils, ani was to be deprecated by every lover the power of the departments. He was unable to un- of his country; but there was a still greater evil to be derstand the drift of the conflicting arguments he had feared in the loss of civil liberty by the concentration of heard on this subject, when it was contended by one that all power in the Executive. What was it which the Se. the power of the departments had been weakened, and nate were asked to do? They are asked to send to the by another, that it had been made stronger, and that they Executive Departments for a bill. This was adopting were giving them too much power. He asked if this was the British principle in effect. It was the practice in a new case. Was ite the first time that the Secretary had England to send the minister to Parliament with projets; been called on to communicate a bill? Precedents to sus- but, instead of doing this, it is now proposed to send to tain the practice might be found in the darkest days, and the minister for a projet. This practice he deprecated, to show that this course had been sanctioned by the most and against it he would enter his solemn protest. Not illustrious names of the republican party of our country. that he disagreed with the views. He wanted the inforHe admitted that it ought not to be an act of every day mation asked for, or something like it. But he was wilpractice, but when it had been universally admitted that ling to take things as they were. if he could command the country was on the edge of a precipice; when it was the affections of men, and was gifted with sufficient powadmitted that the exigencies of the moment were such as ers of persuasion, there should then be no differences of to render prompt action necessary, it appeared to him opinion here or in the other House. But let the Senate that these little matters of etiquette ought not to have any ask for this projet, and let it be stamped with the hand of influence on the Senate.
the Secretary or the President, and they will at once enIt had been very properly remarked, that the dreadful list all the old feelings and prejudices, at a moment when condition of the country required instant action. The an awful catastrophe seemed to be about to break upon people had re-elected the Chief Magistrate to the station the country. he now holds by a commanding and overwhelming voice, He had now explained his views. Whether he accordand this circumstance furnished a reason why this admin-ed with others or not, he knew not; but he felt that he istration should be called on to communicate their views had performed his duty. In doing this, he had inat this great crisis. He believed that their requisitions dulged none but the best feelings towards the Secretary. would not be shrunk from, but that the President and his He believed that this officer had faithfully discharged his Cabinet were prepared to meet the great crisis. He be. duty; and was as willing as any Secretary ever had been lieved that they would find no qualms, no disposition to to give his views up to discussion. For the possession of shrink from their duty. If they exhibited any such feel- manly candor and integrity, he was willing to give him all ing, he would say they were quite unfit for their high credit. But it was not necessary to call for his opinion and responsible stations. He could not think that the on this subject, because the facts were already before the adoption of this course would compromit the dignity of Senate, and because a bill reported by the Finance Comthe Senate, or interfere with their right. The Secretary mittee, which was a portion of their own body, and was
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(Dec. 31, 1832.
equally bound to their constituents as to the Senate, would if not, they would report against the measure, and there be better calculated to unite the opinions of the Senate would be an end of the matter, unless the Senate should than any thing which could be obtained from the 'Treasu- decide on a reversal of the report. ry Department. He should, therefore, vote against both Mr. SPRAGUE said that he had presented the resolupropositions.
tion in this form, for the purpose of obtaining the opinion Mr. BUCKNER then stated that as the debate seemed of the Senate whether there should be a reduciton of to be far from a close, and as he wished to make a motion the rates of postage or not. He did not offer the resorelative to the adjournment of the Senate, he would move lution in the usual form of instructing the committee to to lay the resolution and amendment on the table. make an inquiry, because, to speak frankly, the subject Having withdrawn the motion,
had been before the committee during the whole of the Mr. POINDEXTER expressed his hope that the Se last session, and he was not aware that any report had been nate would not consent to lay the subject on the table; made. If he was in error on this point, he hoped he but that they would take the vote at once, without further should be corrected. He had, during the last session, debate, as it was important that, if sent at all, the requisi- presented several petitions himself, praying for a reduction should be addressed to the Secretary immediately. tion, and having felt himself bound to pay some atten
Mr. BUCKNER replied that he was not, himself, pre- tion to these memorials, he had from time to time made pared to vote upon the subject. He required more time inquiries of the committee, as to the progress of their for reflection before he should feel his mind at freedom. investigation into the subject, and had been informed He then moved to lay the resolution and amendment on that they were attending to it; but he had never been the table.
apprized of any report which had been made. What, he The motion was agreed to.-Yeas 16, nays 11. would ask, were the opinions of the committee on the The Senate then adjourned to Thursday.
subject? There had been a report on the reduction of
newspaper postage, but it was composed exclusively of THURSDAY, Dec. 27.
that branch. There had certainly been five petitions, at The sitting this day was spent in disposing of petitions, the least, for a reduction of the postage on letters, wbich resolutions, and sundry private bills.
had not been acted on. The report on the newspaper
postage was discussed at the last session; and he preFRIDAY, DEC. 28.
sumed that members might probably be prepared to come The Senate was occupied to-day altogether on private at once to a decision on the reduction of the letter postbills and other matters, eliciting no debate; and then age, and to make it peremptory on the committee to readjourned to Monday.
port a bill, the details of which, and the amount and the inode of reduction, might then be the subject of a future
discussion. MONDAY, DEC. 31.
As to breaking in upon the treasury for the support REDUCTION OF POSTAGE.
of the Post Office Department, it was certainly a ques. The following resolution, offered by Mr. SPRAGUE on tion of some moment, but he was not aware that the di. Friday, was taken up for consideration:
vorce between the treasury and the department had Resolved, that the Committee on the Post Office and ever been complete. There never had been a period Post Roads be instructed to prepare and introduce a bill when the treasury had not contributed to the support reducing the rates of postage.
of the department. For several years an annual amount M. GRUNDY rose and stated that on the face of the of about 70,000 dollars had been appropriated out of the resolution, it appeared to be not a mere resolution of in- treasury for the support of the officers of the post quiry, but one peremptorily directing the committee to office. It had been formerly said that in an account cur bring in a bill to reduce the rates of postage. If the Se- rent, the Government would be found to be indebted nator from Maine would consent to modify the resolution, to the department. The Government, it was suggested so as to give it the usual form of an inquiry into the ex. was indebted to the amount of half a million annually pediency of the measure, he would consent to its adop- for the postage of the departments, and the privilege os tion; and should a reduction of the postage be found franking all documents and communications. if so, therd practicable, and could be consistently effected without could be no great evil, if the Government paid for the breaking in upon the Treasury Department, he would amount of the services rendered by the department: and co-operate with the Senator from Maine in effecting his if the Government were to be called on for no further object. But he could not consent to such reduction, aid, it could be considered as only equal justice if they unless the principle should first be settled by the Senate were to pay for these services. How did it stand now He thought it would be injudicious and indiscreet to re-The channels of information for the people were, taxed duce the rates of postage, without a proper inquiry into for the benefit of the Government. It appeared to him the expediency of the measure. No reduction of any that the diffusion of knowledge, of information, through importance could be made consistently with the financial the country, which ought to be, and he presumed way, situation of the department. He would vote for a sim- the primary object of the Post Office Department, made ple inquiry, but not for a peremptory instruction, unless it important that the cost of this transmission should be the Senate should first sanction the principle. He was reduced to as low a rate as possible. This was one of the against breaking down the department; and provoking, avowed means of diffusing information among the peoperhaps, future charges of mal-administration when the ple, against which there existed no constitutional objecSenate had committed the fault of abridging the means tion. Were other means of communicating knowledge of the department. If the Senate should wish to make suggested, constitutional objections were at once raised. the Post Office a charge on the treasury, so let it be; But here, through the Post Office Department, a mode but let it be done openly, and let an annual appropriation presented itself which was not liable to such exception of half a million be made for that object. He moved to By its agency, knowledge can be transmitted to the extre amend the resolution, by striking out all after the word mities of the Union; and it was important that the diffu“ instructed," and inserting the words “to inquire into sion of that intelligence which formed the basis upon the expediency of reducing the rates of postage. Then, which all our institutions rested, which was the life-blood if the committee saw that it could be done, they would of the community, essential alike to the well-being of the make such reduction as would correspond with the ability people and of the Government, should be at as low a of the department, and would report a bill to that effect. Trate as possible.