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Dec. 31, 1832.)
Reduction of Postage.
The Senate had been called on to reduce other taxes, showed why, in his opinion, there should be no reducwhich were said to be oppressive upon the people, and tion, and had given the grounds on which he had formed why not this? If the Government were required to pay that opinion. The Senate could judge, therefore, of what their quota, it might enable the department to reduce use it would be to refer it to the committee merely to inthe general rates of postage one-half; for, taking the quire into the expediency of the ineasure. A report average annual amount of postage at two millions, and might, after some weeks, perhaps, be expected against estimating the Government postage at half a million, the the propriety of any reduction. This was a just inference general reduction would not be more than 500,000 dollars from the course of the committee last year. The gentleto bring the aggregate down to one-half. He thought man from Tennessee had urged the same argument now that the Post Office ought to be called on to make a re- which he advanced last session; that the revenue of the duction equal to the Government postage.
Post Office would not sustain the department without aid He would not urge any observations on the subject of from the treasury. the unproductive post offices, but would conclude with Mr. GRUNDÝ begged leave to say a word in reply to expressing his hope that the Senate would make the in- what had been said concerning the petitions on this substruction peremptory:
ject last year. He was one of the committee to which Mr. GRUNDY said that the difference between the those petitions were referred. It had been said that the Senator from Maine and himself was, that the former de- committee did not see fit to report upon the subject. They sired a peremptory direction to the commitiee, while he, did not make any specific report in relation to these me(Mr. G.) wished to have a previous inquiry instituted to morials. They considered that the report made concernascertain the expediency of the measure. it appeared to ing the postage on newspapers covered the whole ground. be yielded, or at least not controverted, that if there were Mr. CLAYTON resumed, and asked why the same subno other funds than those of the Post Office, it would beject should be again sent to the same committee. To give improper to reduce the rates of postage, and that it should it that direction would be in effect to decide that the rates not be done. But it was said that the Post Office accom- of postage ought not to be reduced. The gentleman modated the Government to the amount of half a million. from Tennessee had said that the rates should not be reThat he believed, and he had so stated in the report duced, because, in that case, the department would bewhich he had presented to the Senate. But there was a come a charge upon the treasury. Probably this might great principle to be settled. Would the Senate consent be the case, but this was not a good argument against the to make this department a charge on the treasury! If measure. It was true, as the gentleman from Tennessee the rates of postage were to be reduced half a million for had stated, that the expenditures of the last year exceeded the first year, must not the tariff duties be reserved to an the income; and it was also true, as the Senator from equal amount? But would it then remain at this point? Maine had said, that the department had always been a The Post Office Department he regarded as the most un charge on the treasury. Every year there bad been an manageable of any in the Government. If they were to appropriation made from the treasury for the payment of put the whole of the treasury at the disposal of this de- the officers of the department. Last year the amount was partment, such were the constant and pressing applica- $70,000, and the year before $80,000. It had been a tions for new expenditures, that it would be found impos- charge on the treasury, and he had no doubt it would sible for either the department or Congress to resist the continue to be a charge, although he was not prepared to frequent appeals for increased facilities. Take away the decide on the matter. But he did not see that because check which was to be found in limited resources, and the department was likely to be, or was, a charge on the there could be no control exercised over the officers of treasury, the rates of postage ought not to be reduced. the department. He intended nothing individually; but He thought, with the gentleman from Maine, (Mr. let any man be placed in power, with inexhaustible means SPRAGUE,] the diffusion of intelligence among the people in his possession, and without any responsibility, and there was an object of such importance as to demand from the could be no limit to the lengths he would go. A sense of Government a reduction of postage; and he was ready, at propriety, it was true, would restrain some men, but this any moment, to give his vote in favor of it. He presumed would be found too feeble a restraint to prevent prodigal | every member of the Senate was ready now to give his expenditures.
decision, and he would not delay it. He loped the opin. The question was not as to the propriety of a reduction ion of the Senate on the propriety of the reduction would of postage, but as to the permitting of the department to be expressed now, and that it would not be sent for exam. go to the treasury for its subsistence. The expenditures ination to a committee which had already decided against it. of the department during the last year exceeded the re- Mr. HOLMES said it was not his intention to discuss ceipts about 7,000 dollars. But there had been an increase the subject of the Post Office Department much more. of above 100,000 dollars in the profits; and but for this It had had its full share of his attention. The great diffithe department would not have got along. Congress hady culty at this moment seemed to be to determine how the also required that now, on the 1st of January, there public money was to be disposed of. Now if one departshould be put in operation 20,000 additional miles of route. ment had no money to spare, and another had too much, These new routes would impose on the department an why could they not be good neighbors and help one additional annual cost of above 100,000 dollars. Ought another? This was a tax upon consumption. It was no any further reduction then to be made without some in- part of the protective system. It did not operate like that quiry? He believed that the department should not be system which, by protection, produced competition, and supported out of the treasury. There could be no ques- by competition reduced the price of the article. This tion on the point whether the department could reduce was a tax upon consumption. He had given notice of the rates of postage one-fourth, in reliance on its own re- his intention to-morrow, to ask leave to bring in a bill sources; and he could not therefore vote for a peremp- amendatory of the acts regulating the Post Office Detory instruction, although he was willing to vote for an partment, but he could say that there was nothing what inquiry.
ever in that bill which was likely to disturb the nerves Mr. CLAYTON disavowed any desire to embarrass the of the gentleman from Tennessee. He had not then department. But he wished to obtain the sense of the known the intention of his colleague to offer this resoSenate on the question of reduction. Th gentleman lution. The object of the bill which he was about to in. from Tennessee had assigned' a reason why there ought troduce was to extend the franking privilege during the to be an inquiry, which he considered to bear strongly recess. There was in it nothing of nullification, nothing against giving to the resolution the usual form. He had lof the protective system, nothing of internal improve. go by.
[Dec. 31, 1832. ment. These dreadful words were not even to be found The present rates of postage was fixed when the area of in the bill. He was about to retire from the Senate, per- the population was much more limited than at present, haps the gentleman from Tennessee was also about to and the distances were comparatively small. The rate leave this body, and probably the gentleman from Mary- of postage for all distances beyond three hundred miles land. They had had some experience, and it might be was then fixed at twenty-five cents. Since that time the as well that they should have the opportunity of impart- whole of the Western States has been thrown open, and ing the advantage of their experience to those who might the mail has to traverse an immense region of territory desire it, and to those who were to fill their places. which has only of late years become known. It seemed
Mr. FOOT expressed his hope that the amendment of but just that the cities in the remotest region of the West the gentleman from Tennessee would not prevail, and should be charged in proportion with those which were that the Senate would now come to a decision on the ex- nearer. There was room then for improvement by mak. pediency of the reduction of the rates of postage. He ing our views more expanded. He merely threw oil referred to a resolution which he had introduced last ses- these opinions, and left it to others to act upon them. sion, calling on the department to furnish a statement of He should be in favor of an instruction to the Postmaster the extra allowances made to contractors, &c. in the dif- General to furnish at the next session of Congress some ferent States, and to which no answer had been given. scheme of the nature to which he had referred. But he The petitions presented to the committee had received would not now make any specific motion on the subject. no answer. The argument on which the gentleman from Coming to Congress, at the present session, with feel. Tennessee rested his opposition to any reduction was to ings deeply impressed by the present condition of the him, (Mr. F.) a strong argument in its favor. That gen- country; believing that if the State vessel in which he tleman had said, and said truly, that there was a danger had embarked, with all his hopes and interests, should that any man would abuse power. Were we to set no go down, he must go down with her; attending no publimits to the power of the Postmaster General? It was lic meetings; making no patriotic speeches, he had come high time to impose some check on this power, and the here prepared by his vote to testify the sincerity of his best way was to reduce the rate of postage. This was love for the Union. It was his object, it would be his enone of the greatest taxes on the people of this country: deavor to give tranquillity to the country. Now, what and if the Postmaster General was to have all this under was the present proposition? It was to pension the de. his control, without responsibility, there was great danger partmeni on the custom house. Let this be done, and of abuse. He hoped the resolution would pass without let the whole means of the treasury be within the reach any further delay, and without any attempt to give it the of the department, and a time may come when the wishes
of every man, who can obtain the interposition of a memMr. BUCKNER made a few remarks in opposition to ber of Congress to urge iis views, will be gratified at the the resolution in its original form, and in favor of the expense of the country. He then proceeded to expatiate amendment. He thought that the duty of committees on the injustice of burthening the hard and honest laborer was to collect and communicate knowledge to Congress for the benefit of cities. and the country, to enable them to form correct judg. He looked on this as number two of a series of mea. ments in matters of great public concern. This know-sures intended to prevent the reduction of the revenues ledge was not to be extracted by positive commands. The of the country. The bill which was to change our whole gentleman from Tennessee wished so to modify the reso- system in reference to the public lands, he regarded as lution as to make it a call on the committee to give their number one. What was to become of the proposed rcopinion, and this he (Mr. BUCKNER,) deemed the proper duction of the tariff duties, when the expenses of the pub. course. When the whole object of a resolution was to lic lands, and of the Post Office Department, are to be require the committee to prepare and write a bill, the all thrown on the custom house? He was here to aid in best course would be, instead of offering a resolution, to the pacification of the country by his votes, and not by ask leave and introduce a bill at once. He did not see his speeches. Being here for that purpose, he should what good could come from adopting the course of the resist all measures which went to prevent the reduction of gentleman from Maine. Were ihe committee to be cut the revenue. This he considered as number two of mea. off from the opportunity of making a report against the sures to prevent the reduction of the tariff duties, and he', measure? Why are they to be thus tied down? His for the sake of the country's peace, should oppose it. own opinion was opposed to the propriety of reducing Mr. SPRAGUE said, that when he offered this resoluthe postage. It would be to take the burden of the tax tion, he did not believe that a subject on which he supfrom the reading part of the community, and to put it posed that all had made up their minds, would have upon the unreading, and would not be circulating know-elicited a debate of this length and latitude. The Senator ledge gratis. It would be compelling the unenlightened from Missouri (Mr. BUCKNER] had argued the question as to bear a tax for the enlightened, and would be a direct if it were a proposition to increase the burthens of the imposition on the unlearned. He wished for the conn- people. And he was certain that any one who had heard mittee fairly and fully to examine the facts, and to pre-la portion of the speech of the Senator from Missouri, sent them, with their opinions, to the Senate.
and had not understood the exact character of the resoMr. BENTON said he would prefer that an instruction lution, would have supposed that the proposition before be addressed to the department to present to the Senate, the Senate was to impose additional burthens on the peoat their next session, a new scheme of postage, embra- ple. Now, what was the proposition? It was to take cing a reduction which might be carried into operation off, to diminish the burthens of the people; to rid them without injury to the department. In the course of bis of one of the most onerous taxes to which they could be inquiries and investigation, it had frequently occurred subjected; and a tax, too, upon knowledge, a tax on in. to him that such reduction might be made. In double, formation, upon the diffusion of which the security and treble, and quadruple letters, he thought there was much permanency of our republic rests. One gentleman had cause to hope for some beneficial arrangement. If a let: said that it was a tax on the ignorant part of the country. ter contained the smallest slip of paper, or was enclosed He (Mr. S.) wished to do away with the ignorant part, in a cover, or contained a bank note, which could add and if he could not altogether, he would as far as he nothing perceptible to its weight, it is charged with a could. He would banish ignorance, by diffusing light double, treble, or quadruple postage, which is out of all among the community at a cheaper rate, and thus mak. proportion to the additional expense of transportation. ing the ignorant wise, But it seemed that the blessings There might also be an improvement in another point. of light might not be extended, that information was not
DECEMBER 31, 1832.]
Reduction of Postage.
to be diffilsed, the burden of an unequal tax was not to was perfectly true that, of all the departments of the be diminished, and knowledge was not to be disseminated. Government, there was less responsibility in the post And why? because it must be paid for; and the appre- office, and a more unlimited discretion, and a greater hension was that those who were not in possession of the latitude in the application of the funds of the department greatest share of the advantages were to be slightly tased in the making of contracts and extra allowances, at the for what they did enjoy.
inere will and pleasure of the Postmaster General, than The tax on a letter from a distant friend, what was it to in any other department. There had been a degree of the rich man? It was nothing. But when the poor man latitude allowed which was extremely impolitic and danreceived a letter from a distance, he found it something. gerous. Why was this? It was the people's money. The postage on newspapers was also very considerable, Why hall it never been looked into? Why had one man as it was on every branch of the post office. He would been permitted to expend thousands and hundreds of legislate emphatically for the poor and ignorant, by thousands among contractors, to liquidate such claims as spreading all knowledge through this channel at the least they might bring forward, and no examination had been possible cost. Ile derived his ideas on this subject from instituted? He made no charge against any individual. the place of his birth. It was there that he was early He merely stated the fact, that all this unlimited discre. taught that knowledge for all the community should be tion had existed, without supervision and without control. paid for by all the community. He derived his views, or why, he would ask, was this? It had been suffered to prejudices, if so it was considered, from the system of exist, because the funds had been furnished by the de. free schools in New England, where the rich man who partment. So said the gentleman from Tennessee, who had no children was taxed for the poor man who had a seemed to think it quite sufficient to show that all was family, in order that the burden should rest on classes. paid out of the funds of the department, as much as to It was the feeling which he had thus imbibed in infancy, say, you have nothing to do with this. He (Mr. S.) and which had become fixed in maturity, which had in-observed, that there was not a department of the Goduced him to offer the resolution.
vernment in which there was one-tenth part of the paBut it had been said that this was Chapter 2 of a tronage to be found which was no:y exercised by the series of measkres to prevent the reduction of the tariff. head of the Post Office Department. He had consulted no man before he offered his resolu- If the post office were to be subjected to the annual tion. He did not know that there was a single Senator scrutiny with which the appropriation bill is watched, who even knew of his intention to offer it. His object or to the specific action of Congress, the responsibility was single as it was simple. Whenerer the subject of of the department would be increased two-fold, and the custom house, and the tariff, and the duties should there would be an effectual check on its expenditures. be specifically before the Senate, he should be prepared He was not afraid, in this view, of the effect of an alliance to express his opinion by liis vote, and by his voice also, with the treasury: there would then be more scrutiny if he deemed that his duty required it. He had merely and more caution. Nor did he think it an objection, that intended to bring before the Senate, at this time, a sub. the Government should pay for the amount of its postage. ject on which he thought that all were prepared to act. He did not wish to throw this department on the treasury,
He had stated that he thought Government should pay but he had no apprehension of it. He had no objection for the expense of postage. He did not wish to go fur- to postpone his resolution for the present, if the Senate ther. It had been argued that the West ought to be were not prepared to act upon it. against the reduction, because the East benefited most Mr. GRUNDY expressed a perfect willingness that the largely by the transmission of letters. This is in amount resolution should at once be acted on. Whatever the to say, the East supports the Government, and must be Senator from Maine might wish, as to the effect of the held to it; and the West must not be permitted to be reduction, every step taken in the business leads inditaxed. He did not believe that the Senate could be rectly to the result of making the department a charge brought to listen to an argument of this character.
upon the treasury. The money subtracted from the One gentieman had said, if you once allowed the trea- post office must be made up by the treasury. The de. sury to be called on, there will be no end to draughts or partment could not apply any where else for it. And the the treasury. He would merely say, that the treasury effect of a reduction of postage must be to prevent a realways had been called upon. What, then, became of this duction of the tariff to precisely an equal amount. Such argument? It had also been alleged, that his resolution must be the effect. That the necessary expenditures of allowed no latitude to the cominittee, and that he had the Government must be the limit of its revenue, was a thus been deficient in courtesy'. When it was known doctrine to which the public mind was rapidly confirming: that he had presented petitions to the committee, and one of the most ingenious modes which can be adopted that they had held them in their hands several months, for keeping up the tariff at its present level, was that of it could imply no want of courtesy in him to present a keeping up the expenditures of the Government to the resolution which emphatically called for some action. present amount of its revenue, instead of bringing down His object was to produce reduction. It had been said the taxes to the limit of the necessary expenditures. He that no latitude was allowed to the committee. Now, he was no advocate of a tariff, especially of a high one; was of opinion that there was great latitude allowed: the and as the department had heretofore sustained itself, he mode of reduction and the amount were left to the dis- had no wish to sanction any measure which would make cretion of the committee, because he believed that their it burdensome hereafter. The department had always knowledge made them better qualified to fix these points, sustained itself, with the exception of the annual approand that they were most able to prepare the details of a priation of about sixty or sevenly thousand dollars for bill. It was his wish that they should mature a scheme clerks; and as a set-off to this should be taken into conof reduction, and present it to the Senate.
sideration the franking privilege given to members. The gentleman from Tennessee had produced an ar. When he saw the first Senator from Maine rise in his gument which he (Mr. S.) must confess, however plausi- place, and then the Senator from Delaware, and then the ble it might appear, had no weight with him. That Se other gentleman from Maine, he felt a variety of apprenator had stated, that this was the most unmanageable of hensions from such an apparent concert of action. But all the departments; that there was a want, not in the now that he understood that each was acting for himself, present incumbent, of responsibility, whicli
, if once a he felt himself greatly relieved. He was glad to find that resort to the treasury were allowed, would prevent any each Senator was acting for himself, per se, and that they limitation of draughts hereafter. He (Mr. S.) believed it are not in alliance. He did not know what to think of the
Reduction of Postage.
(I)ECEMBER 31, 1832.
proposed bill of the Senator from Maine, (Mr. Holmes.) | the public burdens. He believed the Post Office De He could not tell that any thing was likely to be gained in partment would sustain itself, and would at last intrench intelligence from the members who were going out of itself so strongly as to be out of the reach of even the that body. They would, in all probability, be regarded power of Congress itself. Several calls had already been as politically dead, defunct, and would soon be forgotten. made to which no answers had been returned. As to the The gentleman from Maine might be considered as gone tariff, he saw no connexion between that and the present forever beyond all hope. As for himself, he had yet a resolution. The resolution might have the effect of glimmering hope remaining: it might, perhaps, like many checking the department; and to check it, he would go other of the hopes of that side the House, end in disap- still further, and put an end to the practice of making pointment; but however that might be, he trusted the extra allowances to contractors. There was enough ex. Senate might be able to get along tolerably well without pended in the department to diffuse information through him. He bad frequent business at the Post Office De- all the country. He was in favor of the resolution, and partment, and generally found members of Congress against the amendment, and he hoped nothing would be there. It sometimes happened that a contractor took it done to give the resolution the go by. into his head that it would be more to his interest to Mr. HOLMES said, the Chairman of the Committee on carry a mail three times a week, than to take it twice; the Post Office and Post Roads had talked of dissatisfac. and he accordingly prevailed on the member of Congress tion. What did he mean by dissatisfaction? The counfrom his district to go to the department and express the try was in the hey-day of prosperity: all the wishes of expediency of the change. The next year the same con- the other side of the House hact been gratified. Was tractor may have discovered that he can make still more there any dissatisfaction there? We, said Mr. H., on this by having a daily mail. The member of Congress is side of the House, do not complain, although we have again called upon, and the contractor being a man of in- been whipped abominably twice. There is no dissatisfuence must have his wishes gratified. The Posmaster faction on this side. The gentleman from Tennessee has General ought to be armed with some weapon to defend got his President, and his Vice President, and his Cabi. himself against these attacks. He might now say that the net, yet he talks of dissatisfaction. resources of the department would not permit this in- The gentleman at the head of the Committee on the creased expenditure; but let the treasury once be open Post Office and Post Roads says this is an unmanageable ed to the department and the member of Congress, and departinent. Upon my soul, I believe so. Since he the contractor would soon find it out, and there would no and I have been together on the committee, I believe it longer be a limit to applications and to expenditures. has been found to be umanageable. I will insist further, There would, in fact, be no other check than a money from being unmanageable it may have become a malimitation; and the navy and army would not cost the naging department and whenever we find we have a country more than the Post Office Department might, and managing department, we should keep it constantly in would, if the barrier between it and the treasury were to our view. This department has great power to manage, be removed.
while it is irresponsible. What is the cause of prodigality, The gentleman from Connecticut was very anxious for in a servant? Irresponsibility. Why does a servant squan. a reduction of the postage because Major Barry had not ver the property of his masier? Because he is not reanswered before the end of the year the call made by sponsible. The conclusion is inevitable. Whenever you that Senator at the last session. Was there any force in trust a man with untold gold, he will usually tell out a that argument? The object of the resolution was to ascer. tolerable quantity to himself. I make no charge, but tain the amount of the expenditures on account of the merely point to ihe conclusion. It is a general maxim, mail in each State. Now, because that call had not been an axiom in Government, that while you hold officers to answered, the Senator from Connecticut would reduce responsibility, they will be found prudent; but when you the rates of postage. He must confess that he did not relax the responsibility, they will become proliga!. quite understand this logic. If that resolution had been there are, it is true, some men who will be economical answered, and it had been shown that the State of Con. without responsibility: The Chairman of the Committee necticut paid more of this tax than Kentucky, which had on the Post Office and Post Roads thinks my case beyond twice her population, here would have been a theme for all hope. I think it is so; I have declined. Some say an argument most grateful to Connecticut, and which the my popularity declined first, and I declined afterwards. Senator would doubtless have made good use of. But Perhaps I and my popularity both declined together. there was another little matter which the Senator would Now the gentleman from Tennessee bas not declined. probably not have touched upon. He would have left Flow stands it with his popularity? Have they kept pace the subject of the expenditures in Connecticnt in ships, together? I have taken no part against his re-election, and harbors, and light:houses, to have been disclosed by although it has been said that he is as cunning as a fox. some other Senator. Yet, if all things were taken into But if we get another in his room, I am afraid it will be view, if all expenditures were balanced, there would ap- getting out of the frying pan into the fire. The gentlepear to be nothing unjust nor unfair. The popular plan man had sairl, that lie would not make the post office a was to point out to any particular section something in charge on the treasury, lest the opportunity for lavish which they appeared to be oppressed, without making expenditures should be abused by an improvident extenthe view general; and thus to excite discontent against sion of the post roads. If the gentleman were to carry the Government. These remarks, however, had no ap., that principle throug:), be would not go far with this plication to the tariff, which, in his opinion, formed a just administration. The gentleman would not permit lie exception every where to the observation,
Postmaster General to have unbounded resources, because Mr. FOOT said, the gentleman from Tennessce seemed lie would not then have tie escuse, when pressed by ap. to think that there was no relevance between the call plicants, that the funds were insufficient. Needs he sucii which he had made at the last session and the present an excuse? Are not the men to whom these high offices resolution. That Senator, however, had attached an are entrusted, men so firm that they can refiise when importance to the call which it had never possessed before, their duty requires it? He would give the Postmaster in his estimation. Tfat gentleman knew nothing of Con- General power, presuming that he would never want an necticut; it was not a complaining State, although there excise for the performance of his duty. If a political was perhaps as much intelligence diffused over it as over friend asked him for an increase of compensation, he any other State of the Union. The people there nerer would not, if a correct and faithful officer, hesitate to re. made complaints, but cheerfully bore their proportion of fuse. Let the responsibility bc increased; and if the
JANUARI 2, 1833.]
officer abuses the means intrusted to him, Congress Resolved, that the Committee on Foreign Relations be would have the power to apply a corrective. If the course instructed to inquire into the expediency of providing once suggested here had not been also arrested here, none the means by which the claimants under the late treaty of these allowances to contractors would have been heard with France can obtain the evidence of documents relat. of; but the responsibility would have been found effectual. ing to their claims, when such evidence and documents He would hold every officer to his responsibility. have been presented to the commissioners under the late
Mr.GRUNDY asked for the yeas and nays on the pas- treaty with Spain, and are deposited in the State Departsage of his amendment; and a sufficient number sustain- ment. ing the call, the yeas and nays were ordered.
Mr. HOLMES introduced the resolution with some Mr. BIBB made some remarks in opposition to the remarks, and stated that the commissioners acting unresolution; in the course of which he adverted to the der the treaty with Spain bad, after the termination of fact that a merchant in Kentucky having got for himself their labors, lodged the papers in the Department of the situation of postmaster, had thereby saved to himself State, as was supposed for the purpose of allowing to in postage two hundred dollars, which was more than the the Spanish Government access to these documents, in amount of all the other postage in his office, as he kept up case of need. He referred to the case of a friend, whose a considerable correspondence for the benefit of his busi- bill had been before the Spanish Commissioners, and had ness. There the postage tax fell on those who best been rejected, on the ground that the capture was made could bear it. He went on to show that this was gene- by a French vessel. Through him (Mr. H.) this gentleman rally the case. He considered it a matter of great labor had made application to the State Department to procure and intricacy, requiring elaborate calculation, to arrange his papers: but owing to the construction which the Sea perfect scheme of reduction of postage, adapted to all cretary hard put upon his duties, it was found impossible distances; and doubted whether the post office itself to obtain them. The case having been taken out of the could furnish the materials for such calculation. He con- hands of the Spanish Commissioners by the rejection of tended that the present tax was not oppressive on any the claim, the papers could be of no future use to the one, but that it operated as every fair tax ought to ope. Spanish Government, and ought to be returned to the rate. At the last session he had expressed his opinions claimant. on the subject of the reduction of the newspaper post
Mr. WEBSTER admitted that cases of individual inage: those opinions had widergone no change. . He then convenience might have occurred, like that which was adverted to our rapidly increasing population; settle- referred to by the gentleman from Maine, but he had mients were extending themselves; and the voice of jus- never anticipated that it would be thought necessary to tice, in a tone not to be resisted, ckemanded that the 'Go.invoke the action of Congress. It was provided by the vernment should carry into those new settlements the treaty with Spain, that the documents should be deposibenefits which were already enjoyed in the old. This ted in the Department of State. There would conseconstantly increases the expenditures of the department; quently be some delicacy in interfering with this provi. the expenditures must continue to increase, as the ramifi. sion. Ile considered that the whole of the difficulty had cations of the system are extended into all parts of the arisen from the narrow construction which had been country. It should be the aim of Congress to keep the given to the term State Department. There was no preexpenditures of the department, as nearly as possible, cise locality to be attached to the term. It merely meant within the receipts, avoiding at the same time that mi- that the papers should be left in the custody of the Exnuteness of legislation which entailed more cost upon ecutive. He could not decide whether the doubts of the country than the subject was worth. The Postmas- the gentleman at the head of the department were well ter Gencral felt himself bound to keep the cost of all his or ils founded, but there could be no impropriety in makimprovements within the means of the department. If ing use of the papers, while they were under the conthis check were taken away, and was permitted to trol of the department. It might not be correct to give come to Congress, he would be unable to resist the them up to any individual, but an inspection of them temptations which would surround him. Experience under the charge of some officer of the Government, every where had proved, that the Post Office Depart- to whom they were intrusted, would be the kind of fament can only be beneficially managed by subjecting it cility which would not come in conflict with the mean. to this check; and the moment it is removed, the advan- ing of the treaty. He was certain that the Secretary tages of the systein are destroyed. Dr. Franklin esta of State would be ready to render every accommodablisited the department on a small scale: it had from tion which he regarded as being within the range of his that time been extending itself to keep pace with the duty. extension of the country; but it had always been kept Mr. HOLMES repeated what he had said concerning within this check, and he would not be willing to break the difficulty he had found in obtaining what he wished. in upon it, because we should inevitably have to return His object now was the institution of an inquiry which o it. Whenever a speolic scheme of reduction should would lead to some arrangement between the committee be presented for consideration, he would be glad to exa- on Foreign Relations and the Secretary. He referred to mine it; but he was not one for rashly uprouting every a correspondence which he had had with the Secretary. thing: He was not one who, to obtain a favorite point, He had asked if the claimants could have the papers. would throw every thing into confusion. He would not, The answer was "No." He then asked if the commisto get rid of an imagined wrong, go into a convention of sioners could obtain them, and received also a negative all the States, frame a new constitution, and throw every reply. thing into chaos. So it was in regard to the post office. Mr. SPRAGUE reminded the Senate, that when the He would keep it within the checks with which it had act of Congress was under consideration, he had offer. always been surrounded, and not, by a rash inundation of ed an amendment with a view to meet cases of the means, render it a rank source of corruption, instead of a precise character of that which bad now occurred. It department useful to the country.
was then stated by those who had the views of the deThe Senate then adjourned to Wednesday.
partment, that it was unnecessary, and that the fourth
section made ample provision. Such was the opinion WEDNESDAY, Jax. 2, 1833.
of the department, and such also was the opinion of SPANISH CLAIMANTS.
the Senate. Now, it was found that there was a diffi.
culty; and it was proper that there should be soine inquiry, Mr. HOLMES offered the following resolution:
The resolution was then agreed to.