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incident to indolence and inaction, and correct the evil of subtracting from the mass of the labor of society, where labor is more valuable than in any other country, that portion of it which enters into the coinposition of the army. But I most solemuly protest against any exercise of powers of this kind by the president, wbich are denied to congress. And, if the opinions expressed by him, in his message, were communicated, or are to be used here, to influence the judgment of the house, their authority is more than countervailed by the authority of bis deliberate acts.
Some principles drawn from political economists have been alluded to, and we are advised to leave things to themselves, upon the ground that, when the condition of society is ripe for internal improvements - that is, when capital can be so invested with a fair prospect of adequate remuneration, they will be executed by associations of individuals, unaided by government. With my friend from South Carolina (Mr. Lowndes) I concur in this as a general maxim; and I also concur with him that there are exceptions to it. The foreign policy which I think this country ought to adopt, presents one of those exceptions. It would perhaps be better for mankind, if, in the intercourse between nations, all would leave skill and industry to their unstimulated exertions. But this is not done; and if other powers will incite the industry of their subjects, and depress that of our citizens, in instances where they may come into competition, we must imitate their selfish example. Hence the necessity to protect our manufactures. In regard to internal improvements, it does not follow, that they will always be constructed whenever they will afford a competent dividend upon the capital invested. It may be true generally that, in old countries, where there is a great accumulation of surplus capital, and a consequent low rate of interest, they will be made. But, in a new country, the condition of society may be ripe for public works long before there is, in the hands of individuals, the necessary accuinu. lation of capital to effect them; and, besides, there is generally, in such a country, not only a scarcity of capital, but such a multiplicity of profitable objects presenting themselves as to distract ihe judgment. Further; the aggregate benefit resulting to the whole society, from a public improvement, may be such as to amply justify the investment of capital in its execution, and yet that benefit may be so distributed among different and distant persons, that they can never be got to act in concert. The turnpike roads wanted to pass the Alleghany mountains, and the Delaware and Chesapeake canal, are objects of this description. Those who will be most benefited by these improvements, reside at a considerable distance from the sites of them; many of those persons never have seen and never will see thein. Jlow is it possible to regulate the contributions, or to present to individuals so situated a sufficiently lively picture of their seal interests, to get them to make exertions in effectuating the object, commensurate with their respective abilities? I think it very possible that the capitalist, who should invest his money in one of these objects, might not be reimbursed three per centum annually upon it; and yet society, in various forms, might actually reap fifteen or twenty per centum. The benefit resulting from a turnpike road, made by privale associations, is divided between the capitalist who receives his tolls, the lands through which it passes, and which are augmented in their value, and the commodities whose value is enhanced by the dininished expense of transportation. A combination, upon any terms, much less a just combination, of all those interests, to effect the improvement, is impracticable. And if you await the arrival of the period when the tolls alone can produce a competent dividend, it is evident that you will have to suspend its execution long after the general interests of society would have authorized it.
Again, improvements, made by private associations, are generally made by local capital. But ages must elapse before there will be concentraied in certain places, where the interests of the whole community may call for improvements, suflicient capital to make them. The place of the improvement, too, is not always the most interested in its accomplishment. Other parts of the union — the whole line of the seaboard - are quite as much, if not more interested, in the Delaware and Chesapeake canal, as the small tract of country through which it is proposed to pass. The same observation will apply to turnpike roads passing through the Alleghany mountain. Sometimes the interest of the place of the improvement is adverse to the improvement and to the general interest. I would cite Louisville, at the rapids of the Ohio, as an example, whose interest will probably be more promoted by the continuance, than the removal of ihe obstruction. Of all the modes in which a government can employ its surplus revenue, none is more permanently beneficial than that of internal improvement. Fixed to the soil, it becomes a durable part of the land itself, diffusing comfort, and activity, and animation, on all sides. The first direct effect is on the agricultural community, into whose pockets comes the difference in the expense of transportation between good and bad ways. Thus, if the price of transporting a barrel of Hour by the erection of the Cumberland turnpike should be lessened two dollars, the producer of the article would receive that two dollars more now than formerly.
But, putting aside all pecuniary considerations, there may be political motives sufficiently powerful alone to justify certain internal improvements. Does not our country present such ? How are they to be effected, if things are left to themselves ? I will not press the subject further. I am but too sensible how much I have abused the patience of the committee by trespassing so long upon its attention. The magnitude of the question, and the deep interest I feel in its rightful decision, must be my apology. We are now making the last effort to establish our power, and I call on the friends of congress, of this house, or the true friends of state rights, (not charging others with intending to oppose them,) to rally round the constitution, and to support by their votes, on this occasion, the legitimate powers of the legislature. If we do nothing this session but pass an abstract resolution on the subject, I shall, under all circumstances, consider it a triumph for the best interests of the country, of which posterity will, if we do not, reap the benefit. I trust, that by the decision which shall be given, we shall assert, uphold, and maintain, the authority of congress, notwithstanding all that has been or may be said against it.
[The resolution of giving the power of congress, first, to appropriate money to the construction of military and post roads, make canals, and improve water-courses, was adopted : yeas ninety ; nays seventy-five: secondly, to construct such roads : lost: yeas eighiy-two; nays eighty-four: thirdly, to construct roads and canals for commercial purposes : lost: yeas seventy-one ; nays ninety-five : fourthly, to construct canals for military purposes: lost: eighty-one to eighty-three.]
ON THE EMANCIPATION OF SOUTII AMERICA.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, MARCH 24, 1818.
[The following is considered one of the most important speeches made by Mr. Clay, during his congressional career. It is here that he appears as an advocate for the cause of human liberty — when, striving to usher the southern republics into the great family of nations, he stood up before his countrymen like an apostle, commissioned by Freedom, to welcome her new votaries to the reward of their labors and their sacrifices. The glory which he won by the discharge of that commission, is as imperishable as liberty itself. It will rise freshly above his grave, and grow greener with the lapse of centuries. At the sessions of congress, in 1816 and 1817, he had made allusions to the situation of the South American patriots, and expressed his warm sympathies in their behalf, as may be observed in preceding speeches, and he now proposes to recognize the independence of the United Provinces of La Plata or Buenos Ayres, as the first established republic of South America.
In the summer of 1817, the president of the United States (Mr. Monroe) appointed Messrs. Rodney, Graham, and Bland, commissioners to proceed to South America, for the purpose of ascertaining the condition of the country, the character of the people, and their ability for self-government. At the present session of congress, (March twenty-fourth, 1818,) the house being in committee of the whole, on the bill making appropriations for the support of government, which bill proposed thirty thousand dollars. for compensation to the commissioners above mentioned; this item being passed by for the time, Mr. Clay (speaker) moved to amend the bill, by adding, and for one year's salary and an outfit to a minister to the United Provinces of Rio de La Plata, the salary to commence, and the outfit to be paid, whenever the president shall deem it expedient to send a minister to the said United Provinces, a sum not exceeding eighteen thousand dollars.'
This motion he followed up by the subjoined argument, and on this occasion he differed with many of his political and personal friends in congress, as well as the president and heads of departments. The house rejected his proposition at this time, but in 1820. by recognizing its principles, and the independence of South America, congress acknowledged his triumph.]
I rise under feelings of deeper regret than I have ever experienced on any former occasion, inspired, principally, by the painful consideration, that I find myself, on the proposition which I meant to submit, differing from many highly esteemed friends, in and out of this house, for whose judgment I entertained the greatest respect. A knowledge of this circumstance has induced me to pause; to subject my own convictions to the severest scrutiny, and to revolve the question over and over again. But all my reflections have conducted me to the same clear result; and, much as I value those friends, great as my deference is for their opinions, I cannot hesitate, when reduced to the distressing alternative of conforming
my judgment to theirs, or pursuing the deliberate and mature dictaies of my own mind. I enjoy some consolation, for the want of their coöperation, from the persuasion that, if I err on this occa. sion, i err on the side of the liberty and happiness of a large portion of the human family. Another, and, if possible, indeed a greater, source of the regret 10 which I refer, is the utter incompetency, which I unfeignedly feel, to do any thing like adequate justice to the great cause of American independence and freedom, whose interests I wish 10 promote by my humble exertions in this instance. Exhausted and worn down as l'am, by the fatigne, confinement, and incessant application incident to the arduous duties of the honorable station I hold, during a four months' session, I shall need all that kind indulgence which has been so often extended to me by the house.
I beg, in the first place, to correct misconceptions, if any exist, in regard to my opinions. I am averse to war with Spain, or with any power.
I would give no just cause of war to any power - not to Spain herself. I have seen enough of war, and of its calamities, even when successful. No country upon earth has more interest than this in cultivating peace and avoiding war, as long as it is possible honorably to avoid it. Gaining additional strength every day; our numbers doubling in periods of twentyfive years; with an income outstripping all our estimates, and so great, as, after a war in some respects disastrous, to surnish results which carry astonishment, if not dismay, into the bosom of states jealous of our rising importance; we have every motive for the love of peace. I cannot, however, approve, in all respects, of ihe manner in which our negotiations with Spain have been conducted. If ever a favorable time existed for the demand, on the part of an injured nation, of indemnity for past wrongs from the aggressor, such is the present time. Impoverished and exhausted at home, by the wars which have desolated the peninsula; with a foreign war, calling for infinitely more resources, in men and money, than she can possibly command, this is the auspicious period for insisting upon justice at her hands, in a firm and decided tone. Time is precisely what Spain now most wants. Yet what are we told by the president, in his message at the commencement of congress? That Spain had procrastinated, and we acquiesced in her procrastination. And the secretary of state, in a late communication with Mr. Onis, after ably vindicating all our rights, tells the Spanish minister, with a good deal of sang froid, that we had patiently waited thirteen years for a redress of our injuries, and that it required no great effort to wait longer! I would have abstained from thus exposing our intentions. Avoiding the use of the language of menace, I would have required, in temperate and decided terms, indemnity for all our wrongs; for the spoliations of our commerce; for the interruption of the right of depot at New