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321 CONG..... 20 Sess.
Railroad to the Pacific-Mr. Geyer.
$1 25 per acre. Permit me to tell him if the land roads across the Isthmus. There is the influence least of it, within the Territories. I will not enter is worth anything to the Treasury, its value will of the Atlantic cities, which want the ocean trans- at large into the argument of the power of Conbe given to it by the construction of the road, by portation, and which would be somewhat reluctant gress to incorporate a body of men employed by the outlay of the capital of the company to make to erect a rival road. Why, even now we are so them to do a work,under an ackpowledged power it, and it will not yield a dollar until the road is very solicitous to get a means of transportation under the Constitution; but I would ask the honmade. As the road progresses there will be set- across Tehuantepec that there is a threai of war. orable Senator what is a territorial government tlements, and demand for the lands; but if you We are to seize it per fus el nefas, to get a line of but a municipal corporation? You have two bills abandon the road, you have the lands worth no- transportation between the Atlantic sea-ports and now on your table, one to incorporate the inhabitthing at all to the Treasury. But twenty millions,
the Pacific. · We would prefer to go to war, and ants of the Territory of Washington, so called, it is said, are to be appropriated. Twenty millions hazard all the expenditure of blood and money to
and the other of Nebraska-municipal corporais the maximum. No more can be given under which it would lead, and the calamities which it | tions with general legislative powers—an " abdicathe bill. I would inquire of the honorable Sena- would bring upon us, than to give it up.
tion," in the language of the Senator from Ohio, of tor whether he has ever estimated what is the cost Another objection is, that we have not knowl- the power of Congress to legislate. Sir, if it be of the transportation of troops and supplies in time edge enough to commence the work; that we do an • abdication ” to intrust any person with the of peace? It appears by the report of the Quar- not know enough of the country through which execution of a work for which it is in the power of termaster General, that there were expended du- the road will pass. Sir, we know to a certainty Congress to provide, the Constitution has been ring the last fiscal year more than $2,500,000 in that on this side of the Rocky Mountains there is broken at almost every session of Congress, from his Department. If he will compare that expendi. no difficulty in the way. You may pass upon the the time it was first signed down to the present ture with that of years before the Mexican war, line of the Red river, or the Canadian, or the day: he will find that an addition is made in conse- Arkansas, or the Kansas, or the Platte, and that Mr. President, I did intend, when the subject quence of the posts that are not accessible by the either of them will afford an easy grade is ascer- was first introduced into the Senate, to have gone ordinary means of transportation. Sir, before tained beyond all doubt. The only difficulty, and somewhat at large into the question; but I regret that war, all our posts on the frontiers were either the only important fact to inquire into, is as to the that we have spent so much time in the discusupon navigable streams, on which transportation passage of the Rocky Mountains, for the Sierra sion of measures of less importance, that we have was easy, or within very short distances of them. Madre is merely un extension of the Rocky Mount- very little time to bestow upon this. I will not, Nów, that which was a point of delivery before ains or the Sierra Nevada. We have to ascertain therefore, at this late period of the session, tresthe war, is the point of shipment inland for eight that, and when that is ascertained, we know that pass further upon the time and attention of the hundred, or one thousand, and sometimes fifteen the road is practicable. We know that it can be Senate but to explain some amendments which I hundred miles. If we estimate the expenses of made of easy grade, except at the points I have intend to offer when I shall have the opportuntransportation in time of peace, we find that the mentioned; and therefore we are under no neces- ity: Government will be indemnified for its money, if sity for further information upon the subject, ex- I propose to confine the operation of the bill, the road shall be completed, by the facilities of cept to know what passes shall be taken, and except as to the survey of the road and the tertransportation. One million of dollars may be where shall be the termini of the road, neither of mini; to the Territories; in other words, if the bill saved per annum, and a much larger sum in time which Congress is prepared to decide, or will be is amended, as I propose, the termini will be fixed of war, when you will have the regulation of the prepared to decide when they have the surveys. by the President of the United States; but the transportation by the terms of the bill. The bonds Another objection to the bill is, that the work is || provisions of the bill for the construction of the are to be at five per cent., yielding an annual in- to be committed to individuals, who, in conse- road shall be confined to the Territories. I then come of $1,000,000. That sum, I will venture to quence of its magnitude, will have a fearful power. propose, that where the road is located through say, will be saved in the single article
of the trans- Sir, when we look at the thirteenth section of the any Siate, there shall be a grant of alternate secportation of troops and supplies. To that must bill—which is all thạt it contains about a corpora- tions of land for the purposes of the construction, be added, as was said by the Senator from tion—we shall see that its powers are very limited; under the authority of the Slace, by some persons, Tennessee, (Mr. Bell,) the transportation of the more so than those of any railroad corporation in or corporation if you please, authorized by the mail, which can by this means be afforded daily the State of Pennsylvania. The thirteenth sec- State. I propose to subject that road to the same for a much less sum than it is now afforded semi- tion of the bill provides:
conditions as are in the bill in relation to the gauge monthly.
" That for the purpose of this act, the contractors, their
of the road, and to the regulations contained in But the Senator from Pennsylvania is mistaken associates and successors, are hereby created and consti
the eighth section of the bill, which secures for in another view of the bill. He supposes that it tuted a body-politic and corporale by the name of The the United States the transportation of its supplies either contains no limitation, or if it does, that Con- Pacific Railroad and Telegraph Company,' by which name upon the road. If this amendment shall prevail, gress may be practiced upon at some future day to they may sue and be suedo
it will strip the bill of the difficulties which bave abrogate it. That argument does not cohere very That, I take it, is not among the fearful powers been made by some honorable Senators, and I hope well with that of the honorable Senator from Ohio, which are so much apprehended
will facilitate its passage. I propose to strike out for he has informed us that there is more danger, "plead and be impleaded, and have and enjoy all proper
all that part which relates to the action of a corin regard to that point, in the President than in reinedies at law, and in equity, may organize and elect
poration within the Slates, and leave therein the Congress. We have the counter argument of the such officers as they may deem necessary, and have and management to the States. I will own here, Mr. Senator from Pennsylvania, that although Con- use a common seal; they may also open books and issue President, that in making this proposition, there
certificates of stock" gress can be trusted in the location of the road,
may be a little difficulty in that part of the State and in the bargain which it will make for the con- These are the specific powers; then comes a of Texas which projects west of Arkansas, but struction of it, when it is made, influences may general one
there will be no greater difficulty under the amendbe brought to bear upon them hereafter, by which "and perforin all other acts necessary to carry into effect ment than is under the bill. The bill provides a much larger and unlimited expenditure may be the provisions herein contained."
for a grant of the alternate sections of the United made. If the Senator had looked at the bill care- There is the limitaton of the power of the cor- States lands, of course, but there are three degrees fully he would have seen that that contingency || poration. To contend that that power may be of longitude belonging to Texas through which was not likely to arise, because the bonds are to abused, is to contend that no corporation should the southern route will pass, as it is laid down be issued as the road is built by sections; and if ever be created; nay, sir, that no trust shall be upon the map furnished by the Senator from Calthere is a failure to construct any section of fifty confided to any individual, for it is liable to be ifornia, (Mr. Gwin.] Under the provisions of miles, there is a forfeiture of all the work that has alused. But in this country we have no reason the bill, the company can get no land there. They been done, and not another dollar, or another to apprehend any great abuse of power. If the must apply the money to the construction of that acre of land will go into the hands of the com- || corporation should exceed its powers, we have a road unless they obtain a grant from the State of pany.
judicial tribunal that will rebuke it. Its powers Texas; and so it will be if the amendment is Mr. COOPER. The Senator misconstrues my may be tested by the same law and by the same adopted. The road there must be constructed by argument. My argument is, that although the tribunal that our rights of property are inquired the means of the State of Texas. She will proamount of twenty millions was fixed in the bill, into. But it is to have these general powers only vide for her own grant of land, for she owns it, and the number of acres, though not fixed, is as- to carry into effect the provisions of the act. What and the benefits resulting from ihe construction of certainable by calculation, yet, if it became neces- are they? To construct a railroad of a gauge to be the road will be hers, so far as it operates in an sary, this company would have it in its power, by approved by the President of the United States; 10 augmentation of the value of the land. But in a its pressure upon Congress, to obtain as much construct it from one point fixed on the Pacific to State through which the road may pass where more as was necessary. It does not matter at all another point on the Mississippi, it having not even there are United States lands, I propose to inwhether Congress is subject to such influences or the power conclusively to locate the road between crease the appropriation, as some compensation not; it does not affect my argument at all. I may the points. The location of the road is to be with for the burdens which will be imposed upon those have been wrong, but if I was right in supposing the approval of the President of the United States. who construct the road by the terms of the bill. that Congress was subject to such influences, my | It is then limited as to the mode of construction, They must conform their gauge to that which is argument was good.
and the weight of the iron that it is to use. It is approved by the President. They must use iron Mr. GEYER. The argument is one in favor limited by the act itself to the objects contemplated of the same weight, and they must be regulated of a dissolution of this Union, or at least of the by that act, and it has no powers but those which by the general rules which are adopted for the reg. incompetency of Congress. If a great and benefi
are necessary to carry the provisions of the act ulation of the road through the Territories. cent measure cannot be compassed, because we into effect.
When I have the proper opportunity I will precannot trust Congress, we had better cease to legis- But the alarm is in the name “corporation." sent my amendments. I have made these few late. Sir, I do not believe that any influences can The honorable Senator from South Carolina (Mr. remarks now to present my views upon the subbe brought to bear upon a future Congress which BUTLER) intimated that within the States it was ject, and shall not occupy further the attention of cannot be brought to bear upon this. There are clearly unconstitutional, though with their con- the Senate. influences adverse to this measure. There are the il sent, and of doubtful constitutionality, to say the
32D CONG..... 20 Sess.
Lands to Railroads—Mr. Sibley.
Ho. OF REPs.
LANDS TO RAILROADS.
and others of the older States, towards the West | liarly auspicious for railroad enterprises. Capital
in the early days of the Republic? Then there will seek investments in the great lines of commuSPEECH OF HON. H. H. SIBLEY, were no apprehensions expressed lest the great | nication between the remote points in our Con. OF MINNESOTA,
valley of the Mississippi should advance too rap- || federacy: California and Australia continue to
idly in all the elements of wealth and power. With pour their golden tribute into the money circulaIN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
expanded and patriotic views that embraced all tion of the world, until there threatens to be a February 10, 1853,
portions of the country, every concession that plethora of wealth everywhere. All kinds of stocks In favor of the policy of grants of land for railroad could reasonably be required to enable the sparse are unprecedentedly high in the market, and milpurposes in the West.
settlements west of the Alleganies, to work out the lions of treasure lies dormant in the banking estabMr. SIBLEY said:
high destinies of that rich and fertile region, was lishments of the large cities, ready to be employed I have made several attempts, Mr. Chairman, | of so liberal a policy, those infant settlements have
cheerfully granted. Under the benign influences whenever opportunity offers. I repeat, therefore, during the last few weeks to introduce for proper extended and increased, until more than ten millions | ating the great railroad projects which are to bind
that the present time is most propitious for originreference and examination, “ A bill granting the
of freemen now in habit the land which three quar- | together the different portions of the Union. right of way and a portion of the public lands, to
ters of a century since was a wilderness. It has With these few remarks in connection with the the States of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and
been left for the older States in these latter times to • lowa, and to the Territory of Minnesota, to aid
general subject, I beg leave to dwell for a short in the construction of a railroad from a point op
discover that the General Government has hereto- time upon the features of a Pacific railway proposite the city of New Orleans, to the northern
fore manifested too liberal a spirit towards the posed to be constructed, also of the bill I seek to
West. Now the fiat -seems to have gone forth, introduce, and of another upon your calendar, the boundary of Minnesota, with a branch to the
that henceforward Congress must not aid in making three being intimately connected with each other. • Falls of St. Anthony.” Owing to the arbitrary || roads through its own domain, unless the Atlantic I have perused with much pleasure, Mr. Chairrules of this body, I have as yet been unsuccessful in my endeavors to place that bill in a posi- of such measure, in the shape of public lands. States receive an equivalent for their votes in favor man, the details of the scheme introduced by an
honorable Senator from California, (Mr. Gwin,] tion where it could be reported upon by the Committee on Public Lands, and it is with a view to
Now, if a new State asks that the proprietor of for uniting the waters of the Pacific ocean and the discuss the
merits of the proposition, and others of large tracts of untaxed land within its limits shall Mississippi river by means of a railroad. That a kindred character, that I now ask the attention
contribute a fair proportion of the expense to make such a communication must be made very soon,
them accessible to the seuler, it is met with the cry no one can doubt who reflects upon the necessity of the House.
of “more land stealing.” Now, if a grant of land that exists for its immediate construction, and the While the new States lying east of the Mississippi have received more or less aid from the Gen- | i8 perchance obtained for purposes formerly ad- favor with which the project is received in all parts eral Government in land grants for the construc
mitted as right and proper in ihemselves, it must of the country. The integrity of the Republic
undergo the ordeal of ihe most bitter and unretion of railroads, the immense region on the west
may depend upon that great link in the chain which
is now wanting to complete the union of our eastof that river has been comparatively neglected. I lenting opposition from the Representatives not
ern and western extremes. There may well exist am aware that Arkansas, Missouri, and lowa, only of the original thirteen, but of other States
which have heretofore profited by cessions of a an honest difference of opinion in Congress as to have severally been assisted in the same manner; like kind.
the best mode to effect that desirable object, but it but when the remote position of those States from the Atlantic is taken into consideration, is well as time banded themselves together to defeat appro- tion may be devoted to bring the work to a speedy
Have the members from the land States at any is to be hoped that the whole energies of the nathe fact that these newly-settled regions are necessarily less able than older and more wealthy com
priations from the public Treasury for the benefit conclusion, and in a manner the least calculated to munities to open great lines of communication an
of the Atlantic sea board? Have they refused to entail future evils upon us, by the creation of huge aided, it must be conceded that these grants are
vote for measures because they had reason to be- || landed monopolies. not commensurate with the requirements, either of || in their success? No one, Mr. Chairman, can lieve that the old States were particularly interested The proposition of the Hon. Mr. Gwin em
braces several branches of railroad connected with the people themselves, or of the Government.
justly charge any such ungenerous proceeding on the main trunk from Memphis, Tennessee, to San I'shall very briefly advert to the argument so often and so triumphantly advanced, as well by the part of western Representatives. If they op- || Francisco; these branches to terminate severally
pose the tariff system, which eastern manufaceastern as by western men, in support of the gen
at St. Louis, Missouri; Dubuque, lowa; New Orturers so fervently advocate, it is because the || leans, and at Matagorda Bay, Texas, and a wests eral policy of granting lands for building railroads and canals through the public domain, as my prin- | overwhelmingly in favor of the doctrines of free
democratic sentiment of the agricultural States is ern branch to terminate at Fort Nisqually, in Orecipal object is to attempi to show that artificial lines
gon. _He estimates the distance from Memphis to trade. When they record their votes against the | San Francisco, by the valley of the Red river and of commerce in the distant west are absolutely re
system of coast fortifications, they but act in ac- Walker's Pass, at two thousand miles; and the quisite, not only to develop the wealth of those vast mineral and agricultural regions, but as a measure
cordance with the public sentiment of the country, aggregate length of the branches at three thousand
which has emphatically pronounced against further one hundred and fifteen miles--in all, five thousand of strict economy on the part of the General Gov
one hundred and fifteen miles; and that an approernment itself, taking into view the state of the great expenditures for such purposes, as antiquated frontier, which it is the duty of that Government | posed to any measure introduced into Congress, thirty-six thousand acres of land, which, at the
and absurd. In short, you do not find them op- priation of ninety-seven millions five hundred and to protect and defend.
minimum price of the public lands, would be equal It is not only in the power of Congress under simply because their own particular constituenthe Constitution, but it is binding on that body, as cies are not immediately interested.
to $121,900,000, be made by the Government to the custodian of the public property, to dispose of | ficulties between the East and the West, unless
This land question bids fair to create serious dif- construct these four thousand four hundred miles the public lands in such a manner as may directly Congress shall devise some equitable and just ing that the cost would not exceed $27,700 per
of railroad, (excluding the Texas branch,) assumor indirectly inure to the benefit of the greatest || method for its settlement. The embarrassments mile, which, according to Mr. Gwin's statement, number of its citizens, so far as that can be accomplished without injury to any portion of the coun
involved in this subject should be met in a manner has hitherto been the average of the railways al
satisfactory to both parties or sections, by wise ready built. This is indeed a gigantic project, and try: Mr. Calhoun gave the weight of his great authority in favor of grants of land by the Gov- legislation, before they become, as they certainly requires to be weighed well before it becomes a law ernment to aid in works of internal improvement || bittered in their character. The West will now be
of the land. In my judgment, the main trunk through the public domain in these words, in a de- || satisfied with grants of the alternate sections upon
should first be constructed, (the termini to be at the bate in the Senate in 1848:
most favorable and convenient points,) without emthe great thoroughfares through the public domain barrassing the scheme with the Proposed lateral " And I doubt whether, in any case, either of a canal or railroad through the public lands, the United States would
to aid in the construction of railways and other branches. These will follow in course of time, not be a gainer. To that extent I am prepared to go, be the
works of internal improvement. Should these be when the requirements of commerce and of travel road long or sljort. If it be long, you gain the more; if it | denied, it needs no prophetic spirit to foretell, that I shall demand these additional aids. be short, you gain the less; and you contribute in propor; in a very few years that concession will not be re- Another route to the Pacific, which seems not to tion to your gain."
“Long since it was agreed ceived as a sufficient indemnification to the people have received much attention in the discussion of that the grant of alternate sections was a fair contribution on the part of the United States, considered as a proprietor,
of the West, for all the toils and sacrifices they the question, and which must sooner or later be and from which the United States would be a very greai have endured in reclaiming the wilderness, and resorted to for a railway communication, is that
converting it into a fruitful field, and for protect- from the head of Lake Superior to Puget's Sound, Again:
ing and rendering valuable your lands, without in Oregon. The distance between those places, « The Government, in my opinion, onght to be ashamed imposing any tax upon them. They will then in- diverging at one point to avoid the North Fork of to allow their lands to be entianced in value by the exertions sist upon more, and they will have the power, in the Missouri river, is only one thousand four hun. And at the cost of a State, without contributing in some de- both branches of Congress, to make good their de- dred and ten miles, while the country, so far as it gree to bring about this result.”
mands. As a matter of public policy, therefore, is known, is remarkably favorable for railroads. Surely, if the strict constructionist and eminent no less than of justice, this vexed question of the Two single ranges of mountains are alone to be trastatesman, whose opinions I have quoted, deemed public lands should be definitely disposed of by versed, and the passes through them are probably it incumbent upon this Governmeni to aid its citi- | the enactment of a law by Congress, embodying more practicable than those by any other route. zens in constructing roads and canals through its || the main features of those railroad grants which The lower extremity of Puget's Sound, and the public domain, on the score of propriety as well have lately been made, and which shall have a gen- head of Lake Superior, are in almost precisely the as economy, we may reasonably expect those general application, whenever, in the opinion of the same parallel of latitude, not far from 4610 north, tlemen who represent the Atlantic States to pause constituted authorities of a State or Territory, the so that the course between them is directly east before they commit themselves against that policy. wants of the people require new avenues of com- and west, save where the curve would be required, And may we not also appeal to those Representa- ||munication therein.
as I have before stated, to avoid two crossings of tives to emulate, to some extent at least, the liberal The financial affairs of the country are in a the North Fork of the Missouri river. The passentiments of Virginia, New York, Connecticut, I fourishing condition, and the present time pecu- Bage of the first mountains once effected, the val.
320 CONG.....20 Sess.
Lands to Railroads--Mr. Sibley.
Ho. or REPS.
ley of Clark's Fork of the Columbia river pre- the soil through which the road must pass, it may I know that many regard that as an almost im. Bents the most eligible track for a railroad, down safely be presumed that three dollars per acre possible event. I am not one of that number, for to the defile through the western range nearest to would be received for the granted sections, as a I can well imagine that we may be forced to resort Fort Nisqually, on Puget's Sound, which is general average, so that the sum of $36,096,000 to that, so much to be deprecated, alternative, at doubtless the best terminus on the waters of the would be the yield from that source. Thus far any time, to defend the honor or the rights of the
Pacific in the Territory of Oregon. It may be ob- the cost of railroads in the United States has been nation. Grave Senators have assured us that jected that the snow in those high latitudes will $27,300 per mile, which would make the whole our foreign relations are in a delicate position; and impede or prevent the passage of railroad cars cost of construction of the main trunk, and the St. I am bound to believe that they are not alarmisis, for some months in the year. To what extent Anthony branch, $51,324,000. But from this may or actuated by any vain spirit of boasuing, when this is well founded, I do not pretend to know, but well be deducted i wenty-five per cent., if not more, I they make that declaration. I am not in favor of as the snow decreases as we proceed westward, in consideration of the peculiarly favorable char-li filibustering expeditions, but I do trust that the there is, in my judgment, no more reason to ap- acter of the country, (precluding the necessity for high position of this Republic will be sustained prehend difficulties from that source than on the deep and expensive excavations, unless at a very | and vindicated, and the Monroe doctrine strictly other proposed routes to California, which must few points,) and the abundance of materials to be adhered to, even at the hazard of a war with necessarily traverse the Rocky Mountains proper, found everywhere along the line. It is true, that France, England, or any other Power. And I the Sierra Nevada, and the Coast Range, some of the item of bridges over the numerous tributaries | feel assured that the incoroing Administration will which are covered with perpetual snows. What- of the Mississippi, should not be overlooked in the enforce this cardinal policy of the Democratic ever may be the facts in the case, a glance at the calculation of the cost.
party, indeed I might say, of the whole American map must convince every man that the route on Imagination can hardly depict the magical effect people. Should hostilities follow, we ought to the parallel of 460 north is far less mountainous which the completion of this work would have, in be prepared to repel the intrusion upon our soil in its character, and the distance at least five hun- developing the resources of the West, and in add- of an enemy's force, with the whole power of the dred miles shorter, than by either of the others ing to the aggregate wealth of the nation. The country. If the projected railway from north to contemplated. It should be borne in mind, also, valuable fisheries of Lake Superior would be in- | south was completed, il would enable the Govern. that ships bound from San Francisco to the Easy creased in a lenfold ratio, if a market was thus ment to concentrale in a very few days thousands Indies run up the Oregon coast for several hun. opened to the South. The pineries of Minnesota of the best marksmen in the world, at any point dred miles, that being the most direct course, so and Wisconsin would send forth, annually, their on our southern coast that might be threatened that so much of distance would be saved by en- inexhaustible supply of building materials to the by a foreign soe. abling those ships, on their return trips, to dis- valley below. The iron, salt, and coal, of Mis- Mr. Chairman, I have already trespassed too charge their cargoes at Fort Nisqually. The souri, and the copper and lead of Wisconsin, long upon the atiention of the House, and yet I overland trade will naturally seek the most direct | lowa, and Minnesota, could be thereby exchanged beg its indulgence while I bring before it the other route from New York, the commercial metropolis with advantage, for the products of the “rich and railroad project to which I have previously alof the Union, to the Pacific ocean, and the one sunny South.”. The immense tracts of public | luded, upon which I hope to secure an affirmative which will diminish the distance between that land for scores of miles on each side of this pro- vote to-day. There was a bill reported by the city and the great ports of commerce in Asia, a posed railroad, now without a purchaser because Committee on Public Lands at the last session, lo thousand miles or more, must eventually, if in of their remote position from ihe water courses, grant to Minnesota alternate sections of lands for anywise practicable, be preferred above all others. would be taken up at once by an industrious and the construction of a railway from the Falls of St. It is highly desirable that proper explorations of enterprising class of settlers, admirably calculated Louis river, on Lake Superior, to St. Paul, on the a scientific character should determine the relative as the whole of that region is for the support of Mississippi, with branches to St. Anthony and merits and demerits of each of the proposed routes, a dense population.
Stillwater. That bill is now on your calendar, and and I trust that Congress will at this session au- There are other considerations involved, Mr. I wish to state very briefly the necessity that exists thorize such to be made.
Chairman, in favor of the speedy completion of for its passage. The distance between the termini The line of railroad from Pembina, in Minne- this contemplated work. The magnificent Mis- is about two hundred and sixty miles, and much sota, to New Orleans, will, when constructed, sissippi and ils principal: western tributaries, are of the country through which the road would pass bisect any or all of the contemplated routes from not to be depended on for purposes of navigation is very favorable for settlement. The great olject the Mississippi to the Pacific, and add much to throughout the year. Ai the north, during the is, to open a communication between the waiers the commerce which will be carried on by their winter months, we are ice-bound, while in the of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi, at the instrumentality. The region to be traversed is, of summer, except in extraordinary seasons, the low most eligible and proper points, and it is one of all others on this continent, the most favorable for stage of water embarrasses us in our intercourse immediate interest to every Slate bordering upon such an enterprise. There, you have neither with the southern Mississippi States. The ob- the latter river, and upon the lakes. Congress mountains nor hills to penetrate, but a continuous, structions in the Mississippi river, judging from granted seven hundred and fifty thousand acres to level prairie, with few interruptions, invites you to the niggardly policy of the past, are not likely to the State of Michigan, at the last session, lo enable open a line of communication north and south, be removed for many years to come.
The tax it to make a canal around the Falls of St. Mary, through nearly twenty degrees of latitude of your annually levied upon the people of the States and on the score that it was not a local benefit, but own territory, which, in point of fertility and min- Territory living above the rapids, in the shape of one in which several States would share, and that eral wealth, has no equal in the world.' This im- extra freight for the transportation of goods and was true. I rejoice that the appropriation was mense region is now accessible to the settler only provisons over them, is already enormous, and made, especially as my own Territory will necesat a few points, remote from each other, where the acts as a serious drawback upon the prosperity of sarily profit by it. Complete the measure of your western rivers pass through it to join the Missis- that region; so much so, that unless a remedy is liberality, and I may say of your justice, by consippi. The distance from Pembina, in 490 north applied, the Upper Mississippi valley must aban. tributing to the infant but enierprising Minnesota, lalitude, situated on the Red river of the north, to don the present natural channel of commerce, and from your ample resources, your proportion of a point opposite New Orleans, by a direct course,
seek a market at the East for its products. the means necessary to build a railway between is fifteen hundred miles. By adding twenty per The average distance of the proposed northern the northern and southern portions of our Terricent. for necessary deviations and deflections, ihe and southern railroad from the Mississippi, istory, through what is now but liule better than a length of the line of railroad between them would probably somewhat more than one hundred miles. trackless wilderness, be increased to eighteen hundred miles, of which
I care little where the northern terminus may be Minnesota Territory comprises in its limits all five hundred and ten would be in Minnesota, two designated, whether at Pembina, or some other the northern shore of Lake Superior up to the hundred and seventy in lowa, three hundred and point. I fixed upon that place in my bill, because British line. We have reliable informalion that fifty in Missouri, three hundred in Arkansas, and its location is better known than any other spot on copper, interspersed with silver, abounds in that three hundred and seventy in Louisiana. The that part of the boundary of 490, and because it is region. I have already mentioned the fisheries and contemplated branch to St. Anthony may be safely in the valley of the Red river of the north, which pineries as of immense value, and that they must estimated at eighty miles-thus making the course
is more favorable for a railroad than any other necessarily constitute a large item in the commerce of the railroad in Minnesota five hundred and nine- || line in that region. The necessity for the com- with the Lower Mississippi valley. We who live ty miles long, and the whole distance one thousand pletion of the work beyond the Falls of St. An- on the waters of the Mississippi are now abso-, eight hundred and eighty miles. To aid in the thony, will depend upon certain contingencies, one lutely cut off from communication with our own construction of this great work, my bill proposes of which is the adoption of the parallel of 46; for lake coast, for want of a railroad. To reach that that there shall be granted the alternate sections a l'acific railway, the expediency of which I have part of our Territory, without resorting 10 the for ten miles on each side of the road, which would already adverted to. Still, as the whole of that || primitive mode of conveyance by bark canoes and give to
country is now comprised within the public do- | portages, we must descend the Mississippi nearly
main, if a grant is to be made, it should be for the four hundred miles to Galena, thence to Chicago, Minnesota...
entire length, that it may be rendered available and through the whole length of Lakes Michigan Iowa....
when required. You have now an extensive In- | and Superior, and a part of Lake Huron. In other
dian frontier, which you are obliged to defend at words, we must travel more than fiflen hundred Arkansas
a vast annual expense. If the longitudinal line of | miles to visit a portion of our own Territory, noc Louisiana..
communication along that border was perfected by more than two hundred and fifty miles distant in
means of a railway, the Governmeni might con- a direct line. In the transportation of troops for Making together........12,032,000 acres, trol the savage tribes with much greater facility, frontier defense, the Government is put to the which, at the present price of the public lands, | than can now be done, and with less than one half same inconvenience and expense. If the railroad would be $15,040,000, the amount of the contri- the force at present requisite for that purpose. was made, a very small force of regular troops bution of the Government towards the accomplish- Troops could be transported rapidly to any point would suffice for keeping the peace with the savment of this grand object, second in importance that was menaced. The same reasons might be oges on that extensive border, as they could move only to the Pacific railroad enterprise.
urged as one of the necessary preparations against with celerity to any place where their presence Taking into view, however, the fine quality of ll the occurrence of a foreign war.
might be required. For supplying yourgarrisons
and Indian agencies with necessary goods and sisters in virtue, intelligence, enterprise, and devo- double standard of gold and silver, a thing the provisions, the road would be very advantageous, ted attachment to true Democratic principles, and committee desire to obviate. They desire to and incalculably decrease the expenditures of the to the Government under which we live.
have the standard currency to consist of gold Departments of the Government to which they
only, and that these silver coins shall be entirely belong.
subservient to it, and that they shall be used While these great benefits would accrue to the
rather as tokens than as standard currency; and Government by the opening of a railroad commu
they propose to maintain their credit and circulanication, Minnesota would thereby be enabled to SPEECH OF HON. C. L. DUNHAM, tion not only by limiting the supply to the wants derelop its boundless resources with great rapidity.
of the country, but hy making them receivable for The southern portion of the Territory could then
all public dues to the United States, by providing send their agricultural productions to those of our IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, a customer ready at all times to receive them at citizens engaged in the fisheries and in mining and
February 1, 1853,
their nominal value to any amount. This would - lumbering operations, and receive their commodi
undoubtedly be also sufficient, even was the inties in exchange. Now, as I have before stated, | On the" Act amendatory of existing laws relative
trinsic value of these coins much less than we all communication of that character is precluded
to the half dollar, the quarter dollar, the dime, by the impassable nature of the intermediate coun
and the half dime,”
propose to make it. I think this preferable to the
provision of the Senate, but I do not deem either try. St. Paul is already an important commercial Mr. DUNHAM said:
very essential; for the supply will be limited, and town, and is rapidly increasisg in population. If Mr. Speaker: This is a very important bill, their actual value, as compared to gold, will be so a connection was formed between it and the two and therefore commends itself to the careful and little below their nominal value, that the conveniother places named as termini of the road and earnest attention of the members of this House. ence and necessity for them will be amply suffibranches on the waters of the Mississippi and It proposes a change in the small silver coins—the cient to sustain their credit and circulation without Lake Superior, a vast impetus would be given to half dollar and under-and also a very important | either of the provisions. the trade of the North west, and to the prosperity change in our system of coinage.
Mr. HALL, (interrupting.) I wish to say, if of the Territory.
The proposed change in the small silver coins the gentleman's reasoning be correct, and if this In view of these facts, I trust that gentlemen | is, to reduce the weight of the half dollar from two change does not improperly change the relative will not vote against this project, because they are
hundred and six and a quarter grains, the present value of gold and silver, it does appear very exopposed to general grants of a like character. Min- weight, to one hundred and ninety-two grains; traordinary that you should make this new silver nesota has not yet received an acre of land from and the quarters, dimes, and half dimes in propor- coin a legal tender in discharge of Government the General Government, except for purposes of tion, leaving the metal at the present standard of dues, and not make it a legal tender in discharge education. The number of acres included in the fineness. This will make the intrinsic value of of debts from one individual to another; and it proposed donation, estimating the distance at two these coins 6.91 per cent.—not quite seven per appears to me very much as if it were an attempt hundred and sixty miles, is nine hundred and cent.-less than the value of the present ones, to give an individual an advantage over the Gov. ninety-eight thousand four hundred. Should this and will make their relative value to our gold coins bill be passed by Congress at its present session, about what it was prior to the passage of the act Mr. DUNHAM. I cannot see that an indi. the work will soon be commenced and prosecuted of 1834, as that act reduced the intrinsic value vidual has any advantage whatever over the Gov. to its completion. If the grant is not made, years
of the latter 6.681 per cent. This reduction is ernment. I think the gentleman's remarks are may elapse hefore a railway will be built, und rather more than the present difference between an evidence of what too often takes place in this meantime the Territory and future State must the nominal and intrinsic or market value of our House. The gentleman undertakes to catechise suffer great detriment, and the Government be silver coins, as they only bring in market, for pur- me upon a subject to which he has evidently given subjected to vast expense and inconvenience, which poses of exportation, about fourand a half per cent., no attention whatever, and undertakes to raise might have been avoided by a timely liberality on and for use as small change five per cent. premium. | objections and difficulties without really underthe part of Congress.
But as the same cause which has produced this dif- || standing the matter. He talks about this proIt is the duty of the General Government to pro- ference in the relative value of the two metals, viz: posed coin being worth about fifty cents to the vide for the common defense and for the common the cheap production of gold, and consequently the | dollar, though I have just stated to the House that welfare of its citizens. How can this be discharged | increased quantity raised and brought to market, it will vary but little more than one and a half so well, and so appropriately, as by opening the still exists, and indeed is increasing, this difference per cent. from the actual intrinsic market value great line of travel through the length and breadth will go on increasing, and it is to be apprehended of silver. Our present silver coins will bring in of its public domain? These works are national | that we shall soon find that the proposed reduction market five per cent.—not as bullion for exportanot local—in their character. They will contrib- || is too small rather than too great to enable the new tion, but as currency for change. This bill proute, in an eminent degree, to draw closer the coins to maintain themselves in circulation. So poses to reduce the intrinsic value only six and bonds of union between the East and the West, | far from there being any prospect of a diminution of ninety-one hundredths per cent. It shows how the North and the South. The more rapid the the present stock of gold, each successive month much the gentleman understands the subject which means of intercommunication between the distant | adds immensely to it from the increasing produc- || he undertakes so sharply to catechise me about parts of the country, the more will the people of tions of California, Australia, and Russia. this morning. the different sections realize their identity of in- Mr. HALL, (interrupting.) I wish the gen- Mr. HALL. I am exceedingly gratified at the terests with each other, and the more repugnant | tleman from Indiana would explain the first amend- lecture the gentleman from Indiana has delivered must be the idea of separation into distinct com- ment proposed by the Committee on Ways and me; but if the gentleman would understand my munities. If this is a fact-and it cannot be con- Means. The bill, as it came from the Senate, argument and take it into consideration--perhaps troverted—no stronger or more valid reason can be || provides that this new silver coin shall be a legal it is not worth his consideration-he would see given or required for the adoption of a general sys- tender for all sums of five dollars and under. The that they are based upon sound principles. As to tem of railroad improvemenis by the Government Committee on Ways and Means propose to strike his idea that this silver coin is based upon a proper in the West. These are days of progress-I use
that out, and provide that this new coin shall not standard, with reference to gold, he may be right the term in its legitimate sense—and Congress can- be a legal tender for debts due from one individual or wrong; but I say that if the principle is right, not, if it will, resist the spirit of the age. The
to another, but that it shall be for debts due the this silver coin should be a legal tender in disuntold millions of acres of public lands were ac- Government of the United States. Now I ask | charge of Government dues, and a legal tender in quired for settlement, and for that alone, and the the gentleman, what is the meaning of this pro- || discharge of debts from individual to individual. people will not permit that they shall be hermeti- | posed amendment? If it is proper that this silver If the principle is not carried out, you may make cally sealed to the pioneer, by obstinate persistence | coin should be received in discharge of debts due a coin-1 do not say that is the case here-worth in the present policy of the Government. France, the Government, why should it not be received only fifty cents on the dollar, a discharge of public Spain, and England have always pursued a wise || in discharge of dues from one individual to an- dues, and which in the case of individuals would system of encouragement to bona fide settlers in other?
not circulate at all. their colonial possessions, by making to them do- Mr. DUNHAM. If the gentleman had waited Mr. DUNHAM. I shall be happy to reply to .nations of land. You, who profess to be guided until I had arrived at that point in the due course the gentleman's argument. But before going on, by more just and liberal principles towards your of my remarks, he would have been saved the I will move to refer this bill to the Committee of own citizens, not only exact from them a fivefold | necessity of asking his questions, and I should the Whole House, in order to prevent its going to price for your public domain, but refuse to aid have endeavored to explain the point to his satis- the Speaker's table, for if this course is pursued, them in constructing roads through it, the expense | faction. But as he has now brought it to the atten- I shall not get through this morning. of which you ought exclusively to bear.
tion of the House, I will at once dispose of it. I I repeat, in reply to the gentleman, we propose, I respectfully submit, Mr. Chairman, that the think it is susceptible of a very easy explanation. so far as these coins are concerned, to make the Territory I have had the honor to represent upon The only object of either provision is to give cur- silver subservient to the gold coin of the country: this floor, hefore and since its organization, has not rency and credit to these new coins, and thereby | We intend to do what the best writers on political been troublesome or exorbitant in its demands to maintain them in circulation. The provision of economy have approved; what experience, where upon Congress for grants of land, although, in the Senate for the accomplishment of this, is to the experiment has been tried, has demonstrated common with the West everywhere, we have had make them a tender in payment of small debis of to be best, and what the committee believe to be to struggle against the many and serious obstacles five dollars and under. This would no doubt be necessary and proper--to make but one standard and embarrassments of a new country, not the sufficient for the purpose, as the intrinsic value of currency, and to make all others subservient to least of which has been and still is, the lack of of the metal in them is so little below their nom- it. We mean to make the gold the standard coin, proper facilities for inland communication. Give inal value, and as the supply is to be limited, || and to make these new silver coins applicable and us your aid to free us from this difficulty, and I under the direction of the Secretary of the Treas- | convenient, not for large but for small transactions. can safely promise that Minnesota will soon be ury, to the necessity for them for change. This, | I trust this sufficiently explains the reason of our knocking at your doors for admission into the however, would make them a standard in all small pursuing this course. Union, with a population inferior to none of her l transactions; we would thereby still continue the This can neither be unjust to the Government 320 Cong....21 Sess.
Coinage Question-Mr. Dunham.
Ho. OF Reps.
or to any citizen. Not to the Government, for it silver dollars or coins, but he gathers up the I know it is said that as gold, by the cheapness alone manufactures and puts them in circulation. silver coins, exchanges them for gold, and Iras of its production, has depreciated in value, therefore It should, therefore, as a matter of duty, maintain the gold made into dollars, and with them pays by increasing the quantity in the same nominal their credit; and as it cannot part with them his debts, or, which comes to the same thing, he coins in a like proportion, the creditor only gets without receiving their full nominal value, it should i exchanges his silver for the amount in gold coins the value of his credit notwithstanding he receives always be ready to retake them at that value. It that the gold bullion, which bis silver dollars would a greater quantity. This would be true of those is no hardship, because the Goverinnent will re- buy, would make, and with them pays his debts, debts contracted' before the depreciation of gold ceive them at precisely what it will have paid them saving 10 himself, by the operation, the increased commenced, but not of such as have since been out. It can, therefore, suffer no loss. It can be number of gold dollars which he gets for his sil- contracted, of which is by far the largest proporno hardship upon the citizen, because, as it is en- ver. As our coins of gold or silver are regarded in tion of the private debts now in existence; and in tirely at his option whether he will take them from a foreign market simply as so much bullion as reference lo those contracted before, the loss must the Mint or not, he certainly will not take them merchandise, when debts are to be paid in those fall somewhere, either upon the creditor or upon unless they are worth to him their nominal value, markets, those will be taken which will bring the the debtor; for the debtor has probably received the price at which he receives them. A nominal most there in proportion to what they cost here. and saved up the means with which he proposes dollar of these coins must be worth a dollar in The intrinsic above the nominal value in a single to pay the debt since the depreciation commenced, gold, for they must be worth the price they will silver coin, or in a small number, being small, they and of course received them at the present nombring, and as no one can get them from the Mint, pass singly, or in small numbers, as a currency at inal value, and if he cannot at that nominal value the sole manufactory, for less, and as the Gov- | their nominal value only; but as in large suns ihis discharge his debe, he must suffer the loss. Is ment will stand pledged to redeem them at that difference amounts to considerable, there is a profit | this just? The poor deblor does not undertake to price, they must always bring it. They must in gathering them into large sums and selling them i insure the creditor against the silent, but no less therefore always be worth and pass for a dollar in as bullion, thereby withdrawing them from cir- | important and powerful changes of nature or of large or small sums. This we see verified by our culation. A like interest prevents the holder of natural causes. If the currency had appreciated, three-cent pieces and the Spanish coins now so large sums from paying them out as currency. the creditor would not have remitted one jot or extensively circulated in the country. No one As the advance received from the exporter by the tiltle of what was nominated in his bond. A condoubts but that when he receives a dollar in them person who gathers them up at their nominal value tract to pay in money is not different, so far as risk at their nominal value he is getting the worth of a is clear profil, he can sell them to him at such a li is concerned, from a contract to pay wheat or any dollar of gold or silver, because he can get them price as will enable him to make a handsome profit other commercial commodity. The contractors for no less, and he can readily exchange them for by their exportation to a better market. There is, stipulate the article, the quality and quantity. If the one or the other. Yet that nominal dollar in then, a constant stimulant to gather up every silver | it rises in value, the payor loses, and the payee three-cent pieces is intrinsically worth, of standard coin, and send it to market as bullion to be ex- gains. If it falls, then the payee gains, and the silver, only eighty-three and one third cents, and changed for gold, and the result is, the country is payor loses; each takes his risk. If it was the in the Spanish coins usually in circulation only almost devoid of small change for the ordinary wheat contained in a hundred bushels instead of from eighty to ninety-four cents, according as it is small business transactions, and what we have is the gold in a hundred dollars, and that wheat was in fips, twelve-and-a-half-cent pieces, or quarters, of a depreciated character. This does not injure at the making of the contract worth one hundred the depreciation of these Spanish coins by abra- | your Wall street brokers, who deal by thousands; !| dollars, and before the time of payment wheat sion being from six to twenty per cent.
ihey are making a profit by it; but it is a serious || should become scarce, and worth iwenty per cent. lf, then, the mere necessity and convenience of injury to the laboring millions of the country, who more in price, would the debtor expect to pay or the community maintain in circulation at their deal in small sums. I am not so much surprised, the creditor to receive any the less quantity; or if nominal value coins thus intrinsically deprecia- therefore, to find the gentleman from the city of it should depreciate in value, would the one expect ted, can there be any doubt that one of an in New York (Mr. Brooks) opposing the measure. to pay, or the other to receive any the less ? Each trinsic value of at least an average of twelve per This evil must be remedied; and I know of no has taken his risk and must abide the consecent. more, issued by and bearing the stamp of our remedy but to make the relative intrinsic value of quences. Or would gentlemen throw the entire own Government, which will also stand pledged to gold and silver coins correspond with their relative risk upon the poor laboring debtor, so that if it redeem them, will do so without loss to the citizen? | nominal value. You must diminish the intrinsic rises the creditor gains; if it falls the debtor must Your copper coin maintains its credit and circula- || value of the silver coins, or increase that of the lose? This would be the effect. There would be tion, though not intrinsically worth seventy per gold; you my diminish the quantity of silver in no reciprocity. cent. of its nominal value. You need no law | the silver coins, or increase the quantity of gold Besides, sir, what shall the Government do? It making these new coins a legal tender. The creditor in the gold coins. Which shall we do?—which has stamped and put into circulation these various will be but too anxious to receive them, as he now ought we to do? This we can only determine by gold coins at their nominal value. Shall it now is the old worn-out Spanish coins, which there is examining the effects of the one and the other; by repudiate its own currency, and refuse to receive no law to compel him to take, and, as he now is, | whether we should or should not interfere with the it at the price at which it was issued ? Shall those our three-cent pieces. Another reason why the present state of existing contracts; whether we who happen to have the present coin on hand at the Government should receive them in payment is, || should legislate for the benefit of the creditor at the time of the change suffer the loss, or will gentlethat, thongh—as these coins will only be issued expense of the debtor; for the benefit of the capi- men vote out of the Treasury a fund which will enfrom the Mint upon the demand of our citizens- talist at the expense of labor; whether we shall able the Government to receive these coins at their there can be but little danger of an issue beyond use the powers of the Government to advance the nominal value, and replace them with those of a their actual wants, yet if, by any possibility, there interests of the rich, or to protect the poor? greater intrinsic value? This will still throw the should be, they will immediately find their way And first, what will be the effect of increasing the burden upon the producing, the tax-paying people. back to the Treasury in the payment of public || quantity of gold in thegold coins? Our gold coins On the other hand, do any of these evil consedues, and thereby be withdrawn from circulation, are a legal tender in payment of debts at their quences follow the change of the silver coins proand the amount reduced to the wants and con- nominal value. If the debtor has, therefore, given || posed by this bill? Not at all; for as our gold and venience of the people. They can then never be his note for a hundred dollars, that is practically a silver coins are both legal tenders in payment of a drug in the market; can never fall below their contract to pay the quantity of gold, of the stand-debts at their nominal value, the debtor has now nominal value.
ard fineness, now contained in a hundred dollars of the right to pay in gold at such value, which the So much for this change, and so much for the those coins. If you by law increase the quantity of creditor is bound to receive in discharge of his dues. "principle upon which it is to be made. Every gold in those coins seven per cent._about what This being the case, the debtor, although he may one who has given the least attention to this sub- this bill proposes to decrease the silver coins—the tender silver if he chooses, which the creditor must ject must be satisfied that some alteration in the debtor musi then, to discharge that same debt, receive at its nominal value, yet as he can exchange relative value of our gold and silver coins is ne- pay the quantity of gold contained in one hundred that silver for a larger nominal amount in gold, cessary, and must be made, or that we shall soon and seven dollars of the present coins—geven dol- | which his creditor must also take, no debtor will be without any of the latter. The value of coin, || lars more than he contracted to pay. Or, to give pay in silver at its nominal value. This change, like the value of anything else, is in proportion | a further illustration, suppose I borrow a hun. therefore, of the silver coins, does not injure the to the cost of its production; or, if gentlemen pre- dred dollars, and receive it in the present legal gold creditor, especially as we do not propose to make fer the expression, in proportion to the supply coins, and gave my note payable len days after the new coins a legal tender in payment of debts, and demand, which comes to the same thing; for date. This note, if its terms were fully expressed, leaving it at the option of the creditor to receive if the amount of labor required to produce an means that I shall, ten days after date, pay the them or not. He, of course, will not receive them article is lessened, the production is cheapened, gold in quantity and fineness contained in one unless they will be of as much value to him as the and the amount produced, so long as there is hundred dollars of our present gold coins. Before only present practical legal tender, gold, because he a market for it, is increased. We are all aware it comes due you pass a law requiring that the may still insist upon the gold. If, ihen, he does rethat within the last few years it has required less legal gold coins shall contain seven per cent. more ceive them it will be because they will answer his labor than formerly to raise gold, whilst the cost gold than now. I have had no occasion to use purpose as well, and be therefore of as much value of raising silver has remained about the same. the money; it has lain in my desk; it has nei- to him as the gold. He then can suffer no loss. It The quantity of gold raised has been increased as ther gained nor lost anything intrinsically; yet it will be no especial benefit to the holder of silver, a Consequence, and it has become cheaper, when will not pay off the very note which I gave for it is because he may now sell his silver for gold in the compared with silver, or other commercial com- by seven dollars, saving nothing of interest. This, market at its increased market value, and as he will modities. Silver, then, when compared in gold, then, is not only violating the validity of contracts, not be permitted to take it to the Mint to be coined has appreciated in value, not only in our own mar- but as the creditors are generally the wealthy cap- into these new coins for they will only be made ket, but in the markets of the commercial world. italists, and the debtors laborers, operators of out of bullion purchased in the market forthe Mint,
The same amount of silver bullion will now buy moderate means, it is using the powers of the under the direction of the Treasury-he can still more gold bullion than heretofore; but as it now Government for the benefit of capital at the ex- only get for his silver the amount of gold it will takes no more gold bullion to make a dollar than pense of labor-of the rich at the expense of the ii bring in market. before, no man thinks of paying his debts in poor.
This bill will not enhance the value of the pres.