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that a large amount of property now afloat, in ships and goods, owned by Americans, and sailing and transported on American account, is put into commercial operation by means of foreign capital actually advanced, or acting through the agency of credit. This introduction of foreign capital, in all the various forms, has doubtless had some effect in extending our paper circulation, and in raising prices; and certainly it has had a direct effect upon the ability of making investments in the public lands.

And, Sir, closely connected with these causes is another, which I should consider, after all, the main cause; that is, the low price of land, compared with other descriptions of property. In every thing else prices have run up; but here price is chained down by the statute. Goods, products of all kinds, and indeed all other lands, may rise, and many of them have risen, some twenty-five, and some forty or fifty per cent.; but Government lands remain at a dollar and twenty-five cents an acre; and vast portions of this land are equal, in natural fertility, to any part of the globe. There is nothing, on either continent, to surpass their quality. The Government land, therefore, at the present prices, and at the present moment, is the cheapest safe object of investment. The sagacity of capital has found this out, and it grasps the opportunity. Purchase, it is true, has gone ahead of emigration ; but emigration follows it, in near pursuit, and spreads its thousands and its tens of thousands close on the heels of the surveyor and the land-hunter. When I traversed a part of the Western States, three years ago, I could not but ask myself, in the midst of the vast forests around me, Where are the people to come from who are to begin cultivation here, and to checker this wilderness with fields of wheat? But, when returning on the Cumberland road, or while passing along other great channels of communication, I encountered the masses of population moving westward, I was tempted to ask myself, on the other hand, a far different question, and that was, Where in the world will all these people find room to settle ?

Nor are we to overlook, in this survey of the causes of the vast increase in the sale of lands, the effects, almost magical, of that great agent of beneficence, prosperity, wealth, and power --INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT. This has brought the West to the Atlantic, and carried the Atlantic to the West. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin are no longer places remote from us. Rail-roads and canals have brought the settlers of these regions so near to us that we almost see the smoke of their cabins and hear the strokes of their axes. From Maine to the upper Mississippi is already a beaten track, with one's acquaintances every where along the road, and that road even not a long one, if we measure it by the time required to pass over it.

Mr. President, if I am asked how long these causes, or any of them, will continue to act, with this effective energy, I readily answer that I cannot foresee. Nor can I foresee other events, which

may
affect our revenue in

years to come.

And it is for this reason precisely, that what I propose is limited to a single year. All the uncertainties and contingencies which naturally belong to human affairs, hang over us. I know not what expenditures may be called for next year. I know not what may be necessary to satisfy the all-absorbing capacity of Indian wars and Indian treaties. I know not what events, at home or abroad, may shake our commercial security. I know not what frosts and blights may do against the cotton crops. I know not what may happen to our currency. I cannot tell what demands for the use of capital in other objects may slacken the purchase of public lands; for I am persuaded that, hereafter, our income from that source is likely to be much more fluctuating than heretofore, as depending less on the actual amount of emigration, and more on the occasional plenty or scarcity of money. Emigration must hereafter supply its wants, much more than formerly, out of lands already separated from the public domain.

Under these circumstances, it appears to me to be prudent to limit the proposed division to a single operation. Let us lighten the Treasury for once; and then let us pause, and contemplate our condition. As to what may then be expedient, events will enlighten

We shall be able to judge more wisely, by the result of our experiments, and the future will be more visible as it approaches

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nearer.

It will be observed, Sir, that I give full time to the deposit banks to prepare

themselves to pay over these funds. Time for this purpose is indispensable. We might do rather harm than good, if we were to require any sudden operation of that kind. Give the banks time; let them know what they have to do; let the community see into what channels the surplus funds are to flow, and when they are to begin to flow; and men of business will then be able to see what is before them.

I have the fullest confidence that if we now adopt this measure, it will immediately relieve the country. It will remove that severe and almost unparalleled pressure for money which is now distressing and breaking down the industry, the enterprise, and even the courage of the commercial community. I assure you, Sir, this present pressure is not known, or felt, or believed here, in any thing like its true extent. If we give no relief, I know not what may happen, even in this day of high prosperity. I beseech those who have the power, not to let the opportunity pass, but to improve it, and thereby to revive the hopes and reassure the confidence of the country. Having expressed these sentiments, and brought forward this specific proposition for one division among the States of the surplus funds, I should now move to commit the whole subject, either to a select committee, or the Committee on Finance, were it not that, looking to the present composition of the Senate, I am not desirous of taking a lead in this measure. The responsibility naturally rests with those who have the power of majorities, and who may expect the concurrence of other branches. Meantime I cheerfully give myself to any labor which the occasion requires, and I express my own deep and earnest conviction of the propriety and expediency of the measures which I have endeavored to explain and to support.

Mr. W. then proposed the following as an amendment to the “ bill to regulate the deposits of the public money,” as an additional section :

Sec. · And be it further enacted, That the money which shall be in the Treasury of the United States on the first day of January, eighteen hundred and thirty-seven, reserving millions, shall be divided among the several States, in proportion to their respective amounts of population, as ascertained by the last census, and according to the provision of the second section of the first article of the Constitution; and the Secretary of the Treasury shall pay the same to such persons as the several States may authorize to receive it, in the following proportions, and at the following times, viz. one half on the first day of April, eighteen hundred and thirtyseven; one quarter part, on the first day of July, eighteen hundred and thirty-seven; and the remaining quarter on the first day of October, eighteen hundred and thirty-seven; and all States which shall receive their several proportions according to the provisions of this act, shall be taken and understood thereby to pledge the public faith of such States to repay the same, or any part thereof, to the United States, whenever Congress shall require the same to be repaid by any act or acts which shall require such payment ratably, and in equal proportion, from all the States which had received the

same.

SPEECH

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, ON THE SPECIE

CIRCULAR, DECEMBER 21, 1836.

The Senate having again proceeded to the order of the day, which was the consideration of the following resolutions, heretofore moved by Mr. Ewing, of Ohio:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, &c. That the Treasury order of the eleventh day of July, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six, designating the funds which should be receivable in payment for public lands, be, and the same is hereby, rescinded.

ů Řesolved, also, That it shall not be lawful for the Secretary of the Treasury to delegate to any person, or to any corporation, the power of directing what funds shall be receivable for customs, or for the public lands ; nor shall he make any discrimination in the funds so receivable, between different individuals, or between the different branches of the public revenue.”

Mr. WEBSTER addressed the Senate as follows:

Mr. PRESIDENT: The power of disposing of this important subject is in the hands of gentlemen, both here and elsewhere, who are not likely to be influenced by any opinions of mine. I have no motive, therefore, for addressing the Senate, but to discharge a public duty, and to fulfil the expectations of those who look to me for opposition, whether availing or unavailing, to whatever I believe to be illegal or injurious to the public interests. In both these respects, the Treasury order of the 11th of July appears to me objectionable. I think it not warranted by law, and I think it also practically prejudicial. I think it has contributed not a little to the pecuniary difficulties under which the whole country has been, and still is, laboring; and that its direct effect on one particular part of the country is still more decidedly and severely unfavorable.

The Treasury order, or Treasury circular, of the 11th of July last, is addressed by the Secretary to the receivers of public money, and to the deposit banks. It instructs these receivers and these banks, after the 15th day of August then next, to receive in payment of the public lands nothing except what is directed by existing laws, viz. gold and silver, and, in the proper cases, Virginia land scrip; provided, that till the 15th of December then next, the same

12

VOL. III.

H*

indulgence heretofore extended, as to the kind of money received, may be continued, for any quantity of land not exceeding three hundred and twenty acres, to each purchaser who is an actual settler or bona fide resident in the State where the sales are made.

The exception in favor of Virginia scrip is founded on a particular act of Congress, and makes no part of the general question. It is not necessary, therefore, to refer further to that exception. The substance of the general instruction is, that nothing but gold and silver shall be received in payment for public lands; provided, however, that actual settlers and bona fide residents in the States where the sales are made may purchase in quantities not exceeding three hundred and twenty acres each, and be allowed to pay as heretofore. . But this provision was limited to the 15th day of December, which has now passed; so that, by virtue of this order, gold and silver are now required of all purchasers and for all quantities.

I am very glad that a resolution to rescind this order has been thus early introduced; and I am glad, too, since the resolution is to be opposed, that opposition comes early, in a bold, unequivocal, and decided form. The order, it seems, is to be defended as being both legal and useful. Let its defence then be made.

The honorable member from Missouri (Mr. BENTON) objects even to giving the resolution to rescind a second reading. He avails himself of his right, though it be not according to general practice, to arrest the progress of the measure at its first stage. This, at least, is open, bold, and manly warfare.

The honorable member, in his elaborate speech, founds his opposition to this resolution, and his support of the Treasury order, on those general principles respecting currency, which he is known to entertain, and which he has maintained for many years. His opinions some of us regard as altogether ultra and impracticable; looking to a state of things not desirable in itself, even if it were practicable, and if it were desirable, as being far beyond the power of this Government to bring about,

The honorable member has manifested much perseverance, and abundant labor, most undoubtedly, in support of his opinions; he is understood, also, to have had countenance from high places; and what new hopes of success the present moment holds out to him, I am not able to judge, but we shall probably soon see. It is

precisely on these general and long-known opinions that he rests his support of the Treasury order. A question, therefore, is at once raised between the gentleman's principles and opinions, on the subject of the currency, and the principles and opinions which have generally prevailed in the country, and which are, and have been, entirely opposite to his. That question is now about to be put to the vote of the Senate. In the progress, and by the termination of

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