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Reports on the Post Office.
(June 11, 1834.
ment, and this case of Phineas Bradley was one of the object for which the loan was made. The order to use it matters investigated. The report is now before me. Mr. for that object, had been given by the competent authoriBradley was a clerk, and he had an interest of 1.18th in ty. It was not the want of authority to use the treasure a contract of $2,800 a year. The committee acquitted of the nation, which rendered the loan necessary and the Postmaster General of all impropriety, as they did the propers it was because the money provided would not clerk.
answer the purpose. It was a substitution of current for Now, sir, this one precedent, which has been hunted uncurrent money. But Congress had not only appropriup, altogether fails to furnish justification or excuse. It ated the money for the support of the army, it had, also, amounted to about one hundred and fifty-five dollars, and in March, 1814, authorized a loan of twenty-five millions, was in violation of no law. No law had then forbidden and an issue of Treasury notes of ten millions; one-half clerks employed in any post office to be concerned in a of which was to be a substitute for so much of the loan contract for carrying the mail. But this contract was as should not be taken. In November, of the same year, made secretly--without publication or competition. It three millions more were authorized to be loaned; and in amounts to three or four thousand dollars per year, and that month, and in December, additional authority was was macle in direct violation of a known law of the land. given to issue Treasury notes, for such amount as could So much for the precedent as to the clerk-contractor. not be obtained on loan. When, therefore, Mr. Monroe
But, Mr. President, it is also insisted by the Senator applied to the Secretary of the Treasury, the Executive from Georgia, that this borrowing by the Postmaster had the authority to borrow, and also to issue Treasury General is not without precedent, and is no more a viola-notes. The first he was unable to do; the latter would tion of law than the borrowing of money from the banks not pass if issued. Congress had given authority, but of this District, by Mr. Monroe, which furnished the the credit of the Government could not command the means for the defence of New Orleans-a borrowing means; and Mr. Monroe borrowed the money, not on the which he supposes had, in its consequences, influence credit of the Government, and in the precise form of the upon the election of two Presidents of the United States. law, but on his own responsibility, and on a pledge by He regards them both as borrowing in anticipation of an him, that, when the Government could do what the law appropriation by law. The history of Mr. Monroe's act, had ordered, and the constitutional appropriation had alcompared with that of the Postmaster General, will take thorized, it should be returned. away from the latter all support from this precedent. Now, Mr. President, compare the two acts, and see
What are the facts! As I understand them, they are how far this precedent is an apology for the Postmaster these: Mr. Monroe came from the State to the War De General. Mr. Monroe acted in a state of war, when the partment, in September, 1814. Mr. Campbell had then nation was in danger, and the public safety demanded it: resigned the Treasury, and Mr. Dallas had not been ap- Mr. Barry, in a state of peace, and when no external nepointed. Mr. Monroe found the concerns of the Depart. cessity pressed him. Mr. Monroe, to meet an evil brought ment in a very deranged condition-with the enemy on by a hostile force: Mr. Barry, to meet defalcations pressing the country in various directions, and our army which his own maladministration had caused. Mr. Monin want of the means to enable it to act efficiently. it roe, after Congress had appropriated money to meet the required all the energies of a devoted mind to meet the very object: Mr. Barry, when Congress had made no apdifficulties by which Mr. Monroe was surrounded; and he propriation. Mr. Monroe, when Congress had authorized met them with a devotion that forgot self, and put in haz- the issue of its own notes to meet the service: Mr. Barry, ard his very life. Among other pressing calls upon his when Congress bad assumed no such liability. Mr. Monattention, was the situation of the Southwestern frontier, roe, when Congress was apprized of the condition of the and especially of the city of New Orleans. In the course country, and the necessity for the money: Mr. Barry, of the fall, he was apprized of the danger which threat- when Congress was not only ignorant of any necessity for ened it. It must be saved, at every hazard. Anxiety the money, but had been kept in ignorance by untrue was felt lest the enemy should reach it before the com- representations of the condition of the Department. Mr. manding general, and before he should be prepared suc- Monroe, when Congress could not furnish the money, cessfully to resist. Men, arms, and money were needed. Mr. Barry, when it was perfectly within the power of The two former were ordered, and fortunately arrived in Congress to furnish it. if, after this explanation, the time.
Senator from Georgia, or any other person, thinks the Mr. Monroe called on the Secretary of the Treasury for parallel holds good, or that the act of Mr. Monroc is any money, and was answered that it could not be furnished. excuse or palliation of that of Mr. Barry, I must leave There were Treasury notes, but they were useless—they him undisturbed in his opinion. I beg, however, to aswould not answer the purpose. The credit of the Gov- sure him, that I do not regard Mr. Monroe as borrowing ernment was gone. Application was made to the banks to the money in anticipation of an appropriation. It was lend the money on the faith of the Government, and thcy after an appropriation; but, if it had been in anticipation refused. What was then to be done? Must New Orleans he would not bave been inexcusable. Congress had defall? Must the enemy triumph? Not if James Monroe clared war. Its exigencies must be met. Appropriations could arrest the calamity. Ile applied to two of the banks had been yearly made for the support of the army, from in this District, and pledged his personal responsibility the organization of the Government. The very reverse and character, and they granted what had before been of all these, was the fact with the Post Office Department. refused. He obtained $250,000, and sent it by express; Congress had done nothing to render the money necessaand, under the smiles of Providence, New Orleans was ry--No appropriation for that Department had ever been saved, and the nation triumphed. The act of Mr. Monroe made-no one ought to have been anticipated. was self-devoted and patriotic. He furnished men, arms,
The Senator from Georgia does justice to my feelings, and money; means, without which, the battle of New when he says, I will not speak of Mr. Monroe or his acts Orleans could not have been successfully fought. But but with profound respect. I shall neither speak nor think did Mr. Monroe act without legal and proper authority? of him but with the veneration due to exalted worth, and By recurring to the laws previously passed, it will be to a patriotism and public virtue which was distinguished found, that, in March preceding, nearly twenty-four mil-. the land of patriotism and public virtue. Enjoying, lions of dollars had been appropriated for the support of from my early youth, his confidence and friendship, 1 the army:
This fund was not exhausted, as I believe. shall always speak of him as I know him. He never The Legislature, in compliance with its duty and the con- needlessly violated the laws and disregarded the constituur stitution, had directed the use of the money for the very tion. He never authorized corrupt expenditures of pub to
JUNE 11, 1834. )
(SENATE. lic money. He loved his country, and reverenced her partment sufficient to sustain this increased expense?” institutions. If he had an aspiration strong and ardent, it But then the Postmaster General must call in his suborwas for the preservation of those institutions in their dinate officers, whose business it is to be informed of the purity. If he had a hope and a wish, animated in life, state of the general accounts, and if they fail to inform prevalent in death, it was for the perpetuity of those in- him correctly, and he is led into error, be surely ought stitutions, and the prosperity and glory of his country. not to be held responsible. Let not his acts, I entreat you, be summoned to the aid of Sir, said Mr. B., I have to perform, on this occasion, those who trample on the constitution and the laws. towards this officer, the duties of a friend; but I shall, I
If it be true, Mr. President, that this act of Mr. Monroe trust, in performing the duty I owe to a friend, not derohas influenced the election of two Presidents, I earnestly gate from the duty I owe to the people. I shall blame hope that the acts of the Postmaster General may not pro- where I must, and acquit where I can. With respect to duce the election of a third. And I beg to say to the Sen- the observations made by the Senator from Virginia, (Mr. ator from Georgia, when he attributes so much to the agen- LEIGH,) whether the Postmaster General did or did not incy of Mr. Monroe in procuring the victory of New Orleans, form the President of the United States of the embarrassthat he treads on dangerous ground. Others, who oppose ments of the Department, and whether he borrowed the this administration, have not been permitted to do so. The money with or without the President's advice and conwhole glory of that transaction is claimed as the fee-sim. sent; these facts enter very largely into the quantum of ple of one individual.
the offence. Now without the necessity of going largely Mr. BIBB remarked, that the question before the Sen into the report of the committee, and the statement of ate was as to the number of documents to be printed. It the minority, he would answer those inquiries. From the seemed, however, that this question had drawn into dis- message of the President himself at the opening of the cussion the management of the Post Office Department, session, I say, continued Mr. B., that the President was and some censure had been applied against the head of informed that a loan was necessary for the Department that Department. He felt very sensibly the difficulties before a loan was made; and that he was so informed be. under which he was called on this occasion to act; and fore the present session of Congress, was proved from in relation to the Postmaster General, he had been forci- the message itself. bly struck with one of the observations which had fallen [Here Mr. B. quoted that part of the President's mes. from the Senator from Virginia, that he ought not to be sage.] made to bear more responsibility than what really belong- Were not the responsibilities of the Department spoken ed to him, and that, on investigation, it might turn out that of? Were not improvements beyond the capacity of the there was another on whom the responsibility ought prop: Department spoken of? And could any man, who read erly to fall. Sir, said Mr. B., my opinions with regard the message, doubt that the President was informed that to the Postmaster General are well known; and I take the Department required these louns? Mr. B. owed it this occasion now to say, that I believe him to be an hon- as a duty to the Postmaster General, to ask of the comest and confiding man; and while I do not pretend to jus- mittee to call on him, and inquire whether he gave the tify the borrowing of money by the Department, I cannot President this information, and whether he borrowed this believe him to be solely culpable. From his knowledge money with his advice and consent. No part of the blame of the man, Mr. B. said, and from the manner in which for these acts ought to rest on the head of the Postmaster the business of the Department has been subdivided, he General; and, unless the man was greatly changed, unought not to bear the whole blame for any embarrass- less there was something in the atmosphere of Washingments into which it had fallen. Let him bear so much of ton which curdled the blood, that man was incapable of the responsibility as justly belongs to him, and let others acting improperly, or concealing his conduct. He acbear the responsibility justly belonging to them. It would quitted him, therefore, from these charges, and he acreadily be perceived that it was not possible for any one quitted, from the evidence in the message of the Presihuman intellect to superintend all and every minutiæ of dent itself. a Department so extensive as the Post Office. The Post It had been some time since he read the life of Lord Office laws were framed on this idea, and, under the dic-Chancellor Bacon; but, in reading the history of those tates of common sense, provided the head of the Deparl- times, he found there was a certain Buckingham who ment with two Assistants, over whom he presides. Con- managed the Government, and indeed, managed Bacon tracts and extra allowances, it was admitted, were made himself; and the result was, that Bacon was compelled, by under his superintendence; but it belonged to the two the terrors of the times, into self-condemnation, to screen Assistant Postmasters General to make them, and to car. Buckingham, the corrupt minion of a corrupt court. He ry them into effect, while the Postmaster General had would not pretend to say that his friend, Mr. Barry, was nothing to do but to superintend and control generally, the equal of Lord Bacon in point of intellect; but among and to act, when called on by his Assistants, in cases of all honorable men, he has the reputation of talents and difficulty. This has been the practice from the time of virtue; and be feared that there were many Buckingthe establishment of the Depariment down to the present hams at work in the Post Office at least.
It was, perday. It must, therefore, be perceived, that when these haps, an error of judgment on the part of the Post.nasextra allowances were made, many of them were made ter General, that he did not instantly, on ascertaining the without the knowledge of the Postmaster General. deficiency of the Department, make the facts known to
It had been a settled principle of the Government for Congress. But had he done so, how many Buckinghams many years past, that this Department should sustain it would have found themselves impeached, he would not self from its own resources; and, except in time of war, pretend to say. to permit the whole of its receipts to be expended within Sir, said Mr. B., I know well how the head of the Post itself, in extending its mail routes, and in increasing the Office Department is pressed from every quarter for the accommodations of the community. It was therefore the purpose of making these improvements and expeditions duty of the officers of this Department, in making these son mail routes. He had seen soniething of it; so much extra allowances, to see that they were not exceeding its so, that, he believed, you could hardly go along any mail capacity. Now, when an appeal was made to the Post- line of the United States without hearing of the improvemaster General himself, to extend a mail route-for in- ments that were wanted. Take any mail route, and what stance, to run a mail from Philadelphia direct to New Or- was the result? The contractor had nothing to do but to leans, deemed very important to the commercial world get every tavern-keeper on the line, and every man who the inquiry must be made, “ Are the receipts of the De-l lived within five miles of it, to sign a petition, and say
Reports on the Post Office.
(JUNE 11, 1834.
that the proposed improvement is desirable, and then fund, and he thought so still. Nothing which had ocsend it on to the Department. What, then, was the Post- curred had shaken this conviction. The Senator from master General to do in such a case! He must either al- New Jersey had expressed surprise that any alarm should tend 10 it himself, or he must have Assistants who are exist, as to the publication of these documents. Where competent to do so; and if they act, or by their informa- did the Senator see any indications of this alarm? It was tion lead him into error, he surely ought not to be held not in the power of the majority of the Senate to prevent responsible.
these publications. When gentlemen looked at the charThere was a great disposition, Mr. B. said, on the part acter of the newspapers, and the spirit with which they of contractors and others, to benefit themselves at the ex- were conducted, they must feel satisfied that no expendpense of the Government, and to lay the responsibility on iture on the part of the Senate was necessary to publish ihe Department.
these documents, if they were required for party purAgain: thc Postmaster General has, in a great measure, poses. The publication would be made, and the only his reputation placed in the keeping of persons whom question was, whether the contingent fund should be put he did not himself select, but took them on the advise- in requisition to defray the expense. Gentlemen said that ment of others; and he (Mr. B.) did advise bim that, it was the practice of the Senate to publish extraordinary when he should find it necessary to displace any persons numbers of documents. They certainly had published from office, to fill their places with his own friends--with 6,000, and, perhaps, on some occasions, as many as men allied to him by personal and political considerations, 10,000; but scarcely ever more than 6,000 of the most and for whose integrity and capacity he could himself interesting documents, and, in many cases, this was done vouch. But he has been confiding, and therefore should without necessity. They did spread 6,000 of the Presinot be made more responsible than his own acts deserve. dent's protest.
In what manner the extra allowances have been made, [Several voices: Not the protest.} Mr. B. would not say, but he was free to declare, that Mr. F. resumed. He begged pardon; not the protest. they were unauthorized, and that he would not vote a The protest did not find favor bere; but they had printed dollar for them. They must be paid out of the savings 6,000 copies of the veto message. But the protest bad of the Department, for the Treasury should not be bur- been spread as widely as any document. If they wish to dened to reimburse unauthorized allowances. By refu- ensure the publication of a document, the best mode was sing this reimbursement, Congress would, in that way, to attempt to suppress it. Was there any utility in this say to the Departments, When you borrow money you publication? No. The fact that abuses exist, (corruption must do it on your own responsibility, and know the fund if you please,) if they do exist, will be fixed in the public from which it is to be paid.
opinion, without the aid of the contingent fund, for elecThe Senator from New Jersey had referred to the mon- tioneering purposes. The document will be circulated, ey raised by Mr. Monroe for the defence of New Or- and it will not be of the slighest importance to the people leans, and contended that it was not a case in point, be. whether the reports have been drawn up with partiality cause the money had already been appropriated by act or not. If the affairs of the Department have been justly of Congress, though the funds in the Treasury were not administered, that was all that was necessary. All this available, and, therefore, Mr. Monroe did not act without trash and investigation of private accounts, would amount sufficient authority. In this he entirely concurred with to nothing with the people. If the Senate did their duty, that gentleman. He himself knew an instance in which the evil would be corrected, and the criminals would be a gentleman of Kentucky, a paymaster, raised $100,000 punished before 30,000 of these reports could be sent for the service of the Government on his own responsi- forth. bility, not because there was no appropriation, for the The Senator from New Jersey had adverted to an irreg: money was raised, but because it would not pass. He had ular exercise of power by James Monroe; and he had a draft of the Paymaster General, and could not raise the told the Senate plainly, that in that instance there was no money on it; he iherefore put his own name on the draft, violation of law. But if there was no violation of law in and got a loan for the amount. This act of Governor that case, there was none in this latter transaction. But Shelby was no violation of the law, for the appropriation this was not the correct view. There was violation of was made, and such money as the Government had was law in both cases. The first was done with the consent placed in his hands; but it not being available, he was of the President of the United States, but it did not ap. obliged to raise money that would pass on his own re- pear that the second was. Whether it was so, or not, was sponsibility, rather than the service of the Government not the loan a loan for the Department, and solely for the should suffer.
purpose of the Department? " It was paid to the head of Now, as to the question of printing, before the Senate, a Department for the uses of the Department. But the Mr. B. said he should not, from any consideration of per- Senator from New Jersey stated, tat in the case of Mr. sonal friendship to Major Barry, withhold from the pub- Monroe, there had been a previous appropriation made lic the necessary information contained in the reports and for the War Department. So there was. But, was it documents; nor would he, from any pitiful considerations contended that, whenever a previous appropriation had of a pecuniary nature, withhold from them a sufficient been made, a Department had a right to go to the banks number of copies. He should, for himself, prefer a less for the money, in anticipation of the usual course? Gennumber of copies than proposed by the gentleman from tlemen seemed to have forgotten the curious and anomaNorth Carolina, (Mr. MANGUM,] though lie was willing to lous character of the Post Office Department. What vote for the motion as it was.
money came into that branch, was there under the entire Mr. FORSYTH said that gentlemen had all day been control of the head of the Department, and passed engaged in discussing the merits of this report, and in through his hands in countless thousands. But when any criticising the conduct of the Department. He did not of the surpluses of this Department went into the treasintend to follow their example. He saw that there was ury, they were then beyond the power of the Departa great difference of opinion in the committee, and he ment. No appropriation was ever made from the treasury should feel it to be his duty to examine the papers, and for the Departenent, beyond what was necessary for the to act as he should feel justified by that examination. payment of clerks. So that there being no previous apThe only question under consideration now, was, as to propriation, could make no difference. He did not say printing an extraordinary number of the reports. When that the cases were exactly parallel. Nor was he now ihis additional number was proposed, he had thought it disposed to go into the merits of this case, as he had not a useless and wasteful expenditure of the contingent yet looked into the reports. lle would take an opportu
June 11, 1834. ]
[SENATE. nity to examine them, and would then be prepared to ex- however, he would say, that for six months the President press his opinion.
has been informed of these transactions of the Post Office, Let gentlemen look into the statute-book. There was and has continued the head of that Department in ema bill making appropriations for the payment of property ployment. He did not wish to accuse Mr. Barry or the taken for the public service during the last war. The President unjustly-he was as far from any such desire as deposition of a sergeant was taken as sufficient to justify any one in that House-but this he knew, there had been the payment of compensation under this act. The con- guilt somewhere, and whether Mr. arry was the sole stitution directed that private property shall not be taken actor, or had acted under the directions of a higher aufor public use; yet not only did the officer doing this es- thority, it was, he thought, the business of the Senate to cape without censure, but money was granted out of the ascertain. treasury to make good the loss. There was also the case Mr. FORSYTHI said, that he believed that the Presi. of James Monroe, and no doubt similar cases in the other dent was responsible for the acts of Mr. Duane and Mr. Departments. The Clerk of the House, and our Secre- Taney; and in like manner, he was responsible for the tary, on whose provision for our daily wants (said Mr. F.) acts of Mr. Barry. He bad understood the Senator from we are subsisting here, borrow the money for our supply Virginia to say, that the President had no right to interfrom the banks in anticipation. In former times, the fere. Now, the President should not be condemned in clerks received their money in anticipation, and the one case, and acquitted in the other. He wished to inmoney was returned as soon as the appropriations were quire if gentlemen intended that Congress should adjourn made. These were all abuses: but it seemed hard that without applying some remedy to the evil. The Departthe Postmaster General should be the first person on ment was acknowledged, at the lowest estimate, to be whom the slumbering judgment of the people was to behind $300,000. He did not see that the report sugfall.
gested the application of any remedy: A word as to one expression of the gentleman from Mr. EWING replied, that if the gentleman from Georgia Virginia, (Mr. Leigu,) on the responsibility of the Presi. had read the report of the majority of the committee, he dent. The President acted on his own doctrine of re- would have seen that a remedy was suggested. The masponsibility, and so far (said Mr. F.) as he knew of the jority would not consent to any appropriation of money, existence of this evil, and did not check it, he is respon- but they were disposed to act by legislation, considering sible according to our principles and his own. But gen- that to be the only remedy: tlemen were ireating the President with a singular want Mr. FORSYTH. What is the legislation? of equity. They had condemned the President for in- Mr. EWING replied. No special and detailed provisions terfering with the means in the treasury; and now they are suggested in the report; but it is proposed generally condemn him because he did not interfere with the con- to provide by law a more strict system for the government cerns of the Post Office. He was condemned by gentle of the Department; to prescribe to its officers more spemen on one rule in one case, and on a different rule in cial rules for the performance of their duties; and espeanother case. There could not be one rule for one case, cially to take from them their much abused discretion in and another rule for the other.
the acceptance of proposals for contracts, and in granting One word as to the warning given, in reference to the extra allowances. The bill introduced by the chairman two hundred and fifty thousand dollar transaction of Mr. some time ago, does, in many of its provisions, meet with Monroe. He did not know the fact to which the Senator the approbation of a majority of the committee. It is alluded, and therefore did not understand the value of the good as far as it goes, but is not sufficient to guard against warning. He had no doubt it was kindly meant, and he all the evils incident to the present organization of the thanked the Senator for it; but he had no fears; what he Department. Nor has it yet been in the power of the spoke, in all cases, he said without fear.
committee, pressed as they have been with other duties, Mr. LEIGH observed, that he did not rise to vindicate to mature a system on which they are willing to rest. himself from the charge of inconsistency, as imputed to They will, however, if the bill named be amended in some him by the gentleman from Georgia, but he did rise to particulars, which some members of the committee invindicate bimself from the imputation of having done tend to propose, concur in its passage, as the best of all injustice to the President of the United States; and the practicable temporary expedients. There is believed to gentleman from Georgia might feel assured, that the be only this difference in the views of the majority and President should at all times have full justice at his he minority of the committee on the subject: The mi. hands. The Presiilent had told the people of the United nority recommend the appropriation of $450,000 from States that he, and he only, was responsible for the re- the treasury to set the Department on its feet. The mamoval of the public deposites from the Bank of the Uni- jority do not think it safe to make the appropriation, until ted States; that he is responsible for the acts of the Secre- there is some further guarantee for its prudent disbursetary of the Treasury, and of all the heads of Departments; ment. that he alone is responsible for all the acts of the Gov- Mr. E. said, he would very briefly notice a few points ernment. I do not believe, and Mr. L., that he is alone touched in debate, and first the suggestions of the honorresponsible. I differ from him toto colo; and, therefore, able chairman, as to the legality of allowing a clerk in the I stated that, on the principles he had avowed, he was re- Department to be a contractor. The honorable Senator sponsible. I would not make him solely responsible, I did not seem to be aware that there is a provision in the would only make him responsible for an act of a subordi- act of 1825 expressly prohibiting it. nate officer after he knows of it and sanctions it.
Mr. GRUNDY explained that he had said there was no Mr. FORSYTH made a brief explanation.
legislative provision which conflicted with the view he Mr. LEIGH continued. Upon the President's prin- had taken. He had now doubts if that legislative prociples, he is responsible. On his principles, he ought to vision covered all the ground. send another protest here, because the Senate has dared Mr. EWING resumed. The honorable Senator inquito interfere with the acts of one of his officers, for which red of me for the provision of law, and being referred to he alone hole!s himself responsible. If Mr. L. should it, he proceeded to construe it away; and tells us that the find that the President directed the borrowing of this law, in which this provision is found, was principally inmoney, he would acquit Mr. Postmaster Barry, and throw tended to regulate the conduct of country postmasters the blame on his master, as the President thinks himself and their clerks. In this he is entirely mistaken. The to be. Some things he had been informed of, Mr. L. act of 1825 is entitled “An act to reduce into one the said, but he would not touch on them at present. This, several acts establishing and regulating the Post Office SENATE.]
Reports on the Post Office.
(June 11, 1834.
Department." And it is what it purports to be. And, as transportation in Vermont as in New Hampshire. This I the 42d section provides that “no clerk employed in any presume correct; indeed, I never questioned it. It is the post office shall be a contractor," there can be little doubt amount of money paid for transportation in New Hamp. that it is intended to refer to clerks in the General Post shire, beyond that paid in Vermont, that attracted the atOffice, as well as in the offices of deputy postmasters. tention of the committee. If small, it would not have If he would look at the mischief which the law was in- been noticed, as it might then have been accounted for tended to guard against, it would remove the doubt of by the routes running through both States, and the conthe honorable chairman himself. There is little danger tractors accidentally residing in New Hampshire. But of bias, or influence, or partiality, between those who the difference is so very great, that it can be explained grant cor.tracts here and clerks in the post offices in re only on the supposition that the New Hampshire contractmote parts of the Union. And there is no danger that ors are favored in some way, either in extent of contracts such clerks will inspect the bids of other persons, and or in compensation, that their neighbors are not. The thereby be enabled to regulate their own bids according- Senator from Tennessee says, that newspaper privilege is ly; but a clerk in the General Post Office has this ad- granted to contractors pursuant to a provision of law. Be vantage over every other person who may be a bidder, it so. It is not that privilege alone to which the commitand the object of the law was to prevent this, and to tee objected, even as an abuse; and there are many abuprevent partiality toward a dependant, or favorite, at the ses which are not violations of law. But we object to Department. The memory of the honorable chairman as placing numerous contracts, covering almost a whole to ancient transactions, is better than bis observation of State, in the hands of a partisan editor, and accompanying passing events. He remembers a case in which Phineas those contracts with the newspaper privilege, which, in Bradley, then a clerk in the General Post Office, had, effect, gives his papers the almost exclusive circulation in some twenty years ago, a share in a contract to the the State. In answer to the inquiries made by the Senator amount of one hundred and twelve dollars a year, and from Virginia near me, (Mr. LEIGH,) I have only to say, that, too, before there was any law forbidding it; but, that the committee did not discover the misstatement in although he has been long chairman of the Committee on the Blue Book, of the extra allowance to Peck & Welthe Post Office and Post Roads, and although this con- ford, which he has noticed and explained. The committract for four thousand five hundred dollars a year was tee was aware that Peck & Welford had been very hardgiven to Doctor Temple, also a clerk, under his very eye, ly dealt with in an adjustment of their route and that of and against the act of 1825, yet this old case of Doctor m. Smith, which rüns parallel to theirs, by which they Bradley is madle his moving cause for legislation, and the lost the transportation of passengers which had used to act of the Department, in granting the contract to Doctor to be carried on their line. Their case was considered Temple, is passed over and excused. I shall not vote for one of great hardship, but it is one which does not seem that provision in the honorable Senator's bill. One ex: to admit of a remedy. The error in the Blue Book, atpress statutory provision is enough if it be regarded, and tributing to them an extra allowance which was never i do not know ihat a duplicate act would the better en- made them, though it had escaped my notice, does not sure obedience.
at all surprise me. It was but a small matter of but a few A single word, said Mr. E., in reply to the Senator thousand dollars, and therefore not likely to attract attenfrom New Hampshire, (Mr. Hill.] That honorable Sen- tion, when so many, and much larger cases, were under ator has read a labored defence of the l'ost Office De examination. partment generally, as a branch of the Government, and
The Senator from Georgia (Mr. FORSYTH} objects to has succeeded in proving that it is a great convenience to printing the number designated in the motion, because he the country, and, on the whole, a very good thing: To is unwilling to send this trash, as he calls it, before the this part of his lecture I can offer no objections, for it falls public. Well as I am acquainted with the honorable in with my own preconceived notions on this subject, Senator's mode of discussion, and his liberal use of epiand, I believe, with the general opinion of the country; thets, I was some what surprised at that expression. The and the honorable Senator will be comforted, when I as honorable Senator admitted freely, that there were facts sure him, that it is not the Department itself, as an arm disclosed in this paper which were entitled to grave conof the Government, to which I object, but to the abuse of sideration; that transactions were charged against the it by those who were appointed to watch over and direct Postmaster General, and admitted by the minority of the it. And that there is not the slightest disposition to in. committee, which were against the very constitution of jure or destroy the thing itself, but rather to preserre it our country, and which could only be excused, but which from that destruction with which it is threatened by those could not be justified. And yet, before he took his seat, into whose bands it has unfortunately fallen; so that the he designated as trash, either the report stating, or the honorable Senator and his friends are not likely to be de evidence sustaining, these charges; for I knew not which prived, through the agency of the committee, of any con- he referred tovenience or comfort or profit which that Department Mr. FORSYTH explained. What he had called trash now affords them. He says that, of all the departments was that part of the report which went into an examina. of Government, this is the only one that has sustained itself
. tion of private transactions, without giving any opinion Very true still, and this is no new discovery. It has been, upon them. As to loaning money, he agreed with the and, at the time of its establishment, it was expected to report, that it was an abuse, but had not other Departbe, a source of revenue. He might as well say, when we ments done the same? What he had referred to, was complain of abuses in the custom-houses, that our com. that to which no importance could be attached. If the plaints are all unreasonable, because the revenues of the people were satisfied with the main fact, that there was nation are supplied from the customs. It is thought that corruption in the Department, that was all they would there may be abuses by those who both collect and dis want to know. burse, as well as by those who merely disburse the pub- Mr. EWING. And in order to satisfy the people that lic money, and when abuses are found to exist, we cannot there was corruption, the honorable Senator would not give to those who commit them the credit of creating the send abroad the report of the majority, showing a succesfund which, as mere instruments of the law, they receive, sion of facts which tend to prove it—the report of the miand which they lawlessly waste or
They nority giving another color to the several transactions, should be held amenable to precisely the same extent as and escluding the evidence taken before the committee, if they received the money out of the public Treasury. and referred to by them, on which alone any just judg
The Senator says that there are as many miles of maillment can be forined. Mr. E. believed that the proof