Abbildungen der Seite

the public domain. Its operation has been, without a moments interruption, to push the settlement of the western country to the full extent of our utmost


We approach, at length, sir, to a more important part of the honourable gentleman's observations. Since it does not accord with my views of justice and policy to give away the public lands altogether, as mere matter of gratuity, I am asked by the honourable gentleman on what ground it is that I consent to vote them away in particular instances ? How, he inquires, do I reconcile with these professed sentiments, my support of measures appropriating portions of the lands to particular roads, particular canals, particular rivers, and particular institutions of education in the West ? This leads, sir, to the real and wide difference in political opinion between the honourable gentleman and myself. On my part, I look upon all these objects as connected with the common good, fairly embraced in its object and its terms; he, on the contrary, deems them all, if good at all, only local good. This is our difference. The interrogatory which he proceeded to put at once explains this

difference. “What interest,” asks he, “bas South Carolina in a canal in Ohio ?" Sir, this very question is full of significance. It developes the gentleman's whole political system; and its answer expounds mine. Here we differ. I look upon a road over the Alleghany, a canal round the falls of the Ohio, or a canal or railway from the Atlantic to the western waters, as being an object large and extensive enough to be fairly said to be for the common benefit. The gentleman thinks otherwise, and this is the key to open his construction of the powers of the government. He may well ask what interest has South Carolina in a canal in Ohio ? On his system, it is true, she has no interest. On that system, Ohio and Carolina are different governments and different countries; connected here, it is true, by some slight and ill defined bond of union, but, in all main respects, separate and diverse. On that system, Carolina has no more interest in a canal in Ohio than in Mexico. The gentleman, therefore, only follows out his own principles; he does no more than arrive at the natural conclusions of his own doctrines

he only announces the true results

of that creed which he has adopted himself, and would persuade others to adopt, when he thus declares that South Carolina has no interest in a public work in Ohio. Sir, we narrow minded people of New England do not reason thus. Our notion of things is entirely different. We look upon the states not as separated, but as united. We love to dwell on that union, and on the mutual happiness which it has so much promoted, and the common renown which it has so greatly contributed to acquire. In our contemplation, Carolina and Ohio are part of the same country; states, united under the same general government, having interests, common, associated, intermingled. In whatever is within the proper sphere of the constitutional power of this government, we look upon the states as one. We do not impose geographical limits to our patriotic feeling or regard ; we do not follow rivers and mountains, and lines of latitude, to find boundaries beyond which public improvements do not benefit us. We who come hiere as agents and representatives of these narrow minded and selfish men of New England, consider ourselves as bound to regard, with an equal eye,

the good of the whole in whatever is within our power of legislation. Sir, if a railroad or canal, beginning in South Carolina and ending in South Carolina appeared to me to be of national importance and national magnitude, believing, as I do, that the power of government extends to the encouragement of works of that description, if I were to stand up here, and ask, what interest has Massachusetts in a railroad in South Carolina, I should not be willing to face my constituents. These same narrow minded men would tell me that they had sent me to act for the whole country, and that one who possessed too little comprehension, either of intellect or feeling; one who was not large enough, both in mind and in heart, to embrace the whole, was not fit to be entrusted with the interest of any part. Sir, I do not desire to enlarge the powers of the government by unjustifiable construction, nor to exercise any not within a fair interpretation. But when it is believed that a power does exist, then it is, in my judgment, to be exercised for the general benefit of the whole. So far as respects the exercises of such a power, the states are one.

It was the very object of the

constitution to create unity of interests to the extent of the powers of the general government. In war and peace we are one, in commerce one, because the authority of the general government reaches to war and peace, and to the regulation of commerce. I have never seen any more difficulty in erecting lighthouses on the lakes than on the ocean; in improving the harbours of inland seas than if they were within the ebb and flow of the tide; or of removing obstructions in the vast streams of the West, more than in any work to facilitate commerce on the Atlantic coast.

If there be any power for one, there is power also for the other; and they are all and equally for the common good of the country.

Consolidation !- that perpetual cry both of terror and delusion-Consolidation! Sir, when gentlemen speak of the effects of a common fund belonging to all the states as having a tendency to consolidation, what do they mean ?

Do they mean, or can they mean, anything more than that the union of the states will be strengthened by whatever continues or furnishes inducements to the people of the states to hold together? If they

« ZurückWeiter »