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Election of President and Vice President.
(JUNE 11, 1834.
number of votes for Vice President, in each district, shall ticians than to the small ones, because it would be better be holden to have received the electoral vote of that dis. for the people. He wished that, on this subject, mind trict; which fact shall be immediately certified to the should compare with mind, and that time would be allowGovernor of the State, to each of the Senators in Con-ed for ample and deliberate examination. He would, gress from such State, and to the President of the Senate. therefore, move to lay the resolution on the table for the The right of fixing the places in the districts at which the present session, in the hope that it might be taken up elections shall be held, the manner of holding them, of at a more convenient time for consideration. He indicanvassing the votes, of deciding in case of equality of cated his sentiments to be rather unfavorable to the resovotes in the district, and certifying the returns, is reserved lution, as the convention had instituted the electoral colexclusively to the Legislatures of the States. The Con. lege for the purpose of preventing too great an accumu. gress of the United States shall be in session on the second lation of candidates. Monday in October, in the year one thousand eight hun. Mr. BIBB said that he would not object to lay the resodred and thirty-six, and on the same day in every fourthlution on the table for a few days. He thought that pubyear thereafter; and the President of the Senate, in the lic opinion bad determined the machinery of electors to presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, be cumbrous and unnecessary. With the same general shall, as soon as convenient and practicable, proceed to views of the necessity of placing the election of Presi. open all the certificates and returns, and the electoral dent and Vice President on a more secure foundation, the votes of the districts shall be thereupon counted. The gentleman from Virginia and he had come to very differperson having the greatest number of votes of the electo-ent conclusions. He was of opinion that the election is ral districts, for President, shall be President, if such at present controlled by the petty, meddling politicians number be a majority of the whole number of districts; of the country, and it was his object to take it out of but if no person have such majority, then a second elec- such hands. He reminded the gentleman that the resotion shall be held on the first Thursday and succeeding lution provided that each State must present one canFriday and Saturday in the month of December then next didate not one of her citizens. He had proposed these ensuing, which shall be confined to the persons having resolutions at the commencement of the session, and had received the two highest numbers for the office of Presi. endeavored to get them brought forward. He was wildent at the preceding trial; which second election shall ling now to leave them in the hands of the Senate, having be conducted, the result certified, and the votes counted, performed his duty. in the same manner as in the first; and the person having Mr. BENTON explained the proposition. It contained the greatest number of votes for President shall be Pres- three points. 1. To refer the election of President and ident. But if two or more persons shall have received Vice President to a direct vote of the people. 2. To the greatest and equal number of votes at the second take the election out of the House of Representatives. election, the House of Representatives shall choose one 3. To abolish the general-ticket system, and introduce a of them for President, as is now prescribed by the consti- uniform system of districts. tution. The person having the greatest number of votes He said that the theory of the constitution had failed for Vice President at the first election, shall be Vice with respect to the electors. They were intended to President, if such number be a majority of the whole choose the President and Vice President, and to follow number of votes given; and if no person have such ma- their own will in the choice. This theory bad failed. jority, and if a President shall not have been elected, then Electors now had no choice. They were pledged to para second election shall take place between, and to be con- ticular candidates, and could not vote otherwise without fined to, the persons having the two bighest numbers, on treachery to a sacred trust. They had become, therefore, a the same days that the second election is held for the useless piece of machinery, which might do harm, but could President, and the person having the highest number of do no good. In the election of Vice President, these elecvotes for Vice President shall be the Vice President; but tors must sometimes obstruct the will of a part of the peoif two or more persons shall have received the greatest ple. It would happen in the case where two voters agreed and an equal number of votes in the second election, then about the President, but disagreed about the Vice Presithe Senate shall choose one of them for Vice President, dent. They must both vote for the same elector to se. as is now provided in the constitution. But when a sec. cure their choice for the first office; the elector could ond election by the people shall not be necessary for the only represent one of them in voting for the second office. office of President, and a Vice President shall not have The two other principles, Mr. B. said, depended upon been elected by a majority of the districts, then the Sen- one another. They rested on compromise. The great ate shall choose a Vice President from the persons having States complained of the equal right of the small ones in the two highest numbers in the first election, as is now the House of Representatives; and the small ones comprescribed in the constitution.
plained of the general-ticket system, which enabled the Mr. BIBB briefly stated the character of the proposi- majority in a great State to press the minority into their tions contained in the resolution, which provide for doing service, and make them vote against their choice, and thus away with the machinery of electors, and with the action overwhelm the small States with masses, which masses of the House of Representatives.
might contain many votes which would be given to the Mr. BENTON made some further explanations. candidate supported by the small States, if the voters were
Mr. LEIGH adverted to the difficulties which existed free, under the district system, to support whom they in the convention on this subject. It was still a most dif- pleased. In yielding to this compromise, each class of ficult question to be settled, and he was desirous that it states gained an object dear to it, and parted with a right should not now be taken up, as it must necessarily involve more specious than valuable. The right of the small much discussion. There is not a State which does not states to vote in the House of Representatives, was an think that it has a citizen fit to fill the office of President; illusion. In practice it belonged to the representative, and the effect of this amendment would be to produce as and not to the State; for the State had no way to enforce many candidates as States, and then the two largest States her will or to recall the vote of her representative, if given would give the highest votes, and the President must be contrary to her will. The general-ticket system was unselected from them. He feared, also, that this resolu-friendly to the rights of the people; it enabled the majori. tion would take the management of the presidential ty to impress the votes of the minority, and that ought to elections out of the hands of the large politicians, and put condemn it in a country of equal rights. it into the hands of small politicians. If there must be Mr. B. explained the nature of a proposition to amend management, le would rather confide it to the large poli- the constitution. He considered it a mere question of JUNE 11, 1834.] Election of President and Vice President.- Reports on the Post Office.
(SENATE. reference. It was not for Congress to decide upon the the States to determine whether they would vote by disamendment; that was to be done by the State Legisla- tricts or by a general ticket. These features were pretures; and the vote of Congress merely referred the served by the original amendment of the gentleman from amendment to them for their adoption or rejection. He Kentucky; but the amendment obliterated all State boun. thought that members should not be reluctant to make daries, and dictated a course of action as if we were a nathese references, seeing that they were not laws binding tion, and not a compaot of States. He therefore viewed upon the people, but propositions for the people to de- the question as of very great importance. He asked why cide; and that aú a member had to decide was, whether Georgia, New Jersey, and other States, were to be perhe was willing that his State should decide upon the mitted to retain the general-ticket system in their elections amendment for itself; he being one of the people to make to the National Legislature, while this system was to be the decision himself at the final question.
changed in reference to the elections of President and Mr. B. explained the practical operation of the amend- Vice President. ment. It provided for a second election by the people, He moved to lay the resolution on the table; and the if the first failed. He presumed there would be frequent- motion was agreed to. ly two elections; and that the first one would operate as
REPORTS ON THE POST OFFICE. a nomination, and would propose the real candidate for the actual election. Thus the people were to meet in The Senate then resumed the consideration of the spe, August, and vote for President and Vice President. If|cial order, being the motion to print 30,000 copies of the no one had a majority of the whole number, then a sec- reports of the Committee on the Post Office and Post ond election would take place in November or December, Roads. between those having the two highest numbers. Mr. B. Mr. WEBSTER wished to call the attention of the said that the first or preliminary election, would stand in chairman of the Committee on the Post Office to some place of the caucuses and conventions now used for nomi- points omitted in yesterday's debate, and to put to him nating Presidential candidates, and would supersede those some questions which he wished to have answered becaucuses and conventions. It would enable the people fore the provisions of the bill came to be discussed in the themselves to propose the candidates—to make the nomi- Senate. He believed that, in the course of the remarks nations and afterwards make the election out of these he was making when the Senate adjourned, he expressed nominations. In answer to the suggestion of the Senator himself desirous of learning the following facts: Whether from Virginia, over the way, [Mr. LEIGH,] that the large it was true that the Department was insolvent, and was States would always have the foremost on the list, Mr. admitted to be so; and that the only question as to this B. said there would be danger of that consequence if the part of the case was, whether the insolvency be four hungeneral-ticket system prevailed; but the amendment pro- dred thousand dollars or thereabouts, as some of the posed the district system, and it would be difficult for any committee allege, or eight hundred thousand dollars, as eminent man to obtain the vote of every district in his averred by the majority of the committee? Was it true State.
that the Postmaster General has borrowed of sundry Mr. B. was anxious for a vote upon the proposition. It banks at sundry times, large sums of money, amounting was the oldest subject before the House, for it stood No. to four hundred thousand dollars and upwards? Was it 1 on the calendar. It was an old subject before the peo- true that this had not only been done without any auple; and it was probable that the public mind was now thority of law, but that the knowledge of this borrowing ready to decide it. If referred to the people now, and has been withheld from Congress for session after session? adopted, it will be in time for the next Presidential elec- Was it true, as the report of the minority seemed to im. tion, and will supersede the necessity for a caucus, or a ply, that the proposals of one bidder for contracts have convention. He thought the two Houses of Congress been habitualiy opened at the Department and made could act upon it at once, and without formal debate. known to others before those others made bids? Now Whoever was agreed to the principles, might concur in it occurred to him, from the suggestions of the chairman, the details, for they had been well digested. They were that same provision ought to be made by law to prevent the work of two committees: one an extraordinary com- such a practice. The honorable gentleman had said that mittee of nine members, from which it was first reported; he supposed such abuses might exist hereafter, and therethe other, the select committee of five members to which fore he proposed to insert a provision in the bill he had it had been referred by the order of the Senate, and which prepared to prevent them. He, Mr. W., had supposed had re-examined it, and had given the present details the that there were abuses enough at present existing to re. sanction of their approval. Mr. B. believed that the de- quire the attention of the Senate without legislating on tails and the phraseology were as perfect as could be a hypothetical case. He thought the committee was not made; and that every member who was in favor of the constituted and armed with power to send for persons principles, or rather, every member who was willing to and papers for the purpose of inquiring into supposed give his constituents an opportunity of voting upon these cases of abuse, but for the purpose of applying a remedy principles, might safely adopt it.
to actual and existing evils. There were other and imMr. LEIGH withdrew any objection, so far as the vote portant inquiries to be made. Was it true that a clerk on the amendment was concerned. He had not prepar- in the Post Office has been in fact a contractor for an ed himself to discuss the subject. If the United States important route, with the knowledge on the part of the were to be divided into districts, there would be 300 nom- Postmaster that such clerk held the contract before it was inating districts, and if 30 or 40 candidates were present- executed, or before it was performed and that it was need, each could have but very few votes. In discussing cessary to prohibit by positive law persons in the Post a subject of which the mind of the mover has accustomed Office from being contractors! Now he would suppose itself to a particular view, it is too apt to overlook objec- that such a thing could not occur in any government on tions; and hence the necessity of conferring with other earth: that a person standing in the relation that a clerk minds.
does to the Department could be permitted to take a Mr. TYLER expressed his hope that the resolution contract, did not appear to be possible. Now he wished would be now laid on the table. He preferred the origi- to know whether this was a hypothetical case, or whether nal resolution of the gentleman from Kentucky to the it was actually proved. amendment of the committee. He did not wish to pre. Again: Was it true that the public credit had been adserve the electoral body; but he desired to preserve the vanced to an individual contractor; and, on the other federative principles in the constitution, by leaving it to hand, that contractors bave been called on to aid, with
Reports on the Post Office.
(JUNE 11, 1834.
their individual credit, the deficiencies of the means of the bill was introduced, Dr. Temple was not known to the Department? Was it true that mail contractors, in him as a contractor. But he (Mr. G.) put a different contimes of particular party excitement, have received very struction on the act of 1825, than what seemed to be conJarge extra advances, and, about the time of receiving fidently entertained by others, and he knew that by legissuch extra advances, have become proprietors and pub- lating on the subject, it could be made broader and more lishers of party newspapers? Now, he wished to know if explicit. Now, this was not recent information at all. these facts were denied. Facts were all he wanted, and He would read a part of the report of a committee, from them each gentleman would draw his own inferences. made some years since, to show the ground on which be He had one question farther. Was it true, as the report had acted. [Mr. G. then read a part of the testimony of of the minority appeared to imply, that there existed at Abraham Bradley, which stated that Dr. Phineas Bradley, present no sufficient responsibility in the various offices while a clerk, had been interested in a mail contract.] connected with this Department? He did not very ac- That information convinced him that the thing had once curately hear the words in which the minority treated been done, and he thought it would be as well to make this part of the subject, but they appeared to him very the law as obligatory and binding as possible. In making strong, and recommended some legal provisions for secu- a new law, he believed that it was not very important what ring a proper responsibility, and he, therefore, wished to was the existing law, if a doubt was entertained as to its know whether any thing had come to their knowledge to construction, the law of 1825 making a general provision require legislative action, or whether this was a hypo- with regard to this Department, and especially in regard thetical case.
It se ed to him that the general differ. to postmasters throughout the country, as to the manner ence in the two papers presented by the majority and in which they shall discharge their duties. minority of the committee was this: The report charged The provision contained in the bill which be introduced sundry instances of malconduct against the Department, at the commencement of the session, not only prohibits while the paper of the minority appeared to proceed on all persons engaged in the Post Office from acting as con. the ground of defending the Government, but concludes tractors, but also prohibits them from acting as agents for with recommending such legal provisions as will guard contractors, or persons offering to become contractors; against malversation in future. They seemed to deny that therefore the information concerning Mr. Bradley induced any impropriety exists at present, but suppose that, at a him to think it prudent and discreet for the Legislature more inauspicious period, when the affairs of the Depart. of the country to act on the subject. As to information ment may not be so well conducted as now, that such pro- in regard to individuals in the Department who were visions will be found necessary. They propose such pro-concerned in contracts, he believed the case of Dr. Temvisions to guard against, not what now exists, but that ple was the only one--it was all on paper. It was the which may exist hereafter.
only information the committee acquired in the progress Mr. W. concluded by saying, that it was not his pur- of their examination. pose, at present, to pursue the subject further; but as the He (Mr. G.) would, while up, and before he proceedbill prepared by the chairman of the committee proposed ed further, explain what seemed to surprise honorable to make large appropriations, he should be glad to have Senators last evening, in relation to some contractors in these inquiries answered before it was acted on. New Hampshire. In some contracts, it was said, that the
Mr. GRUNDY said that, at present, or at any other newspaper privilege was embraced in the contract. Now, time, if he possessed any information on the subject in if gentlemen had examined the act of 1825, they would debate, he should be very willing to answer all the inqui- have found this, and it carried its own explanation ries and suggestions that might be made or put to him. with it. The first inquiry that had been propounded was, whether [Here Mr. G. read the clause of the act of 1825, which the Post Office was able to meet its engagements, or, in authorizes the extension of this privilege as part of the other words, was it in a bankrupt condition? Now, if the contract.] No all could see the operation of this, and honorable Senator had listened to the report of the ma- that in many cases it would be very convenient; and it jority, and particularly of the minority of the committee, ought not to be charged as a violation of law, that that he could have entertained no doubt as to the opinion they privilege in the contract has been extended to Hill and entertained on that subject. It was set forth, that if all Barton, or any one else. It was according to law, and its available funds were in its hands, and all its debts de. there was no evidence that there was any thing improper manded, there would be a deficiency of about 300,000 in its being entered in their contract. He could tell gendollars. Now this, he hoped, would satisfy the honorable tlemen that there were fifty such cases in the Eastern part Senator. The next inquiry was, had any information of the United States. The intention of the privilege was been obtained by the committee, in the progress of their this: that where a newspaper was published in a small researches at the Post Office Department, in reference to village, and no post office within some miles of it, the the question presented by the bill which he (Mr. G.) had mail should call at the place, take the newspapers, and introduced at an early stage of the session, as to bids being hand them to the subscribers, according to the direction open and subjected to inspection before the time of bid of the editor. ding had expired? Now, he possessed no information on He (Mr. G.) supposed that the meaning of the outcry that subject, but he did believe, and was at present of the by gentlemen with respect to this practice, was to insinu. same opinion, that it was an excellent precaution. It would ate that there was some partiality exercised by the De. do honest men in office no harm, and those who were dis- partment--that there were favorite editors who were con. posed to act unfairly, it would check.
tractors. Now, as he had not examined sufficiently into Before he proceeded to the next inquiry, he would beg the subject, he could not say any thing about it. But he to make a suggestion to the honorable Senator, who seem- could name a few who were editors, and who were coned to suppose that there was no suggestion in the report tractors. The honorable Senator from New Jersey, perbut what was drawn from information obtained in the haps, could tell him what might be their politics, for he course of the examination into the affairs of the Post Of. (Mr. G.) did not know. They had the newspaper privifice Department. Now, the provision contained in the lege; their names were, John M. Hall, living in New Jerbill to which he had just referred, was thought to be a sey, and who carried the mail on several routes. very proper one. The bill was drawn before the duties Now, he (Mr. G.) did not know certainly what the were imposed on the committee of inquiry. There was man's politics were, but he should suppose he was opa recommendation contained in the minority report, that posed to the administration, unless it was denied by no clerk should become a contractor. At the time when those who knew he was not adverse to the administration. Jose 11, 1834.]
Reports on the Post Office.
Let bim be put down to balance the case in New Hamp- day and hour, in blaming every act of his administration, shire.
could not let this session slip without presenting more Here Mr. G. read the names of two or three contract."
gorgons and chimeras dire” on the subject of the Post ors, who were editors of newspapers. The editor and office. publisher of the “Village Record," at Westchester, This Department, Mr. President, is one standing in a Pennsylvania, was a large contractor. What his politics position different from that of every other department in were, Mr. G. did not know.
the Government. While the benefits of this Department Mr. McKEAN said, Opposed to the administration. are more generally felt by the whole people, than those
Mr. GRUNDY said he did not read these for any of any other, it is worthy of notice that this Department other purpose than to show that, by law, the Postmaster pays its own way. The War and Navy, the State and General bad a right to make those contracts. Whether Treasury Departments, expend annually their hundreds he had acted with partiality in doing so, he (Mr. G.) did of thousands, and their millions, taken secretly from the not know; but so far as the inquiry had gone, there were Treasury, while the Post Office Department, collected in two to one against the administration.
small sums of one cent to a dollar, from the transmission The next inquiry which was made by the Senator from of letters, newspapers, and pamphlets, as well among the Massachusetts was, whether any money had been fur- most scattered population, as in villages and more comnished by a contractor to aid the Department in its opera- pact cities, defrays its own vast expenditures. tions? He (Mr. G.) thought the Senator from Ohio yes- When the complicated machinery of this great estabterday stated the testimony of Mr. Reeside correctly. lishment is considered, the wonder is, how it should get Mr. G. did not recollect that Mr. Reeside furnished any on at all. We seem scarcely to be aware, when the mail money, but aided in some way; his credit was used, but enables us to converse every day with our friends, at the not his money, and that to the amount of five or six (distance of five hundred or a thousand miles, carrying thousand dollars. With respect to one of the contractors and fetching communications at the rate of a hundred having become the publisher of a newspaper, the com- miles in a day, that the insignificant amount we pay in mittee, as a body, did not examine into that matter. The postage on a letter or newspaper, is the whole tax which fact appeared to be known to one member of the com- is imposed on the community for the privilege. Yet, how mittee, the Senator from Ohio. He had stated that he heavily are the people taxed for each and every operation possessed information upon which he relied; but the pertaining to the War and Navy Departments! Nay, committee did not examine the evidence, nor was there those very Departments themselves, a direct tax in every any thing in the proceedings respecting it.
thing else on the public treasury, are saved hundreds of The additional responsibility of the Department, which thousands annually, by free communications received was recommended by the minority of the committee, and through this very Post Office Department. was also provided for in the bill, he (Mr. G.) had before Have you not remarked, Mr. President, that every spoken of: it had been his great object to secure a proper thing done by the Government costs much more that what responsibility, for his attention had been early drawn to is done by individuals? Look at the millions which have the defects existing in the present law. He had never been expended in constructing fortifications, roads, cabeen able to perceive that there was sufficient responsi- nals, breakwaters, &c. Look how much these expendibility in the Post Office Department. He had viewed it stures have exceeded the original calculations of those as an irresponsible being; but it ought to be brought un- who have designed them. Look how much is the annual der the same accountability as every other institution; and expense of your navy yards, your armories, your military this could only be done by further legislation.
academy, your mint, and your other establishments. The Senator from Massachusetts seemed desirous to where is the income which is derived to the people from know whether any Department had a right to borrow all these? Millions of dollars thrown away by those acts money. Now he (Mr. G.) did not believe that they had. of folly which constructed forts withir, the British lines at But, if they did, it was upon the individual responsibility Rouse's Point, or on the mud at the Pea Paich, are of the head of the Department, for he was the only per- scarcely noted for censure, while the Post Office Departson who could be legally looked to. Considerations ment is not to be permitted to work its own way, if it can might exist when it would be proper that the Govern. be prevented by extra.official censure. Why, sir, a sin. ment should interpose and pay the money; and cases, gle bill has passed the Senate at the present session, for too, might arise, in which the Government ought not to repairing the Cumberland road this side of the Ohio, to interfere at all. In his judgment, every dollar borrowed build which road millions had before been expended, by any Department was unauthorized; but he would put throwing away double the amount that the Post Office it on the ground suggested by the honorable Senator from Department would ask to be loaned to it to enable it to Georgia, [Mr. Forsytu,] that the excuse for the act would discharge all its obligations, and hereafter refund both the much depend upon the necessity of the case.
principal and interest He believed that he had now answered all the questions
The Post Office Department is a concern of the Govern. that had been put to him; and he was not disposed, at ment probably more extensive than any other concern in present, to go further into the subject.
the world, that supports itself without the investment of Mr. HILL rose and said: At this late point of time in a capital. Were this concern managed by private indithe session, it had been my purpose to consume no part|viduals, for their own benefit, could it be expected that of what was left, in any discussion which tended to no they would do better than has this Department since its useful legislation. When we have but a few days in which first organization? Yet, the Department has not been more business should be done than has been done in many permitted to regulate itself for its own benefit. It has months, I cannot suffer myself to come here premedita. been extended whenever and wherever Congress has choting the consumption of that precious time, so little of sen to direct; and this, too, regarding less the pecuniary which is left.
management of the Department itself, than the public I had foreseen, Mr. President, from the commencement, convenience. At successive sessions of Congress, thouthat an an attack was to be made, during the present ses- sands of miles of new post road, in the new sections and sion, on the Post Office Department. Circumstances had parts of the country where there was a moral certainty forced that Department into a position that, whether cul- the receipts would not amount to a tenth of the expendipable or not, blame might be imputed to its management; tures, have been established. And not by legislation and that obliquity which has never tired from the day and alone have members of Congress contributed to impose hour President Jackson came into office, until the present lextra expenses on the Department. The very extra alSENATE.]
Reports on the Post Office.
(June 11, 1834
lowances which have so horror-stricken the Senator from calculated to lessen or prevent the expenses of that DeNew Jersey, [Mr. SOUTHARD,] have, in nine cases out of partment. If the fault-finding exhibited by the gentleten, probably, been formed on the confiding indulgence man towards it, has contributed at all in preventing emof the principal officer of the Department, by the repre-barrassment to the Department, the gentleman ought to sentations of members of Congress. It is only a few have due credit for all his labors of love towards it. weeks since, thal, accidentally happening at the room of It has more than once been predicted during this sesthe Assistant Postmaster General of the Northern division, sion of Congress, that the national Treasury was soon to I found two generous opposition members from the State be bankrupt. I cannot say it would be a matter of great of Massachusetts, were urging additional mail accommo- regret if the money in the Treasury should fall short of dations on a route in the interior of that State, where, al- the expenditures; for it does seem to me that nothing ready, a daily mail passed. The extra allowance asked short of an empty Treasury will prevent those gentlemen for was only the trifling sum of five hundred dollars, be- who express themselves with such intense feeling of concause the distance was not very great. Small as was the cern about Treasury bankruptcy, from voting hundreds sum, the Assistant very plainly told the gentlemen that, of thousands, and even millions, to purposes in which vast in the present state of the finances, it would not be pru- masses of the people of this country who have paid the dent to grant the accommodation. The gentlemen, how. taxes, have not the slightest interest whatever. Will not ever, discovered a disposition not to be denied: they as the disinterested gentlemen who are thus free with the sured the officer, that if the Postmaster General would public treasure, call on our side of the House to assist make the accommodation and the allowance, no complaint them in arresting the “ downward state of things” in the should be made against the Department for the act, by Treasury Department? them.
The object of the present attack on the Post Office DeThe present condition of the Department ought not, partment, seems to be to correct and condemn it for borfor a moment, to be matter of surprise, when it is con- rowing without the authority of law, and for lavishly exsidered that, in addition to the enormous burden thrown pending its money for electioneering purposes. on it by the act of Congress of 1832, which established As to the first point, of borrowing money, what shall be many thousand miles of new post roads, all the facilities done in a case of necessity! Suppose the resolutions proasked for by the citizens, and especially those urged by posed by the majority of the committee shall pass; and members of Congress, as well for increasing the speed of passing, shall have the effect still further to depress the the mails, as for adding to the number of times of trans-credit of the Department? Such a course may arrest the mission, have been granted up to the time of an ascertain course of that Department, in the same manner that the ed deficit in the receipts. The fault of the Postmaster refusal to pass the necessary appropriation bills may arGeneral (and I am not disposed to deny this to be a fault) rest the other branches of the public service. The duty has been, that he has done every thing to accommodate of the head of the Post Office will undoubtedly carry him the public, and thought too little of the means that were as far as he can venture safely, to sustain his Department. to accomplish it.
There is no law existing that prevents him from borrowIt is mentioned with exultation, that “the Department ing money whenever it may be rendered indispensable, to is entirely and hopelessly insolvent;" and a Senator [Mr. pay the expense for transporting the mails; and although CLAYTON) yesterday took to himself great credit for the money in the Treasury may not be pledged for the having said three years ago that the Department either payment of such borrowed money, the money of the Post was then, or soon would be, bankrupt. The Senator Office, earned and secured by the transmission of the mail knows full well what party was in the ascendant during so paid for, is, of right, and ought to be, pledged for the the last Congress. So far as the action of Congress has payment of the debt thus incurred. been considered, there can be little doubt of a deliberate Mr. President, let us suppose that the Post Office esdesign formed to throw embarrassments on the Depart. tablishment is now, for the first time, going into operament. Suppose the plan had succeeded for abolishing tion. A law has passed authorizing the Executive to apnewspaper postage, which was pushed with so much zeal point a Postmaster General, with power to appoint depu. in this body two years ago. Does any one believe that ties, to contract for carrying the mails, establishing mail the Department could have gone on supporting the addi- routes throughout the country, giving the head of the tional burden which that act would have imposed! And Department power to extend them, and to do whatever yet the surreptitious introduction, at the close of the ses may be necessary to carry the law into effect; also estab. sion of Congress two years ago, of a clause into an ap- lishing the rates of postage, but making no appropriation propriation bill, extending the franking privilege to mem- of money to defray any expense of the Department. In bers of Congress for the whole year, and making that the such case, what shall the officer do? If he cannot anticipermanent law, can be regarded in no other light than a pate the services of those in his employment_if he canpredetermined intention to throw embarrassments in the not obtain of them credit until the receipts from postages way of the Department. The public have no correct no. shall enable him to make payment-would not his next tion of the extent to which this franking privilege is car-resort be to borrow inoney, if he could do it on the credit ried, covering not only the correspondence of members of anticipated postages, to enable him to carry the law inthemselves, but that of their friends at home and abroad. to effect? If he could neither obtain the service on credit, These free letters are not only carried without charge, nor borrow money to pay for the services in anticipation but the postmaster is entitled to a compensation of two of his receipts, he must fail to carry the law into effect, cents on each free letter delivered; and a single post of- except the law-makers, who invested him with the office, fice in one of the Western States has been named to me, shall furnish him a capital with which to commence and which, before this franking privilege was extended, yield carry on business. ed to the Department at the rate of twenty to thirty dol- Wherein does the case of the creation of a new DeJars per annum, which, since that extension, has actually partment differ from the late law establishing new post brought the Department in debt to it some sixty or seven- roads, and connecting the new roads with the old estabty dollars a year.
lishment? The law of Congress required the Postmaster The same Senator (Mr. Clayton] says he entreated General to carry into operation certain designated post the chairman of the Post Office committee to assist him routes; it made no treasury appropriation for carrying it. in arresting the downward state of things in the Post Of self into effect, but it left the Postmaster General to infer fice Depariment! I would be glad to be informed what that he might apply any surplus of his postage fund to pay measure that gentleman has ever proposed or advocated the expense; and why has he not an equal right to infer