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gentleman of the word—) which had removed the only restrictions that existed against the issue of bank paper. The consequence was predicted at the time; it was foretold that banks would multiply almost without number, and pour forth their issues without restriction or limitation. These predictions were, at the time, unheeded; their truth now begins to be realized.
The experiment commenced by a transfer of the public funds from where they were placed by law, and where they were under its safeguard and protection, to banks which were under the sole and unlimited control of the Executive. The effect was a vast increase of Executive patronage, and the opening a field of speculation, in describing which, in anticipation, I pronounced it to be so ample, that Rothschild himself might envy the opportunity which it afforded. Such it has proved to be.
The administration has profited by this vast patronage, and the prejudice which it has excited against the bank, as the means of sustaining itself in power. It is unnecessary to repeat the remarks, in illustration of this. The truth of the statement is known to all the Senators, who have daily witnessed the party topics which have been drawn from this fruitful source. I then remarked that, if rumor were to be trusted, it was not only in a political point of view that those in power had profited by the vast means put in the hands of the Executive by the experiment,—they had profited in a pecuniary, as well as in a political point of view. It has been frequently stated, and not contradicted, that many, in high places, are among the speculators in the public lands; and that even an individual connected with the President himself, one of his nephews, was an extensive adventurer in this field of speculation. I did not name him, but I now feel myself called upon to do so. I mean Mr. McLemore.
Having established these points, I next undertook to show that this bill would consummate those speculations, and establish the political ascendency which the experiment had given to the Administration. In proof of the former, I availed myself of the declaration of the Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands, who had stated that the speculators had already purchased and held a vast amount of public land—not less, as I understood him, than twenty-five or thirty millions of acres ; and that if this bill did not pass, the scenes of the last two years would be repeated in this and the coming year. I then undertook to show, from the statement of the Chairman himself, that these speculations would prove ruinous without the aid of this bill. He had stated that the annual demand for public land, resulting from our increased population, could not exceed five millions of acres.
Now, assuming that the quantity on hand is thirty millions of acres, there would be six years' supply in the hands of speculators, even if the land-offices of the United States be closed ; and, if the bill did not pass, according to his showing, it would take double or treble the time to dispose of the lands, which, in that case, will be in the hands of speculators. All must see the certain ruin, in that event, of those who have borrowed money to speculate in land; particularly if the sales of public land should be free and open to every one, as it now is, to purchase to the extent of his means. I next showed that the contest was between the Government, as a dealer in public land, and the speculators; that they held in market at least an equal quantity in value to that which the Government now has offered for sale, and that every restriction imposed upon the sales of Government land, must, of necessity, increase the advantages of its rival dealers.
I then showed that very onerous and oppressive restrictions, of an odious character, upon the sales of the public lands, would be imposed, if the bill should pass. No one thereafter could purchase land of the Government without
license-a license, in my opinion, as offensive and odious as would be a license on the press. To obtain this license, the oath of the applicant was required ; and then it could only be obtained on payment of one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, for which the citizen may now receive a grant in fee simple. After he had made his purchase, under authority of his license, the purchaser had to comply with the condition of settlement and cultivation, and must, within the period of five years, prove to the satisfaction of the register and receiver, who are made high judicial officers, a compliance with these conditions, before he could receive his title ; and if he failed to comply, by accident or otherwise, he forfeited both his money and the land. I stated that this was a virtual increase of the price of the public lands to the actual settler ; so much so, that any sober-minded man would prefer to give the speculators two dollars per acre for land of the same quality, to giving the Government one dollar and twenty-five cents for a license, with these oppressive conditions.
Having established this point, I then undertook to show, that it would increase vastly the power of the Government in the new States, if they chose to exercise this patronage for political purposes. That they would so use it, we had ample proof in the past conduct of the administration, and in the principles which had been openly avowed by its friends. A former Senator from New-York, high in the confidence of the party, and now Chief Magistrate of that State, had openly avowed, in his place on this floor, that to the victor belong the spoils, for which he was reprimanded, at the time, by the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Webster), in a manner worthy of his distinguished talents. Assuming, then, that the power would be exercised with a view to political influence, I showed that it would place a vast number of the citizens of the new States, probably not less than one hundred thousand, in a condition of complete
dependence on the receivers, and of vassalage to the Government.
These are the sentiments which I delivered on a former occasion, and which I now reiterate to the full extentomitting nothing that is material, as far as connected with the letter of the President ; and, for the delivery of which, my privileges as a Senator, and those of this body, have been so grossly outraged.
[Mr. Grundy and Mr. Walker rose and stated that they had been attentive listeners during the debate alluded to in the President's letter, and corroborated the correctness of Mr. Calhoun's statement of what he had said on that occasion.]
Mr. Calhoun then said that he was gratified at what had been said, and that all might now see, from their statement, and the acquiescence of others, what little cause the President had for the outrage upon his privilege, and that of the Senate, and for applying language to him which is never used in intercourse between gentlemen, and better suited to the purlieus of Billingsgate than to the mansion of the Chief Magistrate.
On the Correspondence of our Government with that
of Great Britain, in relation to the Case of the brigs Comet, Emporium, and Enterprise, made in the Senate, February 14th, 1837.
MR. Calhoun said, it would be remembered that, on his motion, a resolution was adopted some time since, requesting the President to communicate to the Senate the correspondence between this Government and that of Great Britain, in relation to the case of the brigs Emporium and Enterprise. He held in his hand the Message of the President in answer to the resolution, from which he found there was another case (that of the Comet), of a similar character, of which he was not aware when he made his motion, and which occurred as far back as 1832. He had read with care the correspondence; but, he must say, with very little satisfaction. It was all on one side. Our Executive has been knocking—no, that is too strong a term—tapping gently at the door of the British Secretary, to obtain justice, for these five years, without receiving an answer-and this, in the plainest case imaginable. It was not his intention to censure those who had been intrusted with the correspondence on our part. They had written enough, and more than enough; but truth compelled him to say, the tone was not high enough—considering the injustice to our citizens, and the outrage on the flag and honor of the Union. His remarks were intended to apply more especially to the latter part of the correspondence—after the long delay without an answer from the British Government. At first, in so plain a case, little more could have been thought necessary than a plain statement of the facts—which was given in a very clear and satisfactory manner in the letter of the President elect, in the case of the Comet.
Without repeating what he said on the introduction of the resolution, he would remind the Senate of the facts of the case in the briefest manner possible.
The three brigs were engaged in the coasting trade; and, among other passengers, had slaves on board, belonging to our citizens, who were sending them to the southwestern States with a view to settlement. The Enterprise was forced, by stress of weather, into Port Hamilton, Bermuda ; where the slaves on board were forcibly seized and detained by the local authorities. The other two were wrecked on the Keys belonging to the Bahama Islands, and the passengers and