The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Seventeenth Congress, Second Session Page: 65
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HISTORY OF CONGRESS.
On the question of filling the blank left in the j
bill for the amount of the appropriation— i
Mr. Talbot said he was not able, from his own
observation alone, to say with confidence what
sum would be adequate to the object of the bill, j
At the last session the sum of nine thousand dol-
lars would have been sufficient; but such had
been the injuries and dilapidations suffered subse-
quently by the neglect fo make the repairs in time,
that he was induced to believe it would now re-
quire not less than thirty thousand dollars to put
the road in good condition on its whole extent.
This opinion was founded not on his own obser-
vation alone, as-he. had stated, but on the infor
mation of gentlemen of judgment and veracity
who had recently travelled the road. He there-
fore moved that the blank be filled with thirty
Mr. Macon thought it would be best not to de-
cide this question by guess, but endeavor to obtain
information to govern the Senate in voting the
appropriation ; and for the purpose of giving time
for inquiry, he moved that the bill be postponed
Mr. Talbot had no objection to the postpone-
ment ; hut he was not aware of any means by
which the Senate could acquire more precise in-
formation than it now had in its possession—the
opinion which he had given, being derived from
the information of intelligent men, who had just
passed over the road.
Mr. Smith, of Maryland, thought the sum pro-
posed rather large; and suggested whether the
gentleman had not better inform himself, at the
Treasury Department, what sum would probably
be necessary for the object.
Mr. R. M. Johnson, of Kentucky, would not
object to the postponement, if gentlemen would
point out any resources of positive information;
but he was convinced, after all their inquiries, the
question would be entirely conjectural. It was
impossible for the Senate, on such a question, to
proceed with mathematical certainty ; he wished
them to vote, at once, the sum which appeared to
them requisite—either thirty thousand, or twenty-
five thousand, or twenty thousand dollars, but not
procrastinate the subject without any probability
of acquiring more precise information. Ilis col-
league had conversed with intelligent gentlemen
well acquainted with the road, and the informa-
tion derived from them was as good, he presumed,
as could be obtained ; if any better were expected,
he would thank gentlemen to point it out. Al-
though he believed that thirty thousand dollars
would not be more than necessary, he would rather
take twenty thousand than postpone the bill. Mr.
J. remarked that the Senate had been liberal to
the West at the last session, on a similar question,
and he hoped they would now show towards that
section of the country a feeling not less kind, but
vote a sum adequate to put the road in repair.
Mr. liuGGLF.s would merely suggest, before the
question was taken, that the second and third
sections of the bill, (which provide for the ap-
pointment of an agent to superintend the repairs)
were unnecessary, as he believed the sunerintend-
17th Con. 2d Suss 3
exit who heretofore filled the appointment, (Mr.
Shriver,) was still in office; for he, although the
road had been completed some lime, had been re-
tained for the purpose of closing the accounts, and
a belter or more faithful agent, Mr. R. presumed
could not be obtained.
The bill was then postponed to Thursday.
The Senate look up, in Committee of the
Whole, the bill for the relief of Colonel Robert.
[The circumstances on which this bill was founded,
were, according to the report of the Committee on
Military Affairs, the. following: In the year 1809,
Robert Purdy, the petitioner, was a Lieutenant Col-
onel in the Army of the United States, and in com-
mand of the troops stationed at Highwassee garrison.
A certain William Luty, a pedlar by occupation, ap-
plied for permission to sell goods to the soldiers, which
was granted him on condition that he would not sell
spirituous liquors to the soldiers, nor Indian coun-
trymen. Shortly after said Luty obtained this permis-
sion, he was detected in violating garrison orders,
whereupon he was confined under guard, and was
convicted by a court of inquiry, of having sold spirits,
both to the troops and Indian countrymen. Luty was
kept under guard for about three days, when he was
liberated and directed to leave the garrison ; but, in-
stead of complying with these directions, Luty got
possession of one or two cabins near the garrison, and
within the Indian territory, where he continued to sell
spirits, to the great injury of the subordination and
discipline of the garrison, and in violation of the laws
regulating intercourse with the Indian tribes. Colonel
Purdy ordered the cabins in which Luty had taken
shelter to be pulled down, and they were demolished
accordingly. After Luty was thus forced to leave the
garrison, he instituted actions of trespass and false im-
prisonment against Colonel Purdy, and thereby sub-
jected hirn to the payment of $816 70, costs, and
charges. It appears that the court in Tennessee
claimed and exercised jurisdiction of acts committed
within the Indian territory, and determined that Luty
could not be considered a sutler, because he was pro-
hibited from selling spirits. The committee remark
that it is a subject of much delicacy to review the
decisions of our courts of justice ; but are compelled
to remark, that the jurisdiction of the court in this
case is doubtful, to say the least of it. And they are
confident that a license to sell spirits is not essential
to constitute the character of a sutler. But, admitting
the court to be correct, both as to jurisdiction, and the
definition of a sutler, yet the committee are of opinion
the petitioner is entitled to relief. Because, they are
satisfied he acted with the sole view of promoting the
public interest confided to his command ; that he had
no other means of restoring order and subordination
among the troops, and of enforcing the laws of the
United States, regulating intercourse with the Indian
tribes. And, that he pursued, on this occasion, the
same course which had been universally adopted by
the commanding officer of our frontier garrisons. And,
therefore, they reported the bill for his relief.]
Mr. Williams, of Tennessee, recapitulated, for
the information of gentlemen who were nut in the
Senate in former sessions when this bill was con-
sidered., the fact? of the ease, and the reasons gen-
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Gales and Seaton. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Seventeenth Congress, Second Session, book, 1855; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30367/m1/31/: accessed April 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.