Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 67
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GALES & BEATON'S REGISTER
II. of R.]
Internal Improvement—Credit on Duties.
[Dec. 28, 1824.
press of other important business, it was not then dis-
posed of. He now rose to renew that proposition.
When we advert, said Mr. S. to the flourishing condi-
tion of our national finances, as exhibited by the Presi-
dent, in his late message to the House: When we look
to the rapid increase of our wealth and resources—the
growth of our population—the increase of our internal
trade and commerce, and the vast extention of our ter-
ritory—it must be admitted, he thought, that the period
had arrived when it would be proper to appropriate, at
least, a pari of the ample revenues of the country to its
internal improvement—connecting the distant parts of
this widely extended republic: uniting and binding them
together by the strong ties of interest and intercourse.
Such a system, whether regarded in a commercial, poli-
tical, or military point of view, was equally important,
and he believed its adoption was alike demanded by na-
tional feeling and national interest. He could not better
illustrate the importance of this subject, than by adopt-
ing the language of the great Father of his country,
Wasiiinbtosi who, more than forty years ago, when re-
commending the adoption of measures to facilitate an
intercourse between the eastern and western states,
used this emphatic language: "In my judgment, this
is the best, if not the only cement that can bind us to-
gether for a great length of time, and we shall be defi-
cient in foresight and wisdom if we neglect it. Our in-
terest is so much in unison with this measure, that noth-
ing but that short-sighted and ill-timed parsimony, and
contracted way of thinking, which intermingle so much
in our public councils, can counteract it." To these wise
and patriotic sentiments, he thought every liberal and
enlightened statesman would cheerfully and cordially
Mr. S. tiien offered the following resolution :
Jiesolveil, That the Committee on Roads and Canals
be instructed to report a bill pledging the proceeds of
the sales of the Public Lands and the dividends of the
United States' Bank Stock, as a permanent fund for the
purposes of internal improvement, to be distributed
among the several States according to the ratio of repre-
sentation, and expended on objects to be designated by
Congress within or bordering on the States respectively.
The said fund, with the interest thereon accruing, to
be vested, annually, in United States' or other product-
ive Stocks, until the same shall be required to carry into
effect the objects of its appropriation.
On motion, this resolution was ordered to lie on the
table, and be printed.
DISCRIMINATING CREDITS ON DUTIES.
Mr. TRIMBLE, of Kentucky, rose to off er a resolu-
tion, couched in the usual form of an inquiry. It was
predicated upon two reports made by the Secretary of
the Treasury to the House. He had two objects in
vje w—first, to discriminate between importations made by
citizens of the United States, and ali others; and, se-
cond, to procure a repeal of such laws as allow credits
for duties bonded upon merchandise imported by aliens,
or on foreign account. The discrimination was desira-
ble for the sake of the statistical fact, as well as for other
purposes; and he saw no reason why we should allow
alien importers to bond their duties, on long credits
without interest, when it was well known our native
merchants were seriously injured by this extension of
the credit system in favor of foreigners. In the nrinted
document, No. 13, the Secretary says:
Whatever motives there may be for allowing a credit
for duties to our own citizens, no sufficient reason is
perceived for continuing it to foreigners, who are not
domiciliates m the republic. A discrimination, in this
respect, between citizens of the United States and oth
ers, would tend to confine the commerce of the nation tn
its own citizens, and would aid in restraining the ni-ac
-ice of snipping merchandise to this country,' upon con-
signment, for foreign account, which lias hitherto been
found to interfere with the interests of our own regular
This opinion, from the head of the Treasury Depart-
ment, would require nothing to enforce it; and whatever
objections might exist against t!ie total abolition of the
credit system, there ought to be no opposition to the
abolition of so much of it as applies to aliens. It would
appear, he said, from the two reports alluded to, that
the duties on credit, as bonded in 1823, amounted to
twenty-three and one half millions, in round numbers,
and that the interest thereon, at six per centum per an-
num, if allowed, would amount, in round numbers, to
gl,150,000. The total amount of imposts bonded for
payments on credit, from 1789 up to 1823, was stated
at 527 millions; which, upon the ratio of interest for the
year 1823, (as before stated,) would give a grand total
of $26,000,000. But, as the merchants pay no interest
on these bonds, it might be considered as a donation of
that amount. He had been told by intelligent merchants,
one of whom was a member, that it would be safe to
rate the importations made by aliens, and on foreign ac-
count, at one: fourth part of the total amount, and, of
course, that the Treasury had, in effect, been making
advances, year after year, to alien importers, which, in
the aggregate, amounted to six millions of dollars; a
sum nearly equal to the whole amount disbursed in the
payment of Kevolutionary pensions. And thus it ap-
pears, that a corps of foreigners have been quartered up-
on the Treasury as pensioners, under the name and cha-
racter of alien importers, while our own people are idle
for want of business. We can easily find two of our
own men ready to do the work of one ; and we must
needs pension foreigners to help us, and aid them in su-
perseding our own native merchants in our commercial
operations, and then allow them to pocket their pen-
sions, and carry off the profits of the trade. He hoped
the House would see this matter in its proper light, and
that the resolution which he was about to send to the
Clerk's table, would be read and passed.
Mr. T. then submitted the following resolve :
Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and Means
be instructed to inquire whether any, and, if any, what,
provision ought to be made by law to discriminate be-
tween importations made by citizens of the United States
and others, and whether it is or is not expedient to re-
peal all laws allowing credits for duties upon -merchan-
dise imported by aliens, or on foreign account.
The resolve was agreed to.
Mr. BRECK, of Penn. moved to take up the resolu-
turn offered by him some days since, en the subject of -
the claims of the Marquis de Maison Rouge, with a view
to its modification. The motion was carried—aves 74.
Mr. BRECK modified the resolution by striking out
the last clause, which inquires respecting orders given
by the Executive for the defence of certain suits by the
Attorney General of the United States.
The question recurring on the resolution thus modi-
fied, calling Simply for copies of any letters which may
nave been addressed by the claimants to the Executive—
Mr BRENT, of Lou. objected to it, as calling on the
1 resident for a private letter.
Mr. BRECK explained, and contended that the letter
was strictly of a public nature. All he wished was to
lave an authenticated copy of it laid before the commit-
P"Vaf COp? ,ay in his own desk but this could
M,.e as evidence by a committee of this House.
' /? objected to the resolution as unneces-
sa y, as the paper might be authenticated in another
^ on the President on the occasion.
, HEMPHILL suggested, as an amendment, to add
the clause, if, m his opinion, it shall not be improper
tioCn0waT UadoS,he 5ameand in thiS
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/38/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.