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man shows me what I have always believed, that when bills are read from the Clerk's desk, not one man in ten in this House knows what is in the bills.
will be $1,350 per mile, or $135,000 for the first one hundred miles.
Now, it will be remarked, and this is an item worth noticing and remembering, that the bill provides in express terms that when twentyfive miles of this road shall have been completed and put in running order, and not until then, the Government shall guaranty the amount of $20,000 per mile. Another fact, and a very important one, connected with this item, is that immediately on the completion of the twenty-five miles for which stock is guarantied, the company shall pay into the Treasury of the United States twenty-five per cent. of the gross receipts. Now, I hope that members will not confound this with gross earnings or net earnings. One fourth of all the moneys received by this corporation on the twenty-five miles of road upon which the stock has been guarantied to a limited amount must be paid into the Treasury of the United States.
Now, I have taken some trouble, to ascertain what will be the probable earnings; and I adopt as the basis of my estimates the earnings of western roads-new roads in a new country. I have now in my mind one road on the west bank of the Mississippi eighty miles long, with earnings of about six hundred thousand dollars per year. Taking that as the basis of my calculation, I calculate that one hundred miles of the Northern Pacific railroad would give $750,000 a year. By this calculation, one fourth of the earnings during the year would be $187,500. This amount the Government of the United States would receive each year for the guarantee of the stock of the company upon the first hundred miles.
Now, gentlemen will remember that the bill provides that the proceeds of all the lands on the south side of this road are to be paid into the Treasury of the United States. This, at $250 an acre, will give you $24,000 to be added to the $187,500, which is one fourth of the gross earnings of the road. And I ought to have stated, in connection with the $187,500, that it is $52,500 more than the amount guarantied by the Government.
Now, if these figures are correct, and the calculations approximate anywhere near the truth, at the end of the year we would have $76,500 more money from the proceeds of the sales of the land and the quarter of the gross receipts of the road, than has been guarantied by the Government. Now, gentleman may answer that by saying that the land will not be sold, or if sold will not sell for that amount of money. Well, I will give them the benefit of that objection, and admit, for the sake of argument, that not an acre of land shall be sold, and that the earnings of the road shall only be such as other roads have earned in new countries. And then you will still have $52,500 at the end of the year on this calculation, more than has been guarantied by the Government.
Now, I am at a loss to know how this argument is to be met. It may do to say in broad terms that $60,000,000 or $50,000,000 are to be taken out of the Treasury of the United States for the benefit of a great corporation. It is one thing to make a declaration; it is another and a very different thing to back up that declaration by the facts and the figures. But I appeal to the living facts for the basis of my calculations, and for the conclusions at which I have arrived in this argument. If this road will earn what other roads in the new countries have earned heretofore, then at the end of the construction of the first hundred miles of this road the Government will have received $52,500 more than they have guarantied to the com
Mr. TROWBRIDGE. I would like to ask the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. PRICE] a question. I desire to inquire whether this twentyfive per cent. of the gross earnings of the road is to be paid at any time previous to the completion of the entire road. I understand the language of the act requires the entire completion of the road before any of the proceeds are to be returned to the Government.
Mr. PRICE. The question of the gentle
Now, I will reiterate a fact I have already stated, that there is an amendment, not printed, but written, in the bill, by which the committee have attempted to guard the matter particularly. The amendment provides that when the first twenty-five miles of the road are made, twenty-five dollars of every $100 they earn, or, if you please, twenty-five cents on every dollar they earn, goes right into the Government Treasury; not of the net earnings, but of the gross receipts; not even of the gross earnings, but of their gross receipts. If the company receive money in any way, fair or unfair, the Government is to have one quarter of it.
One reason why the committee are in favor of this bill, is that they believe they can by this means aid the company to open and foster the vast regions of the Northwest, which for ages past have been, and probably to come will be, unsettled, undeveloped, unimproved, and untenanted without this aid; and at the same time that they give this aid, the Government will not be paying out a dollar.
Then, I ask, what becomes of the declaration, which appears in the Globe of to-day, and which has gone to the world, that the committee recommend a proposition taking from fifty to sixty million dollars out of the Treasury of the United States? I take occasion here and now to repudiate that declaration, and to say that from first to last that was not the intent of the committee in any respect whatever, nor can any authority be found in this bill for the declaration.
Mr. PRICE. It might be so construed; but that was not the intention of the committee. When they had provided for the value of half the lands they thought they had done tolerably well for the Government, especially when in addition to that they include twentyfive per cent. of the gross receipts of the road.
I think I have sufficiently answered the financial argument of this subject to prove that there is no money to be, drawn from the Treasury of the United States; that this is a safe arrangement in that respect.
Mr. Speaker, the object of land grants to railroads in this country has been to develop its resources. The construction of railroads induces settlement and causes the wilderness to blossom as the rose: It is necessary that this country should be developed in its agricultural resources. In addition to developing those resources we propose also by this road to reach for all time to come the vast mineral resources of the mighty regions now almost deserts and almost inaccessible. I think it is demonstrable, then, that the Government will not only be compensated by the one fourth of the gross receipts and proceeds of one half the lands, but I am of the opinion that the additional benefits to be derived from this road will be immense, and extend not only to this but to future generations. They will be more than tenfold the amount guarantied by the Government to the company. Any gentleman at all acquainted with the mineral resources of Montana and
Idaho, and the difficulty of reaching those places, must see that when we have annihilated the space between here and there by the construction of railroads the dollars which come from there now will be swelled to hundreds and thousands, if not millions.
This country is to be developed. It is the mission of the men of this day to develop the. heritage intrusted to us. In no other way can the regions teeming with untold wealth be developed.
Now, let us look at the road in a military point of view. I shall not indulge in any conjectures. I find that Major General Rufus Ingalls, assistant quartermaster general, uses the following language:
"In my opinion, from an experience of many years in the quartermaster's department in the West and Northwest, it is of the utmost importance to the nation that this road should be constructed at the earliest moment possible, and a through line of communication opened from the great lakes to the Pacific ocean, by the head waters of the Mississippi and Missouri."
That is not all. Let me now read from Quartermaster General Meigs's report for 1865. He says:
"I am convinced that there is no difficulty to be apprehended from the rigor of the climate, or the depth of snow, in the working of the Northern Pacific railroad, which has not been met successfully and overcome in the construction and regular daily working of railroads in the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan, and Minnesota, and in Upper Canada, along the line of the Grand Trunk.
Of the advantages to result to the country from the speedy opening of railroad communication along the contemplated line, it is hardly necessary for me to speak. I can add little to the argument so well set forth by the Senators and Representatives of the Northwest in their appeal to Congress of the 9th of this month.
"Heretofore the War Department has not had any considerable interest to protect in the northern central region, for whose development and protection this road is now so urgently needed."
He says in another place:
"The enterprise is one worthy of the nation. As a military measure, contributing to national security and defense alone, it is worthy of the cost of effectual assistance from the Government.
The Central railroad to San Francisco will secure that admirable harbor and its trade, and the rich State of California, against all serious danger from a foreign foe.
"But our communication with the harbors of the northwest coast, Puget sound, the mouth of the Columbia, and with the growing population of Oregon and Washington, by sea from San Francisco, will be liable to interruption by a hostile fleet. With the Northern Pacific railroad in operation, troops and materials of war could be rapidly sent from the East to succor and defend our rising empire in the Northwest."
I will now call the attention of the House, and particularly of my friend from Illinois, [Mr. WASHBURNE,] to the letter of Lieutenant General Grant indorsing those statements. I ask the Clerk to read it.
The Clerk read as follows:
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES, April 20, 1866. The construction of a railroad by the proposed route would be of very great advantage to the Government pecuniarily, by saving in the cost of transportation to supply troops whose presence in the country through which it is proposed to pass is made necessary by the great amount of emigration to the gold-bearing regions of the Rocky mountains. In my opinion, too, the United States would receive an additional pecuniary benefit in the construction of this road by the settlement it would induce along the line of the road, and consequently the less number of troops necessary to secure order and safety. How far these benefits should be compensated by the General Government beyond the grant of land already awarded by Congress, I would not pretend to say. I would merely give it as my opinion that the enterprise of constructing the Northern Pacific railroad is one well worth fostering by the General Government, and that such aid could well be afforded as would insure the early prosecution of the work. U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant General, Mr. PRICE. Now, Mr. Speaker, I undertake to say, from that declaration of principles set forth in that letter, that if the Lieutenant General were here he would vote for this bill, for he says that the prosecution of the construction of this Northern Pacific railroad is well worth the fostering care of the General Gov
Mr. WENTWORTH, I would ask the gentleman whether the Lieutenant General is not one of the corporators. [Laughter.]
Mr. PRICE. I will say to my amiable friend
that I have not looked at the list of corporators recently so as to be able to tell whether he is so or not. If he is, I have only to say that it is rather late in the day to call in question the integrity, honesty, or ability of that distinguished general, and I presume no gentleman here will undertake to insinuate that he wrote that letter because be was a corporator. Such an insinuation would be unworthy of any member of the House, as it would be unjust to that distinguished man. I know that my friend does not mean to insinuate it, but puts in the remark very much in the same way as he has done a great many other things-for Buncombe; as, for instance, his frequent remarks about soldiers with one leg and one arm.
Now, in addition to this testimony, I wish to say that in the Quartermaster General's report made to the House in 1865, there will be found on page 34 this statement:
miles. Mind, that before the ink is dry on the indorsement the road is in running order, and is earning money, which money, by another provision of the bill, is to be paid into the Treasury. At the end of six months the holder of the stock comes to the Government to receive the interest on his guarantied stock. If in the mean time enough money has been paid in to the Government to pay said guarantied interest, the Government pays nothing. There was no intention on the part of the framers of this bill that the Government should receive any interest on the payments it might make on account of guarantied interest on stock.
Mr. SHELLABARGER. I wish the gentleman, chairman of the committee which reports this bill, would let me state what I understand the effect of this bill to be in some of the respects in which I think it bad. In the first place, the original bill incorporating this company bestowed upon this corporation forty sections of land to the mile in the Territories and twenty sections to the mile within the States. Then the third section of this bill enables the corporation to sell this land in feesimple, and place the proceeds in the power of the corporation. This vast revenue is thus taken from the Treasury of the United States, and the only pledge or security that any of the proceeds of this land will ever go to pay back the interest on stock which the Govern ment has paid, and which interest may amount to from forty to sixty million dollars, is that the treasurer of the corporation is directed to pay into the Treasury of the United States, which is just no security at all.
And then, sir, there is no provision at all for the payment of any interest to the United States upon the moneys the Government has paid out for this six per cent. interest on stock, but only the principal is to be paid back.
Then, again, although the United States has virtually built this road, and the stockholders have not, yet they require the Government to come in and guaranty to them that the road, which the Government land has built for these stockholders, shall pay them six per cent. upon all the immense amount of stock to be issued, and that, too, from the date of the issue and for not exceeding twenty years.
I wish to know if these provisions are in substance in this bill; and if so, does the gentleman think this right?
"Cost of transporting military stores westward across the plains, by contract for year ending June 30, 1865, to Utah, and points on that route, $1,524,119. Cost of transportation of grain to Utah and posts on that route, where the grain was delivered by contractors and the transportation entered into the price paid same year, $2,526,727 68; making cost for transportation in one year in this region $4,050,846 68."
The Quartermaster General goes on to say what is unnecessary to say, because everybody knows it, that the railroad would reduce the cost of transportation at least seventy-five per cent. There are twelve military posts now, some of them garrisoned by one hundred and some by two hundred men, along that very route, and there will be a very great saving in the transportation of supplies to these posts if this road is constructed.
From whatever stand-point you view it, either in a military, financial, or civil point of view, it becomes an inevitable conclusion
that this road will be of immense advantage in developing the agricultural and mineral resources of the country.
These are some of the reasons that induced the committee to report this bill. I repeat that if my calculations are correct it will not take a dollar from the Treasury, and until gentlemen can show that the estimates upon which these calculations are made are erroneous they should not undertake to deny the fact. And that fact once established, every other objection to the bill must necessarily fall. If the road can be constructed with the simple guarantees of the Government affording the means to pay the expenses of construction, it will enable the company to refund every dollar that is paid to them as rapidly as the road progresses, and it will at the same time develop the resources of the country, and aid the civil and military operations of the Government. These facts being established, no gentleman can find any ground of opposition to the bill now before the House.
Mr. SHELLABARGER. I would ask the gentleman whether there is any provision in this bill for the repayment to the United States in any event of anything more than the actual amount they have received. In other words, whether the Government is to have any interest on the money it pays to aid in the construction of this road. I call his attention to the provision in the second section, that "the amount so paid shall equal the amount paid by the United States, as provided in section one, after which all further payments to the United States shall cease." And the other provision, so far as I understand it, contemplates only the payment of the actual amount which the Government has furnished-nothing for interest on the money that has been paid by the Government.
Mr. PRICE. I reply to that by saying that the committee did not contemplate that any sum should be paid by the company to the Government for interest on the guarantee of these bonds. And further, I call the attention of the House again to this provision: if on the 1st day of July, 1867, twenty-five miles of that road shall be finished, then the company come to the Government and say that it must indorse their bonds for $20,000 a mile on each of those
Mr. PRICE. Before my friend goes further, I submit that he has not fairly stated the case; because before any guarantee is made, and long before any money is paid, the company must spend at least a million or a million and a half on the first twenty-five miles of the road, and so on from time to time in twenty-five-mile sections. There is to be no guarantee of interest on stock until that is done. I am perfectly willing, if the gentleman from Ohio prefers it, that an accurate interest account-current shall be kept, and that you shall credit the Government with interest on payments and charge it with interest on payments made by the company. So far as I am concerned, I ask nothing but a fair and square transaction, such as would take place between two men in a legitimate business transaction; and if the gentleman wishes an amendment of that kind made, I presume there will be no objection to it. I do not think, however, it will have any practical effect on the
Now, Mr. Speaker, I have no more to say at present upon this matter. I do not desire to consume the time of the House, because I am desirous for an early vote on the bill. And as I do not wish to deprive others of the same privilege of debate that I enjoy, I now yield
on the habeas corpus bill, so that that gentleman may be placed upon it as he had charge of the bill when it was reported to the House.
There being no objection, Mr. WILSON, of Iowa, was relieved from service on the com. mittee of conference, and Mr Cook was appointed by the Speaker to fill his place.
NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD-AGAIN.
SERVICE ON A COMMITTEE.
Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. I understood yesterday that the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. Cook,] my colleague on the Committee on the Judiciary, was unwell and would not be able to be in the House. He is in his seat this morning, and I therefore ask to be excused from serving on the committee of conference
Mr. WENTWORTH. Mr. Speaker, there is a vast deal of difference between being for a Pacific railroad and being for a particular kind of railroad covering or intended to cover the same ground. Now, there is no individual here, nor is there an individual whose constituents are more interested in a northern Pacific railroad than mine are. We of the Northwest, generally, are deeply interested in a bill for a northwestern Pacific railroad; but we have always before when a bill of this kind, involving millions, came up here allowed it to be discussed, and let everybody talk about it who wanted to do it; at least we were always willing to give our friends a fair and impartial hearing. But, Mr. Speaker, I have myself always distrusted any bill that brought with it a "lobby.' I have always distrusted any bill where that class of men known as "the lobby" have to go behind my constituents and get them to instruct me.
Now, sir, I have lived in my district since I was twenty-one years of age. I know about everybody there, and about everybody there knows me. And yet this class of men have thought that they could instruct me about a matter involving the interests of my constituents among whom I have lived and among whom I expect to die. Within the last three days I have had sent to me nineteen extracts from western papers, not to speak of sundry instructions from the Chicago Board of Trade. Now, I hope that the man who went out there and got up those instructions for me got his per diem and mileage. [Laughter.] And if he cannot get other jobs of this kind, then let some one try to get him the place of a clerk of one of our committees, or recommend him to a place in some of the Departments.
Now, the first knowledge I had of this bill was conveyed to me by a constituent of mine, who stated that there was some effort being made to create public feeling in favor of this bill. "But," he says, "I think there is some trick in it; you better watch the bill; I fear they want to change the location, for it looks to us as if it was intended to be a Canada road."
Now, I supposed that when this matter came up I would be allowed to know something about it, to have a chance to examine a subject that so interests the great Northwest. But I do not know anything about it.
Mr. PRICE. The gentleman from Illinois [Mr. WENTWORTH] says he knows nothing about it. I would ask him if he has seen the Chicago Tribune.
Mr. WENTWORTH. If the gentleman had paid attention to my speech, he would have seen that I alluded to all these articles in the papers.
Last evening was set apart for the discussion of this bill. And when we came here we found a bill before us involving millions of dollars, concerning my constituents, concerning the whole northwestern country. And it was to be put through under the previous question. And how is the thing to be managed? A man gets the floor and then allows about three minutes or five minutes each to a few men to say something upon it. And considering the number who were to be allowed to speak, I estimate that each member was worth about ten million dollars to the company. [Laughter.]
Now, I take up the bill and examine it, and I find that there is a forerunner in it. Now, though not much of a lawyer, I have always understood that if an original charter has been violated in any way, and you can by hook or crook get it recognized by any little side-way legislation afterward, it will remove all the difficulty. Now, I looked at the bill with that
Illinois [Mr. WENTWORTH] to yield to me for
Mr. WENTWORTH. Does the gentleman from West Virginia [Mr. WHALEY] wish to say anything on this subject? Mr. WHALEY. Yes, sir. Mr. WENTWORTH. Then I yield to the gentleman.
Mr. WHALEY. I merely wish to say that when I saw my friend from Illinois upon the floor I thought it an excellent opportunity for me to speak on this subject for three or four minutes, which I knew he would not refuse to grant me. Let me say that the argument which that gentleman has presented against this bill, it appears to me, is, to use a western phrase, a stumper."
view. And then I went to the original charter, and I find there a large number of corporators. Now, it is always the way, when you want to dignify a thing of this kind, and want to take a great appropriation out of the public Treasury, to put in a large lot of names of distinguished people. And the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. PRICE] has had read here a letter from General Grant. All I would ask is, if General Grant has ever been concerned in this company since his name was put in the original charter?
Now, in our western country when we get calls of meetings we always put on some up big names as the speakers, although we do not know that they will be there; and then we have our board of managers to attend to all the little business of the meeting. A great many names of big men are published in big letters on the bills as having been invited and as being expected to attend the meeting. [Laughter.]
If members will turn to the act of incorporation of 1864, they will find the names of these corporators. They were not taken, as is often the case, from those who are members of the body passing the legislation, for I find among them the name of but one member of this House. But there is the name of General Grant; and not only his name, but the name of General Frémont also. Now, the question I want answered is, what have these men done? They were named in the charter; and if they were not willing to comply with the conditions of the charter, are they willing to give it up and let others come in and take the charter? Have they ever organized under that charter? My friend from Ohio, [Mr. BINGHAM,] whose name I find here, I know will take no offense if I ask him if he can give us any information upon the subject.
Mr. BINGHAM. I can only say, in reply to the gentleman from Illinois. [Mr. WENTWORTH,] that I learned this morning for the first time that my name was inserted in this statute. I was not a member of the last Congress, and was never consulted upon the subject. I have no information upon the subject, and therefore can impart none to the gentleman from Illinois.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Now, I have proved exactly what I wanted to prove, that a large number of respectable men are in the same position as the gentleman from Ohio, and do not know that their names have been used in this act as corporators. But there are some persons who know their names are here; there are some who are running this machine under the names of these distinguished men. Now, who are they? They ask this House to give them fifty or sixty million dollars. Yet one of the men who are named in the act as corporators did not know that his name was there. Still, because I say this it is intimated that I had better look out or I shall be set down as an enemy to my own section of country and an enemy to the Northern Pacific railroad.
Now, I want to know who are really the corporators in this company-who are the active men. I want to know who is the president of this road, and I want to know how near he lives to the Canada line. Can anybody tell who the president of this road is? I would like to have an answer, if anybody can give it officially. I do not want any guess-work.
Mr. WOODBRIDGE. I can inform the gentleman who is the president of this road. He is a personal friend and an old acquaintance of mine, formerly Governor of my Statea gentleman for whose integrity and ability I will vouch here and elsewhere. His name is John Gregory Smith. He is one of the railroad men of Vermont, operating one of the most extensive railroads in New England; and he desires the protection of these interests, so that this road to the Pacific may go through our own country, contributing to its wealth and prosperity, instead of going through her Britann Majesty's dominions in Canada, where the road must go unless this company can get Some aid from Congress. Mr. WHALEY. I ask the gentleman from
I wish to say further, that while during the last five years I have voted for almost all works of national improvement, stretching from Maine into the Territories, I have come to the conclusion that before we impose upon our people any heavier taxation for carrying on works of this character, before drawing from the Treasury of the United States increased appropriations of money, or pledging the credit of the United States to any greater extent, we should, in a straightforward and honest manner, meet our obligations to the brave soldiers of the nation, and pass a bill to equalize the bounties of the men who volunteered in 1861 and 1862.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Now, Mr. Speaker, I want gentlemen to understand what I am driving at. I want to know whether we are to have this Northern Pacific railroad completed or not. I do not want to be personally offensive, because I am now speaking in the dark; and "in the night," it is said, "all cats are grey." I want to know who else are interested in this road; and I would like to know, if my friend from Vermont can tell me, whether they have ever paid in anything.
Mr. WOODBRIDGE. I am not able, Mr. Speaker, to give the gentleman the information he requires. I have had no personal connection with this road. But I am assured by gentlemen in whom I have the utmost confidence that this enterprise is undertaken in good faith, and it is to be controlled by one of the most intelligent, influential, and wealthy men in my own or any other portion of the country.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Now, Mr. Speaker, I was at one time the mayor of a city; and we sometimes arrested men for playing what was called the confidence game." [Laughter.] Now, sir, I shall not vote this number of millions out of the Treasury in any generous confidence. I know and have proved to this House by my friend from Ohio [Mr. BINGHAM] there is at least one man who does not know anything about it. I believe there are nine out of ten who are in the same position. Here is nearly a page of names of men from different
States in the Union.
But where is the report? I call the attention of the House to the fact that we have not a single report to guide us. Suppose a man has to defend himself for supporting this measure; suppose he makes a statement and one in the crowd alleges that it is false, what can he do? Give us the documents; that will settle the matter. It is the question of veracity. That man will have to write here, " My dear friend, be so kind as to send me the report of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, as I am seriously attacked on the subject." We will have to reply there is no report. It is, as has been remarked, voting money out of the Treasury without a report.
Now, when you see a man with eyes which cannot bear light you may conclude they are weak. If men shun light it is because they cannot bear it. [Laughter.] I am one of the individuals who want light. I want to know whether I am to take this or not. Give me responsible railroad men, take out the names of politicians; take out the names of claim agents; give me responsible railroad men, one from each State, and I will vote for this bill. I will do anything to get a fair and honest Pacific railroad.
Mr. WOODBRIDGE. In looking over the names I find among the corporators in the act passed in 1864 the present president of this road, John Gregory Smith, who represents this road not as a lobbyist and presenter of claims before this Congress.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Does he know that he is president? [Laughter.]
Mr. BLAINE. Among the incorporators of this road are presidents of two leading railroads in my own State, one at present one of the directors of this road-Richard D. Rice and Anson P. Morris-two gentlemen for whom I will vouch everywhere.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Do they know they are there? [Laughter.]
Mr. BLAINE. They know they are there, and I know they are there.
Mr. SHELLABARGER. I ask the gentleman to yield to me.
Mr. WENTWORTH. I yield to my friend as he always talks sense.
Mr. SHELLABARGER. I want to put a question to my friend from Vermont as he seems to be familiar with the history of this corporation. A statement was made to me by a gentleman of eminently good character, formerly a member of this House, that the fact might be known. He was a stockholder in this company, I understand, and is perfectly familiar with the facts. I understood he wanted the fact known, although he did not want his name connected with the matter. I know nothing about it personally. His statement was this: that the gentlemen who had been instrumental and at considerable expense in getting this act passed by the Thirty-Eighth Congress, and who are connected with it as stockholders, made a contract to transfer their interest; that it was to be put in writing, but it was wholly or partly repudiated; that the contract provided for the payment of some one hundred and fifty thousand dollars; and that now these parties having purchased the franchise, virtually repudiated their engagements, and come into Congress for the purpose of getting these large additional values to this franchise obtained under such circumstances. That is the statement. About the truth of it I know nothing in the world.
Mr. DELANO. Allow me to say in this connection that I have substantially the same information from another source.
Mr. WOODBRIDGE. I will answer that question so far as I know, and I am known well enough in this House, I hope, to have it believed; I would not lend myself or my influence in any respect to get through an improper, unjust, or dishonest claim.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Name the prominent railroad men.
Mr. WOODBRIDGE. Mr. Onslow Stearns, a prominent railroad man in New England, a man who stands as high as Mr. Ogden of the gentleman's own district, who has done more to build up and develop the railroad system of the West than any other man in his district.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Gentlemen interrupt me and keep going off on side issues. What I want is the facts. All these big men are not in the bill. [Laughter.]
Mr. WOODBRIDGE. Yes, sir, they are. Mr. WENTWORTH. Where is the proof of it? Why do not they tell me the names of the officers of the company?
Mr. WOODBRIDGE. I know some of the
WOODBRIDGE. The gentleman is a little nervous.. I intend to give my views on this question; but if it will answer the purpose of the gentleman as well, I am willing to answer his question now.
Mr. WENTWORTH. My object was to stir up a little inquiry on this subject. But I start upon this basis: that one of the worst things in the present time is the departure from the old safe precedent by allowing bills to pass without any kind of report. Nine tenths of the members do not know what they are doing when they are voting upon such bills. It is committing political suicide; for when members are called to account at home for the votes they have given they have nothing to defend themselves with.
Suppose, for instance, I had voted for this bill on the strength of the name of my friend from Ohio [Mr. BINGHAM] being in it. We all know him and what he has done for his country. What sort of a defense would that be before my constituents if I should be called on to explain it, say, four days before election? I would telegraph perhaps to my friend and he would send word back that he did not know anything about it. [Laughter.]
Mr. PRICE. I would ask the gentleman whether he does believe that in such a dark hour of trial, when his political enemies were seeking to oust him from his place, he would be protected by the ghosts of the soldiers with one arm and one leg who would come to his rescue. [Laughter.]
Mr. WENTWORTH. I know this, that if I have right on my side God will support me. [Laughter.]
But, Mr. Speaker, how long is it since a bill was offered to give some poor soldier eight dollars a month, and somebody called out for the report? Where is the report in that case?" "Let us have.the report.' Now only look at this bill. The joke of it is that you yourselves do not know how much money you are to give. You not only give it without any report, but you cannot tell how much you give.
Now, here is a nice thing. But the people at the West understand these things. Some eastern man must have drawn this. When some of our Yankee friends first came out there and advocated it they said it was a good thing. But it is played out now. Live Suckers and Hoosiers know all about this, and what it means. Here is your original bill and charter. Certain things are to transpire when the road is commenced. Now, here comes in that dangerous thing, the amendment to the original bill, and that is to define what commences the road.
Now, if any of you do not know when the road is commenced, here is the law of Congress, a precedent to be quoted on us hereafter, an act of the Thirty-Ninth Congress:
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That the commencement of the survey of the railroad and telegraph line in good faith shall be deemed and considered to be the commencement of the work within the meaning and intent of the act of incorporation.
I heard a man once say that he did not care much what they called him if they did not impugn his good sense. [Laughter.] Now, I do think that this is an insult to the good sense of this House, to make us define that to be the commencement of the road. But in order that members of Congress might not know anything about it we have had an evening session and had the previous question moved in the night. Everything was to be hurried through without any chance to consider the matter, and we were to decide when this road was to be commencedhow? Why, "within the meaning and intent of the act of incorporation." Now, it was not supposed in that hour's time that we should run back to the library-I do not know but what it is locked at night—and get this act of incorporation.
But I want to say that the drift of my argu ment now is to show that this bill should have been referred to the Committee on Public
I have been anxious, and am still, that the right sort of a bill should pass, and I say now,
that when this bill shall be made to conform to the usual precedent in the case I shall probably be as warm a supporter of it as there is in the House. But I want it to go through the usual form. I want it to be properly discussed. I want this supplemental bill to be compared with the original bill.
Look at the sixth section of this bill:
SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That the said company inay from time to time alter and change the location of its line whenever such change will the better carry out the purposes set forth in the act of incorporation, by filing in the office of the Secretary of the Interior a description of the new line adopted.
Now, we are not permitted to know the intentions of these men. They have not submitted their by-laws. I have been a director of railroads and we have had to have certain by laws and certain minutes; and when we undertook to negotiate a loan, or to do this, that, or the other thing, we sent out extracts certified by proper authority from our minutes as well as from our by-laws. But here we have no information on that subject in regard to this company, and I, who represent the largest congressional district in the United States, am entirely uninformed on the subject.
Mr. PRICE. I would ask the gentleman whether, in all his exploration of the West in connection with railroad companies, he ever knew a railroad company that did not have the privilege of varying their line. And if he will look at this bill he will find that it provides that it shall not go further south than the forty-fifth parallel.
But they may go as
far north as they please. Mr. PRICE. They will not go into the British possessions.
Mr. WENTWORTH. I object to any member in this House or any one else coming and whispering and telling this man and the other what will be done. It will not defend me before my constituents nor save them from the results of wrong legislation. I want to know why it is that we have no information on this subject, and why we are not allowed to have anything official upon it.
But the gentleman from Iowa asks me a question, if I do not want to know that railroad companies are privileged to swing their line. I do not think that is a proper way to get a job through this House.
Mr. PRICE. Did the gentleman ever know a land grant of any other character?
Mr. WENTWORTH. I will state to the gentleman this: that is just what I am complaining about. I say that no individual in this House has the right to get up here and make an official communication of this kind. I say this bill should go to the Committee on Public Lands, so they may bring forward their report and put their names to it. And if the gentleman will move that I be added to the Committee on Public Lands, I will agree to state what I know, and put my name to it.
Now, I am seriously afraid, and my constituents are afraid, that it is the intention, if this bill shall pass through Congress, to carry this road, under the sixth section of the bill, into the British Provinces, and bring it around so as to communicate with the Grand Trunk road at Portland, Maine, and make this a great Pacific feeder for that road.
Mr. PRICE. I will ask the gentleman from Illinois if he does not know, as well as he knows he has an existence, that this road cannot by any possible means go into the British Provinces.
Mr. WENTWORTH. I do not know any such thing; neither does anybody else know it.
Mr. PRICE. The gentleman is the best know-nothing I ever saw. [Laughter.]
Mr. WENTWORTH. I do not profess to know anything that I am not certain of, and which I am not willing to put my name to. I never knew so big a lot of know-nothings as these men are who come here to get money out of our Treasury.
Now, I ask the gentleman from Iowa why he objects to allowing this bill to go to the Com
mittee on Public Lands.
Mr. PRICE. It affords me a great deal of satisfaction to answer the gentleman. It is simply and entirely because there is not an ounce nor an inch of land in the bill, any way you measure it or weigh it.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Then, if there is no land in the bill, there is money; for they must have something. And if there is money, the bill ought to go to the Committee of Ways and Means, of which I am a member. Let it go to that committee, and I will sign any report I may bring in.
Mr. FARNSWORTH. With the permission of my colleague, [Mr. WENTWORTH,] I would like to ask the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. PRICE] a question. I am informed that some of the present officers of this road, under the new régime, are residents of Canada. Is that so?
Mr. PRICE. If that is so I am not aware of it. And I will take occasion to say, in this connection, that although that might possibly be true, even if it be so, I will say to the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. FARNSWORTH,] and to all others, that this Government pays no money to anybody until they have first expended their own money to build this road. That is a point in this case which I do not wish this House to forget. I do not know, nor do I believe, that any of the directors of this road are residents of Canada.
Mr. WENTWORTH. There it is again; it is "know-nothing" all around. [Laughter.] Nobody knows anything except the men who want this money.
Then there is the little joker" again; "now you see it, and now you don't see it." [Great laughter.] Here is land, and there is money. When you say anything about this bill they say "there is no land in it;" and when you refer them to that bill they say "there is no money in it."
Mr. PRICE. That other bill was passed two
Mr. FARNSWORTH. If there is no land in this bill I would ask the gentleman from Iowa I [Mr. PRICE] what this third section means. will read it:
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the patents for or lists of land granted to this company shall convey the fee-simple of said lands to said company in the most full and complete manner, and that none of the lands granted to said company shall be subject to any general or local tax, for any purpose whatever, till after two years from date of said conveyance.
Now, if there is no land in this bill, what does that section mean?
Mr. PRICE. I suppose the gentleman wants me to answer that question, and yet I can hardly think he does. He pretends to be a lawyer, and for aught I know he is a very good one. Does he not know the difference between granting land to a company and carrying out the provisions of a grant of land long since made? There is no grant of land in this bill, but only provisions for carrying out a former grant to this company upon their complying with certain conditions.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Now, Mr. Speaker, the gentleman stated that this had nothing to do with public lands. I asked him why he objected to this bill going to the Committee ou Public Lands, and his answer was that it contained nothing in relation to public lands. Now, as the gentleman admits that it does relate to public lands, I want to know whether he still objects to the proposition to refer the bill to the Committee on Public Lands.
Mr. PRICE. I do not admit any such ing. The bill does not contain the grant of an inch of land; and any gentleman who will read it must see that it does not.
Mr. HENDERSON. I will yield for a question.
Mr. BURLEIGH. I have before me a map of the country through which this railroad is to pass; and I ask the chairman of the committee whether he can tell us the character of the land along the line of the road from the western boundary of Minnesota to the Bear's Paw mountains-a distance of seven hundred miles. The remarks of the gentleman, as made a short time ago, conveyed, as I understood them, the idea that this is a beautiful country, and under the operations of this railroad will be made to "bud and blossom like the rose." I wish to know whether I understood the gentleman correctly.
Mr. PRICE. That region, I understand, is a tolerably fair country; but I said nothing definitely with reference to the character of the country, because my knowledge of it, like the knowledge of almost every other member, is derived simply from the examinations and reports which have been made. I presume that in the course of the discussion information as to the character of that country will be developed.
Mr. BURLEIGH. I want to ask one more question.
Mr. HENDERSON. I believe I must decline to yield. The gentleman asks a question that can only be answered in a speech, and not in a minute. To tell the character of the land through which this road will pass would require an hour.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Does the gentleman mean the bill or the charter?
Mr. PRICE. I mean the bill.
Mr. WENTWORTH. Well, this is only another illustration of "now you see it, and now you don't." [Laughter.]
Now, Mr. Speaker, I think this is one of the most important bills coming before the House this session. There is not an individual in this House who will go further than I will to secure the object which this bill professes to seek. But before I vote to give away this large amount of money, I must know how it is to be expended, and who is to have charge of the enterprise. I know that men when they get into these corporations very often "water" the stock, sell out at an advance, and some irresponsible persons come in as stockholders. I want to know what responsible men are going into this enterprise. I want to know something about their organization; I want to know the history of the matter. I want to have something in the shape of official documents. I would like to have a report from the Committee on Public Lands, to whom I think this bill should be referred. I move, therefore, that the bill be referred to the Committee on Publio Lands. I shall not call for the previous question; for I hope that every member who desires to speak on this subject will be allowed to do so.
Mr. HENDERSON obtained the floor.
Mr. MORRILL. Will the gentleman from Oregon [Mr. HENDERSON] yield to me a moment that I may report a bill from the Committee of Ways and Means?
Mr. HENDERSON. I will do so.
Mr. MORRILL, by unanimous consent, reported from the Committee of Ways and Means à bill to amend an act entitled "An act to provide internal revenue to support the Govern ment, to pay interest on the public debt, and for other purposes," approved June 30, 1864, and acts amendatory thereof; which was read a first and second time, and ordered to be printed.
Mr. MORRILL. I desire that this bill shall be referred to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, and that it be made a special order. I am willing to leave it to members of the House to say what time will be most convenient for its consideration.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I suggest to the gentleman from Vermont that he leave the time indefinite for the present. That can be fixed hereafter.
The SPEAKER. There are no special orders in the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union except the Indian appropriation bill, which the chairman of the Committee on Appropriations has stated he is not ready to go on with.
Mr. MORRILL. I suppose that the country is desirous to have as early action as possible on this bill; and as it will take several days to have the bill printed, I would suggest that it be made the special order for Monday week. Mr. WILSON, of Iowa. We had better fix an earlier day.
Mr. MORRILL. I move, then, that the bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, and be made a special order for to-morrow week immediately after the morning hour, and from day to day until disposed of.
The motion was agreed to.
Mr. MORRILL. As most of the members will, I presume, desire a larger number of copies of this bill than the regular number, I move that ten thousand extra copies be printed in pamphlet form.
The SPEAKER. That motion will be referred, under the law, to the Committee on Printing.
NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD-AGAIN. Mr. BURLEIGH. I ask the gentleman from Oregon [Mr. HENDERSON] to yield to me that I may ask the chairman of the Pacific Railroad Committee [Mr. PRICE] a question.
Mr. BURLEIGH. This road runs through the Territory which I have the honor to represent on this floor. Now, during the month of March last, when an appropriation was pending of $15,000 for surveying the lands in that Territory, the gentleman opposed it on the ground that the lands were not worth surveying. I ask the gentleman whether he takes that view now or whether he takes another view.
Mr. PRICE. This is outside of that question.
I will state, for the information of the House, that the Committee on the Pacific Railroad have now under consideration a general law making the railroad companies to which lands are granted pay every dollar of the cost of surveying.
Mr. BURLEIGH. I want to know why the gentleman has changed his view in regard to
Mr. HENDERSON. I cannot yield any further.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I think the subject under consideration is perhaps of more importance than any which has come before the present session of Congress. This measure is not only a matter of sectional interest, but of interest to all the people of the United States. It is a matter, sir, of national importance. It is not of slight moment. It affects the welfare of this country to an extent with which nothing else which has been presented thus far for the consideration of this body will compare.
Before proceeding to remark further in regard to this road I will say that the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. WENTWORTH] is known to be a man of great wit, and hence his vast display of wit and eloquence to-day. But, sir, I confess I fail to see any argument or reason in what he has uttered. In my opinion he is on both sides of the question. At the outset he appeared to be opposed to the road, but afterward he appeared to be in favor of it. I could not help thinking of a class of politicians on the Pacific coast who have been in favor all the time of the Union, who have been in favor of the Government of the United States, but who at the same time always laughed and cheered when they heard that the rebels had got the advantage in any conflict.
So the witty points that he made were cheered and laughed at by those who were opposed to the road. The enemies of the road were decidedly tickled and amused at the wit he exhibited. I confess that if all the friends of the road were like himself, it would be a long
time before we should ever have the road constructed. I say, deliver us from all such friends! I could not help being surprised at the anxiety which he manifested to have this bill referred to the Committee on Public Lands. I could not help being surprised that other men should have an anxiety that this bill should be referred to the Committee on Public Lands, especially when it is well known that the land has already been donated to this company. This bill does not propose to donate any lands. Then, why send it to that committee? It must be simply for the purpose of defeating the bill.
We know very well that delay often defeats a measure, and that referring a bill has a tendency to destroy it. I see no reason why any gentleman should ask this bill should go to the Committee on Public Lands unless it may be ultimately to defeat it.
If the bill asked for a grant of lands perhaps it would be just and necessary to send it to the Committee on Public Lands; but the lands have already been disposed of for eighteen months or two years. I see, therefore, not the smallest propriety in the reference of the bill as suggested.
Mr. Speaker, there has been a good deal of interest manifested as to the haste and hurry we are in in reference to this bill. Why should we be in such haste? Why should we be in a hurry? The reason is this: men are ready to go to work, hundreds and thousands of dollars are ready to be invested in labor upon this road. But the company are not prepared to go to work until this bill shall pass. If we delay any longer it will be too late to go to work this summer. It must be passed soon or the work will be still further delayed. A few weeks of delay will defeat the measure at least for twelve months. It is important, then, that a bill of such magnitude and in which so many interests are involved should be passed immediately. It is necessary for the purpose of being able to send out the proper men that the work may be commenced this year.
It is said these lands are given away. I want to devote a portion of my time to that point. I deny that the public lands are being given away. There is no donation of the public lands in it at all. There is a provisional transfer, or I might say sale, of lands, but no donation. The Government has millions of acres of land lying there that have been lying there for thousands of years, and which have been of no benefit to anybody. And I say that without the construction of this road they would continue to be of no benefit to anybody. Gentlemen talk about a great sacrifice of land; millions of acres given away to speculating companies! Sir, I deny the truth of any such idea of its being a donation. Let us illustrate this point by plain figures. Suppose my friend here on the left [Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois] owns a thousand acres of land lying out on the commons, unfenced and unimproved, grown up with briers, and which has become the den of wild beasts; that land does him no good, and it does no one else any good.
Now, suppose that a gentleman should make a proposition to him of this kind, "If you will give me half the land I will fence the whole of it, I will sink a well so as to provide water, and clear off the brush so as to make your part of it profitable to you." He accedes to the proposition, the bargain is completed, and this land becomes worth to him, perhaps, five hun dred or one thousand dollars a year. Then another man comes and says to him, in the spirit in which gentlemen speak here, and asks, "Why did you give away that rich and productive land?" I say that it was a fair bargain and sale, and when the individual complied with the terms of the proposition, he held it as honestly as if he had paid $1,000 for it.
Now, let me say in regard to this donation of land to the road that the land does not go to the company until the road is built, and when the road is built the value of the lands retained by the Government will be increased at least one hundred-fold. I ask any man to say whether that is a gift. If the company builds the road,