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of the said proceeds of the sales of the public lands as aforesaid.
I ask gentlemen again and again, and in all earnestness and in entire good faith, where is the security which the Government gets? By the terms of the charter the company, as I have stated, when it shall have constructed twenty-five miles of road, receives a patent for the lands, and under this bill the company will have at the same time the interest paid on their stock. That is what the company receives, and the Government has no authority, no power to get a single dime from the company. I ask my friend from Iowa, who in his own private business as a banker is so vigilant in regard to his securities, where is the security which he, as a Representative of his constituents, has demanded from this corporation for the faithful performance of any obligation? The appointment of an inspector" which is provided to examine the books and accounts of the company is simply a farce. If this bill be passed we are at the mercy of this corporation, and utterly powerless in their hands.
Mr. SMITH. Will the gentleman yield to me for a moment?
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. For what purpose?
Mr. SMITH. That I may ask him a question.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Very well. Mr. SMITH. It is provided, as I understand, that this land shall not inure to the benefit of the company until after a certain number of miles of road are completed. The Secretary of the Treasury is directed to take control of this matter, and the treasurer of the company is required to pay the proceeds into the Treasury of the United States in April and October of each year. Now, I ask whether the road itself is not bound to the Government for that amount of money.
not made the lands could not be taxed, for it is I tell you that the people will demand of us a provided that none of the lands granted to this strict account of our stewardship when they look company shall be subject to any general or at these stupendous appropriations of their local tax for any purpose whatever till after money for objects of this character. It may two years from the date of the conveyance. be a matter of very little interest to my distinMr. STEVENS. Do they not become sub-guished friend from New York, [Mr. DODGE,] ject to taxation after the Government conveys them?
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. No, sir. "On none of the lands granted to said company." What does that mean? "None of the land, granted to said company shall be subject to any general or local tax for any purpose whatever." I say there can be no doubt as to the meaning and intention of the act. For one I protest against it in the name of the people of these Territories, against this injustice. The people should have the right to tax all the lands to support their government, maintain their schools, build their public buildings, roads, &c.
Mr. STEVENS. When the gentleman undertakes to say that under this bill this company may hold these lands indefinitely free from taxation he is mistaken. That is not the reading of the bill.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. My friend from Pennsylvania says that it is not the reading of the bill. Let gentlemen read for themselves, and determine the question between him and myself. I say, in my judgment, nothing can be plainer than that.
Now, let us go a little further. I come next to the fifth section, because I am criticising the bill. It has already been alluded to by my colleague [Mr. WENTWORTH] and others, and it will be necessary for me only to say a word. These parties to whom this munificent grant was made, according to their own showing a grant of land of vast value, vastly more than enough to build the road, were to commence their work under the charter within three years, Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. No, sir; and yet, as I have already said, up to this time there is nothing in the existing law and they have not struck a spade into the ground. nothing in this bill which furnishes this Gov-They undertake, in this indirect way, to deernment any security of the kind. Yet it was proposed that this section, monstrous as it is, should be put through in this bill.
Now, let gentlemen look a little further. I ask them to look at the third section of the bill.
Mr. SMITH. I call the gentleman's attention to the twenty-seventh line in the second section where there is a provision to reimburse the Government for any moneys paid for interest, and also security for the future payment by the Government of any interest accruing under this pledge until the Government shall be fully reimbursed for the payment of the
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. What security does the gentleman mean? There is no mortgage on the road. These parties get their title to the land after they have built twenty-five miles of the road. They get the guarantee of their stock. You have no power of interference and no power reserved to make them do anything.
Let us look a little further, at the third section, which I denounce in behalf of the people of the Territories through which this road is to pass. I will read it:
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the patents for or lists of lands 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 subjeet to any general or local tax, for any purpose whatever, till after two years from date of said con
Here, sir, we take a strip of land forty miles wide through these Territories and give every alternate section to this railroad company, we permit them to hold this land indefinitely for that I undertake to say is the effect, if not the object of this section, free from taxatin. Two years after conveyance! It is to prevent the lands being taxed in these new Territories in order to support their governments. I undertake to say that under this bill these lands could be held without being taxed for an indefinite time. If the conveyances are
clare, what? That the commencement, not of the building of the railroad and telegraph line, but that the commencement of the survey of the railroad and telegraph line shall be considered the commencement of the work.
Mr. STEVENS. The substitute which I have offered provides for one year of extension.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. That shows what was the nature of this bill as introduced by the Committee on the Pacific Railroad, and which it was determined to put through under the gag of the previous question. Now, since the thing has been opened up for discussion, they propose to change these flagrant and glaring provisions of the bill, which would have become a law if it could have been put through under the previous question. I am speaking of the bill as it came from the committee, and which they undertook to force through the House.
It further provides
That the said company may 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.
Then this is to become a sort of migratory road, which the parties can locate here and there-here a little and there a little, just as they please allowing us no control whatever, and leaving the country entirely uncertain where the line is to run, making it a foot-ball for all kinds of outrageous speculation along the line where they expect it to be located.
Those are the provisions of this bill which we are called upon to put through. Well, sir, I do not know but the bill will go through this House. But I wish to say a word to gentlemen on this side of the House in regard to this matter of the public expenditures of the country. We are held, and justly held, responsible for these expenditures. We are the majority. The country holds us responsible, and it is just to hold us responsible, and I tell my friends that when we go before the people at the coming election we will have to look at our records.
or to his constituents, to the men who live in their gilded palaces, and roll in wealth in that magnificent city, how much they have to pay as taxes; but if he will go with me to the humble homes of my constituents, into the lowly cabins which dot the prairies, and see how this taxation is grinding them to the earth, how they groan under the oppression of railroad corporations and monopolies which are devouring their substance, how they have to pay a dollar a pound for their coffee, two dollars for their tea, and thirty to fifty cents a yard for coarse cotton fabrics-when he sees all this and reflects that these railroad monopolies have put such a tariff upon the products of the farmer that he cannot get his corn to market but burns it for fuel, he may think a little differently in regard to taxation.
Sir, all my sympathies are with the masses of the people, the "mudsills" if you may choose to call them such. Sir, they are the men who by their strong arms and patriotic hearts have upheld and sustained our country in our late struggle, and upon whom we must ever rely to support and uphold its honor and glory in all coming time.
Now, let me ask my friends to go home to their constituents on this question. I undertake to say that this proposition placed squarely before the voters of any congressional district of this country would not get a thousand votes. It is well for us to look a little to those constituents and see how they would probably act if this question was to be determined by them.
I saw recently a veto message of Governor Fenton, of New York, in which he used this argument: that the constituents of the members who had passed the measure would, if it were placed before them, refuse to give it their support. And permit me to say, I glory in the spirit which that honest and incorrupti ble Executive has shown in putting the knife of the veto into the very heart of the schemes of legislation of the State of New York. He deserves a monument, in my judgment, at the hands of the people of his State for resisting legislation oppressive to the great masses of the people. And let me say here that if our Executive would stop vetoing such measures as the Freedmen's Bureau and the civil rights bill, and would reserve his veto for some of these legislative schemes which are likely to pass Congress, he would to that extent receive the gratitude of the American people.
Mr. WENTWORTH. He is going to do it. [Laughter.]
Mr. HENDERSON. Will the gentleman allow me to say that nine tenths of my own congressional district would vote for the bill now under consideration?
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Well, I think I ought to make an exception in behalf of the gentleman's constituents. It is not strange that they want this railroad, and I bear cheerful testimony to the zeal and ability with which my friend has supported this measure. A MEMBER. So would the people of Mon
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Montana is not a State in the Union, and it never will be so far as my vote is concerned if it requires me to vote away this $69,000,000. I think the millions of people this side of the mountains have some claims upon Congress as well as the other side. As my colleague [Mr. FARNSWORTH] well said, it would be well for us to get some means of communication across the country between the Mississippi river and the Atlantic. Not only that, but we more directly upon the mighty Father of Waters want the obstructions to that great highway of commerce removed so that our products can go "unvexed to the sea.
You do not do that. You do not provide the means by which the people of Illinois and
of the whole Northwest can send their products to market. We have struggled here year after year, and year after year, to get it done. but we cannot, and our constituents are suffering now as never before because they cannot get their products to market. And yet you have agreed to expend $95,000,000 to build the Central Pacific railroad in addition to all the land you gave for the purpose; and now you are proposing to give lands and to vote $69,000,000 to build another Pacific railroad.
Mr. DAWES. The Representatives of Massachusetts did not vote against the measure to which the gentleman referred just now.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Well, Massachusetts was all right, with one or two exceptions. [Laughter.]
Mr. STEVENS. I believe I voted against it, because my friend had taught me that taxation was so heavy that we ought to do nothing to increase it. [Laughter.]
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I wish my friend from Pennsylvania would follow my teachings a little oftener. [Laughter.] If he did he would be upon much safer ground than that upon which he is treading now. Sir, I say it is unsafe ground. We have not a moral right to incur this liability of $69,000,000 for the benefit of a private corporation. As I have said, it is shocking to think that such a measure as this can pass. Now, I think I have shown, in regard to the liability which it is proposed to assume in this bill, that that amount has got to be paid, and paid by the Government of the United States. It is so much added to our national debt. It is nearly three quarters of a hundred million "at one fell swoop,' and the bill involving this was brought in here to be put through at an evening session, when the galleries were filled with spectators and lobby members looking down upon us, when our chandeliers were brilliantly lighted, and we were sitting here in our cushioned chairs voting away the people's money with magnificent indifference. There was no report accompanying the bill. My friend from Iowa [Mr. PRICE] did not condescend to put in a report to tell us anything about this measure. No, not a single word. He simply reported a naked bill, and he would have proposed, I presume, that the discussion should be limited to three minutes to each man, and then put the bill through under the previous question.
Now, sir, I do not believe that in any other country but this such legislation would ever be tolerated for a moment; and I do not believe the people of any other country would tolerate men who would thus vote away their money without being duly and fully advised concerning the measure. Sir, the prospect is encour aging. Already, inspired by the prospective success of this scheme, and by the prospect of money running so freely out of the public Treasury, some enterprising person has laid upon our desks to-day a proposition for a subsidy to ocean mail steamers and ocean mail routes. Abundant arguments can undoubtedly be adduced why we should grant two, three, five, or ten millions a year as subsidy to these ocean mail routes.
Mr. THAYER. Will the gentleman from Illinois allow me to ask him a question?
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Certainly. Mr. THAYER. I observe that there is upon our files another House bill, No. 378, which is entitled "A bill to aid in the construction of the Kansas and Neosho Valley railroad," which is to connect the great lakes with the Gulf of Mexico; and I observe that by the fourth section of that bill it is proposed that the United States shall guaranty what are called "construction bonds," bonds of $1,000, twenty of which are to be issued for every mile of the road. I want to ask the gentleman whether he can give us any information in regard to that bill.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Oh, no; these railroad bills are so numerous, and they come in here so fast, that it would take any one member of this House almost all his time to keep track of them. I know I am kept busy
moving to reconsider, and laying that motion upon the table, the references of these bills to the committees.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I ask where all this is to lead.
Mr. GARFIELD. To the Pacific coast. [Laughter.] "In a
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. horn!" [Great laughter.] It would lead to the bottom of an almost empty Treasury. That is where it would undoubtedly lead if this bill shall receive our sanction.
Mr. WINDOM. And then what would become of the Illinois ship-canal?
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. That reminds me that if all the money go in this particular direction there will be none left for practical improvements demanded by the vast interests of the constituents of my friend and the people of the whole Northwest. My friend's constituents, like mine, have been plundered by these corporations and by these monopolies until they have declared that forbearance has ceased to be a virtue in regard to them, and when ninety-nine out of every hundred of my friend's constituents demand a better means of commercial transportation to the East I am surprised that he should be willing to gratify one out of a hundred by taking all the money of the Government to build this Northern Pacific railroad and devising nothing to afford them an outlet cast.
Mr. WINDOM. They are emigrating to the West.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. And I do not wonder at it. If they do not send Representatives here who will see that their interests are vindicated, who will use their influence to give them a better market for their products, then I do not wonder that they emigrate to the West. [Laughter.] If I were a citizen of the State of Minnesota, I think I should emigrate West in that condition of affairs; although, if I were a citizen of the district of my distinguished friend, I should dislike very much to leave it on his account. [Renewed laughter.]
Mr. WINDOM. I voted for the canal.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I know the gentleman voted for it, and I know he has been an able and vigilant Representative. But I tell him that if such schemes as this are to go through, it is no use for him, or me, or anybody else, to think of getting appropriations for what is so necessary to our people in the North
Mr. WINDOM. How about the money voted for Brigham Young?
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I recollect that episode, when my friend seemed to be so much disturbed about a little money that he said was going to Brigham Young. He seems to have a prejudice against Brigham. I hope Brigham does not interfere with any of his rights, [great laughter,] so that he and I will quit there. My sympathy is in another direction; not in the direction of the gentleman from Minnesota.
But this is mere badinage, neither here nor there, and I am sorry the House has been detained so long about it.
our desks. The names of the parties on the back of this book to which I have referred, this
Appeal to Congress in behalf of the Northwest, are paraded on the outside, some of them in very large letters, as the indorsers of this scheme. I find there the name of Lieutenant General Grant, of Major General Meade, and Brevet Major General Ingalls, as well as others, all gentlemen for whom I have the highest respect and esteem.
Mr. DARLING. Will the gentleman allow me to ask him one question?
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Yes, sir. Mr. DARLING. I desire to inquire whether, when the charter of this company was granted two years ago, the gentleman from Illinois did not propose an amendment by which the name of General McClellan was stricken out and the name of General Grant inserted as one of the corporators.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. It is very likely, sir. It was certainly a very excellent change. [Laughter.] If the gentleman feels aggrieved about the matter, I hope he will make his grievance known to his constituents.
Mr. DARLING. No, sir. I agree with the gentleman that it was a very good change.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I do not suppose, sir, that General Grant ever knew that his name was in the list of corporators. But his letter on this subject has been referred to, and the gentleman from Iowa, though I do not know why he should do so, has appealed to me particularly to listen to what General Grant had said on this subject. Now, sir, the opinions of that distinguished officer on subjects with which he is familiar, and to which he has given his attention, have very great weight with me, though I am not bound to permit his opinion, or that of any other man, to override the convictions of my own judg ment. And let me say to my friend that the opinions of General Grant have weight with me because of his notions in regard to these very questions of economy, for I undertake to say that no man has devoted himself more zealously to reducing the expenditures of the Government and diminishing the taxation of the people than has General Grant during the last year.
Mr. PRICE. I think so, too; and that is the reason why I have given General Grant as an authority on this bill.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. What does General Grant say? Let me say to my friend from Iowa that I do not know but I indorse every word that General Grant says on the subject. He says:
"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."
No doubt it would be a benefit in that way. But he adds:
"How far these benefits should be compensated by the General Government beyond the grant of land already awarded by Congress, I would not pretend
That is the language of General Grant. And further:
"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."
Yes, sir, "such aid as would secure the early prosecution of the work." That aid this com
I have seen a document which has been printed and laid upon our tables, styled "An appeal to Congress in behalf of the Northwest. Now, I consider myself a very small part of the Northwest. I believe I have been in the Northwest longer than any member of this House, except my venerable colleague from the Chicago district, [Mr. WENTWORTH.] [Great laughter.] He is longer there thapany already has. So far as regards the propri ety of the Government guarantying the stock of this company in the manner proposed, let me say that General Grant himself told me that he declined an indorsement of the policy of a guarantee of the stock by the United States.
I have been somewhat identified with the interests of the Northwest, for I have lived there more than half my life. I have seen it grow in power and in magnitude and also in glory, and I have felt a pride in it all. And I conceive that I might have some little share in the guardianship of the interests of the Northwest. But we seem to be left out of consideration in this matter, and the guardianship has gone to other hands.
Here is a pamphlet on this subject put on
Sir, I have spoken on this question with some degree of earnestness, for I have the strongest conviction of the impolicy of the measure. I do not know that there ever came before the House a measure calling forth the more earnest attention of the House than this bill demands. Sir, if we are to aid in this way in the construction of this road, shall we not be called
upon, on the same principle, to aid in the construction of a southern Pacific railroad, so as to have three roads? And with what consistency could we refuse to build that road if we build this? The same argument would apply. We have already committed ourselves to the Central Pacific railroad by the stupendous grant of lands, as well as by assuming a liability of $95,000,000. We had better get through with that project before assuming any new liabilities. Mr. Speaker, there is an additional suggestion. The Committee of Ways and Means, after working carefully, judiciously, and faithfully, during the whole session, have brought in a bill to reduce the taxes of the country; and, sir, the reduction which will be accomplished by that measure is just about equivafent to the sum we propose to vote away in this bill.
If this bill is to pass, the bill for reducing the taxes ought not to pass, if we expect to pay our obligations and keep up the national credit. Let my friend from Vermont [Mr. MORRILL] move to strike out the enacting clause of his bill, and let the burdens upon the people still go unrelieved in order that this mammoth corporation shall make the
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, the Committee on Commerce have considered and are ready to report a bill in relation to immigration, which has some provisions in regard to over-crowding passenger ships, and also in connection with the cholera. I ask unanimous consent that it shall be considered to-morrow after the pending subject has been disposed of. There was no objection, and it was so ordered. *EQUALIZATION OF SOLDIERS' BOUNTY. Government liable for the vast sum provided presented the memorial of the Legislature of Mr. ELDRIDGE, by unanimous consent, Wisconsin, for the equalization of soldiers' bounty; which was ordered to be printed, and referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.
in this bill. But I will detain the House no longer, but yield the floor.
Mr. STEVENS obtained the floor.
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY. The SPEAKER, by unanimous consent, laid before the House the following message from the President of the United States, which, with the accompanying documents, was referred to the Committee on the Pacific Railroad, and ordered to be printed:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, D. C., April 24, 1866. To the Senate and House of Representatives : I submit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, the accompanying communication from the Secretary of the Interior in relation to the Union Pacific Railroad Company, eastern division.
It appears that the company were required to complete one hundred miles of their road within three years after their acceptance of the conditions of the original act of Congress. This period expired December 22, 1865. Sixtytwo miles had been previously accepted by the Government. Since that date an additional section of twenty-three miles has been completed. Commissioners appointed for that purpose have examined and reported upon it, and an application has been made for its acceptance.
The failure to complete one hundred miles of road within the period prescribed renders it questionable whether the executive officers of the Government are authorized to issue the bonds and patents to which the company would be entitled if this as well as the other requirements of the act had been faithfully observed.
This failure may, to some extent, be ascribed to the financial condition of the country incident to the recent civil war. As the company appear to be engaged in the energetic prosecution of their work, and manifest a disposition to comply with the conditions of the grant, I recommend that the time for the completion of this part of the road be extended, and that authority be given for the issue of bonds and patents on account of the section now offered for acceptance, notwithstanding such failure, should the company in other respects be there
NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD-AGAIN. Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I promised to yield a portion of my time to the gentleman from New Jersey, [Mr. WRIGHT.]
Mr. STEVENS. I think we can arrange the difficulty. Although I intend to go on this evening, the speech of the gentleman from Illinois was filled so full of chimeras, gorgons, and hydras dire," that my nerves have
NEW MAIL ROUTE.
Mr. ELDRIDGE also presented a memorial for a mail route froin Trempealeau to Sumner, in Trempealeau county; which was ordered to be printed, and referred to the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads.
Mr. ELDRIDGE also presented a memorial in relation to a ship-canal through the State of Wisconsin connecting the Mississippi river with the waters of Lake Michigan; and a memorial for the improvement of the harbor at Superior City, Wisconsin; which were ordered to be printed, and referred to the Committee on Commerce.
Mr. ELDRIDGE also presented joint reso lutions of the Legislature of Wisconsin, declaring it to be the duty of Senator DOOLITTLE to resign the office of United States Senator; which were ordered to be printed, and referred to the select joint committee on reconstruction.
EXPENSES OF REVENUE COLLECTION.
On motion of Mr. STEVENS, Senate joint resolution No. 75, making appropriations for expenses of the collection of revenues from customs, was taken from the Speaker's table, read a first and second time, and referred to the Committee on Appropriations.
And then, on motion of Mr. BINGIIAM, (at five minutes to five o'clock p. m.,) the House adjourned.
The following petitions, &c., were presented under the rule and referred to the appropriate committees: By Mr. BOUTWELL: The petition of B. R. Curtis, and others, citizens of Boston, Massachusetts, in reference to the reorganization of the courts of the United States.
By Mr. CULLOM: A petition signed by Bolivar Knickerbocker, surgeon in charge of the United States general hospital at Camp Butler, accompanied by a claim for damages sustained by him in the destruction of the hospital by fire..
By Mr. DAWES: The petition of William O. Bell, and others, physicians of Hampden county, Massachusetts, asking for the exemption of certain medicines from taxation.
By Mr. DELANO: The memorial of Benjamin Blakeney, Samuel N. Jackson, II. A. Greer, and R. P. Catlin, of Cincinnati, praying Congress to grant the public land lying within fifteen miles on either side
of the line of the Des Are. Dardanelle, and Fort Smith railroad, for the construction of said road, in the State of Arkansas.
By Mr. HARDING, of Illinois: The petition of citizens of Prairie City, Illinois, for legislation to regulate insurance in the United States.
By Mr. HOLBROOK: The petition of 200 citizens of northern Idaho, praying for a division of said Territory, and the formation of another Territory in accordance with the memorial passed by the Territorial Legislature.
By Mr. HUBBARD, of West Virginia: The petition of Charles I. Michaelson, asking payment for commissary supplies taken and used by the United States Army.
By Mr. KETCHAM: The petition of inhabitants of Dutchess county, New York, for increased tariff on foreign wool.
By Mr. LAFLIN: The petition of Hon. James A. Bell, and others, of Jefferson county, New York, for the transfer of the schooner Mary from a Canadian to an American bottom.
By Mr. MORRIS: The petition of Stephen Hatmaker, Esq., of Milo Center, New York, and others, asking for an increased duty on foreign wool.
By Mr. NIBLACK: The petition of sundry physicians and druggists of New Albany, Indiana, praying that certain medicines may be admitted free of duty.
By Mr. TROWBRIDGE: The petition of A. B. Cudworth, D. A. Button, and 90 others, citizens of Oakland county, Michigan, asking for such action by Congress as shall consolidate the various land grants for railroad purposes to said State and secure the construction of one road from Saginaw to some point on the northwestern boundary of said State.
By Mr. WARD: The petition of James L. Waads and others, prominent members of the bar of Chemung county, New York, against the Federal judiciary law.
FRIDAY, April 27, 1866. Prayer by Rev. W. B. GILLETTE, of Cumberland. New Jersey.
The Journal of yesterday was read and approved.
ENROLLED BILL SIGNED.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore signed the enrolled joint resolution (H. R. No. 67), providing for the reappraisement of the lands described in an act for the relief of William Sawyer and others, of Ohio.
HOUSE BILLS REFERRED.
The following bills from the House of Representatives were severally read twice by their titles and referred as indicated below:
A bill (H. R. No. 434) for the relief of Isabella Strubing-to the Committee on Pensions. A bill (II. R. No. 473) to extend the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims-to the Committee on the Judiciary.
A bill (H. R. No. 475) to facilitate the settlement of the accounts of paymasters of the Army-to the Committee on Military Affairs and the Militia.
INTERNATIONAL OCEAN TELEGRAPH.
The Senate proceeded to consider the amendments of the House of Representatives to the bill (S. No. 26) to encourage telegraphic communication between the United States and the island of Cuba and other West India islands, and the Bahamas.
The first amendment was in section two, line three, to strike out the words "during a state of war;" so as to make the section read:
That the said International Ocean Telegraph Company shall at all times give the United States the free use of said cable or cables, through a telegraphic operator of its own selection, to transmit any messages to and from its military, naval, and diplomatic or consular agents.
The next amendment was after the word ‘agents," in the same section, to insert these words:
And the said company shall keep all its lines open to the public for the transmission, for daily publication, of market and commercial reports and intelligence; and all messages, dispatches, and communications shall be forwarded in the order in which they shall be received; and the said company shall not be permitted to charge and collect for messages transmitted through any of its submarine cables more than the rate of $3 50 for messages of ten words.
Mr. CHANDLER. I move that the Senate concur in the amendments of the House of Representatives.
Mr. CONNESS. I hope the Senate will not take sudden action on this question, nor at any time concur in the amendment with reference to the rate of charge. The charge here proposed to be allowed for telegraphing during the period of years this exclusive privilege is to last is far greater in proportion to the distance than any made anywhere in the United States. The charges now made for telegraphing across the continent to the Pacific coast from this city amount to about seven dollars and eighty cents, or thereabouts.
Mr. CHANDLER. To avoid discussion I will move that the Senate non-concur in the amendments, and ask for a committee of conference, if the Senator will give way for that purpose.
Mr. CONNESS. I wish to say what I was proceeding to say at the present time.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from California is entitled to the floor.
Mr. CONNESS. I shall not occupy long. I was stating, sir, that at the present time the cost of telegraphing from Washington city to the Pacific coast by the Overland Telegraph Company is for every ten words about seven dollars and eighty cents, a very high rate of charge, as we who pay it happen to know from day to day and from hour to hour.
Mr. WILLIAMS. I wish to suggest to the Senator from California that the rate is ten dollars from here to Portland, in Oregon, for every ten words.
Mr. CONNESS. I have no doubt it is, going by California. My purpose, however, was only to call attention to that as a high rate; but this is a higher rate still, three dollars for a distance of a hundred miles, which may be the means of communicating with the European continent, and the only means in case of the continued failure of the northern ocean line. As I understand, the French Government are now taking steps to construct a line by the Cape De Verde islands. purpose, however, is only to call attention to the fact, and I do not want this question disposed of by being committed to a committee of conference.
Mr. CHANDLER. Well, let it go.
Mr. CONNESS. I hope the honorable Senator will allow me to proceed for a moment. I was about to say that I did not want this question disposed of by being referred to a committee of conference which shall agree to this rate. I notice, now, that the Senator from Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN] is in his seat, who feels some interest in this subject; and whatever course is taken, I desire to call the attention of the Senate to the fact that the rate fixed here is a rate that ought not to be permitted, in my opinion.
Mr. MORRILL. The Senate is undoubtedly sufficiently aware of the opposition to this bill
Mr. CONNESS. I wish the honorable Senator to understand that I voted for the bill on its passage, and opposition to the bill is not my purpose now; but I am utterly opposed to adding to the exclusive privilege granted to this company the right to make this extraordinary charge.
Mr. MORRILL. Of course I did not propose to refer to the Senator particularly as "the opposition" to which I adverted.
Mr. TRUMBULL. Mr. President
Mr. MORRILL. Does the Senator wish to interrupt?
Mr. TRUMBULL. I was going to ask the Senator having charge of this bill, who I believe is the Senator from Michigan, as it is going to give rise to debate, to let it go over, and let us proceed with the bill which we had up in the morning hour the day before yesterday, and which was partially discussed and postponed. I hope he will allow that bill to come up as there seems to be a disposition to debate this matter.
Mr. CHANDLER. I do not think it will lead to any debate. It has been thoroughly discussed heretofore.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Does the Senator from Maine give way?
Mr. MORRILL. Not yet. I do not propose to lose sight of this bill just here if I can help it. This bill had the consideration of the Senate, I believe, fully. The question now is upon concurrence in the amendments of the House of Representatives. I have not the slightest objection to the bill taking the direction which the honorable chairman who has charge of the bill has suggested, and to its going to a committee of conference where it can be adjusted, as the Senator from California, I am disposed to
believe, very properly suggests. The bill, so far as it has been amended by the House of Representatives, has been in derogation of the interests of the corporators. It was thoroughly discussed in the Senate, and I believe the Senate will bear me witness that the judgment of the Senate was favorable to the bill. On this question of the exorbitant character of the charge, I am not now in a position to judge. I am half inclined to believe with the honorable Senator from California that it may be so; but I suggest to him that the power to amend this charter in all particulars, including the subject of charge, is reserved in the bill, so that if the charge is found to be exorbitant hereafter it can be reached.
If it is the judgment of the Senate that this bill ought to pass, why not pass it now? We have had the deliberate judgment of the Senate once on this measure. My friend from Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN] thinks it ought not to pass without consideration. We have had consideration. That Senator is opposed to the bill in toto, and the opposition he makes to it, I dare say, is the opposition of the other day renewed. The bill having once had the sanction of the Senate, unless it is obnoxious to some such charge as the honorable Senator from California raises in this one particular, I object to its receiving the go-by, and I insist that its friends ought to give it a direction which will facilitate its passage at an carly day. It should not be forgotten that it was said on a former occasion that time was essential. I suggest, therefore, to the honorable Senator from California to allow the bill to take the direction suggested by the chairman of the Committee on Commerce.
Mr. CONNESS. Will the Senator permit me to interrupt him for a moment?
Mr. MORRILL. Certainly.
Mr. CONNESS. My object is not to delay the passage of the bill. I finally consented to vote for it in the Senate when it passed. My opposition to it ceased then, as a matter of course. But I ask the Senator, in whose judgment I have great confidence, whether, in his opinion, the limit fixed by the amend ment of the House of Representatives to the company's right to charge does not preclude us from acting on that subject hereafter under the general clause placed in the bill by the Senate originally reserving to Congress the right to alter and amend it. My impression was that it would have that effect as to that point. If it does not, as a matter of course the naming of the amount to be charged in the House amendment does not make the bill any more obnoxious than it was before, because as I voted for it they had a right to make what charge they pleased. But it occurred to me that if we agreed to the amendment of the House fixing this sum as the limit of the charge to be made by this company it would bind us hereafter in any action that we might propose to take on this subject.
Mr. MORRILL. I think the honorable Senator will see, on a moment's reflection, that it cannot by any possibility have that effect. The provision is simply that they shall not charge exceeding that amount, and of course, within that limit, it will be under the control of Congress.
Mr. CHANDLER. The only change made by the House was, first, making this line free to the Government of the United States in time of peace and war; second, putting in a proviso that they should not charge over so much for ten words, because the House were not willing to give to this company the great scope which they deemed to be contained in the original bill. But the same powers are reserved in the bill now that were in it before
it went to the House. The amendments that have been inserted are simply against the company. I hope the vote will be taken on concurring in the amendments.
Mr. SPRAGUE. I trust that this measure will go back to the Committee on Commerce and receive more consideration than it has already received. The Senator from Missouri [Mr. BROWN] has suggested a measure to the
Senate whereby the United States will take the exclusive control of the telegraphing of this country. The Senator from Oregon and the Senator from California feel the full force and weight of the exorbitant demands of these great monopolies, and the business of the country every day suffers from the exclusiveness of this great interest. It strikes me that there should be an amendment to this bill providing that the privileges and the rights granted by it shall cease when the United States shall have taken possession, as they have a right to do undoubtedly under the Constitution, of the telegraphing of the country. Give us a clause to that effect; amend your bill; let us understand that the policy of the country is to prevent those exclusive monopolies which now embar rass the business interests of the country.
Mr. SHERMAN. The Senator from Maine has very correctly stated that I was opposed to the passage of this bill when it was under consideration before, and that I have not changed my mind. I have no objection to the character of the company who undertake this enterprise On the other hand, I think the gentlemen engaged in it are men of capacity and have ample means to execute their purpose. My idea is that within a very short time-I hope within a year or two-there will be an entire revolution in the system of telegraphing. As it is now, it is only a luxury for the rich. A dispatch of ten words to my own State costs $175 to the citizen who sends it, while probably the real cost to the companies does not exceed from one to two or three cents a word at the outside. The receipts for telegraphing in the United States annually are probably equal to the entire cost of all the telegraphic lines. That this system cannot continue, that some change must take place soon, I believe every man engaged in business is thoroughly convinced. Private enterprises will, even at a disadvantage, compete with existing lines, unless they are finally bought up as has been the case in very many instances. There must be some way of reducing the cost of what is now an absolute necessity in modern exist ence, telegraphing. I have no doubt that the same history of progress in the reduction of telegraphic charges will exist and continue for a few years to come as we had in the post office system. Within my recollection, a letter from New York to Ohio cost twenty-five cents. It is now reduced to three cents, and that is the price for conveying a letter to California, I have no doubt the same system will exist as to telegraphing. It is the cheapest mode of transit, and requires the least capital of any mode of transportation. Railroads, stagecoaches, turnpikes, canals, all require a vast outlay of capital, but telegraphing is the cheap. est possible mode of communication; the least capital is required to be employed for the length of line, and therefore the price of telegraphing will gradually go down, with the improvements of the age, with competition, probably with the assumption of telegraphing by the Government of the United States. have no doubt that that will occur in a short time.
My objection to this bill was not to the enter prise itself-for I was in favor of it--but it was to the monopoly character of the project, the granting to a private corporation in the State of New York of a sole privilege. It is true it was answered that this was somewhat modified by the right of Congress to repeal or change the law; but it seems to me that it is always a difficult thing to change such a law. After men have embarked in an enterprise of that kind, there is always an appeal, at least, to our magnanimity and liberality, not to deprive them of a franchise under which they have invested their money. I do not know whether any cases have occurred where Congress have changed or modified a private charter of this kind. There may be many such cases, but I know of none; and I am sure it will be very difficult indeed to change and modify this law.
The only objection I had to the bill was to the exclusive character given to this corpora
tion; but that objection is made worse now, by one of the amendments proposed by the House of Representatives. By that amendment they have the right-that is the limit, and they will undoubtedly exercise it-to charge $3 50 for ten words, from Florida to Cuba-one hundred miles of submarine telegraph. Gentlemen are well informed as to the cost of this submarine telegraph; how much it will cost per mile. It is manufactured in the United States, and an estimate of the cost can be readily obtained.
It should be remembered that this line may become the only mode of communicating with Europe. It is probably the most feasible line that is now proposed; and if the projected line between Ireland and Newfoundland should fail again this summer, this probably will be the only interoceanic telegraph. We know, also, that the French Government are now engaged in pressing their lines along the African coast, and expect to connect the French possessions in the West Indies by oceanic telegraphs, and then this line would connect with those. In view of the importance of this enterprise, it seemed to me that it was not wise to grant this sole and exclusive privilege, and especially to put a limitation which is an invitation to charge $350 for every message sent across one hundred miles. As a matter of course the cost of the message from the connecting lines to the southern coast of Florida will be added to the cost of the message from Florida across to Havana; bat the cost of communication will be in the hands of a single company without any rivalry or competition. It seems to me this ought not to be granted. I therefore felt myself justified in opposing this measure in all its various stages, and I think now the best disposition will be to send it to the committee that has charge of this matter.
I will state that that committee is now pursuing its investigations. It is in correspondence with all the existing companies with a view to get the basis of the cost and expenses of communicating telegraphic information. I do not, however, wish to have this referred to that committee, although I believe it would be better to let it lie on the table until the committee report and the subject is disposed of. I think that if the majority of the Senate are still of opinion that this bill ought to pass, the better way would be to have a committee of conference and have, if possible, a reduction of the maximum rate.
Mr. MORRILL. I do not know but that the good time is coming, and very suddenly, when the Government will take possession of all the telegraphs in this country; yet I am a little incredulous on that subject and do not see exactly how it is to be done. I suppose we shall have the millennium prophesied some time; but the question is whether we had better suspend all enterprise on these big hopes. It is this kind of enterprise that heralds the millennium if ever it comes; precisely this. Now, Mr. President, I was not mistaken, I think, in my suggestion as to the opposition of my honorable friend from Ohio; and I cannot understand exactly how it is that a bill has been made obnoxious by an amendment which is itself a limitation on the power of the company. When this bill passed the Senate the power to charge was unlimited and unrestricted. The Ilouse of Representatives have limited the power of the company to charge beyond a specific sum. Now, I do not understand the force of the argument which renders that obnoxious to the charge of being exorbitant. It seems to me it is a limitation, to say the least of it; and to that extent, as I said when I was up before; it is against the interest
of the company.
I do not wish to protract debate, and do not intend to do so, but I simply repeat that the question when up before on its merits was discussed at large and the judgment of the Senate was that the bill ought to pass. All that has taken place in the other House, I submit, does not change the attitude of the bill as it was before the Senate on its passage. It has all been in restraint of the interests and the rights
of the corporators. I submit, that having been the judgment of the Senate, whether the concurrence in this action, as moved by the chairman of the Committee on Commerce, who has charge of this bill, is not reasonable.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. I should like to inquire of the honorable Senator from Maine whether this amendment coming from the House of Representatives, fixing the price of messages at $350, is in such form as to prevent Congress reducing that price hereafter if they think it necessary to do so.
Mr. MORRILL. It does not change the character of the bill in that respect, except that it prevents them from charging beyond that price, leaving the bill entirely within the control of Congress.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. The question in my mind is whether, if Congress assumes to specify a given sum, Congress may not feel itself bound by that, so as not to interfere; whether the amendment ought not to be amended so as to embrace in direct terms a provision that Congress retains the power at any time to reduce this price if it is regarded as exorbitant.
Mr. MORRILL. Congress now retains in its hands the power to alter, amend, or repeal the act; and of course that necessarily includes the power to change this provision.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. I know it was so argued, and perhaps that is the true construction; and yet it would do no harm whatever, and would relieve it of all possible doubt, to insert the words that Congress should have power at any time to fix the rates if these should appear to be exorbitant. I hope it will go to a committee of conference, and they can arrange it between themselves.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Chair will put the question on the two amendments together unless a division is asked for.
Mr. MORRILL. I wish to say to the honorable chairman who has charge of this bill that I have not the slightest objection that it should go to a committee of conference, as I understood him to suggest.
Mr. CHANDLER. That was to avoid debate. I am content to take the bill as it is, or let it go to a committee of conference. The amendments have had the approbation of the Committee on Commerce. I think we had better vote on the question now.
Mr. CLARK. I suggest to the Senator from Michigan that, in my judgment, it had better go to a committee of conference. It may be that this limit is right; it may be that it is not right. It may be that it is too high. The Postmaster General has promised the committee on this subject to furnish them with some information in regard to the price of telegraph ing, and in regard to the investment of capital, and the rates at which it may be done. I think, perhaps, that if we have a committee of conference they can confer, and determine what is best to be done, for I have no idea but that the chairman of the Committee on Commerce desires to have it at the proper rate, and they can act, perhaps, more intelligently in that way than if we at once concur in the amend
Mr. CHANDLER. I withdraw my motion to concur, and move that the Senate nonconcur in the amendments, and ask for a committee of conference.
Mr. SPRAGUE. I have but one remark to make on this question, and that is with reference to a suggestion which fell from the Senator from Maine as to the millennium. If the millennium can be as easily reached as the establishment by the Government of the United States of telegraph lines between its post offices, I confess that it will be very easily reached. It seems to me as much the province of the Government of the United States to establish lines of telegraph between its various post offices throughout the country as it is to establish the post offices themselves.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The motion now is that the Senate non-concur in the amendments proposed to this bill by the House of Representatives, and ask a conference with
that House on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses.
The motion was agreed to.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. How shall the committee be appointed?
Several SENATORS. By the Chair.
By unanimous consent the President pro tempore was authorized to appoint the committee; and Messrs. CHANDLER, MORRILL, and CONNESS were appointed the committee on the part of the Senate.
PETITIONS AND MEMORIALS.
Mr. JOHNSON presented the memorial of Joshua Jones, of St. Mary's county, Maryland, claiming damages for property of his, of which forcible possession is alleged to have been taken by the Freedmen's Bureau; which was referred to the Committee on Claims.
Mr. HENDERSON presented additional papers in relation to the claim of Washington Crosland for compensation for property belonging to him situated in St. Louis, Missouri, which was seized by order of General John C. Frémont, and used for Government purposes; which were referred to the Committee on Claims.
REPORTS FROM COMMITTEES.
Mr. HOWARD, from the Committee on the Pacific Railroad, to whom were referred various petitions praying for the construction of a railroad from the south line of Kansas to the north line of Texas, and also for a railroad across the Indian Territory from the south line of Kansas to Red river, asked to be discharged from their further consideration; which was agreed to.
He also, from the same committee, to whom was referred a message from the President of the United States, transmitting a memorial of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Colorado in relation to the location of the Pacific railroad, asked to be discharged from its further consideration; which was agreed to.
Mr. CLARK, from the Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the petition of Mary Johnson, praying for compensation for property destroyed by the rebels under the command of General Longstreet, near Suffolk, Virginia, reported adversely thereon.
Mr. KIRKWOOD, from the Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred a bill (H. R. No. 85) for the disposal of the public lands for homestead actual settlement in the States of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida, reported it with amendments.
Mr. NYE asked, and by unanimous consent obtained, leave to introduce a bill (S. No. 290) to incorporate the National Life and Accident Insurance Company of the District of Columbia; which was read twice by its title, and referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia.
USE OF HALL.
Mr. WILSON. I offer the following resolu tion, and ask for its present consideration:
Resolved, That the use of the Senate Chamber be granted to James E. Murdoch, Esq., on Thursday evening, May 3, for the purpose of giving a reading for the benefit of the fair to be held in this city for the National Home for the orphans of soldiers and sailors.
I will simply say that there is being held at the present time a fair for the benefit of the orphans of soldiers and sailors. Mr. Murdoch, who has devoted almost all his time during the war to the cause of the soldiers, has offered to give a reading for the benefit of their children. If such a privilege is ever granted for any purpose it ought certainly to be for this.
Mr. RIDDLE. I am in favor of the object of the resolution of the Senator from Massachusetts, but
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Chair will inquire if there be any objection to the present consideration of the resolution. Mr. RIDDLE. I object, then.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Objection being made, the resolution lies over.