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BURNE] says that another reason why we ought not to support this bill is that a great lobby has been here to secure its passage. The gentleman knows more about the lobby than I do. The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. SHELLABARGER] and his colleague [Mr. DELANO] say that they have been informed by somebody that the persons who originally went into this enterprise sold out and got $150,000 in money for their charter. I ask the honorable gentlemen how they happen to have such information unless they themselves have come in close contact with this immense and powerful lobby which is said to be employed to advocate this measure. I hurl back in the teeth of those who charge that there is a lobby here for the purpose of advocating this bill, the fact that the most powerful and gigantic interests known to exist among the railroad interests of the country are here to advance their own interests and prevent the passage of this bill.
Mr. FARNSWORTH. Will the gentleman let me ask him a question?
Mr. ROGERS. Not now. Gentlemen talk about there being a lobby here. My experience, and I suppose the experience of every other gentleman here, is that no great enterprise has ever been started but that there were some men behind it to carry it on; and unless there were enterprising men, like these railroad men who are endeavoring to link the Atlantic and Pacific together, enterprises of this kind would die out, and we never would have that progress and civilization which have always been developed by the railroad interests of the country, as has been demonstrated in Illinois by the Central railroad which was established there; and I feel convinced that if we only plant ourselves upon the principles that the State of Illinois planted itself upon when it authorized that company to carry out its functions, we shall advance the prosperity, the wealth, the enlightenment, and the happiness of this grand empire of ours so as to make it equal to the State of Illinois, and you will find that these lands which are not now worth more than from twelve and a half to twenty-five cents per acre, will readily sell for ten and fifteen dollars per acre.
I do not believe that one dollar will be drawn from the Treasury of the United States which will not be paid back again. This entire road is to be within the control of Congress, and the moment this corporation, after the road is equipped and in running order, refuses to comply with one of the conditions of the charter which Congress has given them, we can file a bill in the court of chancery to have that charter forfeited, and we can stop the running of the road.
required a standing army in time of peace. The gentleman from Illinois did not hesitate to cast his vote in favor of that bill, that obnoxious, wicked, and pernicious measure, on account of any depletion of the Treasury of the United States. When the interest of any case happens to suit his constituents, and his own feelings and interest and ambition, especially if a bill happens to have been reported from the committee which he represents, then he does not seem to think so much about the Treasury of the United States; but with all his power, and with all the zeal and venom which he has exhibited in this case, he portrays to this House, in almost wild enthusiasm, the reasons why he wants the measure carried into effect.
Now I do not believe it possible that when capitalists have invested twice what it is proposed the Government shall indorse in the way of interest, they will ever permit, to be forfeited to the Government of the United States all the franchises of that corporation, merely to escape the payment of the forty or fifty million dollars that may come in time in the way of interest from the Treasury of the United States to help out this grand enterprise.
Now, I am for advancing the interests of this whole country. And in this grand enterprise I see that which I believe will bind the commerce of the country together from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. And the great continent of Asia, with its six hundred million inhabitants, will pour its commerce through this channel. And not only the great West, but the great East, the city of New York, and all the commercial cities of the sea-board, as well as the inland towns, are interested in this measure far beyond the pitiful sum of $57,000,000, about which the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. WASHBURNE] talks so much as a depletion of the Treasury.
Sir, he did not talk about the depletion of the Treasury of the United States when the Freedmen's Bureau bill was up here; a bill which, according to the estimate of the President of the United States, would have cost the country $50,000,000 a year-a bill that would have
This is no political question; it is a question that is in no way connected with politics. It is a question that recommends itself to the sound discretion of members of this Congress, representing the interests of the whole country. And although my constituents, in the fourth congressional district of the State of New Jersey, may not be directly interested in this grand enterprise, yet the country is interested in it; a country that I expect to see united one day; whose flag I hope may float over the capitol of South Carolina as it floats to-day from the dome of this Capitol. And I feel myself called upon, as a man who loves his country, and has its best interests at heart, to sustain this great national enterprise which is to make us glorious and powerful. If there ever was a measure that appeals to the sympathies, magnanimity, and patriotism of all who love their country, and has the best interests of his posterity and of coming generations at heart, it is this; and we should not seek to destroy it simply because some millions of dollars may be drawn from the Treasury of the United States.
I have more confidence in the integrity, patriotism, and love of country of the people than to believe that they will refuse to return to the Congress of the United States any man who shall honestly, and from high and conscientious convictions, vote in favor of this magnificent enterprise. They are not so narrowminded as that; they are not so puritanical as that. And when this bill shall be passed, and the road shall have been completed; when trains are running on it, carrying our glorious flag to those mountains, with the grand principles of American liberty, we shall have done that for our country which will equal all that any other Government has ever done for the people under it.
of the Constitution. If that language does not authorize Congress to aid in the construction of a railroad such as is here contemplated, then that language is utterly without meaning; it is a mere dead letter.
Men talk as if the Treasury of the United States were bankrupt, as if our national finances were in the most desperately hopeless condition, as if the country were ruined. Why, sir, this nation can bear a burden of debt much larger than the amount now resting upon it. In view of our present national debt of $4,000,000,000, which the people are so anxious and ready to pay, no man need undertake to make me believe that the mere addition of some $50,000,000 to that debt will deplete or destroy the ability of the United States to meet its obligations. No, sir, there is no such weakness on the part of this Government.
There is some disposition on the part of some gentlemen on this side of the House to doubt the constitutional power of the Congress of the United States to enact such legislation as is proposed in this bill. I ask the attention of such gentlemen for a few moments to a consideration of the plain provisions of the Constitution. Sir, I have no more doubt of the constitutional authority of the Congress of the United States to pass such legislation than I have of the existence of a Supreme Being. Sir, the eighth section of the Constitution enumerates the powers delegated to the Congress of the United States, and among those powers is one "to establish post offices and post roads." If Congress has not power to provide for the construction of a railroad through the territory of the United States, for postal and military purposes, I ask gentlemen to tell me what is the meaning of that clause
Now, sir, I am opposed to any interference by the Congress of the United States with the eminent domain of a State. I am opposed to the United States undertaking to run railroads within the jurisdiction of a State without the consent of a State. I am opposed to an attempt by the Government to authorize a railroad between here and the city of New York without the consent of the States through which the road is to pass. I say that such legislation violates the true intention of the Constitution. But, sir, this bill provides that the three States through whose jurisdiction this road is to pass shall give their consent to its construction before the road shall be permitted to go through those States.
The proposition, here, as I understand it, is for the construction of a railroad from a given point to a given point, the road to pass over the territory of the United States, the bill expressly confining the corporation to the construction of the road within the eminent domain of the United States. This company will have no right, by virtue of its charter or this bill, to enter the domain of a State and interfere with its sovereign powers. This road cannot pass through any State except with the consent of the State, and it can only pass through lands belonging to the United States.
There can be, therefore, in my view, no wellfounded legal or constitutional objection to this measure. If there are no just objections of this character, then it is the duty of conscientious legislators to support this measure, if they recognize it as one that will tend to advance the prosperity of the country by completing a work which cannot be accomplished except with the aid of the Government of the United States.
Sir, it is a most astonishing fact that when the act incorporating this company was passed it received in the Senate the vote of every member of that body.
The SPEAKER. The twenty minutes allowed to the gentleman from New Jersey have expired. The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. BINGHAM] has fifteen minutes remaining.
Mr. BINGHAM. I yield ten minutes to the gentleman from Michigan, [Mr. DRIGGS.]
MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE.
A message from the Senate, by Mr. FORNEY, its Secretary, informed the House that the Senate had disagreed to the amendments of the House to Senate bill No. 23, to encourage telegraphic communication between the United States and the island of Cuba and other West India islands, and the Bahamas, asked a committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses thereon, and had ap pointed Messrs. CHANDLER, MORRILL, and CONNESS as the committee on the part of the Senate.
NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD-AGAIN.
Mr. DRIGGS. Mr. Speaker, as no gentleman from my State has yet been heard on this question, I feel impelled to present some remarks upon the subject; and I shall be as brief as possible.
Sir, when this question was first presented to the attention of Congress, I felt it my duty as a citizen of the State of Michigan, feeling an interest in everything that concerns the Northwest, to leave my seat here and visit the city of Boston to ascertain all that I could in reference to the responsibility of this company and everything connected with it. I met in Boston, under the auspices of the Board of Trade, the representatives of the Northern Pacific railroad. As the result of my examination, I can only say that, according to my information, the standing of this company for respectability and responsibility is of the highest character.
I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that the company now representing the grant, of land by Congress to aid in the construction of this road are as respectable as any gentlemen who ever
but I am not to be bound to any locality. I
associated themselves together in a public work. It would be a little curious to notice the geographical location of the gentlemen who oppose this measure. It will be noticed that they have made the discovery that this road is to start from Puget sound on the Pacific and end at Lake Superior. They have also discovered that it may have an eastern outlet across by the Straits of Mackinaw and down to Detroit, there connecting with roads leading south from that point. I want it understood by gentlemen who oppose this bill because Chicago has not been fixed upon as a point, that they can tap the road by their system and have a branch road from Lake Superior to Chicago. In the winter season until the road can be completed East, across the straits through Michigan, it will have to make its connection with the Wisconsin and Illinois railroads, so as to reach the eastern roads at Chicago, for it is known that the lakes can be navigated only for a portion of the year. It was my good fortune on visiting Boston to be the companion of Captain Mullin, who surveyed and has been asso. ciated with the Northern Pacific railroad from the commencement, and from him I learned some very interesting facts. The captain is a very practical man. He stated to me that by building a short road over a portage of some three hundred and fifty miles between the navigable head waters of the Yellowstone and Columbia rivers the entire connection between the Atlantic and Pacific can be effected, and goods and passengers transported from the Atlantic to the Pacific in ten days.
I have not the time to go into all the details of this proposition. I will say that I do not look upon this as a local work. Some of the gentlemen who oppose the bill are interested in the construction of the Central Pacific railroad for which a magnificent grant of land and money has been made, and now when the great Northwest seeks to secure an outlet to the Pacific, for local reasons these same gentlemen come in and oppose the measure.
When the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. WASHBURNE] was speaking on the details of the bill it did occur to me that some amendments in reference to the conveyance of the lands were necessary. By the amendment before the House I understand the title does not pass until the road is built. That obviates that difficulty. The next question is as to the liability of the Government. As the bill has been amended not one dollar is guarantied until the road is built. I undertake to say even if every dollar of that money was lost it would be the cheapest sixty millions ever expended on a great national work. My friend from Ohio [Mr. BINGHAM] says very truly that not a dollar would be lost, and I indorse that declaration. We can get it back on account of the carriage of the United States mails, and by security for one half of the land, and in various other ways. The Government can hold securities until it gets back every dollar.
In the upper peninsula which I represent there are copper mines, and if the road be built it will open that region to commerce. But I regard it as a national work, and one of the greatest importance. No gentleman from New England, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio, or any of the other States should oppose it. For by connecting at Detroit, in the State of Michigan, with the southern system of roads and the roads leading to the Atlantic cities, they will all have the benefit of this Northern Pacific railroad, and the bill for the encouragement of the building of which I hope will pass, but as I promised to occupy but ten minutes of the time of the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. BINGHAM] I must close my remarks and yield the floor to him.
Mr. GRINNELL. I understand that the gentleman has but eight minutes of his time left, and I propose to occupy that time, yet too short to more than glance at the great question. Mr. Speaker, I shall vote for this bill, and divest myself of all local prejudices as a western man. I happen to live on the line of the Central Pacific railroad; it passes by my door;
director he gave his time and money. And now, when the chairman of a committee, cautious with experience and exact in figures, has examined into this project in a financial as well as a national point of view, comes to me and says it is sound and safe and necessary, I give great weight to his opinion. Certainly no side issues should detract from the authority.
The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. DELANO] pursued a line of remark which led us to suppose that here was such a magnificent grant of land that any further aid was unnecessary. He seemed to think that the amount would be $100,000,000, and when I asked him whether he did not think that was too high, he expressed doubts about it, and finally concluded that it was so.
Mr. Speaker, let us divest ourselves of these local prejudices. Let us rise to the grandeur of position that we should occupy in legislating for a continent. I never wish to see the two sections of the country alienated. I would have the East bound to the West by iron bands. Give us this railroad, and what cost twenty-five cents a pound to reach the gold mines can be carried to the far West at from five to eight cents a pound. There is economy in the meas ure. There is greatness and safety in it, and unless my colleague has been grossly deceived in regard to the figures, it is safe financially; and I repeat, although I live on the line of the great Central Pacific railroad, I am willing that we shall have two or three roads, or as many as we can find money to build.
And let it not be forgotten that these capitalists, these railroad men, these shrewd managers, must lose ten million dollars before we can lose one. Will they enter into this project without any prospect of receiving their money back? No; they are shrewd, intelligent, far-sighted men, as well as patriots, and they know the necessity of this connection, and they know that if we can have the head waters of the Missouri river connected with the Colum.
Now, I wish to call attention to the fact that gentlemen have not met the question. On the one hand they have said, "Here is such an immense grant of land that these men need nothing." On the other they have said, "You will lose if you become security for this company." Both statements cannot be true; the witnesses disagree. I have no hesitation in saying that these facts have never yet been met, and they never can be successfully.
Here is a great tract of land certainly, but what is it now worth? No more to this Government than so much moonshine, or so much clear sky, without a railroad. It is not worth one cent an acre without access to it. There is no man rich enough to own it and pay taxes on it in its present condition; nor will it for fifty years to come, without a railroad, have value.
What is the proposition? That this immense tract of land between Lake Superior and the Pacific shall be opened so that we shall have access to the gold mines and another highway to the Pacific ocean. This is what we can do; this is what we ought to do. We ought to lend to timid capital the aid, confidence, and surety of the Government in this enterprise; what the Government has before done, even by direct gifts; what Russia is doing in opening her wastes on a grand scale.
The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. DELANO] talks about the West, and assumes to speak for it as if he were of that country. Why, sir, he should remember that he is not within a thousand miles of the starting-point of this road. He has to travel two hundred miles across his own State, the same distance across the State of Indiana, then three or four hundred more across the State of Illinois northwest, and then hundreds of miles, before he gets to the starting-point of this road. He cannot speak for the West, because he does not live there as a Representative; and though able, I cannot think he appreciates our dis
tances or wants.
Gentlemen have undertaken to say that my
road, to Council Bluffs. He is a railroad man
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Is he not president of a bank?
Mr. GRINNELL. He was president of the State Bank of Iowa. And I will here state that his word financially is regarded as good authority by all parties in that State, without regard to politics; and it is partly because he has examined this question financially, as well as its wide national bearings, that I give it my support. More than a banker. He was a railroad man for thirteen years, connected with the roads in Iowa and Illinois, and as a railroad
bia, crossing this magnificent country, we shall have achieved what cannot possibly be achieved by the Central Pacific railroad in the same time. Hence, I conceive that, as far-seeing and intelligent men, we should support this measure, sustained, I observe, by the Boards of Trade, by the powerful press of the Northwest, by every miner in the West, by the dwellers on the Pacific, and ought to be, as I am confident, by every agriculturist on the wide, rich prairies of our western States.
Mr. WRIGHT. Mr. Speaker, the bill before us proposes to part with the credit of the Government of the United States to a railroad company known as "the Northern Pacific Railroad Company," an association of gentlemen who carry on a private corporation for their own personal gain.
Before speaking of those features of the bill which to my mind render it objectionable, I call the attention of the House to the unfair manner in which this whole matter has been conducted. I do not believe that there is a single member of this House who has any objection to the completion of this road at the earliest practicable moment; but whether the road shall belong to the people or the Government of the United States rather than to private corporations is another question. That is one of the grounds of my opposition to this measure. We would like to see this country, vast as it is, and valuable as it is, speedily developed; its mineral treasures brought forth; its hills and valleys peopled and filled with grain and all other agricultural products which are necessary for the sustenance of man, and for the happiness of those who may dwell there. This is a question of humanity. It is a question of policy. But there is a question of legal right. This measure appears to be a sort of gift enterprise," where much is promised and little performed. There is something under it. I confess that I have not sufficient intelligence to tell you where it is or what it is; but I feel that the measure is pregnant with mischief to our Government and to our institutions. When the Government becomes godfather to schemes of this description, being responsible for the acts of its god-child, there is danger.
In July, 1864, this Northern Pacific Railroad Company was chartered, and at that time it was presumed that we should never again be troubled with an application for additional assistance. The charter gave to them forty-seven million acres of land, and the company themselves, as
And it seems that these railroad corporators who came here last Congress and got this grant are acting as if their idea was that the people of the United States did not send Representatives here who possessed ordinary intelligence. Therefore they generously bestow their advice upon us here in our seats, and in this building, and at our hotels, telling us how we can best discharge our duty. All I can say is that we are very much obliged to them for their interest in our enlightenment, and we will act as we may deem best.
Now, has any measure of security been taken by the Government that the lands thus given away to this private corporation shall pay taxes in common with the property of other corporations? Have we guarded the matter in any way so that the United States will ever be the gainer by it? Sir, what is to happen at once upon the completion of this road? A division of the profits will be made, and the Government will get nothing. The private corporators no doubt will be very much obliged to the Government for having loaned its credit to them, which is equal to so much money; they will be very much obliged for the land that has been given to them, and when the road is done they will take all the profits to themselves, bid good bye to the Government, and having become wealthy they will go off and enjoy their otium cum dignitate.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. Will the gentleman from New Jersey [Mr. WRIGHT] yield to me a moment?
Mr. WRIGHT. Certainly.
we heard yesterday upon this floor, declared that they believed that with that grant of land from the Government they would be enabled to complete the road and have a surplus of $350,000,000. Less than two years have gone by and now they come here to ask, what we have no power to give, the credit of the Federal Government to an incorporation of private individuals for their own private speculative purposes.
Now, can we do that? Could we have done it in 1864? I ask gentlemen here (for the same principle is applicable to other measures as well as to this) to pause for a moment and reflect whether all of that land, lying in whatsoever State it may, is not the common property of all the States. I contend that the Gov. ernment holds it only in trust for the people of all the States; and that it is, therefore, the trustee and custodian of these lands for the benefit of the States who are the cestui que trust; and you will never be able to get your discharge by accounting in the future if you take forty-seven million acres of that land and give it to one railroad company.
We gave away the other day two hundred thousand acres of land to build a ship-canal a mile and a half long. In a very short time the whole of this vast territory of ours will become the property of private individuals; and then, when we find our national debt pressing upon us severely, and turn to that as a source of revenue, we shall find that we have anticipated, and that it has gone into private pockets, and we shall be unable to make any headway in our efforts to pay our national indebtedness.
Now, let us consider this matter in another point of view. Suppose you have given away half of the land you possess, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, neither of them having any portion of that which has been given away, for I call it a gift without authority of law. Suppose that by and by a bill is brought in to divide the public lands remaining among the States. How can we account to Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey for the portion that you have given away? Have they not already been disposed of to railroad and canal companies and other corporations?
I think it is a matter that demands careful consideration on the part of this House. I have no special pleading to offer in a case of this kind. But I appeal to the good sense of members of this House to decide whether or not I am correct in saying that we are the trustees of this property, and have no right to dispose of it in this way; but we must account for it to the States who do not obtain their aliquot portion of it now or at some future day.
It has been urged here that this land possesses little or no value. I know the old saying, that drowning men will catch at straws; yet the shrewd men who come here and take such pains to get an act of incorporation might very properly be asked why they take this land if it is worth nothing. Now, it has become so valuable, after being in their possession not quite two years, that they speak about indemnifying the Government for guarantying the payment of interest on the bonds of this company, by offering us the half of what we gave them to secure $67,000,000.
This is not the first example in history where large offers have been made. If it will be any benefit to members of this House I will refer them to a somewhat celebrated example. On one occasion, as we are told, the devil took our Saviour up on a high mountain and showed him a great deal of land, and offered him a very large land grant, larger, if possible, than this is. But our Saviour knew the devil did not own it, and He replied to him, "Get behind me, Satan." Now, members of Congress offer to these railroad companies and canal companies these large grants of land that belong to the people; and these corporations not being quite so conscientious as our Saviour was will most generously and willingly accept the grants of land thus pressed upon them.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I desire
Mr. GRINNELL. I would suggest to the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. WASHBURNE] that the gentleman from New Jersey [Mr. ROGERS] is not in his seat.
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. I thought he was here.
proper place to disseminate it. We should proclaim to them that there is no party feeling in this matter; that there can be none; that the question is one of legal right and impartial justice.
Sir, when I heard the eloquent remarks of gentlemen about the necessity of giving away our lands for works of public improvement, I felt disposed to send word to the Camden and Amboy Railroad Company to make application for a grant of land; I do not see why the House should not have its heart softened toward that corporation as well as any other.
Sir, however we may be bound by party feelings, it will not do for us to inaugurate a system by which we may wink at trifling errors and go on increasing our offenses until by their illegality they amount to absolute crimes, because it cannot be presumed that we could thus sin through ignorance. Sir, I desire that this road shall be built, and I am willing to do anything that I may lawfully and conscientiously do to assist in its construction. The great railroad of the State in which I live would form one of the connections of this road by way of the Atlantic and Great Western railroad. Sir, the opponents of this bill must not be misjudged. We do not desire to be understood as being other than favorable to the completion of the road. But we cannot approve the means by which the end is sought to be accomplished.
I think I am fully justified in saying that my constituents will approve the vote which I am about to give against this measure. I can cast that vote with a clear conscience, knowing that I have sought to do no injustice to the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, but that I have endeavored to save the money of my constituents, that I have striven to prevent the depletion of the public Treasury. Sir, I find on my desk this morning a circular which the Secre tary of the Treasury has sent us, stating that $350,000,000 is all that is necessary to be raised annually to pay off the interest of the public debt of England; and that during the past three quarters of the current fiscal year $405,000,000 have been paid in this country. But, sir, he says that the continuance of the present system of taxation on the necessaries and comforts of life articles that we eat and drink and wearis required in order to meet the demands upon the Treasury. Sir, at such a time as this, how can we, with any regard to the interests or the welfare of the country, engage in a scheme to guaranty, by a pledge of the national credit, fifty or one hundred million dollars to a private corporation? The principle is wrong. Our duty as Representatives requires that we should oppose such schemes; and this I say with no unkind feeling toward those who advocate the bill.
I trust that the bill may yet be put in such a shape that those who are at present its opponents may become its friends; and that in the mean time we shall mature a measure which shall extend to our soldiers and sailors that generous care which they so well deserve from the country.
Mr. BROOMALL. I ask the gentleman to
Mr. STEVENS. That matter has nothing
Can we make no better disposition of this land?
If members of this House have greater
Mr. WRIGHT. I will yield to the gentleman for twenty minutes.
Mr. BROOMALL. Mr. Speaker, I received in the mail this morning a circular, which I hold in my hand, purporting to come from the Treasury Department, the reading of which has caused me a considerable amount of discómfort. The purport of this circular is that in consequence of the enormous indebtedness of the Government, in consequence of the immense amount of taxes now imposed upon the people, it is utterly impossible for the Government to equalize the bounties to our soldiers. Many of us have been sitting here with the fixed determination not to let this session go by with out passing that most righteous measure, and to be told now that the thing is impossible is a declaration that must grieve the heart of every lover of the country in this House. I am not without hope that the prophecies of the Secretary of the Treasury may be found to be mis
They framed the very bill so that no part of the money that they proposed to take out of the Treasury should fall due to the Government until after the road was entirely completed. It is easy enough to leave ten miles of a road of eighteen hundred miles in length unfinished, so as to avoid the payment of the money.
The alterations that have been made by my colleague have not helped the bill much, very little indeed. They have only the better covup, not the bad intentions of the House, not by any manner of means, but the bad intentions of somebody, I do not know who, for I inquired all day yesterday in this House of everybody I saw, Who drafted this bill?"
and was unable to find out who did it.
taken. I am not without hope that some means
You may be sure, Mr. Speaker, after reading that document, I came to this House by no manner of means disposed to vote away sixty millions of money which ought to go to this purpose. Mr. HENDERSON. I ask the gentlemanered to yield to me. Mr. BROOMALL. I cannot do it, I have but a little time myself.
I will not vote the money which ought to go to this righteous purpose into the pockets of a private corporation. I warn gentleman, if they vote for this bill and violate their promise to the soldiers, they cannot fall back upon the assertion of the Secretary of the Treasury that the thing was impossible, for their votes upon this measure will stare them in the face. They will be told they have given by one single act to a private corporation nearly one half as much as would be required to equalize the bounties of the soldiers.
I recollect very well when the original bill, to which this is an amendment, was brought into the House. It was not without reason that members were startled at the injustice of the proposition it contained of conveying in fee-simple to a private corporation, the stock of which might be held in India, England, or anywhere else, lands exceeding in amount the entire State of Indiana, and more than double the land contained in the States of New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. Such a proposition might well startle members of Congress and make them hesitate; but my powerful colleague, chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, [Mr. STEVENS,] with his usual persuasiveness almost forced us to depart from our accustomed propriety to sustain the bill. I regret that upon that occasion I did not make my voice heard in condemnation of the measure. I allowed myself good-naturedly and amiably to yield my judgment to that of others; but when I saw this bill here, I was reminded that I had been somewhat recreant to my duty. I voted against the bill, I grant, but then I contented myself with that vote. Such at least is my recollection at this time.
What were we then told? The opponents of the bill, I think the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. WASHBURNE] especially, pointed out the immense amount of lands proposed to be given to this people, and contrasted it with the land grants to other corporations, He earnestly remonstrated against the passage of the bill, and foretold that the demands of the company would not end there. He foretold truly. The eloquence of my colleague and others had such effect that the bill was suffered to pass, notwithstanding the warning of the gentleman from Illinois. It was passed upon the positive promise of these people that that would be the last demand by that company upon the Congress of the United States. Yet, sir, not a spade has been put into the ground, not a pole has been set, not a line has been run since the passage of that bill, and still the company is back here asking for money, money at a time when money is by no means plenty with the Government of
the United States.
But it is said by gentlemen on the other side of the question that this money will be repaid. When? I would like to know when. If we commence this system of legislation we will find the bonds of the United States selling at fifty cents on the dollar long before we shall see a single cent of this money returned. The bill provides the means by which it is to be got out of the Treasury of the United States, but I see small chance of its being brought
The framers of the original bill-I mean the bill for which the pending substitute is movednever intended that this money should be paid. They framed the bill so that it was never necessary for the company to repay the money.
39TH CONG. 1ST SESS.-No. 141.
Now, the proposition of my colleague is, that we should take security for the money we lay What is the security? Why, the right to sell at double the price of our public land, and no less, the land lying on the south side of that road. Is that any security? And the bill proposes to vest all these lands in this company beforehand, so that they may sell them, and then the lands would be beyond our reach, in the hands of innocent third parties. For they take good care in this bill to make the grant of the land entirely free from all the conditions set out in the original act.
Mr. STEVENS. Will the gentleman yield? Mr. BROOMALL. I am sorry I cannot yield.
Mr. STEVENS. I am sorry the gentleman will not allow me to make a correction.
Mr. BROOMALL. I think I have paid as much attention to this bill as we usually do. It may be my misfortune to be in error, but if I am, I am honestly so, and I shall have in vindication of myself at least the fact that I did not vote to a private corporation the money that should have gone to our soldiers.
Two of my colleagues from Pennsylvania, [Mr. KELLEY and Mr. STEVENS,] with extraordinary eloquence-extraordinary even for them--are urging the passage of this bill. Pennsylvania, ground down by local, State, and general taxation; Pennsylvania, that has had to resort to a means of raising money that never came within the knowledge, I suppose, of my friend the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, [Mr. MORRILL;] Pennsylvania, that has had to resort by law to taxing her citizens upon their poverty instead of their wealth (because within two years that State, finding that the General Government wanted all the tax that could be raised from her property, actually passed a law compelling the debtor to pay a tax on his debt;) Pennsylvania comes here, ground down in that way by taxation, and asks, through her Representatives, to let this private corporation dip its hands sixty millions deep into the public Treasury.
My colleague from Philadelphia [Mr. KELLEY] tells this House that Sir Morton Peto would be very glad to take this job off our hands, would be very glad, if I understand him, to guaranty this stock upon the terms offered to us. Well, all I can say is, if Sir Morton Peto wants the job, as for me he can have it, and when he gets through this job I will hunt him up a good many others of the same sort. I dare say there are corporations within the district of my colleague whose stockholders would be very glad to have the Government of the United States guaranty the dividends upon their stock.
I know that there are such corporations in my district, and if my colleague will aid me to get an introduction to that distinguished English gentleman, when he gets through the job that he proposes for him, I will introduce to him some of my constituents for that purpose. Sir, let who will guaranty these bonds, I, as a member of this Congress, never will.
Mr. KELLEY. For correction I ask the gentleman to yield.
Mr. BROOMALL. I do not want it taken out of my time, but I will do it.
Mr. KELLEY. I have nowhere intimated that Sir Morton Peto would gladly construct
this road if the United States would guaranty the bonds. I have said that he, with other Englishmen, would gladly give a guarantee for the sake of extending the British line down to the forty-second degree of latitude. I want no more British Provinces on our territory.
Mr. BROOMALL. The gentleman's expla nation is precisely as I stated it. I did not state that he said that Sir Morton Peto would like to have the job if we would guaranty the bonds. What I said was, that that gentleman would gladly take the job that we are asked to undertake, would gladly take upon himself the guarantee of that stock upon the terms offered to us. It was in that view that I said that he or any other person on the other side of the Atlantic may do it so far as I am concerned.
It is time we began to retrench. The people are clamorous for a reduction of the taxes. Who of the members here present has not had letter after letter from his constituents asking when a bill reducing our taxation will be reported and acted on? Who is not glad to find that there is in the bill which has been reported a material reduction of taxation? But, if we are going to give away with one hand twice as much as we receive with the other, I want to know how we are to satisfy our constituents?
I believe, sir, that my time is very nearly exhausted, and I will only say further that upon this question I have paired with a gentleman from New York who has had to leave the Hall.
Mr. WRIGHT. I yield now to the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. HARDING.]
Mr. HARDING, of Illinois. I am greatly indebted to the gentleman from New Jersey for his courtesy in allowing me a few minutes.
I felt more interested in this subject and am more ardently opposed to this bill than, perhaps, there is good ground for. I am anxious to preserve the financial credit of the Government. Perhaps I am more sensitive on that point than I ought to be.
I feel how much it has cost, both in blood and money. I feel how grinding and burdensome our present taxation is upon the people; and I am unwilling to add another dollar to our obligations unless it be for a measure of very great national importance.
It is asserted that this is a great national measure. I beg leave to deny it. It is but a great individual speculation. The nation is no more interested in the development of this region of country from Lake Superior to Puget sound than it is in the development of any other portion of the country. If the devel opinent of this country by the construction of a railroad is to be held to be a national business, why then I can only say that I have understood things differently. I do not understand that it is the business of this Government to engage in the general improvement of the country and the development of its resources, in the building of woolen and cotton factories, in the opening of canals, and in the construction of railroads in all directions. These are, in one sense, matters of national importance, but not in the sense that has ever been maintained by that great party to which I have had the honor to belong all my life, a party which has met opposition, but which in its construction of the power of Congress under the Constitution, to enter upon the improvement of the inland rivers and the harbors on our lakes, and to provide for the construction of other great national improvements, has never gone as far as this measure proposes to go. And no leadership shall lead me further than the position which that party assumed, and in which it was sustained in the past by the people of the coun
I have never understood that we had a Government here which could appropriate money from the public Treasury for the development of local interests.
In the limited time allotted to me I can, of course, say but little of what I would like to say upon this subject. I would like to show that this measure is not impelled by considerations of great national importance. If it be, then I ask why it is that members from partic
compete long. If the men who manage them ever do carry on a competition from personal animosities for any length of time, those who are interested behind them will turn them out and put others in their places who will better attend to the interests of the parties.
Now, you may build another road to the Pacific; but by the time it is done the managers of the two roads will get together and drink champagne and conclude that rates of freight must be raised a little higher. That is so; I have tried it, and it has been tried on me.
Gentlemen argue, why not give this land, which is worth about as much as the blue sky? Sir, it is too good to give away to a set of corporators who will thus have eighteen hundred miles of monopoly through the best mining regions of America, I am told. Sir, all know how this thing works; there is not a mine there but what if I own the railroad I own the mine, and you know it. If you have a coal mine or an iron mine or a gold mine, and I control a railroad, I will take all the profits of the mine for transportation.
ular localities are found, every one of them, "in" for it? Why is it that my friend from Portland, [Mr. LYNCH,] and all those who come from the line of latitude on which this road is to run, favor it? Why is it? Is it because they love this great country more than profit? Why is it that certain gentlemen from Pennsylvania, who are engaged in certain in terests, are so deeply interested in this work? Of course it is because they look upon it as a national work; it is not because it would promote certain branches of business! Look at it. Your original bill gives in general terms a right to other roads to connect with this road. What is the connection? Is it the right to have the business of the New York Central, or the Michigan Central, or of any other road carried over this line? No such thing. The men who control the charter will make the business with the West go over the Grand Trunk railroad of Canada.
Let it go to Portland over the very roads that these distinguished and honorable publicspirited men from Vermont and New Hampshire represent. They, of course, are not influenced by any such considerations; not a whit of it. They are too honorable and highminded to burden this nation with a view to local advantages and local benefits; I do not believe they would do it; not a word of it. And do gentlemen suppose that Boards of Trade, composed of the material that we know they are composed cf, are ever influenced by any other consideration than love of country? Why, no sir, never.
Men engaged in the iron interest are anxious, of course, to make railroad iron. But it is not in their special interest, of course, that a bill is introduced here to bind these railroad corporations to buy their iron of them. Yet this road is to be built of American iron, cost what it may, and however great may be the demand for it. But that of course will not weigh a straw in the estimation of my patriotic and truly honored friend from Pennsylvania; [Mr. STEVENS,] for I do honor him.
Now, I beg him to believe me when I say that this country does not want this increase of liabilities at this time. Whether we pay the money or not, it will stand against us on our books; it stands there as a mortgage, and he and others will find that when we have once committed ourselves to this thing they will so manage the business of the road that the quarter of the gross earnings which we are to receive will be very small. The great part of the earnings will be absorbed by the Grand Trunk road and the Vermont line; there will be very small earnings for the west end of the road, especially as that west end is eighteen hundred miles long. How many stations would there be on the western portion of the road? None, except on the Missouri river, until you get to the Pacific.
There is no population along the proposed line of road. I asked a friend what was the population, and he told me it was literally nothing. And there are but few villages on the Pacific coast. Now, what kind of freight can be carried eighteen hundred miles over a road that will pay for the carriage after it has reached the market? Not grain and corn, for it now takes three bushels of corn to pay for transporting one bushel from Illinois to Buffalo. I am proud of the railroad system of the United States; I am in favor of it; I have helped to build some, to my sorrow. And I have learned this: that there must be a large way business, a large population along the line of the road to make a road pay.
My friend from California [Mr. BIDWELL] says that they want competition to keep down the rates of freight to the Pacific. Now that is a beautiful idea; I will treat it more respectfully, and say that it is an honest idea. But you will find that where there are two parties to divide the profits, they will always manage to have a little higher rates of freight. I challenge gentlemen to show me an instance where competition has put down freights for any length of time. Those corporations will not
Sir, there is not in this bill a syllable which will enable the Government to control the manner in which this company shall do their business. The whole thing will be under the control of the corporation. Sir, when I conclude to vote for allowing Sir Morton Peto and his associates or any association or company eighteen hundred miles of the territory for which my countrymen have fought and bled, and many of them died, I will let you know. Sir, what do you suppose would be thought of such a vote among my constituents, who have sent here their petitions signed by thousands of names asking to be relieved from the oppression which they have suffered from railroads in Illinois? Why, sir, the railroads of Illinois have competing lines. How is it, then, that they oppress the people? Sir, it is, as I have said, through the medium of champagne.
So far as concerns the power which will be wielded by this company, it is immaterial whether we give them twenty miles or forty miles along the line of their road. I know that this is merely an entering wedge. They will eventually exercise a power which nothing but the building of a competing line can break. Sir, if this bill be passed it will be equivalent to a deed of cession to these corporators for all this land. They will own it. The strong man will keep the house, and you can go in and out only at his pleasure.
Mr. Speaker, I do not like to express my opinion upon financial questions. But I have always believed that so far as we can we should pay as we go. I have accepted as a tolerably good and sound principle the advice of the Bible, "Owe no man anything." There is, I believe, another passage of Scripture-but I am not freshly read-which says something about the impolicy of indorsing for others. [Laughter.]
Mr. WASHBURNE, of Illinois. It was Ben. Franklin, I believe, who said that.
of the great debt we owe them. We are told that it will be a very hard job to get that measure through; and doubts are intimated whether it can be passed.
Sir, I receive letters from my constituents saying that they distrust the intentions of Congress. They rather begin to surmise that we intend to give that measure the go-by. For heaven's sake, gentlemen, do not ask me to go home and tell them that, in preference to voting for that measure, I gave my support to a scheme for a guarantee of the national faith to the amount of $57,000,000 for the benefit of some gentlemen who are engaged in railroading. In my section of country, I am sorry to say, the people have not a very high estimate of men of that character. I have suffered somewhat under the prejudice which they entertain for persons of that description. I am seeking to retrieve my reputation by a faithful, an inflexible, fidelity to the interests of the whole country, regardless of all personal considerations. I am going to die in that harness; and acting on that principle. I am to-day standing by the people of the West.
Mr. HARDING, of Illinois. I believe it was. Now, sir, I have had some little experience in that matter of indorsing for others; and I have almost always had to pay the bill.
Sir, there is another consideration which has its influence with me in reference to this measure. I expect to vote, cost what it may, for equalizing the bounties of those brave men who in 1861 and 1862 volunteered in the military service of the country, receiving meager bounties or none at all, and served, many of them, through the war. Cost what it may, I am determined to vote in favor of paying them the money to which their noble services more than entitle them. They are the saviours of my country. We owe them a debt of gratitude. We owe them more than brilliant words and fine resolutions. This Congress has sat now for more than four months, engaged in great part in the discussion of questions pertaining to the interests of particular localities. We have as yet taken no action on that great measure designed to pay to the soldiers a part||
More than a million of these western people -men who have served the country as soldiers, as well as the widows of soldiers and the children of soldiers-are to-day looking about them anxiously to see how they shall get along in the world. They find taxes heavy, business dull; and I declare, Mr. Speaker, I cannot have the heart to impose any additional burdens upon them at this time.
Now, sir, when a railroad is needed west of Lake Superior it will be built. There is no trouble in getting a railroad constructed when there is really a necessity for it. This has been the experience all over the country. Hence, I believe that this railroad to the Pacific will be built without Government aid whenever the interests and wants of the country justify its construction.
I hope we will have all these lands back again. I believe that the company has forfeited its franchise because it has not complied with the condition upon which it was granted. Let us get it back by all means. As it stands now it is equivalent to the cession of that whole territory to this private corporation.
There are other views of this question to which I would be glad to allude if I had the time.
The SPEAKER. The gentleman has seven minutes left,
Mr. HARDING, of Illinois. Here is a railroad of eighteen hundred miles to be built from Lake Superior to Puget sound. It is to have this immense grant of lands and its stock is to be indorsed by the United States Government. It is to be controlled by these private corporators. Yet my friend from Pennsylvania [Mr. KELLEY] talks about homes for the homeless. I think the people will understand who are for giving homes to the homeless. We do not give homes to the homeless by granting away in one act this enormous body of lands to a private corporation. Nor do I see any necessity of having a railroad from Lake Superior to transport the emigrants from Europe into those hyperborean regions where they would find it difficult for them to live without having the skins of wild animals upon their backs. I know that to develop the resources of the West we need population.
Now, sir, those who come from Europe need not go away off into the Rocky mountains to find homes, for they can be provided with homes upon the beautiful prairies of Illinois, and when those are overcrowded there is room for them in the lands beyond the Jordan of the Mississippi. It will be time enough for us to think of settling the land between Lake Supe rior and Puget sound when we have brought under cultivation the lands through which roads already pass. What would you think of a man who had only stock enough to work his own farm renting all the surrounding country? Yet such is the proposition we have here. Gentlemen are talking of popu lating millions and millions of acres of land