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moned in her cradle. I imbibed them from the father of his country. My understanding approved them with the full concurrence of my heart, when I was much younger than I am now; and I feel no disposition to discard them now that age and feebleness are about to overtake me. I could say moremuch more—upon this question; but I want health and strength. It is, perhaps, fortunate for the House that I do: as it prevents me from fatiguing them as much as I fatigue myself.
SPEECH OF JOHN C. CALHOUN,
BILL PROPOSING TO SET APART AND PLEDGE AS A PERMANENT FUND FOR INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT THE BONUS OF THE NATIONAL BANK, AND THE UNITED STATES' SHARE OF ITS DIVIDENDS ;
OF THE UNITED
DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
STATES, FEBRUARY 4, 1817.
MR. CHAIRMAN, It seems to be the fate of some measures to be praised, but not adopted. Such I fear will be the fate of that on which we are now deliberating. From the indisposition, manifested by the House to go into committee on the bill, there is not much prospect of its success; yet it seems to me, when I reflect how favorable is the present moment, and how confessedly important a good system of roads and canals is to our country, I may reasonably be very sanguine of suc
At peace with all the world; abounding in pecuniary means; and, what is of the most importance, and at what I rejoice as most favorable to the country, party and sectional feelings, immerged in a liberal and enlightened regard to the general concerns of the nation—such, are the favorable circumstances under which we are now deliberating. Thus situated, to what can we direct our resources and attention more important than internal improvements ? What can add more to the wealth, the strength, and the political prosperity of our country? The manner, in which facility and cheapness of intercourse adds to the wealth of a nation, has been so often and ably discussed by writers on political economy, that I presume the House to be perfectly acquainted with the subject. It is sufficient to observe, that every branch of national indus
try, agricultural, manufacturing and commercial, is greatly stimulated and rendered by it more productive. The result is, that it tends to diffuse universal opulence. It gives to the interior the advantages possessed by the parts most eligibly situated for trade. It makes the country price, whether in the sale of raw products, or in the purchase of the articles for consumption, approximate to that of the commercial towns. In fact, if we look into the nature of wealth we will find, that nothing can be more favorable to its growth, than good roads and canals. An article, to command a price, must not only be useful, but must be the subject of demand ; and the better the means of commercial intercourse, the larger is the sphere of demand. The truth of these positions, is obvious, and has been tested by all countries where the experiment has been made. It has particularly been strikingly exemplified in England, and if the result there, in a country so limited and so similar in its products, has been to produce a most uncommon state of opulence, what may we not expect from the same cause in our country, abounding as it does in the greatest variety of products, and presenting the greatest facility for improvement ? Let it not be said that internal improvement may be wholly left to the enterprize of the states and of individuals. I know, that much may justly be expected to be done by them; but in a country so new, and so extensive as ours, there is room enough, for all the general and state governments and individuals, in which to exert their resources. But many of the improvements contemplated, are on too great a scale for the resources of the states or individuals; and many of such a nature, that the rival jealousy of the states, if left alone, might prevent. They require the resources and the general superintendence of this government to effect and complete them. But there are higher and more powerful considerations why Congress ought to take charge of this subject. If we were oniy to consider the pecuniary advantages of a good system of roads and canals; it might indeed admit of some doubt
whether they ought not to be left wholly to individual exertions; but when we come to consider how intimate y the strength and political prosperity of the republic are connected with this subject, we find the most urgent reasons why we should apply our resources to them. In many respects, no country of equal population and wealth, possesses equal materials of power with ours.
with ours. The people, in muscular power, in hardy and enterprizing habits, and in lofty and gallant courage, are surpassed by none. In one respect, and, in my opinion, in one only, are we materially weak. We occupy a surface prodigiously great in proportion to our numbers. The common strength is brought to bear with great difficulty on the point' that may be menaced by an enemy. It is our duty, then, as far as in the nature of things it can be effected, to counteract this weakness. Good roads and canals, judiciously laid out, are the proper remedy. In the recent war, how much did we suffer for the want of them ? Besides the tardiness and the consequential inefficacy of our military movements, to what an increased expense was the country put for the article of transportation alone? In the event of another war, the saving in this particular, would go far towards indemnifying us for the expense of constructing the means of transportation. It is not, however, in this respect only, that roads and canals add to the strength of the country. Our power of raising revenue, in war particularly, depends mainly on them. In peace, our revenue depends principally on the imports. In war, this source, in a great measure, fails, and internal taxes, to a great amount, become necessary. Unless the means of commercial intercourse are rendered much more perfect than they now are, we shall never be able, in war, to raise the necessary supplies. If taxes are collected in kind; if, for instance, the farmer and mechanic paid in their surplus produce, then the difficulty would not exist; as in no country on carth, is there so great a surplus, in proportion to its population. as in ours. But such a system of taxes is impos.
sible. They must be paid in money; and, by the constitution, must be laid uniformly. What, then, is the effect? The taxes are raised in every part of this extensive country, uniformly; but the expenditure must, in its nature, be principally confined to the scene of military operations. This drains the circulating medium from one part, and accumulates it in another, and perhaps a very distant one. The result is obvious. Unless it can return through the operation of trade, the parts from which the constant drain takes place, must ultimately be impoverished. Commercial intercourse is the true remedy to this weakness; and the means by which that is to be effected, are roads, canals and the coasting trade. On these, combined with domestic manufactures, does the monied capacity of the country, in war, depend. Without them, not only will we be unable to raise the necessary supplies, but the currency of the country must necessarily fall into the greatest disorder; such as we lately experienced.
But on this subject of national power, what can be more important than a perfect unity in every part, in feelings and sentiments ? And what can tend more powerfully to produce it, than overcoming the effects of distance? No country, enjoying freedom, ever occupied any thing like as great an extent of country as this republic. One hundred years ago, the most profound philosophers did not believe it to be even possible. They did not suppose it possible that a pure republic could exist on as great a scale even as the island of Great Britain. What then was considered as chimerical, we have now the felicity to enjoy; and what is most remarkable, such is the happy mould of our government, so well are the state and general powers blended, that much of our political happiness draws its origin from the extent of our republic. It has exempted us from most of the causes which distracted the small republics of antiquity. Let it not, however, be forgotten, let it be forever kept in mind, that it exposes us to the greatest of all calamities, next