The Congressional Globe, Volume 14: Twenty-Eighth Congress, Second Session Page: 21
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On motion by Mr. STURGEON, the Senate pro-
ceeded to the consideration of executive business;
and after some time spent therein,
HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES.
Wednesday, December 11, 1844.
The journal of yesterday was read and approved.
M. DOUGLASS rose, and desired to give notice
of. motion for leave to introduce to-morrow, or some
subsequent day, a bill to authorize the purchase of
Greenhow's history of Oregon, California, and the
other territories on the northwest coast of America;
and also a bill to establish the territory of Nebraska.
The SPEAKER said the notices could only be
introduced by the general consent of the House.
No objections being made, the notices were re-
ceived and entered on the journal.
Mr. HOUSTON desired to know of the Chair, if
it would now be in order for him to move the House
to go into Committee of the Whole on the state of
the Union, with a view to take up a bill which was
referred to that committee at the last session of Con-
The SPEAKER was understood to reply that,
tinder an order which had been adopted by the
House at the present session of Congress, bills re-
ferred to the Committee of the Whole on the state
of the Union, and undisposed of at the adjournment
of the last session, were placed in the same position
in which they were at the adjournment, and were
before the Committee of the Whole, to be taken up
whenever the committee saw fit.
Mr. HOUSTON said he had had the honor of re-
porting a bill at the last session from the Commit- '
tee on Public Lands, proposing to reduce and grad-
uate the price of public lands to settlers and cultiva-
tors, which was now before the committee. He
felt, as his immediate constituents and the country
fenerally felt, a very deep interest in that bill, and
esired the speedy action of Congress upon it. As
they1 now had nothing of importance before them,
and as this was a short session, the sooner they be-
gan their ^labors the better for the country. He
intended to press this bill upon the consideration of
the House at this session, and to have action upon
it if possible; and he hoped the House would now
indulge him by going into Committee of the Whole
on the state of the Union, with a view to take up
and act upon the bill to which he had called the at-
tention of the House. He therefore moved that the
House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole
on the state of the Union.
Mr. DUNCAN gave notice, in case the motion
prevailed, he should move, in committee, to take
up the bill which had been under the consideration
of the committee, relative to the time of holding the
The question was taken and resulted as follows
—-ayes 74, n«es 30—no quorum voting.
Tellers were ordered, and the question being ta-
ken, was decided in the affirmative—ayes 89, noes
So the House resolved itself into Committee of
the Whole on the- state of the Union, (Mr. Cave
Johnson in the Chair.)
Mr. DUNCAN moved to take up the bill "to es-
tablish a uniform day for holding elections for elect-
ors of President and Yice President in all the States
of the Union."
The CHAIRMAN remarked that this bill was
the one regularly before the committee, having been
tinder its consideration at the time the committee
Mr. HOUSTON said that he certainly had no op-
position to the bill, having voted for it at the last
session, and intending to vote for it again; but
he considered it more important that the House act
as early as possible upon the bill to which he had
called attention. He therefore moved to lay aside
the bill under consideration, with a view to take up
the bill to reduce and graduate the prices of the pub-
After some conversation with several gentlemen,
Mr. H. remarked that he understood that the bill now
before the committee, which seemed to be under the
peculiar guardianship of the gentleman from Ohio,
[Mr. Duncan,] would consume but little further
time; and that, with that expectation—with the ex-
pectation that the gentleman would not make more
than five or six speeches, as he had done the other
day—he would withdraw his motion, hoping that
the bill would soon be disposed of.
So the consideration of the bill "to establish a
uniform time for holding elections for electors of
President and Vice President in all the States of the
Union" was proceeded with.
To the first section of the bill, Mr. Elmer had
moved an amendment, which amendment Mr. Ham-
lin had moved to amend as before stated in our re-
ports; and the question pending was on the amend-
ment to the amendment.
Mr. HAMLIN said the gentleman who had ori-
ginally introduced this bill had prepared an amend-
ment which met his (Mr. H.'s) views. He would
therefore withdraw his amendment to the amend-
The question then recurring on the amendment
of Mr. Elmer—
Mr. ELMER said that the gentleman from Ohio
[Mr. Duncan] had shown him an amendment to
this bill which suited the gentleman's views better
than the one he (Mr. E.) had offered, and which
was substantially the same, although he (Mr. E.)
was not quite as well satisfied with its phaseology.
Nevertheless, as he wished to throw no obstacles
in the way of this matter, he would withdraw his
,-"Mr. DUNCAN then offered an amendment, to
strike out the entire bill after the enacting clausc,
"and insert a substitute therefore; which, after the
t adoption of one or two verbal amendments, at the
; suggestion of Mr. ELMER and Mr. WINTHROP,
is as follows:
That the electors of President and Vice President shall be
; appointed in each State on the first Tuesday after the
first Monday in November of the year in which they
iare to be appointed; provided that each State may,
-*by law, provide for the filling of any vaeancy or va-
cancies which may occur in its college of electors
ivhen such- college meets to give its electoral vote; and
provided, also, when any State shall have held an election
for the purpose of choosing electors and shall fail to make
| choice on the day aforesaid, then the electors may be
* ipointed on a subsequent day, in such manner as the State
.all, by law, provide.
e question was taken without debate, and the
substitute was adopted.
The question then being on losing and reporting
the bill to the House as amended, at the request of
Mr. DROMGOOLE, the bill, in its present form,
was read by the Clerk (as above given, with the
addition of the enacting clause.)
/""Mr. JAMESON, in compliance, he remarked,
/with the suggestion of several gentlemen, moved to
| strike out the word "November," and in lieu there-
\of to insert the word "October," as the time for the
Elections to take place.
■ 'S'Jr. DUNCAN said this amendment, if it were
/adopted, would involve serious difficulty. We had
i a law which provided for the meeting of the electo-
' ral colleges of the different States on the same day; and
- that that day should be within thirty-four days after
1 the elections. .This law would have to be amended
if the amendment of the gentleman prevailed.
1 Within the first few days of November, or in the
month of November, all the States met at this time;
this bill would make little or no change at all as to
, the time of election; and as the public sentiment had
\appointed this time, he hoped it would not be under-
iteken to change it. For these reasons, he hoped the
a^nendmentjwould not prevail, and that the gentle-
man would not urge it.
Mr. JAMESON withdrew his amendment.
Mr. DROMGOOLE pointed out several errors in
the phraseology in the bill as it now stood, and
said he had prepared a substitute for the whole bill,
which he would take the liberty to read, and which
the gentleman [Mr. Duncan] would perhaps see
fit to accept as more precise than his own. Mr. D.
read the substitute which he had prepared, briefly
explained some of its provisions, and repeated the
expression of his hope that it would be the pleasure
of the gentleman to accept it as a substitute for^his
The CHAIRMAN remarked that he thought the
amendment was not in order, and could not be ac-
cepted by the gentleman from Ohio, inasmuch as
the gentleman's amendment had been adopted by
Mr. DROMGOOLE inquired if the bill was not
open for amendment?
The CHAIRMAN replied that it was not, (a sub-
stitute for the whole bill having been adopted by the
Mr. RHETT said it appeared, then, that the com
mittee: had just adopted a bill with a great number
of defects in it, insomuch that the gentleman from
Virginia [Mr. Dromgoole] had been induced to
rise and present a new bill. It appeared to him, (Mr.
R.,) with great deference to the gentleman from
Ohio, that it was rather rash to act upon so im-
portant a measure without some committee having
concocted and perfected the necessary details of it.
He would suggest, therefore, to the gentleman from
Ohio, to let this bill go to a committee m some shape
or other—to a select committee, if they pleased, and
let the gentleman himself be at the head so as to se-
cure a speedy report of it, which could then be
printed, and enable gentlemen to examine the bill,
which they had not yet had an opportunity of doing.
For himself, he had not seen the bill which they
had been called to vote upon this morning, and the
great proportion of the House were called to vote
in the dark upon this matter.
Mr. McKAY observed that the difficulty could b«
obviated. It was now out of order for the gentle-
man from Virginia [Mr. Dromgoole] to move his
substitute for the bill of the gentleman from Ohio;
but the Committee of the Whole could report the
bill as it now stood, and it would then be in order
for the gentleman to move the substitute.
[Cries of "That will do."]
Mr. RHETT inquired of the chairman if it would
be in order the move the substitute in the House, as
the gentleman indicated ?
The CHAIRMAN replied that that question
would come up in the House for decision: the ques-
tion before the committee was upon rising and re-
porting the bill.
Mr. HOUSTON inquired if it would be in order
to lay aside this bill and take up another?
The CHAIRMAN replied that it would?
The bill was laid aside accordingly.
THE PUBLIC LANDS.
Mr. HOUSTON then moved to take up the bill
"to reduce and graduate the prices of the public
lands in favor of settlers and'cultivators."
The question being taken by tellers on Mr. Hous-
ton's motion, it was decided in the affirmative—ayes
71, noes 62. '
So the bill was taken up and read.
Mr. COLLAMER observed that he was a mem-
ber of the committee at the last session of Congress
by whom this bill was reported. By the minority
of the committee, of which he was one, it was
thought advisable not to make a separate report, but
to treat the subject in the ordinary course of legisla-
tion, and present their objections to it on the floor,
in the course of debate. He had, at the last ses-
sion of Congress, furnished himself with several re-
ports and documents containing information which
would better have enabled him to present his views
to the committee; these he had not now at hand, but
he would endeavor to give the substance of the in-
formation they contained in the few remarks he was
about to make. In the first place, he would remark
that the principle on which the lands of the United
States, for a number of years past, bad been put in
the market and sold, was, to adapt the sales in the
best manner to the wants and circumstances of the
actual settlers and the poorer classes of the commu-
nity. It could not be contended, therefore, that this
bill would benefit the actual settler; for it must be
conceded that it would be more for the advantage of
the poor man to purchase forty acres of rich land at
§1 25 per acre than to get one hundred and sixty
acres of inferior land at a reduced price.
Again, it had been contended that it was for the
advantage of the new States to have large bodies of
lands surveyed and brought into market in all of
them, in order to give the settlers a greater variety
of selection. We have now (said h'e) Something
over a hundred millions of acres in the market; and,
added to these, there were vast quantities of lands
for sale belonging to private individuals. Gentle-
men would bear in mind that, in 1836, there were
twenty-five millions of dollars' worth of the public
lands purchased by private individuals, the most of
which were now in the market. The first pur-
chasers of these lands were now in competition with
the government. All these lands had to be sold, as
well as those which the government brought into
the market. The demand for lands now was not
more than two or three millions annually; and yet,
notwithstanding the vast quantities of lands already
surveyed and in the market, gentlemen proposed to
create this additional supply. He contended that
the length of time during which the lands had been
in market was no criterion of their value. By a re-
port of the Commissioner of the Land Office, which
he had in his hand, it appeared that there were
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United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe, Volume 14: Twenty-Eighth Congress, Second Session, legislative document, 1845; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2366/m1/37/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.