U. S. Senate Speeches and Remarks of Carl Schurz/Bar at the Mouth of the Mississippi
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Bar at the Mouth of the Mississippi
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|From a discussion of June 22, 1874, before the Senate of the United States of America. Besides Carl Schurz of Missouri, participants in this excerpt are William A. Buckingham of Connecticut and Zachariah Chandler of Michigan (speaking on behalf of the committee of conference), J. Rodman West of Louisiana, Lewis V. Bogy of Missouri and Henry G. Davis of West Virginia. From the Congressional Record, 43rd Congress, 1st Session, pp. 5366-5369.|
Mr. CHANDLER submitted the following report, which was read:
The committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the amendments of the Senate to the bill (H. R. No. 3168) making appropriations for the repair, preservation, and completion of certain public works on rivers and harbors, and for other purposes, having met, after full and free conference have agreed to recommend and do recommend, to their respective Houses as follows:
That the Senate recede from its amendments numbered 3, 24, 29, and 45.
That the House recede from its disagreement to the amendments of the Senate numbered 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, and 49; and agree to the same.
That the Senate recede from its amendment numbered 4, and substitute the following words: “For the improvement of the harbor at Erie, Pennsylvania, $20,000;” and the House agree to the same.
That the House recede from its disagreement to the amendment of the Senate numbered 8, and agree to the same with an amendment as follows: Strike out the words “two hundred” and insert the words “one hundred and fifty” in lieu thereof; and the Senate agree to the same.
That the House recede from its disagreement to the amendment of the Senate numbered 20, and agree to the same with an amendment as follows: Strike out the words “seventy-five” and insert the word “fifty” in lieu thereof; and the Senate agree to the same.
That the House recede from its disagreement to the amendment numbered 21, and agree to the same with an amendment as follows: Strike out the words “two hundred” and insert “one hundred and fifty” in lieu thereof; and the Senate agree to the same.
That the House recede from its disagreement to the amendment numbered 30, and agree to the same with an amendment as follows: Strike out the words “according to the plans reported by the Government engineers;” and the Senate agree to the same.
That the House recede from its disagreement to the amendment numbered 32, and agree to the same with an amendment as follows: After the words “two hundred thousand dollars” insert “or so much thereof as may be necessary;” and the Senate agree to the same.
That the House recede from its disagreement to the amendment numbered 38, and agree to the same with an amendment as follows: After the word “and” insert “$10,000 is hereby appropriated for the improvement of;” and the Senate agree to the same.
That the House recede from its disagreement to the amendment numbered 38, and agree to the same with an amendment as follows: After the word “and” insert “$10,000 is hereby appropriated for the improvement of;” and the Senate agree to the same.
That the House recede from its disagreement to the amendment numbered 50, and agree to the same with an amendment as follows: strike out the word “three” and insert “one” in lieu thereof; also strike out the word “fifty” and insert the word “twenty-five” in lieu thereof; and the Senate agree to the same.
WM. A. BUCKINGHAM,
GEO. R. DENNIS,
|Managers on the part of the Senate.|
RICHARD C. PARSONS,
|Managers on the part of the House.|
Mr. DAVIS. I should like to ask the Senator from Michigan who has charge of this bill a question. What change, if any, is made in the surveys ordered by the bill?
Mr. CHANDLER. Not any.
Mr. DAVIS. It appears to me from the reading of the report that there is some change made in the surveys mentioned in the report of the Transportation Committee.
Mr. CHANDLER. No, sir. There was a change made in regard to a survey at a bar in Texas, which did not require a survey. Ten thousand dollars is appropriated to continue the improvement of Red Fish Bar instead of putting it in for a survey. The commission for the survey of the mouth of the Mississippi River is changed to three Army engineers, one officer of the Coast Survey, and one from civil life.
Mr. DAVIS. Do I understand from the Senator that no survey that was ordered in the original bill as passed by the Senate is disturbed?
Mr. CHANDLER. Not one.
Mr. WEST. The Senator from Michigan has replied to the question of the Senator from West Virginia to the effect that the only change that has been made in the surveys recommended by the Senate Committee on Transportation was a change of the organization of the board as recommended by that committee. Stated as it was ---
Mr. CHANDLER. Will the Senator pardon me while I correct an error I made? The board is two Army engineers, two from the Coast Survey, and one a civilian.
Mr. WEST. Stated as it was, this looked like a very unimportant change, a change of the word “three” to “one;” and yet the result is to change entirely the conclusion at which the Senate Committee on Transportation unanimously arrived after devoting the whole session to the consideration of the subject intrusted to them, and more particularly the conclusion they came to as to what was advisable to do in connection with the proposed improvement at the mouth of the Mississippi River. It looks like a very trivial matter; but the consequence of it is that the labors of a committee of this body, composed of nine of your members, reporting unanimously on one subject have been neutralized in a moment by three members of a committee who have never paid any attention to the subject whatever. That is the result, and that is a result that I think the Committee on Transportation and I hope the Senate will not submit to.
We have had the perplexity of the obstruction of the mouth of the Mississippi River before Congress for years. We have had the Engineer Department of the Army scratching at it for thirty-five years, and we have had but eighteen feet of water at the utmost there for the last twelve months, and every attempt that has ever been made to induce the Corps of Engineers of the Army to listen to the recommendations made by the ablest civil engineers in the country has been resisted with an obduracy that is beyond belief. I state it here from my own knowledge that the Chief of Engineers has refused to allow any civil engineer to approach him who differed with him in opinion I know it. I have made the attempt myself to get the Chief of Engineers to consult with engineers of equal ability in civil life.
The consequence is that if you adopt the report of this conference committee you confine again the consideration of this subject that has vexed and agitated the whole community of the West for years to the same sources of information, to the same prejudices that have hitherto prevented the removal of these obstructions. I will only say that much. Other Senators who will follow me will call your attention to the desirability of invoking the aid of civilians throughout the country that something may be done to relieve the mouth of the Mississippi River from these obstructions. Pass this bill as it stands now; agree to this report; and again you will have an ineffective and imperfect report come before you here, similar to the last that has excited nothing but the ridicule of the Committee on Transportation. Take the report of the board of engineers on the question of opening the mouth of the Mississippi River, full of inconsistencies, full of improbabilities, contradictory in every respect, and we are called upon once more to go back to that board and submit to what? Submit to the locking up of your grain in the vast productive regions of the West just because this board is not willing to yield a moment to be enlightened by others quite equal to them. What has the Committee on Transportation done? It patiently and deliberately considered this subject the whole winter, disagreed with the House in the recommendation to pass the canal bill, consulted as to the best character of a board that could be organized, recommended it here to you unanimously as their conclusion; and a committee of conference who have paid no attention to the matter at all — speaking with all due deference to them in their ability to scrutinize this matter in the brief period that was allotted to them — come in here and wipe this board away and tell us we must go back again to the obstructionists who are a greater obstruction to the mouth of the Mississippi than all the mud and the bars there.
Sir, I hope the Senate will see the propriety of allowing this board to stand as the Committee on Transportation unanimously recommended it. I ask how should it stand? What was the recommendation of the committee? Two engineers of the Army and two members of the Coast Survey, bringing into the organization of that board a new element, an element concerned in the maritime approaches of an outlet to the Mississippi River, the consideration of which has never been attempted by any board of engineers. They have only thought whether it was practicable to open the mouth of the Mississippi that way, and they never asked whether it was practicable to get to the mouth of the Mississippi after you did open it. Two members of the Coast Survey were provided for, that with their experience of maritime movements they might understand how vessels could approach the mouth if it was open, and then three civilian engineers to be appointed by the President, so that we might call into requisition whatever engineering ability the country possessed outside of the Army.
I ask Senators are they willing to say that there is nobody in this country to judge of how obstructions ought to be removed from the mouth of the Mississippi River except the engineers of the Army? And if they come to that conclusion, it is inevitable we shall have thirty-five years more of scratching and obstruction. I cannot conceive it possible that this Senate will, on the recommendation of a committee of conference who have given two hours' consideration to this subject, set at naught the whole labors of the Committee on Transportation with reference to that particular subject. I do not think it ought to be done. Perhaps the gentlemen of the committee can give us some good reason why it should be done, but I do not think we ought to ostracize whatever ability the country may possess in the walks of civil life and confine those investigations entirely to the Army. I do not believe in it, because my experience is that the engineers of the Army have failed every time they have essayed to keep the mouth of that river open; and are we to be committed once more to their mercy, year after year?
Mr. BUCKINGHAM. If this question had been submitted to the Committee on Transportation you would undoubtedly have had a very different report, but it was not submitted to them. It is a question which was submitted to the members of the committee of conference and they have had it under consideration and given it such consideration as their time would permit. The committee of conference have not been willing to underrate the value of the engineers of the Army; and they have a high estimate of the ability of men engaged in the Coast Survey, and fully appreciate the importance of having both classes of engineers engaged in this survey. But I may say that the question in the committee was whether we should increase this commission from the Army, whether we should increase that part of the commission which is so objectionable to the Committee on Transportation, or whether we should make the report which the committee has submitted. It was a question of compromise with the committee as it now stands, and it seems to me it is a compromise which does not discredit the Army engineers or the engineers connected with the Coast Survey; nor does it set aside, as the Committee on Transportation would intimate, the talent of civil engineers.
There is another thing connected with it also. It was the judgment of the committee of conference that five members of this commission were abundantly able to make such investigations and surveys as were necessary between now and December next. It did not appear to be important to the committee of conference to whom this question was referred that we should have a larger number. These are the reasons why we have struck two from the number proposed of the civil engineers and left the two standing from the Army and two from the Coast Survey.
Mr. SCHURZ. Mr. President, I desire to address to the Senate a few remarks on this question. At the last session of the Senate we appointed a committee to institute inquiries on a subject which of late has occupied the attention of the country in an unusual degree — the subject of cheap transportation. That committee after many months of assiduous and faithful labor submitted to us an elaborate, able, and very instructive report. One of the principal recommendations made in that report, indeed the recommendation urged above all things, was that the water-route be improved which runs through the very heart of the Republic and is easily accessible to far more than one-half of the surplus grain raised in this country; that is to say, that the course of the Mississippi be made practicable and safe for navigation, and that its mouth be deepened so as to admit large vessels. The opening of the mouth of the Mississippi has been a subject of interest to this country for more than a generation. Thirty-seven years ago the Engineer Department of the Army took the matter in hand, and for thirty-seven years they have been planning and reporting upon the matter, and scratching and scraping at the mouth of the Mississippi, and to-day the depth of water is no greater than it was then. In other words, they have effected nothing.
Mr. President, I do not hesitate to pronounce it one of the great scandals of American history that a water-route the equal of which can scarcely be found in any country of the earth should have been permitted to remain virtually closed to the great commerce of the world for the three-quarters of a century that that river has been under the exclusive control of this Republic. I think I am not speaking too strongly; I am indulging in no extravagant language when I say that such a fact is simply scandalous, and we ought not to indulge in any delusion about it. It is absolutely inexcusable. The population of the Mississippi Valley have long and quietly submitted to such a state of things. In the mean time they have grown in numbers; grown enormously in prosperity and productive power. The time is not far when the center of population will be in the Mississippi Valley, as it is already the center of agricultural production; and the people of that valley naturally look to the great river as the highway of their commerce, as the great outlet for their productive labor. Their desire is as natural as it is urgent that the mouth of that river should be made navigable for large vessels so as to be accessible to the great commerce of the world. Now they know, it is their sad experience, that all the efforts which so far have been made have been almost entirely unavailing. They have waited long and most patiently that the engineers of the Army would discover and show themselves able to carry out a plan which would make the great river what it ought to be, but they have waited in vain. At last, after mature consideration, such as our committee has devoted to this great subject, it is proposed to furnish new light to penetrate our councils. Having for thirty-seven years permitted the engineers of the Army to control this matter — with what success I have already indicated — they insist that the genius and skill of the civil engineers of America shall have an opportunity to compete with the Army in the solution of this great problem.
I desire Senators to remember the fact that this is probably the only civilized country on the face of the globe where such enterprises are left exclusively to military engineering. Even in those European monarchies which are so military in their character, governments would not think a moment of excluding the civil engineer from public works which are not absolutely of a military nature. On the contrary almost all — ay, I might say all — of such work is done by the civil engineer exclusively. Why should this Republic, then, rely upon the military alone? I invite you to look at the corps of civil engineers in this country. Have they achieved less than the civil engineers of the Army? Surely I do not want to disparage the latter; but who has tunneled our mountains; who has run our railroad tracks many thousands of feet above the level of the sea? Who has sunk the foundations of the great bridge at Saint Louis, one of the boldest and most magnificent structures in the world, ninety feet below the bottom of the river? It is the civil engineer who has done it. These are his triumphs, and such triumphs are among the most resplendent glories of the Republic.
And now, when we have so splendid a corps of men in this country, unsurpassed anywhere, are we to say that their inventive genius, their skill shall be excluded from the solution of one of the most important problems in that line that we have in our day before us? Are we sensible men? Have we entangled ourselves more inextricably in official red-tape than even the military monarchies of Europe? If it were so, should we not hide our heads in shame? And now, what is the question in issue? We come before the Congress of the United States with a proposition which certainly cannot be called unreasonable. We ask for a commission of engineers to examine the different methods of opening the mouth of the Mississippi which have been proposed; we ask that the military engineers who have occupied themselves so many years with this problem shall have two men on that commission to represent their views. We ask that another body, of Government officers of recognized skill, members of the Coast Survey, shall have two members; but then we insist that the civil engineers of America, more numerous and perhaps more experienced than either, men who have planned and achieved greater enterprises than either, shall have an opportunity to offer their genius and skill to the country, and have a representation worthy of them on this commission. Is that an unfair demand? Must we of the Mississippi Valley when we come before you and ask in this bill for nothing but this, be told that there shall be nothing for us in respect to this great interest, but those old methods of which the experience of a generation has shown us that they are unavailing and fruitless? Are we to be told that all new light shall be excluded from our councils? Must our hopes in that direction be postponed once more? Are they to be postponed indefinitely? Why this? Is it, then, such an enormity we demand — three eminent men from the corps of civil engineers on this commission against four Government officers? Is there anything else we want to accomplish than what is absolutely necessary for the great agricultural and commercial interests of the country? Since the military engineers for thirty-seven years have shown us how not to do it, have we of the Mississippi Valley not a clear right to demand that at last the advice of professional men be taken who may be expected to show us how to do it? And that is what we do demand, a commission with three civil engineers upon it, to be selected by the President from the foremost ranks of the profession. And even that the conference committee attempt to deny us.
The Senator from Connecticut tells us that such a commission would be cumbersome. I wish it were larger than it is here proposed, for we desire to have the opinions of as many able men as possible. We do not expect them to agree all upon one plan; but we do expect them each one to give us the best he can give upon this subject according to the measure of his experience and ability. We want to hear all sides, and for that very reason we want to have all sides represented by the ablest exponents.
Now, what do the conference committee propose? To add not three, as we desire, but only one civil engineer to a commission of four Government officers. Thus the element which is most important to us is to be reduced to the smallest possible measure of representation and influence. One civil engineer, one stray sheep, lost and lonesome, against four Government officers. Why this? Why thus discourage the civil engineering element on so important a commission? Is there any reason for it? Is this perhaps another method how not to do it, how to prevent what which by all means ought to be done? Must we by all means have more such unavailable majority reports as we have had so far, and is this a well-considered plan to insure such a result? I tell you frankly that we want to have the civil engineering element in such strength on that commission that it can make its influence felt; and if we are to be denied that, we do not care to have any commission at all. Then we may, instead of a new report, just as well read over once more the stale productions of the board of engineers to which we have been accustomed and of which we are tired, for we want something done and accomplished.
We of the Mississippi Valley, and I represent a constituency that is as much interested in the success of this enterprise as that of any Senator on this floor — we of the Mississippi Valley demand energetic action at last, and to secure it we ask for a commission such as I have described; we demand that the Congress of the United States shall employ the best engineers that the country possesses, to open those channels of commerce which a bountiful nature has designed, and which are necessary for our prosperity. We are tired of dilly-dallying. We want serious work. Upon this we insist, and I think the people of the Mississippi Valley have a right thus to insist.
To that end I ask that this conference report be not agreed to, and that a new conference be ordered.
Mr. BUCKINGHAM. I judge from what the honorable Senator from Missouri says that it was the design of the Committee on Transportation to have the skill of civil engineers, and they are very much disposed that the majority of this commission, or at least a large number of them, are not to be civil engineers if this report be adopted. I understand them to take the ground that these surveys have been under the control of the engineers of the War Department for some thirty-seven years, and yet under the operation of the skill and the intelligence and the scientific ability of these men the water is no deeper now than it was then, and therefore they would discard the engineers connected with the War Department and have only civil engineers; and yet I understand also that they do present this idea, that there shall still be a share of men on this commission who are of that class who have failed to accomplish anything heretofore.
Now, Mr. President, I have some faith in the Engineer Corps of the Army of the United States. The report leaves two of those engineers upon this commission; it also brings in a new element from the Coast Survey and also from civil life, and that new element is the majority of the commission. And how will the members of this Transportation Committee, and who would discard all those who belong to the Engineer Department, and how can they, ask anything better than that there shall be outside of the Army a majority who can control them in their conclusions?
Mr. SCHURZ. The Senator from Connecticut is speaking persistently of a desire on our part to discard the Army officers. Nobody expects to discard them — nobody proposes it. The only thing that we want is to open the door widely to that engineering skill and genius which exists in this country outside of the Army. I have high respect for the Army officers, but I do not believe that all the engineering ability in America is buttoned up in blue and brass. I believe, nay I know, that the civil engineering skill in this country as well as in every other, has accomplished vastly more than that of the Army. I have pointed out some of their achievements. In every country on the face of the globe you will find this experience corroborated. Look at the Suez Canal which has so enormously shortened the way to India; look at the Mount Cenis tunnel, at the mountain railroads in Switzerland, in Austria, in India.
But why multiply instances? They are as notorious as the air the world over. And where such works were undertaken, not by private corporations, but by governments, they have always been put into the hands of civil engineers, while the military engineers had the control of military works. This is the natural order of things. Why should the most civil, the least military government in the world so violently depart from it? Now I do not desire to question the ability of our military engineers in their peculiar branch. As military engineers they may be among the best in the world. I merely state a thing which as a historical fact cannot be denied, that for thirty-seven years they have been planning and working at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and have achieved nothing. Every one who is acquainted with our history knows this to be true. And finally they have submitted as their only plan and the sum of their wisdom a proposition which has been condemned by a unanimous vote of our Committee on Transportation.
The people of the Mississippi Valley have this thing at heart sincerely and earnestly.
I can understand how this subject may be more or less indifferent to the Senators from Connecticut and from Maryland, although they are surely men of patriotic impulses; but the matter does not come home to them as it comes home to us. They people who live in the Mississippi Valley see in the Mississippi the great highway which connects them with the sea and the commerce of the world. On that river they want to ship their crops. By the competition offered by that river they expect to escape from the extortions practiced upon them by grasping transportation monopolies. The opening of the mouth of that river is therefore to them a matter of tremendous interest, and as such I urge it.
As the advocate of that tremendous interest I make a demand which every fair-minded man will admit to be a very modest one, and therefore I urge it strongly; not that the engineers of the Army should be discarded, but that an influential proportion should be yielded to the civil engineering skill of this country on the commission proposed to prepare at last the way for intelligent and energetic action in the accomplishment of an object which is most necessary to us. Is that asking too much? Must that policy of obstruction which hitherto has so often prevailed be necessarily adhered to?
I repeat, it is one of the great scandals of our history that the Mississippi, which, so to speak, is the Atlantic Ocean running thousands and thousands of miles into the interior, presenting water facilities scarcely equaled in any country, should have been permitted more than half a century of our control to remain in the half useless condition in which it is to-day. What we want is that it should be opened for large vessels as speedily and as completely as possible — not, if such a thing can be avoided, by a canal, closing the great harbor of the Mississippi Valley with a lock, where vessels must be lifted up or let down when they pass out and in, but an open mouth, where ships can pass out and in freely without hinderance and detention. We want to know whether the engineering skill of this country is able to give us that open river mouth; and in order to ascertain this we want upon this commission the civil engineering element fairly and influentially represented. Is this asking too much? Surely, considering the greatness of the object, considering the mighty population interested in this great end, it is a most modest demand, and I stand amazed that a proposition so moderate should find any opposition in this body.
Mr. BOGY. Mr. President, this subject to us in the West is of the very greatest importance. For nearly forty years has this Government been making appropriations for the opening of the mouth of the Mississippi. Appropriations have been made annually and have always been on a large scale. For forty years have these appropriations been placed under the control of the Army of the United States without any direction whatsoever as to the mode and manner of expending that money; and up to this time nothing has been accomplished toward opening the mouth of the Mississippi River. Indeed the navigation of the mouth of the Mississippi River to-day, after forty years of continued large expenditure, is not as practicable as it was forty years ago. There is truly less water upon the bars of the various channels of the Mississippi River now than there was there thirty or forty years ago.
We of the West for many years have attached the greatest importance to this question. During the war the soldiers who fought under the flag from the West were rallied under that flag by the appeal that under no circumstances would the western country permit the mouth of the Mississippi River to be controlled by a nation different from the nation which occupied the upper portion of the Mississippi River. It was the great question during the war that there should be one continuous ownership of that vast river from its head to its mouth. We had flattered ourselves that the time had come when the great object which we had been aiming to accomplish for thirty or forty years was about being carried out; that is, that the Government of the United States should in an intelligent manner take such steps and provide such means as would make the effort at least in a scientific way to open the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Without at this late hour of the session pretending to detain this body, I would say that two projects presented themselves, one a project to open one of the main outlets on the river, the other the canal project. The canal project has not received the assent of those people residing high up on the Mississippi River. It has been condemned by the entire population of the Mississippi River excepting a few persons, or perhaps a majority of the inhabitants of the city of New Orleans. Our object is to have an outlet, whether it be a canal or whether it be one of the main channels of the river. How are we to obtain an outlet? How are we to ascertain which one of these projects is the true one to accomplish this great object? It is only by a scientific examination of the object to be accomplished.
We have believed that the Army had not exhibited the proper scientific skill to accomplish that object. For nearly forty years have the Army engineers been employed on that work and nothing has been done. We therefore ask Congress here to appoint a commission composed in part of Army officers, in part of officers connected with the Coast Survey, and in part of civilians, reserving to the Government of the United States a majority of this commission, that is, two from the Army, two from the Coast Survey, and three from civil life, making seven, securing to the Government upon that commission one majority. We are not asking much. There can be no just reason why this should be refused. The expense certainly is of no consequence. We of the West demand it; we say it is our right; we say that our trade demands an outlet to the ocean. There is no other outlet but the Mississippi River. That is now obstructed and we wish it open; but, sir, we are not even able to obtain from the Congress of the United States any appropriation to pay a small commission to accomplish the object. The misfortune was exhibited in the formation of the committee itself. Upon the committee of conference there was not a single man from the Senate residing on the waters that flow into the Gulf of Mexico. In the House there was but one. I do not speak of these things with a view of finding fault with individual members of the committee, but the fact is that not a single member of the committee of conference on the part of the Senate resides on the waters that flow into the Gulf of Mexico. One is from Michigan, another from Maryland, and another from the State of Connecticut, and not one is in sympathy with us, not one is in interest with us. So it was with the committee on the part of the House. But a single member of that committee on the part of the House was from the West. All the other persons reside on the waters that flow into the Atlantic Ocean, or near to it.
Now, sir, I am not dwelling here upon the difference as to the ability of the engineers in civil life or in the military department of the Government; but it is not saying much to say that the civilians have exhibited an amount of engineering skill, to say the least, equal to the Army; and indeed they have exhibited more ability in the accomplishment of great works of improvement in every portion of this country. My colleague says they have exhibited more in Europe and the world over. I believe they have; but without dwelling upon an argument of this character or finding fault with those men all we asked and all we ask now is that a number of eminent civilians shall be put upon this commission to co-operate with a majority of Government officers, that is two from the Army, two from the Coast Survey, and three from civil life, so as to make a commission of seven men to examine this great project, a work of importance to us which is incalculable, because unless we can get an outlet to the ocean the whole western world for all time to come will be paralyzed in its energy. It is true we can get there by railroads; it is true we can get there by the use of small crafts; but the time has come when the great commerce of the West cannot be restrained, cannot be limited, and certainly what objection can there be? Why should the Senate, why should Congress, hesitate for a moment to give the proper commission here? Is it the expense? Is it eight, ten, or fifteen thousand dollars, more or less of cost? I was astonished when I heard the report of the committee that there could be hesitation on a matter of this kind. Why should Eastern Senators at all hesitate on a subject of this kind? We who know the interests of the West, who represent their interest on this floor, claim it; and why should it not be given to us? We do not ask for a large appropriation. We only ask for a scientific exploration, and if that scientific exploration does not prove that the great work can be accomplished in a proper way the report of this commission would so show and there would be an end of the whole thing. All we ask is the means to ascertain the great fact whether that work can be done.
Hence, Mr. President, I hope that that portion of the report of the committee of conference will not be received, that another committee will be appointed, and that in the creation of that committee the Presiding Officer will not forget that there are members of this body who reside on the waters that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, and that those men are presumed to know their interests perhaps a little better than those who reside in the extreme North and East. We claim it as a right due to us, because we look upon this commission, organized as it is, as an entire and complete defeat of all which we thought we had accomplished, or nearly accomplished. Let another committee be appointed, not composed of western men entirely, but let the western men be represented on that committee by a sufficient number at least to make their interests known to that committee.
I hope, Mr. President, that that portion of the report which has changed the organization of this commission entirely will not be approved by the Senate.