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importance to the safe navigation of Boston harbor, and I am confident that, if it were rightly understood, there is no item in the bill which would commend itself more strongly to the support of the House. There is, Sir, but a single channel for entering the harbor of Boston by vessels of the largest class, and that, in some parts, a very narrow channel, and by no means a very deep one. On the immediate edge of this channel, there are a number of small islands. One of these islands, well known to navigators by the name of the Great Brewster, owing to the stone which formed its natural protection having been taken off for ballast, has been, for many years past, exposed to the most rapid devastation. It appears from the surveys of the Engineer department that, between the years 1820 and 1840, nearly six acres, or about one fourth of the whole, had been carried away from this island by the action of the waves and winds. The ravages committed upon it by the same elements, during the last five years, are believed to have been even in an accelerated ratio. Meantime, the preservation of the island has been pronounced by the Engineer department, to be " indispensable both as a cover of the anchorages and roadsteads, and also to the maintenance of the requisite depths in the channel.” The whole detritus of this and the other adjacent islands is swept directly into the narrowest part of the channel, and the rapid shallowing which has resulted from the operation, is, at this moment, the cause of the most serious apprehension to our mariners and pilots. Of the urgent necessity, therefore, of a sea-wall upon this island, to arrest this process of destruction, (and this is the specific purpose of the provision under consideration, no man will doubt.

But the point which I proposed to examine is, how far this item is one of national importance, and what are the obligations of the general government in regard to it.

Now, Sir, this particular provision may, I am aware, be vindicated upon many distinct grounds. In the first place, this same channel, whose preservation is at stake, is the only entrance to your great northern naval depot at Charlestown; and the same obstructions which would endanger the passage of our full-freighted packet-ships, would leave your full armed frigates hopelessly aground. It may be matter of serious doubt whether, if this work be delayed for five years longer, a ship of the line, with its armament in position, could make its way out from the Charlestown navy yard.

In the next place, all your fortifications in this harbor have been arranged and constructed with a view to command the entrance of this channel, as it now runs. If the destruction of these islands should fall short of filling it up altogether, and should only result in materially changing its bearings, these works of defence, among the most complete and costly in the country, will be rendered comparatively worthless. It was in this view, Sir, that I pressed so earnestly for the insertion of this provision in the Fortification bill at the last session of Congress.

But it is before us now as a commercial measure, and it is as such that I now claim for it a national character and a national importance. What part of the country, Sir, less than the whole, is concerned in the safe and easy navigation of Boston harbor ? Look to its foreign commerce, and to the revenue which is de rived from it. During the last year, there were 2,330 arrivals at Boston from foreign ports - more than six for every day in the year - bringing $21,591,917 worth of goods, and paying into the Treasury $5,249,634 of duties. There were of course, not far from the same number of foreign clearances. Look to its coastwise trade. During the last year there were 5,631 coastwise arrivals in Boston — about sixteen for every day in the year. From the port of New Orleans alone, as we have been told in one of the letters of "a certain Abbott Lawrence," (as an honorable member from New York just how termed him, and it was no bad description of him, for a most certain man he is you always know where to find him, and may always rely confidently on his statements) - from the port of New Orleans alone, I repeat, there were 165 arrivals, many of them of vessels of the largest class — ships of from 500 to 700 tons burden each bringing corn, flour, cotton, tobacco, beef, pork, lard, lead, &c., amounting to many millions of dollars in value.

Let me state, Sir, with something of particularity, the quantity of Southern and Western produce which finds its way into the harbor of Boston from New Orleans and other parts of the

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Union. The statement may be of interest in more relations than one, and will not, I trust, be lost sight of, when the worthlessness of a home market is next made the subject of remark.

During the year ending on the 1st day of January last, there arrived at Boston

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74,120 bales of cotton from New Orleans,


Florida, 24,085

Savannah, 21,948


Other places.
Making an aggregate of 187,619 bales.
During the same period there arrived at Boston -

110,160 barrels of flour from New Orleans,

New York,

“ Albany, 40,824

« Fredericksburg, 32,266

“ Alexandria, 23,494

Georgetown, 17,919

Richmond, 5,512

Other ports in Virginia, 19,207

Philadelphia, 21,697

Baltimore, 2,441

Other places. All this by sea-carriage. All this through the harbor which it is proposed by this bill to improve. You must add to this 182,381 barrels brought over the Western Railroad, to make up the grand aggregate of 730,138 barrels of flour, which have found a market in Boston in a single year.

And then there is the import of grain. During the last year there have been brought to Boston

257,657 bushels of corn from New Orleans,

“ North Carolina,

“ Norfolk, 128,789

“ Fredericksburg, 94,683

Rappahannock, 110,322

Alexandria and Georgetown,' 60,943

Other ports in Virginia, 638,620

6 Baltimore, 470,049

· Philadelphia, 66,921

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6 Delaware, 62,250

6 New Jersey, 122,719

" New York.



Making, with some 5,000 or 6,000 bushels from other places, the vast quantity of 2,371,406 bushels of corn imported into Boston in a single year. And you must add all this to the flour, and 548, 583 bushels of oats, and 24,184 bushels of rye, and 65,530 bushels of shorts, to both, in order to form any just estimate of the value of Boston harbor to the grain-growing regions of the Union.

I might go on with an account of the importation of other articles; as, for instance

150,625 Southern hides,
16,597 barrels of tar,

40,177 barrels of turpentine - most of it brought from North Carolina. But enough has been stated, I am sure, to illustrate the nationality of Boston harbor; enough, certainly, to dispel the idea, that the safe and easy navigation of that harbor is an object of mere local concern.

And now, Mr. Chairman, let me repeat, that I have taken this item of the bill as an illustration of my argument, only because it belongs to me, more especially, to explain and defend it; and not because I am disposed to regard it as more important, or more national, than many other items which the bill contains. Indeed, the very statistics which I have adduced, go far beyond the mere proof of the nationality of the provision to which they relate. If they show that all other parts of the country have an interest in Boston harbor, they show, no less clearly and conclusively, that Boston has an interest in all other parts of the country. And Boston, Sir, and the ancient Commonwealth of which Boston is the metropolis, have always realized and appreciated this idea. Rarely, rarely, if ever, has a Massachusetts Senator, or a Massachusetts Representative, in this Capitol, been found drawing fanciful distinctions between external and internal commerce, or instituting nice discriminations between salt water and fresh. We disavow and repudiate that whole school of constitutional construction, which would regard the lakes and rivers of the interior as any less fit, or any less legitimate, subjects of national supervision, than the bays and harbors of the Atlantic. We read of one and the same power in the general government “ to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and

among the several States ;” and we recognize one and the same obligation as to all the appropriate incidents of that power. We rejoice, too, that the great West is waking up to a consciousness of her own interests, and of her own rights, in relation to the exercise of this power. We rejoice that she is rapidly reaching a strength and a maturity, when these interests must be consulted, and these rights allowed. We hail her advent to the political mastery over our affairs as most auspicious, in this respect at least, to the general welfare of the nation. We will go with her in the fulfilment of her “manifest destiny" in this way, if in no other. We look to her mighty and majestic voice, as it shall come up, at no distant day, from a vast majority of the whole people of the Union inhabiting her rich and happy valleys, to command the resumption of a policy which has been too long suspended; to overrule both the votes and the vetoes by which it has been paralyzed; and, by its potent energy, to

"Bid harbors open, public ways extend;
Bid the broad arch the dangerous flood contain,
The mole projected break the roaring main;
Back to his bounds their subject sea command,
And roll obedient rivers through the land.”

But where is this system to end, says the honorable member from Alabama, (Mr. Yancey.) Sir, I hope that it is not to end at all. Why should it have any end, as long as the Republic endures, and as long as any thing remains to be done to render its means of intercommunication easier and safer? Why should it not go on? We cannot do every thing at a stroke. Our

? annual appropriations must be limited to the standard of our annual resources; but why should not one or two millions of dollars be annually applied to the prosecution of a system of improvement coextensive with the whole country? The national government is not, indeed, called upon to do every thing of this sort. We shall all concur in the doctrine laid down by Mr. Calhoun, at the late Memphis Convention, “ that whatever can be done by individuals, they ought to accomplish; and that whatever is peculiarly within the province of the States, they should effect.” But we shall all, I trust, concur with him, also, in his third position, that “whatever is essentially within the

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