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which it was formed. Instituted to protect and uphold the Republic, and to give it dignity abroad by giving it strength at home; it is in imminent danger of being converted into a vast machine of taxation, plunder, bribery and injustice. If it can sequestrate the proceeds of the public lands by a mischievous distribution, it can sequestrate the public lands themselves, and thereby deprive the government at a single blow, of one of its most solid and reliable. resources. If it can sequestrate the public lands which were acquired by the proceeds of taxation, it can sequestrate those proceeds in their original and primary form, as monies in the Treasury. The evil once admitted, will hurry on to its consummation with rapid and fatal strides. If one political party can obtain popularity and power by an auction of the public domain; another party, if equally reckless, will step in and outbid competition by offering the whole public treasury as a prize for the cupidity of the States. The defences of the country will be abandoned to ruin, and all the establishments essential to its security, will dwindle into insignificance and finally sink into utter decay. Against a system thus monstrous and suicidal, it especially behooves Maine to speak; and it especially behooves her also, so to conduct as to enable her representatives in Congress to resist it with vigor and effect. In no way can we so effectually strengthen their hands and give weight to their remonstrances, as by rejecting the money offered to us under the Act of Distribution. Pointing to that rejection on the one hand, and to our exposed frontiers on the other, they can proudly say that Maine at least, is true to herself and true to the country, and that while she insists upon her interest in the constitutional benefits of the Union, she will have neither lot nor part in the miserable spoils to be obtained by perverting all the principles on which it was founded.

The Committee forbear to go into an examination of the policy of distribution, as a question of expediency in a general point of view. It could be easily shown that the system of taxation by which the National Treasury is supplied, bears more upon persons than upon property, while the system of taxation by which the State Treasuries are now supplied, bear upon property rather than

upon persons. It could be easily shown therefore, that a policy which throws the States upon the National Treasury, brings relief to property only, while it would increase the burdens which now depress labor. It could easily be shown also, that the Distribution Act of 1841 is unjust to the old States by deducting one tenth from their rateable share in the proceeds of the Public Lands; that if expedient at any time, it cannot possibly be so when the National Government is encumbered with embarrassments; and that it would lead inevitably to corruption and extravagance in the State Governments, by giving them the control of monies for the collection of which they were not responsible to the people.

The Committee forbear to enlarge upon these considerations, which are merely cumulative in their character, and quite unnecessary to strengthen a position already impregnable.

Upon a review of the whole matter, believing that the Act of Distribution is unauthorized by the Constitution; that there is no money under that Act, which Maine can constitutionally receive; that it would be inexpedient as well as unconstitutional to receive it; that the policy of distribution is unwise, dangerous and subversive of the best interests of the country, and that hardly any sacrifice is too great to resist and defeat it; the Committee recommend that the Legislature adhere to the line of conduct adopted by the Executive and Legislative authorities heretofore, and that no Agent be appointed to receive the monies now offered to the State, under color of the Act of Distribution.








IN SENATE, February 16, 1844.

Laid on the table, and 300 copies ordered to be printed, for the

use of the Legislature.

JERE HASKELL, Secretary.


IN SENATE, February 19, 1844.

ORDERED, That 500 additional copies of the Report of the Committee on the reception of the proceeds of the public lands, be printed for the use of the Senate.

JERE HASKELL, Secretary.

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