Something Colonel Crockett said

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by BenP, Apr 19, 2002.

  1. BenP

    BenP Guest

    I read this and just couldn't leave it alone. Here ya go.

    Tennessee's David Crockett said it best about spending, integrity and the Constitution

    (From The Life of Colonel David Crockett, by Edward Sylvester Ellis)

    One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The speaker was just about to put the question when Davy Crockett arose:

    "Mr. Speaker - I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living.

    "I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

    Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation: "Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless ... . The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done ... a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We ... rushed it through.

    "The next summer, when riding one day in a part of my district I saw a man in a field plowing . I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but ... rather coldly.

    "You are Colonel Crockett I shall not vote for you again."

    "... I begged him tell me what was the matter.

    "Well Colonel, you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. ... You voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by fire in Georgetown.

    " certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give ... $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing treasury .'

    "It is not the amount, Colonel, it is the principle. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means.

    You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'

    "' ... You have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people."

    "Now, sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. "There is one thing which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people." ?

  2. Stopper

    Stopper G&G Newbie

    Thanks BenP, what a read!

    It's a shame there are not more like the good Colonel serving us now.

    I actually question whether we are being served or are we serving them nowadays.

  3. hooker

    hooker Guest

    BenP, ol' Davy was right on this and a lot of other things about life. He is one of my favorite Americans. I have read every book I've ever seen written about him. He was an outstanding American, patriot, and man. Also was a heck of a hunter. I read in one book about his life, that in the time between his public service ending, and his trip to the Republic of Texas, San Antonio de Bexar, the Alamo mission, that him and his dogs hunted and killed over 100 black bears. This is when he was living in the Reelfoot Lake area of Tennesse. And was over the course of one winters hunting. He gave just about all the meat to his neighbors, keeping only what him and his family could use that year. An outstanding feat of skill, of himself, and his hounds. And an insight of the kind of generous person that he was. He was a man of the highest integrity.