Davy Crockett, Congressman from Tennessee …. his first speech is pretty funny and cutting. Loved the insults!! The second speech regarding Government Welfare is well known …. and, well fogotten, unfortunately. Somebody please send it to Obama.
The broken fenced state of the nation, the broken banks, broken hearts, and broken pledges of my brother Congressman here around me, has raised the boiler of my indignation clear up to the high pressure point, and therefore I have raised to let off the steam of my whole hog patriotism without the trimmings. The truth wants no trimmings for in her clear naked state of nature she’s as graceful as a colt sucking in the sunshine.
Mr. Speaker! What in the name of sheep-dog rascality is the country coming to? Where is all the honor? Nowhere! And there it’ll stick! The State revenue? Everywhere but where it ought to be!
Why, Mr. Speaker, don’t squint with horror, when I tell you that last Saturday morning Uncle Sam hadn’t the first flip to give at the barbeque! The banks suspend payment, and the starving people suspend themselves by ropes! Old Currency is flat on his back, the bankers have sunk all funds in the safe art of speculation, and some of these chaps grinning around me are as deep in the mud as a heifer in a horse-pond!
Where’s the political honesty of my fellow congressmen? Why, in bank bills and five acre speeches! Where’s all their patriotism? In slanted slurs, challenges, and hair trigger pistols! Where’s all their promises? Everywhere like a bitch in heat! Where’s all their performances on them? Nowhere, and the poor people bellowing after them everywhere like a drove of buffaloes after their lazy keepers that, like the officers here, care for no one’s stomach, but their own eternal internals!
What in the nation have you done this year? Why, waste paper enough to calculate all your political sins upon, and that would take a sheet for each one of you as long as the Mississippi. and as broad as all Kentucky. You’ve gone ahead in doing nothing backwards, till the whole nation’s done up. You’ve spouted out a Mount Etna of gas, chewed a whole Allegheny of tobacco, spit a Niagara of juice, told a hail storm of lies, drunk a Lake Superior of liquor, and all, as you say, for the good of the nation; but I say, I swear, for her eternal bankruptification!
Therefore, I move that the only way to save the country is for the whole nest of you political weasels to cut stick home instantly, and leave me to work Uncle Sam’s farm, till I restore it to its natural state of cultivation, and shake off these state caterpillars of corruption.
Let black Dan Webster sitting there at the other end of the desk turn Methodist preacher.
Let Jack Calhoun setting right before him with his hair brushed back in front like a huckleberry bush in a hurricane, after Old Hickory’s topknot, turned horse-jockey.
Let Harry Clay sitting there in the corner with his arms folded about his middle like grape vines around a black oak, go back to our old Kentucky and enrich lawyers and other black sheep.
Let old Daddy Quincy Adams sitting right behind him there, go home to Massachusetts, and write political primers for the sucking politicians.
Let Jim Buchanan go home to Pennsylvania and smoke long nine, with the Dutchmen.
Let Tom Benton, bent like a hickory sapling with hull rolling, take a roll home and make candy mint drops for the babies.
For they’ve all worked Uncle Sam’s farm with the all scratching harrow of rascality, until it’s as gray as a stone fence, as barren as barked clay, and as poor as a turkey fed on gravel stones!
And, to conclude, Mr. Speaker, the nation can no more go ahead under such a state of things, than a fried eel can swim upon the steam of a tea kettle; if it can, then take these your legs for your hall pillars.”
[New speech. The entirety can be found here; http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/ellis1.html ].
Mr. Speaker – I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a 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 no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon 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 so to appropriate a dollar of the public money.
Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount.
There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House.
There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt. The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity.
Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. 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.”