Public Lands. -- On the Resolution for investing a certain Portion of the Public Lands in Shares of the Chesapeake Canal.
Senate, February 13, 1807.
Mr. BAYARD. It is admitted that the Constitution does not expressly give the power to cut canals; but we posses, and are in the daily exercise of, the power to provide for the protection and safety of commerce, and the defence of the nation. It has never been contended that no power exists which has not been expressly delegated.
There is no express power given to erect a fort or magazine, though it is recognized in the delegation of exclusive legislative powers in certain cases. The power to erect lighthouses and piers, to survey and take the soundings on the coast, or to erect public buildings, is neither expressly given nor recognized in the Constitution; but it is embraced by a liberal and just interpretation of the clause in the Constitution, which legitimates all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers expressly delegated. On a like principle, the Bank of the United States was incorporated. Having a power to provide for the safety of commerce and the defence of the nation, we may fairly infer a power to cut a canal -- a measure unquestionably proper with a view to either subject.