Skip to main content

We need a modern day Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett photoI borrowed this from a friend who is wise beyond his years. He found this while researching the Constitution Party. We could use a modern Davy Crockett in today's climate of bailouts and stimulus.

In the early 1800's Congress was considering a bill to appropriate tax dollars for the widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in support of this bill. It seemed that everyone in the House favored it. The Speaker of the House was just about to put the question to a vote, when Davy Crockett, famous frontiersman and then Congressman from Tennessee, rose to his feet.

"Mr. Speaker, I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living 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 to so 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. Sir, this is no 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. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

The bill never passed. Crockett went on to say, "There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a weeks pay? There are in that House many very wealthy men, men who think nothing of spending a weeks pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of these same men made beautiful speeches upon the debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased, 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."