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Jax. 27, 1830.
(SENATE, never seen any more difficulty, in erecting light houses on Far from it. Did I attempt to find any other cause than the Lakes, than on the Ocean; in improving the harbors an honest one for these scruples? Sir, I did not. It did of inland seas, than if they were within the ebb and not become me to doubt, nor to insinuate, that the genHow of the tide; or of removing obstructions in the vast tleman had either changed his sentiments, or that he had streams of the West, more than in any work to facilitate made up a set of constitutional opinions, accommodated connerce on the Atlantic coast. If there be power for to any particular combination of political occurrences. ons, there is power also for the other; and they are all and Had I done so, I should have felt that, while I was entitled equally for tlie country.
to little credit, in thus questioning other people's motives, There are other objects, apparently more local, or the I justified the whole world in suspecting my own. But benefit of which is less general, towards which, neverthe. how has the gentleman returned this respect for others' less, I have concurred, with others, to give aid, by dona- opinions? His own candor and justice, how have they tions of land. It is proposed to construct a road in or been exhibited towards the motives of others, while he through one of the new States, in which this Governinent has been at so much pains to maintain, what nobody has possesses Large quantities of land. Have the United States disputed, the purity of his own? Why, sir, he has asked no right, as a great and untased proprietor; are they un- when, and how, and why, New England votes were found der no obligation, to contribute to an object thus calcu- going for measures favorable to the West? He has de. lated to promote the common good of all the proprietors, manded to be informed whether all this did not begin in themselves included? And even with respect to educa- 1825, and while the election of President was still pend. tion, which is the extreme case, let the question be con- ing? Sir, to these questions retort would be justified, sidered. In the first place, as we have seen, it was made and it is both cogent and at hand. Nevertheless, I will matter of compact with these Staies that they should do answer the inquiry, not by retort, but by facts. I will their part to promote education. In the next place, our tell the gentleman when, and how, and why, New Engwhole system of land laws proceeds on the idea that edu- land has supported measures favorable to the West. I cation is for the common good; because, in every division, have already referred to the early history of the Guvern. a certain portion is uniformly reserved and appropriated ment; to the first acquisition of the lands; to the original for the use of schools. And finally, have not these new laws for disposing of them, and for governing the territoSutes singularly strong claims, founded on the ground al- ries where they lie; and have shown the influence of New ready stated, that the Government is a great untaxed pro- England men and New England principles in all these prietor in the ownership of the so:l? It is a consideration leading measures. I should not be pardoned were I to of great importance, that, probably, there is, in no part go over that ground again. Coming to more recent times, of the country, or of the world, so great call for the and to measures of a less general character, I have endeameans of education, as in those new States; owing to the vored to prove that every thing of this kind, designed for Fast numbers of persons within those ages in which edu- Western improvement, has depended on the votes of cation and instruction are usually received, if received at New England; all this is true, beyond the power of conall. This is the natural consequence of recency of settle- tradiction. ment and rapid increase. The census of these States And now, sir, there are two measures to which I will shows how great a proportion of the whole population oc- refer, not so ancient as to belong to the early history of cupies the classes between infancy and manhood. These the public lands, and not so recent as to be on this side are the wide fields, and here is the deep and quick soil of the period when the gentleman charitably imagines a for the seeds of knowledge and virtue; and this is the fa- new direction may have been given to New England feel. vored season, the very spring-time for sowing them. Let ing and New England votes. These measures, and the there be d' sseminated without stint.
Let them be scatter- New England votes in support of them, may be taken as ed with a bountiful broad cast. Whatever the Govern- samples and specimens of all the rest. ment can farly do towards these objects in my opinion, In 1820, (observe, in 1820) the people of the West ought to be done.
besought Congress for a reduction in the price of lands. These, sir, are the grounds, succinctly stated, on which In favor of that reduction, New England, with a delegamy Fotes for grants of lands for particular objects rest; tion of forty members in the other House, gave thirty. while I muitain, at the same time, that it is all a common three votes, and one only against it. The four Southern fund, for the conimon benefit. And reasons like these, I States, with fifty members, gave thirty-two votes for it, presume, have iniluenced the votes of other gentlemen and seven against it. Again, in 1821, (observe again, sir, from New England. Those who have a different view of the time) the law passed for the relief of the purchasers the powers of the Gorernment, of course, come to differ- of the public lands. This was a measure of vital imporent conclusions, on these, as on other questions. I ob. tance to the West, and more especially to the Southwest. served, when speaking on this subject before, that, if we It authorized the relinquishment of contracts for lands looked to any measure, whether for a roadl, a canal, or which had been entered into at high prices, and a reduction 2ny thing elso, intended for the improvement of the West, in the other cases of not less than thirty-seven and one-half it would be found that, if the New England ayes were per cent. on the purchase money. Many millions of dol. struck out of the list of rotes, the Southern noes would lars—six or seven 'I believe, at least, probably much more-always have rejected the measure. The truth of this has were relinquished by this law. On this bill, New Engnot been denied, and cannot be denied. In stating this, land, with her forty members, gave more affirmative I thought it just to ascribe it to the constitutional scruples votes than the four Southern States, with their fifty-two of the South, rather than to any other lesz favorable or less or fifty-three members. charitable cause. But no sooner had I done this, than the These two are far the most important measures respect. honorable gentleman asks if I reproach him anel luis friends sing the public lands which have been adopted within the with their const tutional scruples. Sir, I reproach nobody; last twenty years. They took place in 1820 and 1821. I stated a fact, and gave the most respectable reason for That is the time when. And as to the manner how, the genit that occurred to me. The gentleman cannot deny the tleman already sees that it was hy voting, in solid column, fact; he may, if he choose, disclaim the reason. It is not for the required relief : and, lastly, as to the cause why, long since I had occasion, in presenting a petition from I tell the gentleman, it was because the members from his own State, to account for its being entrusted to my New England thought the measures just and salutary; be. hands, by saying, that the constitutional opinions of the cause they entertained towards the West neither envy, gentleman and his worthy colleague prevented them from hatred, nor malice; because they deemed it becoming them, supporting it. Did I state this as matter of reproach, as just and enlightened public men, to meet the exigency
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
(Jay, 27, 1830.
which had arisen in the West with the appropriate mea- facture for themselves, to the full extent of their abilities. sure of relief; because they felt it due to their own cha- The crops of our plains would no longer sustain European racters, and the characters of their New England prede- armies, nor our ships longer supply those whom war had cessors in this Government, to act towards the new States rendered unable to supply themselves. It was obvious that, in a spirit of liberal, patronizing, magnanimous policy. under these circumstances, the country would begin to So much, sir, for the cause why; and I hope, that, by this survey itself, and to estimate its own capacity of improre. time, the honorable gentleman is satisfiest; if not, I do not ment. And this improvement---how was it to be accom. know when, or how, or why, he ever will be.
plished, and who was to accomplish it? We were ten Having recurred to these two important measures, in or twelve millions of people, spread over almost half an answer to the gentleman's inquiries, I must now beg per- world. We were twenty-four States, some stretching mission to go back to a period yet something earlier, for along the same sea boar), some along the same line of inthe purpose of still further showing how much, or rather land frontier, and others on opposite banks of the same how little, reason there is for the gentleman's insinuation vast rivers. Two considerations at once presented themthat political hopes or fears, or party associations, were selves, at looking at this state of things, with great force. the grounds of these New England votes. And, after Une was, that that great branch of improvement, which what has been said, I hope it may be forgiven me if I al- consisted in furnishing new facilities of intercourse, nelude to some political opinions and votes of my own, of cessarily ran into different States, in every leading invery little public importance, certainly, but which, from stance, and would benefit the citizens of all such States, the time at which they were given and expressed, may No one State, therefore, in such cases, would assume pass for good witnesses on this occasion.
the whole expense, nor was the co-operation of several This Government, from its origin to the peace of 1815, States to be expected. Take the instance of the Delahad been too much engrossed with various other impor- ware breakwater. It will cost several millions of mo. tant concerns to be able to turn its thoughts inward, and ney. Would Pennsylvania alone have ever constructed look to the development of its vast internal resources. In it? Certainly never, while this Union lasts; because it is the early part of President Washington's administration, not for her sole benefit. Would Pennsylvania, New Jer. it was fully occupied with organizing the Departments, sey, and Delaware, have united to accomplish it at their providing for the public debt, defending the frontiers, joint expense? Certainly not, for the same reason. It and maintaining domestic peace.
Before the terinination could not be done, therefore, but by the General Governof that administration, the fires of the French Revolution ment. The same may be said of the large inland underblazed forth, as from a new opened volcano, and the takings, except that, in them, Government, instead of bearwhole breadth of the ocean diel net entirely secure'us ing the whole expense, co-operates with others who bear from its effects. The smoke and the cinders reached us, a part. The other consideration is, that the United States though not the burning lava. Difficult and agitating ques. have the means. They enjoy the revenues derived from tions, embarrassing to Government, and dividing public commerce, and the States have no abundant and easy opinion, sprung out of the new state of our foreign rela- sources of public income. The custom houses fill the tions, and were succeeded by others, and yet again by general treasury, while the States have scanty resources, others, equally embarrassing, and equally exciting divi. except by resort to heavy direct taxes. sion and discord, through the long series of twenty years; Under this view of things, I thought it necessary to settill they finally issued in another war with England. Downtle, at least for myself, some definite notions, with respect to the close of that war, no distinct, marked, and deliber- to the powers of the Government in regard to internal ate attention had been given, or could have been given, to affairs. It
may not savor too much of self-commendation the internal condition of the country, its capacities of im- to remark, that, with this object, I considered the consti. provement, or the constitutional power of the Government tution, its judicial construction, its cotemporaneous expoin regard to objects connected with such improvement. sition, and the whole history of the legislation of Con
The peace brought about an entirely new, and a most in- gress under it; and I arrived at the conclusion, that Go teresting state of things: it opened to us other prospects, vernment had power to accomplish sundry objects, or aid and suggested other duties. We ourselves were changed, in their accomplishment, which are now conmonly spokand the whole world was changed. The pacification en of as Internal Improvements. That conclusion, sir, of Europe, after June, 1815, assumed a firm and per- may have been right, or it may have been wrong. I am manent aspect. The nations evidently manifested that not about to argue the grounds of it at large. I say cnly they were disposed for peace. Sojne agitation of the that it was adopted and acted on even so early as in 1816. waves might be expected, even after the storm had sub-Yes, I made up my opinion, and determined on my intendsided, but the tendency was, strongly and rapidly, towards cd course of political conduct, on these subjects, in the settled repose.
Fourteenth Congress, in 1816. And now, I hare fur. It so happened, sir, that I was, at that time, a member ther to say, that I made up these opinions, and enof Congress, and, like others, naturally turned my atten- tered on this course of political conduct, Teucro duce. tion to the contemplation of the newly altered condition Yes, sir, I pursued, in all this, a South Carolina track. of the country and of the world. It appeared plainly On the doctrines of Internal Improvement, South Caenough to me, as well as to wiser and more experienced rolina, as she was then represented in the other men, that the policy of the Government woull necessa- House, set forth, in 1816, under a fresh and leading rily take a start in a new direction ; because new direc-brecze, and I was among the fellowers. But if my leadtions would be given to the pursuits and occupations of er sees new lights, and turns a sharp corner, unless I see the people. We had pushed our commerce far and fast, new lghts also, I keep straight on in the same path. I under the advan'age of a neutral flag. But there were repeat, that leading gentlemen from South Carolina were now no longer flags either neutral or belligerent. The first and foremost in behalf of the doctrines of Internal harvest of neutrality had been great, but we had gathered Improvements, when those doctrines first came to be conit all. With the peace of Europe, it was obvious there sidered and acted upon in Congress. The debate on the would spring up, in the circle of nations, a revived and Bank question, on the Tariff of 1816, and on the Direct invigorated spirit of trade, and a new activity in all the Tax, will show who was who, and what was what, at that business and objects of civilized life. Hereafter,our com- time. The tariff'cf 1816, one of the plain cases of oppressio:1 mercial gains were to be earned only by success in a and usurpation, from whiclı, if the Government does not close and intense competition. Other nations would pro- recede, individual States, it is said, may justly secede from duce for themselves, and carry for themselves, and manu- the Government, is, sir, in truth, a South Carolina tarifi,
Jax. 27, 1830.]
(SEXATE. supported by South Carolina votes. But for those votes, it is not always performed when it is promised. A gentlecould not have passed in the form in which it did pass; man, to whom I have already referred in this debate, had whereas, if it had depended on Massachusetts votes, it come into Congress during my absence from it, from would have been lost. Does not the honorable gentle. South Carolina, and had brought with him a high reputaman well know all this? There are certainly those who tion for ability. He came from a school with which we do, full well, know it all. I do not say this to reproach had been acquainted, et noscitur a sociis. I hold in my South Carolina. I only state the fact; and I think it will hand, sir, a printed speech of this distinguished gentleappear to be true, that, among the earliest and boldest arl- man, (Mr. McDuffie) “on Internal Improvements," devocates of the tariff, as a measure of protection, and on livered about the period to which I now refer, and printthe express ground of protection, were leading gentle-ed, with a few introductory remarks upon consolidation, inen of South Carolina in Congress. I did not then, and in which, sir, I think he quite consolidated the arguments cannot now, rinderstand their language in any other sense of his opponents, the Radicals, if to crush be to consoliWhile this tariff of 1816 was under discussion, in the date. I give you a short but substantive quotation from House of Representatives, an honorable gentleman from these remarks. He is speaking of a pamphlet then reGeorgia, now of this House, (Mr. Forseth) moved to cently published, entitled “Consolidation;" and having reduce the proposed duty on cotton. He failed by four alluded to the question of renewing the charter of the votes, South Carolina giving three votes (enough to have former Bank of the United States, he says: “Moreover, tuned the scale) against his motion. The act, sir, then in the early history of parties, and when Mr. Crawford adpasserl, and received, on its passage, the support of a ma- (vocated a ienewal of the old charter, it was considered a jority of the Representatives of South Carolina present federal measure, which Internal Improvements never was, and voting. This act is the first in the order of those as this author erroneously states. This latter measure now denounced as plain usurpations. We see it daily, in originated in the administration of Mr. Jefferson, with the the list, by the side of those of 1824 and 1828, as a case appropriation for the Cumberland Road; and was first of manifest oppression, justifying disunion. I put it home proposed, as a system, by Mr. Calhoun, and carried to the honorable member from South Carolina, that his through the House of Representatives by a large majority own State was not only “art and part” in this measure, of the republicans, including almost every one of the leadbut the causa altusuns. Without her aid this seminal prin- ing men who carried us through the late war." ciple of mischief, this root of Upas, could not have been So, then, Internal Improvement is not one of the fedeplanted. I have already said, and it is true, that this actral heresies. One paragraph more, sir: proceeded on the ground of protection. It interfered di “The anthor in question, not content with denouncing rectly with existing interests of great value and amount. as federalists Gen. Jackson, Mr. Adams, Mr. Calhoun, and It cut up the Calcutta cotton trade by the roots, but it the majority of the South Carolina delegation in Congress, passed, neverthcless, and it passed on the principle of pro- modestly extends the denunciation to Mr. Monroe, and tecting manufactures, on the principle against free trade, on the whole republican party. Here are his words: “Durthe principle opposed to that which lets us alone. (Note 2.) ing the administration of Mr. Monroe, much has passed
Such (said Mr. W.] were the opinions of important which the republican party would be glad to approve, if and leading gentlemen from South Carolina, on the sub- they could!! But the principal feature, and that which ject of Internal Improvement, in 1816. I went out of has chiefy elicited these observations, is the renewal of Congress the next year; and returning again, in 1823, the system of Internal Improvements.'. Now this measure thought I found South Carolina where I had left her. I was adopted by a vote of 115 to 86, of a republican Conreally supposed that all things remained as they were, gress, and sanctioned by a republican President. Who, and that the South Carolina doctrine of Internal Improve-then, is this author, who assumes the high prerogative of ments would be defended by the same eloquent voices, denouncing, in the name of the republican party, the reand the same strong arms, as furmerly. In the lapse of publican administration of the country? A denunciation these six years, it is true, political associations had as- including within its sweep Calhoun, Lowndes, and Cheves, sumed a new aspect, and new divisions. A party had men who will be regarded as the brightest ornaments of arisen in the South bostile to the doctrine of Internal Im- South Carolina, and the strongest pillars of the republiprovements, and had vigorously attacked that doctrine. can party, as long as the late war shall be remembered, Anti-consolidation was the flag under which this party and talents and patriotism shall be regarded as the proper fought; and its supporters inveighed against Internal Im-objects of the admiration and gratitude of a free people!" provements much after the manner in which the honora Such are the opinions, sir, which were maintained by ile gentleman has now inveighed against them, as part South Carolina gentlemen, in the House of Representaand parcel of the system of consolidation. Whether this tives, on the subject of Internal Improvements, when I party arose in South Carolina herself, or in her neighbor. took my seat there, as a member from Massachusetts, in hooi, is more than I know. I think the latter. Howev- 1823. But this is not all. We had a bill before us, and er that may have been, there were those found in South passed it in that House, entitled " An act to procure the Carolina ready to make war upon it, and who did make necessary surveys, plans, and estimates, upon the subject intrepid war upon it. Names being regarded as things, of roads and canals.” It authorized the President to in such controversies, they bestowed on the anti-im- cause surveys and estimates to be made of the routes of provement gentlemen the appellation of Radicals. Yes, such roads and canals as he might deem of national imsir, the name of Radicals, as a term of distinction, portance, in a commercial or military point of view, or applicable and applied to those who denied the libe- for the transportation of the mail, and appropriated thirty ral' doctrines of Internal Improvements, originated, accord-thousand dollars, out of the treasury, to defray the exing to the best of my recollection, somewhere between pense. This act, though preliminary in its nature, coNorth Carolina and Georgia. Well, sir, these mischiev. vered the whole ground. It took for granted the complete ous Radicals were to be put down; and the strong arm of power of Internal Improvement, as far as any of its adSouth Carolina was stretched out to put them down. vocates had ever contended for it. Having passed the About this time, sir, I returned to Congress. The battle other House, the bill came up to the Senate, and was here with the Radicals had been fought, and our South Caro- considered and debated in April, 1824. The honorable lina champions of the doctrines of Internal Improvements member from South Carolina was a member of the Senate had nobly maintained their ground, and were understood at that time. While the bill was under consideration here, to have achieved a victory. They have driven back the a motion was made to add the following proviso: enemy with discomfiture--a thing, by the way, sir, which “ Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be con
[Jan. 27, 1830. strued to affirm or admit a power in Congress, on their of the debt, but, on the contrary, that I had always voted Own authority, to make roads or canals, within any of the for every measure for its reduction, as uniformly as the States of the Union.” The yea; and nays were taken on gentleman himself. He seems to claim the exclusive merit this proviso, and the honorable member voted in the ne- of a disposition to reduce the public charge. I do not gative! The proviso failed.
allow it to him. As a debt, I was, I am, for paying it, A motion was then made to add this proviso, viz: because it is a charge on our finances, and on the industry
“ Provided, That the faith of the United States is bere- of the country. But I observed that I thought I perby pledged, that no money shall ever be expended for ceived a morbid fervor on that subject--an excessive anaroads and canals, except it shall be among the several iety to pay off the debt, not so much because it is a debt States, and in the same proportion as direct taxes are laid simply, as because, while it remains, it furnishes one oband assessed by the provisions of the constitution.” jection to disunion. It is a tie of common interest while
The honorable member voted against this proviso, also, it lasts. I did not impute such motives to the honorable genand it failed. The bill was then put on its passage, and tleman himself, but that there is such a feeling in existence the honorable member voted for it, and it passed, and be ! have not a particle of doubt. The most I said was, that, came a law.
if one effect of the debt was to strengthen our Union, that Now it strikes me, sir, that there is no maintaining effect itself was not regretted by me, however much these votes, but upon the power of Internal Improvement, others might regret it. The gentleman bas not seen how in its broadest sense. In truth, these bills for surveys and to reply to this, otherwise than by supposing me to have estimates have always been considered as test questions: advanced the doctrine that a national debt is a national they show who is for and who against Internal Improve- blessing. Others, I must hope, will find less difficulty in ment. This law itself went the whole length, and assum- understanding me. I distinctly and pointedly cautioned ed the full and complete power. The gentleman's vote the honorable member not to understand me as expresssustained that power, in every form in which the various ing an opinion favorable to the continuance of the debt. propositions to amend presented it. He went for the en- I repeated this caution, and repeated it more than once; tire and unrestrained authority, without consulting the but it was thrown away. On yet another point, (said Mr. States, and without agreeing to any proportionate distri- W.] I was still more unaccountably misunderstood. bution. And now suffer me to remind you, that it is this The gentleman had harangued against “consolidation.” very same power, thus sanctioned, in every form, by the I told him, in reply, that there was one kind of consolidagentleman's vwn opinion, that is now so plain and mani- tion to which I was attached, and that was the consolifest a usurpation, that the State of South Carolina is sup- dation of our Union; and that this was precisely that posed to be justified in refusing submission to any laws consolidation to which I feared others were not attached. carrying the power into effect. Truly, sir, is this not a That such consolidation was the very end of the constitulittle too hard? May we not crave some mercy, under fa- tion; the leading object, as they had informed us themvor and protection of the gentleman's own authority? Ad- selves, which its framers kept in view. I turned to their committing that a road, or a canal, must be written down flat munication, and read their very words_-" the consolidausurpation as ever was committed, may we find no miti. tion of the Union”—and expressed my devotion to this gation in our respect for his place, and his vote, as one sort of consolidation. I said, in terms, that I wished not, that knows the law?
in the slightest degree, to augment the powers of this The tariff, which South Carolina had an efficient Government; that my object was to preserve, not to enhand in establishing, in 1816, and this asserted power of large; and thai, by consolidating the Union, I understood Internal Improvement, advanced by her in the same year, no more than the strengthening of the Union, and perpe. and, as we have seen, approved and sanctioned by her Re- tuating it. Having been thus explicit, having thus read presentatives in 1824, these two measures are the great from the printed book the precise words which I grounds on which she is now thought to be justified in adopted, as expressing my own sentiments, it passes combreaking up the Union, if she sees fit to break it up! prehension how any man could understand me as con
I may now safely say, I think, that we have had ihe au- tending for an extension of the powers of the Governthority of leading and distinguished gentlemen from South ment, or for consolidation, in that odious sense in which Carolina, in support of the doctrine of Internal Improve it means an accumulation in the Federal Government of
I repeat that, up to 1824, I, for one, followed the powers properly belonging to the States. South Carolina; but, when that star, in its ascension, veer. I repeat, sir, that, in adopting the sentiments of the ed off, in an unexpected direction, I relied on its light no framers of the constitution, I read their language audibly, longer. [Here the VICE PRESIDENT said: Does the and word for word; and I pointed out the distinction, just Chair understand the gentleman from Massachusetts to say as fully as I have now done, between the consolidation of that the person now occupying the chair of the Senate has the Union and that other obnoxious consolidation which I changed his opinions on the subject of Internal Improve. disclaimed. And yet the honorable member misunderments?) From nothing ever said to me, sir, have I had stood me. The gentleman had said that he wished for no reason to know of any change in the opinions of the per- fixed revenue--not a shilling. If, by a word, he could son filling the chair of the Senate. If such change has convert the capitol into gold, he would not do it. Why all taken place, I regret it. I speak generally of the State this fear of revenue? Why, sir, because, as the gentleman of South Carolina. Individuals, we know there are, who told us, it tends to consolidation. Now, this can mean neither hold opinions favorable to the power. An application for more nor less than that a common revenue is a common its exercise, in behalf of a public work in South Carolina interest, and that all common interests tend to hold the itself, is now pending, I believe, in the other House, pre- Union of the States together. I confess I like that tensented by members from that State.
dency; if the gentleman dislikes it, he is right in depreI have thus, sir, perhaps not without some tediousness cating a shilling's fixed revenue. So much, sir, for conof detail, shown that, if I am in error, on the subjects of solidation. Internal Improvement, how, and in what company I fell into As well as I recollect the course of his remarks, the that error. IP I am wrong, it is apparent who misled me. honorable gentleman nest recurred to the subject of the
I go to other remarks of the honorable member, and I tariff. He did not doubt the word must be of unpleasant have to complain of an entire misapprehension of what I sound to me, and proceeded, with an effort neither new said on the subject of the national debt, though I can nor attended with new success, to involve me and my hardly perceive how any one could misunderstand me. votes in inconsistency and contradiction. I am happy the What I said was, not that I wished to put off the payment gentleman has furnished me an opportunity of a timely
Jax. 27, 1830.]
(SENATE. remark or two on that subject. I was glad he approached should they not be revised and amended, and made equal, it: for it is a question I enter upon without fear from any like other laws, as exigencies should arise, or justice re. body. The strenuous toil of the gentleman has been to quire? Because we had doubted about adopting the sysraise an inconsistency between my dissent to the tariff in tem, were we to refuse to cure its manifest defects, after 1824 and my vote in 1828. It is labor lost. He pays it became adopted, and when no one attempted its repeal? undeserved compliment to my speech in 1824; but this is And this, sir, is the inconsistency so much bruited. i bad only to raise me high, that my fall, as he would have it, in voted against the tar ft of 1824--but it passed; and in 1828, may be more signal. Sir, there was no fall at all. 1827 and 1828 I voted to amend it, in a point essential to Between the ground I stood on in 1824, and that I took in the interests of my constituents. Where is the inconsisten. 1828, there was not only no precipice, but no declivity. cy? Could I do otherwise? Sir, does political consistency It was a change of position to meet new circumstances, but consist in always giving negative votes? Does it require of a on the same level. A plain tale explains the whole mat- public man to refuse to concur in amending laws, because ter. In 1816, I had not acquiesced in the tariff, then sup- they passed against his consent. Having voted against the ported by South Carolina. “To some parts of it, especial. tariff originally, does consistency demand that I should do ly, I felt and expressed great repugnance. I held the all in my power to maintain an unequal tariff, burthensome same opinions in 1821, at the meeting in Faneuil Hall, to to my own constituents, in many respects, favorable in which the gentleman has alluded. I said then, and say none? To consistency of that sort, I lay no claim; and there now, that, as an original question, the authority of Con- is another sort to which I lay as little, and that is, a kind of gress to exercise the revenue power, with direct refer- consistency by which persons feel themselves as much ence to the protection of manufactures, is a questionable bound to oppose a proposition after it has become a law authority; far more questionable, in my judgment, than of the land, as before. the power of Internal Improvements. I must confess, sir, The bill of 1827, limited, as I have said, to the single that, in one respect, some impression has been made on object in which the tariff of 1824 had manifestly failed my opinions lately. Mr. Madison's publication has put in its effect, passed the House of Representatives, but was the power in a very strong light. He has placed it, I must lost here. We bail then the act of 1828. I need not reacknowledge, upon grounds of construction and argu- cur to the history of a measure so recent. Its enemies ment, which seem impregnable. But even if the power spiced it with whatsoever they thought would render it were doubtful, on the face of the constitution itself, it had distasteful; its friends took it, drugged as it was. Vast been assumed and asserted in the first revenue law ever amounts of property, many millions, had been investerl in passed under that same constitution; and, on this ground, manufactures, under the inducements of the act of 1824. as a matter settled by cotemporaneous practice, I had re- Events called loudly, as I thought, for further regulation frained from expressing the opinion that the tariff laws to secure the degree of protection intended by that act. transcended constitutional limits, as the gentleman sup. I was disposed to vote for such regulation, and desired no. poses. What I did say at Faneuil Hall, as far as I now thing more; but certainly was not to be bantered out of remember, was, that this was originally matter of doubt. my purpose by a threatened aug.nentation of duty on moful construction. The gentleman himself, I suppose, lasses, put into the bill for the avowed purpose of making thinks there is no doubt about it, and that the laws are it obnoxious. The vote may have been right or wrong, plainly against the constitution. Mr. Madison's letters, wise or unwise; but it is little less than absurd to allege already referred to, contain, in my judgment, by far the against it an inconsistency with opposition to the former law. most able exposition extant of this part of the constitu Sir, as to the general subject of the tariff, I have little tion. He has satisfied me, so far as the practice of the now to say. Another opportunity may be presented. I Government had left it an open question.
remarked the other day, that this policy did not begin With a great majority of the Representatives of Massa- with us in New England; and yet, sir, New England is chusetts, I voted against the tariff of 1824. My reasons charged, with vehemence, as being favorable, or charged were then given, and I will not now repeat them. But, with equal vehemence, as being unfavorable to the tariff notwithstanding our dissent, the great States of New York, policy, just as best suits the time, place, and occasion, for Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky, went for the bill, in making some charge against her. The credulity of the almost unbroken column, and it passed. Congress and public has been put to its extreme capacity of false imthe President sanctioned it, and it became the law of the pression, relative to her conduct in this particular. land. What, then, were we to do? Our only option was, Through all the South, during the late contest, it was either to fall in with this settled course of public policy, New England policy, and a New England administration, and accommodate ourselves to it as well as we could, or to that was afilicting the country with a tariff beyond all enembrace the South Carolina doctrine, and talk of nullify- durance; while, on the other side of the Alleghany, even ing the statute by State interference.
the act of 1828, itself, the very sublimated essence of opThis last alternative did not suit our principles, and, of pression, according to Southern opinions, was pronounccourse, we adopted the former. In 1827, the subjected to be one of those blessings for which the West was came again before Congress, on a proposition favorable to indebted to the “generous South.” wool and woollens. We looked upon the system of pro With large investments in manufacturing establishments, tection as being fixed and settled. The law of 1824. re. and many and various interests connected with and demained. It had gone into full operation, and, in regard to pendent on them, it is not to be expected that New Eng. some objects intended by it, perhaps must of them, hac pro- land, any more than other portions of the country, will duced all its expected effects. No man proposed to re- now consent to any measure, destructive, or highly dan. peal it; no man attempted to renew the general contest gerous. The duty of the Government, at the present on its principle. But, owing to subsequent and unfore. moment, would seem to be to preserve, not to ciestroy; seen occurrences, the benefit intended by it to wool and to maintain the position which it has assumed; and, for woollen fabris had not been realized. Events, not one, I shall feel it an indispensable obligation to hold it known here when the law passed, had taken place, which steady, as far as in my power, to that degree of protecdefeated its object in that particular respect. A measure tion which it has undertaken to bestow. No more of the was accordingly brought forward to meet this precise de tariff. ficiency, to remedy this particular detect. It was limited Professing to be provoked by what he chose to consi. to wool and woollens. Was ever any thing more reason- der a charge made by mne against South Carolina, the able? If the policy of the tariff laws had become establish. bonorable member has taken up a new crusade against ed in principle, as the permanent policy of Government, New England. Leaving, altogether, the subject of