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or usurpation, we will not now stop to inquire, has appropriated to itself a fund of donatives which almost beggars by comparison the treasury of the imperial republic, and which threatens utterly to corrupt the public spirit, if some timely corrective is not applied. Twenty-three millions of dollars, by the double operation of the mode of levy and distribution, and the immense amount of public land which may either be thrown into the market, or withheld, furnish resources for influence, we will not say bribery, perilous indeed to a government, whose very existence depends upon the purity of its spirit, the simplicity of its forms, and the frugality of its expenditures. Whilst we would have these lands neither “locked up as a great treasure," or
“ for a pepper corn,” we would have them sold at low prices, or on extensive credits for a moderate sum in gross, to the State to which they belong, that their settlement and occupation may at once become the subjects of the domestic legislation of the States in which they are situated.
If Mr. Hayne pushes his policy in regard to the disposition of the lands, further than we are prepared to go, bis speech on this topic (the first in the series of debate) comprises a lúminous and statesmanlike exhibition of bis argument, in a temper as courteous as his reasoning is marked by discrimination and good taste.
It was in this branch of the debate, that Mr. Benton, it seems, threw the apple of discord, for which Mr. Webster chose, by a sense of justice somewhat at fault, to consider Mr. Hayne as responsible. In the conflict of crimination and recrimination, as to who struck the first blow against the East or the South, we shall take no part, as such personalities are somewhat out of the pale of our vocation, except to affirm that we have looked with great care through Mr. Hayne's first speech, and see in it no reproach or even rebuke of New-England, at which the most sensitive or choleric of her sons need have taken offence, even if he were blessed with the keen perceptions of insult, which distinguished the chivalry of Sir Lucius O'Trigger himself. To turu to a different sort of authority; we think that Mr. Webster broached some novel doctrines of law, which we are sure he did not learn from Chitty, that finding a bill in market he had a right to pick up the first man he met with, as an indorser, although the bill should have been drawn by a responsible drawer, who was ready to answer in his own person for the amount of his draft. In making this selection of his combatant, his gallantry is certainly not to be impeached, although he seems to have acted with anything but the unpremeditated valor of the Irishman in a row, who, from sheer benevolence
was any man's custo
mer." But to return, we care not who struck the first blow, whether it was the East or the South; we rejoice that the blow was struck, and effectually struck, by which a light has been elicited in regard to the theory of our Constitution, of inestimable value at this crisis, when that instrument itself is overlaid by perverted implications and false glosses, which threaten an entire change in its character, or its sudden annihilation by a convulsion scarcely less to be deplored, than the causes which may produce it.
In limine, we must also decline entering into the discussion of the question which was mooted, with so much earnestness and zeal, by the combatants in this debate, as to which section of the union had done most for the “infant West,” a bantling that has somewhat outgrown its nursing mothers. We leave this point where we found it, under a certain conviction, that New England has acted on this subject with the circumspection and good sense which have characterized her invariable policy in relation to the other States, a policy that has never periled any essential interest of her own, by a quixotic magnanimity and enlarged public spirit, however much these may have formed the food for the ambition of some States less discreet than herself. If, therefore, Nathan Dane, was the author of the ordinance of '87, “which laid the interdict of involuntary servitude north-west of the Ohio ;" we think he was, as Mr. Webster terms him, a very good Solon and Lycurgus for New England, and that he deserves the apotheosis which that gentleman has prepared for the immortality of his fame. New-England might well afford to furnish such Solons, to establish a policy, in sympathy with her own institutions, and best adapted to promote her political power by the influence of this sympathy over territories ceded by the uncalculating South, provided she could find any more sovereignties this side of Mason and Dixon's line, prepared to play, in the very weakness of age, the part of the poor old Lear, which Virginia impersonated with such an admirable truth and fidelity to nature, when she ceded to the United States her immense territory, north-west of the Ohio, with a condition which both rebuked and weakened her own institutions. It is but fair, however, that we should let Mr. Webster speak for himself. In allusion to this ordinance, he says:
Now, Sir, this great measure again was carried by the North, and by the North alone. There, were, indeed, individuals elsewhere favourable to it; but it was supported as a measure, entirely by the votes VOL. VI.-NO 11.
of the Northern States. If New England had been governed by the narrow and selfish views now ascribed to her, this very measure was best calculated to thwart her purposes. It was of all things the very means of rendering certain, a vast emigration from her own population to the West. She looked to that consequence only to disregard it. She deemed the regulation a most useful one to the States that would spring up on the territory, and advantageous to the country at large. She adhered to the principle of it, perseveringly, year after year, until it was finally accomplished."
Without controverting Mr. Webster's facts, which we are willing to admit, we cannot but think, that, in reference to her own interest, it was an act of profound policy on the part of the North, to stamp upon the infant States of that vast territory, the impress of her own institutions, the moral force of which would pay her back ten-fold, all that she might lose by the emigration of her own people. Indeed, her population being more redundant, than the amount of her own capital could employ at home, she was positively benefited by this very emigration, which translated, into a region of boundless fertility and gigantic growth, kindred sympathies, in unison with ber own character and policy, in the bosoms of the thousands and hundreds of thousands of her children, who were at once the pilgrims and victors of the wilderness. We would ask where now has NewEngland allies more devoted to her peculiar interests, than the States north-west of the Ohio ? Mr. Webster will pardon us if we put down this profound stroke of policy, to a well, and self instructed sagacity, rather than to any morbid sensitiveness on the subject of slavery. The prodigality with which New-England poured into the Southern States, as subjects of traffic, the victims of the spoil and rapine of Africa, shows that she was not prepared at that moment to carry her just abhorrence of “involuntary servitude” to any extremity that might interfere with her interests. That Mr. Webster should regard this ordinance as a great and salutary measure of preventionthat he should " fear the rebuke of no intelligent gentleman of Kentucky, if he were to ask, whether, if such an ordinance could have been applied to his own State, while it was yet a wilderness, he does not suppose it would have contributed to the ultimate greatness of that commonwealth,” is altogether natural, and furnishes no just occasion for surprise. We, however, believe, that an intelligent gentleman from Kentucky, neither felt a reluctance to reply to this insidious interrogation, nor wanted the ability to defend the South from its covert reproof. We need not remind our readers of the admirable speech of Judge Rowan, or of the just and philosophical grounds on which he placed his argument on this subject-a subject in regard to which the South has no just cause to feel either shame or reproach, although it is one of painful discussion. It may suit the philanthrophy of Mr. Webster, and his own
views of the political economy of the question, to graduate the -“greatness" of States, in proportion to their exemption from the evils of domestic slavery. If greatness means a more certain return of profit to the employment of capital, and its more rapid accumulation, as indicated by the signs of a greatly increasing population, in countries whose climates are too rigorous, and whose staples are too cheap to bear the expense of slave labour, we may admit his proposition without admitting our own degeneracy or degradation. But, if greatness has any relation to general intelligence among the people, to a disinterested and magnanimous public spirit, equal to any national crisis, and superior to all national difficulties, to devotion to country, wisdom in its councils, and gallantry in its battles, then the much abused slave-holding portions of this confederacy, may challenge a comparison, in all that constitutes the essentials of public virtue, with those parts of the Union which have long enjoyed, practically, the benefits of Mr. Webster's "great and salutary measure of prevention." The part of the Union, which labours under the imputed palsy of this curse, gave Washington, to the military, and Jefferson, to the great civil revolutions of our country, and has produced men, who have enlightened almost every national assembly, and adorned every national struggle in arms, that illustrates our history from the earliest settlement of the colonies down to the present moment. We do not quarrel with the pride of the Pharisee, which leads him to “thank God, that he is not as other men are," nor with that commendable self-love, which resolves all the virtues of our nature into the causes which belong to our own condition in life. But the South would be recreant to herself, if she admitted, with the full records of her history before her eyes, that the institution of domestic slavery, has had any influence, prejudicial to her true greatness, over all the moral attributes of a free, prosperous and high-spirited people. thought proper to point to our civil and military history, we might do so with no emotions but those of pride and confidence. If we thought proper to point to our fields, we could show a victorious industry producing, through processes of agriculture, the most scientific in their combinations and beautiful in their developements, the thirty-five millions of exports, which one
third of the population of the Union, supplies for two-thirds of its foreign trade. We might point to the charities, to the refinements, to the hospitalities of private life, as a refuge from the reproaches of those, who in the fulness of their commiseration, may even condescend to pity us. But we shall make no such appeal, although, before we have done with this topic, we will ask one question; where has power been watched with the same jealousy, the limits of the Constitution guarded by vigils more sleepless and patriotic, than by the slave-holding States of this confederacy! yes, by the masters of slaves? “In Virginia and the Carolinas, they have a vast multitude of slaves; those who are free, are by far the most proud and jealous of their freedom. Freedom is to them not only an enjoyment, but a kind of rank and privilege.” With the great and venerable authority of this aphorism, let us add, "that we do not mean to commend the superior morality of this sentiment, which has, at least, as much pride as virtue in it, but we cannot alter the nature of
We would refer those who feel any interest in a further discussion of this subject, to Mr. Hayne's maniy defence of the South on this topic, where an interesting collection of facts is illustrated by a course of reasoning, powerful, animated and just. Our object, however, will now be, in hastening from the outposts of this controversy, to reach its citadel, although we are compelled to notice, as unavoidable preliminaries, Mr. Webster's charge that the South is responsible for the tariff, and his defence of his own consistency in regard to that measure.
Although we give Mr. Webster credit for great dexterity in this debate, in seizing with promptitude and effect on the weak points of his antagonist's argument, and protecting, generally, his own with skill and caution, and for the still higher tact of harmonizing with all the feelings, without shocking any of the prejudices of his audience-yet, on two subjects, the guilt of the South in being the parent of the tariff system, and his own innocence of the charge of inconsistency, (by his own example "made easy") we think his failure has been as signal as any man could desire, who looked merely to the moral retribution which ought to attend both efforts.
We will, however, allow him to recite his special bill of indictment against South-Carolina, in his own words, that we may be guilty of no possible misconception of his meaning, before we come to the complex notes with which he is compelled to sing his own palinode. He says
“And now, Mr. President, I have further to say, that I made up these opinions, and entered on this course of political conduct, Teucro