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some five or eight votes; when in 1827 the woollen's bill was lost in the Senate? And was the contest also not of some value, when it was waged against a system, which, in Mr. Webster's own words, “was inconsistent with the Constitution, and impeded the property, and corrupted the morals of the people ?" Or was bis opposition to this system withdrawn the moment New-England so far “fell in with this settled course of public policy,” as that it no longer “impeded the property of her people,” although it might still “corrupt their morals," and be “inconsistent with the Constitution and sound policy.” We will take upon ourselves to say, that if Mr. Webster, instead of accommodating himself to "this settled course of public policy," had lent the weight and influence of his talents in the struggle which the South has never ceased to make against the tariff, South-Carolina would never have had occasion “to talk of nullifying the statute by State interference.”
“ In 1827 the subject came before Congress on a proposition favourable to wool and woollens. We looked on the system of protection as being fired and settled. No man proposed to repeal it—no man attempted to renew the general contest on its principle ; but owing to subsequent and unforeseen occurrences, the benefit intended by it, (the act of 1824) to wool and woollens, had not been realized.
A measure was, accordingly, brought forward to remedy this particular defect; it was limited to wool and woollens. Was ever any thing more reasonable ? Because we had doubted about adopting the system, were we to refuse to cure its manifest defects, after it became adopted, and no man attempted its repeal. I had voted against the Tariff in 1824, and in 1827 and 1828, I voted to amend it, in a point essential to the interests of my constituents. Where is the inconsistency-could I do otherwise ? Sir, does political consistency consist in always giving negative votes ?”
It is true that the subject did come before “Congress in 1827 on a proposition favourable to wool and woollens,” and in a form utterly irreconcilable with the previous opinions of Mr. Webster. The proposition was, in fact, nothing more or less than to give New England an entire monopoly of supplying the rest of the United States with woollen fabrics. It was one of the most narrow and selfish measures ever offered for the adoption of any legislature on earth. It was, in fact, a proposition to compel every poor man in the country to pay in money sixteen dollars for a suit of woollen clothes, manufactured in the United States, which he could purchase in a foreign country for eight dollars worth of coiton, corn, fish or tobacco. The strongest argument which could be urged against the woollen's bill, was furnished by Mr. Webster in his speech of 1624, which, as it comprises, in the smallest compass, the best
refutation to his own support of that measure, and his subsequent vote in favour of the act of 18.18, we are induced to transcribe it.
“ I will now proceed, Sir, to state some objections which I feel, of a more gerieral nature to the course of Mr. Speaker's observations.
“ He seems, to me, to argue the question, as if domestic industry were confined to the production of the manufactured articles; as if the employment of our own capital and our own labour, in the occupations of commerce and navigation, were not as emphatically domestic industry as any other occupation. Some other gentlemen, in the course of the debate, have spoken of the price paid for every foreign manufacture, as so much given for the encouragement of foreign labour, to the prejudice of our own. Is not every article we purchase the product of our labour, as truly as if we had manufactured it ourselves ? Our labour has earned it and paid the price for it. It is so much added to the stock of national wealth. If the commodities were dollars, no body would deny the truth of this remark; and it is precisely as correct in its application to any other commodity as to silver. One man makes a yard of cloth at home, another raises agricultural products, and buys a yard of imported cloth. Both these are equally the earnings of domestic industry, and the only questions that arise in the case are two-the first is, which is the best mode under all the curcumstances of obtaining the article; and the second is, how far this first question is proper to be decided by government, and how far it is proper to be left to individual discretion.
He goes on to say:
“I know that it would be very easy to promote manufactures for a time, but probably only for a short time, if we might act in disregard to other interests. We could cause a sudden transfer of capital, and a violent change in the pursuits of men. We could exceedingly benefit some classes by these means. But what then becomes of the interests of others ? - Yr. Webster's Speech in the House of Rep. 1824.
Again Mr. Webster says in the same speech :-
“ The woollen manufacturers of England have existed from the early ages of the monarchy. Provisions designed to aid and foster them, are black lettered Statutes of the Edwards and Ilenrys. Ours, on the contrary, are but of yesterday, and yet, with no more than the protection of the existing laws, are already at the point of close and promising competition.”—Mr. Webster's Speech in 1824.
We shall conclude our extracts from this speech with a single paragraph more:
“ The best apology for laws of prohibition, and laws of monopoly, will be found in a state of society, not only unenlightened, but sluggish, in which they are most generally established. But our age is wholly of a different character, and its legislation takes another turn. Society is full of excitement; competition comes in places of monopo
ly, and intelligence and industry ask only for fair play and an open field. Profits, indeed, in such a state of things, will be small, but they will be extensively diffused; prices will be low, and the great body of the people prosperous and happy.-Mr. Webster's Speech in 1824.
We think, we have proved that “although the subject came before Congress on a proposition favourable to wool and woollens," Mr. Webster, from his principles in 1824, was the last man in the Union who ought to have supported it. He says too, that " we looked upon the system of protection as being fised and settled. The law of 1824 remained.”
Was it right—was it Mr. Webster's duty so to regard any system which was “ equally inconsistent with the constitution, and sound policy, and which corrupted the morals of the people.” Besides, the act of 1824 was an oppressive tax bill, and God forbid, that any Statesman should declare with any justice, in a free government, that a measure of this description" is the fixed and settled policy of the country.” No man, he says, “ proposed to repeal it.” Why did he not, with his acknowledged talents and an extensive influence in New-Englandfrom no one could the proposition “to renew the contest on the principle of the act of 1824,” have better come, than from himself, and from none, surely, with so many auspicious promises of success. Would not the South have gone with him ? Yes, to the last moment, bad he thought proper to keep the flag of free trade flying, instead of ingloriously hauling it down.
“Yet,” Mr. Webster asks, " because we had doubted about adopting the system, were we to refuse to cure its manifest defects? No: if the cure of its mavifest defects was to have been effected by reducing not augmenting the duties.” The question is about Mr. Webster's consistency, not how far the woollen's bill was consistent with the act of 1824, which he voted against, whilst he voted for the woollen's bill. Where is this inconsistency? can he
“ Does political consistency consist in always giving negative votes ?" Yes, upon identical propositions involving the same policy. We apprehend that a man who should vote against a bill to legalize robbery generally, and should afterwards vote for a bill to authorize a particular species of theft, he would find it somewhat difficult to reconcile the two voles, although he might be blessed with all Mr. Webster's fertility in excuses or ingenuity in explanation.
“ Vast amounts of property, many millions had been invested in manufactures under the inducements of the act of 1824. Events called loudly, as I thought, for further regulation, to secure the degree of protection intended by that act.” VOL. V.-NO. 11.
not see it!
The substance of this justification may be summed up in a few words. Mr. Webster was decidedly opposed to the tariff of 1824, on the grounds, we presume, of his declared sentiments in 1821, “that it was equally inconsistent with the Constitution and sound policy, and that it impeded the property, whilst it corrupted the morals of the people.” In 1824 he was opposed to regulation on the ground of the protection afforded by that law, yet in 1828 he voted for an act which went upon the principle of protection alone, and greatly increased the inducements for the investment of vast amounts of property (“many millions”) in manufactures, and which investments were made immediately after the passage of the act, and led to the tremendous reaction and disastrous failures in the manufacturing industry of the country, in 1829 and 1830.
From this clause in his defence, it might be inferred, that the act of 1828 was an exceedingly mild and inoffensive measure, merely designed “to secure the degree of protection intended by the act of 1824." But can there be any thing more disingenuous than this pretext, when the fact is one of obvious and universal notoriety, that the act of 1828, so far from merely securing "the degree of protection intended by the act of 1824," went far beyond it, in duplicating on all, and triplicating the duties on some articles. We are inclined to think Mr. Webster must have the same idea of “degrees,” that he has of "levels," when he can discover that it is perfectly consistent for him to vote against an act imposing an average of 37 per cent. duties, then to vote for an act imposing an average of impost amounting to 82 per cent. ; while yet the one was voted for, and the other against, on the same principle and same level!”
“ The vote may have been right or wrong, wise or unwise, but it is little less than absurd to allege against it, an inconsistency in opposition to the former law."
It would, indeed, be absurd to argue against Mr. Webster's vote in favour of the tariff in 1828, as an inconsistency with the tariff of 1824. But is this the question? Does Mr. Webster think he can blind us by raising such smoke as this ? No. The inconsistency is not between his vote in 1828 and the tariff of 1824, but between the votes he gave on these two bills, which stand as widely opposed as the antipodes. Here is the rubhic labor, hoc opus est. However humiliating it might have been, it would have saved Mr. Webster a world of pains to have plead guilty to the charge, justified and thrown himself “on wool and woollens" for his consolation and defence.
We feel that we owe an apology to our readers for detaining them so long on a charge which we admit is somewhat too personal in its character, to come ordinarily within the compass of the subjects which appropriately belong to a journal of this description. We must, however, hope for our justification, from this vital consideration, that the cause of truth, in politics as well as morals, is never more seriously endangered than by a fluctuation in the opinions of public men of acknowledged talents aud influence, when their opinions seem to be under the government of no fixed principles, but to depend entirely on transient interests for their existence and support.
We come now to the discussion of the only subjects, which, from the important public principles involved in them, would seein to justify a consideration of the speeches of the two distinguished gentlemen who took a prominent lead, on opposite sides, in the debate on Mr. Foot's resolution. This discussion involves the question, whether the reserved rights of the States can be usurped or violated by the government of the Union, and no remedy or protection be afforded the States, other than that which the Supreme Court of the United States is able to afford under its arbitrament-or, in other words, whether the States are absolutely remediless in the premises of such an usurpation or violation, short of revolution itself.
Mr. Webster, in his first speech, brings on the controversy on the subjects to which we refer, in the following terms:
“I know that there are some persons in the part of the Union to which the honourable member (Mr. Hayne) belongs, who habitually speak of the Union in terms of indifference, or even of disparagement. The honourable member himself is not, I trust, and can never be, one of those. They significantly declare that it is time to calculate the value of the Union; and their aim seems to be, to enumerate and magnify all the evils, real and imaginary, which the Government, under the Union, produces."
We presume, from Mr. Hayne's reply to this denunciation of South-Carolina, that Mr. Webster added to it an affirmation, not only of the groundless absurdity of her complaints, but of the groundless absurdity, also, of the mode of redress which she might suppose she possesses under the Constitution of the Union, the latter of which, however, does not appear in the report of Mr. Webster's speech. In reference to this allusion of the Senator from Massachusetts, Mr. Hayne opens the discussion by the following statement of the argument, which we desire not to weaken by an injudicious abridgment:
“The Senator from Massachusetts, in denouncing what he is pleased to call the Carolina doctrine, has attempted to throw ridicule upon the idea