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moved, conscientious conviction and feeling of the people, producing this great result.
Now, Gentlemen, the question is, What is this revolution ? What is its character ? For whom, and against whom, for what, and against what, has it taken place ?
Gentlemen, I intend to perform the duty before me this evening, without denunciation, without vituperation; I intend to avoid, as far as possible, all reflections upon men, and all unjust reflections upon parties. But it does appear to me as clear as the light of noonday, that the revolution which has now taken place in the country, in public sentiment, is a revolution against the measures and the principles of this now existing administration. It is against the manner in which this war with Mexico has been brought on. (Loud cries of " You're right!” “ You're right!” and great applause.) It is against the tariff of 1846. (Deafening applause.) It is against that absurdity of all absurdities, the sub-treasury bill. (Shouts of laughter.) It is against the duplicate vetoes. (Great applause.)
Gentlemen, the present administration is not regarded as the just representative or the regular successor of any administration. In its principles and in its measures, it certainly does not resemble the administration of General Jackson, or of Mr. Van Buren, and most certainly it resembles no other. Now we must be just, we must be just to those who, in time past, have differed from us. We must, in some measure, forget the things which are behind. I take this to be the truth, that this administration has adopted a system of its own, and measures of its own, and assumed a character of its own, distinct and separate from what was the character of all preceding administrations. I take it to be for that reason, that hundreds and thousands of our fellow-citizens in this State and in other States, who were supporters of General Jackson's administration and Mr. Van Buren's administration, repudiate this administration. I think, therefore, that this administration stands alone, I will not say in its glory, but certainly in its measures and its policy. I think it is certain, that the sober-minded and intelligent portion of the community who have heretofore sustained what has been called the Democratic party have found that this administration of Mr. Polk either adopts new measures, not before known to the party, or has carried the sentiments of the party hitherto re
ceived and expressed to such extremes, that it is impossible for honest and just men to follow it; and that therefore they have come out, laying aside the natural reluctance which men feel in acting against the party of their friends, — they have come out, nevertheless, and in order to manifest their disapprobation of the principles and measures of this administration, they have flocked to the polls by thousands, and given plumpers to Whig candidates. Now, are they right in this? Are they right in supposing that this administration has adopted new doctrines, or carried old doctrines to extremes ? Gentlemen, it is perfectly evident to me that they are right; that on questions of vital interest to these central States, and to all the States, the principles and measures of the present administration are marked departures from the principles and measures of General Jackson.
I will, with your permission and patience, illustrate this sentiment by one or two instances, beginning with that of the protective policy of the country.
It seems to me almost too light a question to ask, whether in this respect Young Hickory is like Old Hickory. But it is a great question to be put to the people of the United States, and which has been put, and which they have answered, whether the principles of the present administration, in regard to the protective policy of the country, are or are not entire departures from the principles of Andrew Jackson. I say they are.
Gentlemen, I have not been an advocate of the policy of General Jackson. We all know that he was a man of decided and strong character. For one, I believe that in general his wishes were all for the happiness and glory of the country. He thought, perhaps, that, to establish that happiness and perfect that glory, it was incumbent on him to exert a little more power than I believed the Constitution gave him. But I never doubted that he meant well; and that, while he sought to establish his own glory and renown, he intended to connect them with the glory and renown of the whole country.
Gentlemen, after the passage of what is called, or has been called, the Compromise Act of 1833, no great agitation arose on the tariff subject until the expiration, or near the expiration, of the period prescribed by that act. Within that time, Mr. Van Buren's administration began, went through, and terminated. The circumstances of the country, therefore, and the business
presented to the consideration of the President and Congress, did not call on Mr. Van Buren, during his Presidency, to express an opinion, in any particular or formal manner, respecting the protective policy.
But I will now compare the opinions and principles of the present President of the United States, as expressed by him officially, with the principles and opinions of General Jackson during his Presidency, as expressed by him officially. I begin, Gentlemen, by reading to you what Mr. Polk says upon this subject of protection, in his message at the commencement of the last session of Congress, being his first annual message. It will require some attention from you, Gentlemen. I hope you will not think me presuming too much upon your patience.
Hear, then, what Mr. Polk says in his message of last December, on the opening of Congress:
" The object of imposing duties on imports should be to raise revenue to pay the necessary expenses of government. Congress may, un. doubtedly, in the exercise of a sound discretion, discriminate in arrang. ing the rates of duty on different articles ; but the discriminations should be within the revenue standard, and be made with a view to raise money for the support of government.
“ If Congress levý a duty, for revenue, of one per cent. on a given article, it will produce a given amount of money to the treasury, and will, incidentally and necessarily, afford protection or advantage to the amount of one per cent. to the home manufacturer of a similar or like article over the importer. If the duty be raised to ten per cent., it will produce a greater amount of money, and afford greater protection. If it be raised to twenty, twenty-five, or thirty per cent., and if, as it is raised, the revenue derived from it is found to be increased, the protection and advantage will also be increased, but if it be raised to thirty-one per cent., and it is found that the revenue produced at that rate is less than at the rate of thirty, it ceases to be revenue duty. The precise point in the ascending scale of duties, at which it is ascertained from experience that the revenue is greatest, is the maximum rate of duty which can be laid for the bonâ fide purpose of collecting money for the support of the
Now, Gentlemen, there are those who find difficulty in understanding exactly what Mr. Polk means by the “revenue standard.” Perhaps this is not entirely plain. But one thing is clear, whatever else he may or may not mean, he means to be
against all protection. He means that the sole and exclusive object to be regarded by the legislator, in imposing duties on imports, is to obtain money for the revenue. That is to be the only thing aimed at. He says, truly, that if a duty be laid on an imported article, an incidental benefit may accrue to the producer of a like article at home. But then this is incidental; it is altogether adventitious, an accident, a collateral or consequential result. It is not a matter to be taken into the view of the law-makers. It is to form no part of their purpose in framing or passing the law. That purpose is to be confined altogether to the inquiry after that “maximum rate of duty which can be laid for the bona fide purpose of collecting money for the support of the government."
This is his doctrine, as plain as words can make it. It is to lay such duties as may be most beneficial to revenue, and nothing but revenue; and if, in raising a revenue duty, it shall happen that domestic manufactures are protected, why that's all very well. But the protection of domestic manufactures is not to be any object of concern, nor to furnish any motive, to those who make the law. I think I have not misrepresented Mr. Polk. I think his meaning is sufficiently plain, and is precisely as I state it. Indeed, I have given you his own words. He would not, himself, deny the meaning of his words, as I have stated it. He is for laying taxes for revenue, and for revenue alone, just as if there were no iron manufactures, or other manufactures, in the United States. This is the doctrine of Mr. Polk.
Now, was this General Jackson's doctrine? Was it ever his doctrine? Let us see. I read you an extract from General Jackson's first message. He says:
“ The general rule to be applied in graduating the duties upon articles of foreign growth or manufacture is that which will place our own in fair competition with those of other countries; and the inducements to advance even a step beyond this point are controlling, in regard to those articles which are of primary necessity in time of war,"
What is this doctrine? Does it not say in so many words, that, in imposing duties upon articles of foreign manufactures, it is the business of the framers of the law to lay such duties, and to lay them in such a way, as shall give our own producere a fair competition against the foreign producer? And does
General Jackson go further, and say, - and you, Pennsylvanians, from here to Pittsburg, and all you workers in iron and owners of iron mines, may consider it, - does he not go further, and say, that, in regard to articles of primary importance, in time of war, we are under controlling reasons for going a step farther, and putting down foreign competition ? Now, I submit to you, Gentlemen, instead of putting down foreign competition, is not the tariff of 1846 calculated to put down our own competition ?
But I will read to you, Gentlemen, an extract from General Jackson's second message, which, in my opinion, advances the true doctrine, the true American constitutional rule and princi. ple, fully, clearly, admirably.
“ The power to impose duties on imports originally belonged to the several States; the right to adjust those duties, with the view to the en. couragement of domestic branches of industry, is so completely identical with that power, that it is difficult to suppose the existence of the one without the other.
“ The States have delegated their whole authority over imports to the general government, without limitation or restriction, saving the very inconsiderable reservation relating to their inspection laws. This authority having thus entirely passed from the States, the right to exercise it for the purpose of protection does not exist in them, and consequently, if it be not possessed by the general government, it must be extinct. Our political system would thus present the anomaly of a people stripped of the right to foster their own industry, and to counteract the most selfish and destructive policy which might be adopted by foreign nations.
This, surely, cannot be the case ; this indispensable power thus sur. rendered by the States, must be within the scope of the authority on the subject expressly delegated to Congress.
“ In this conclusion I am confirmed, as well by the opinions of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, who have each repeatedly recommended the exercise of this right under the Constitution, as by the uniform practice of Congress, the continued acquiescence of the States, and the general understanding of the people."
It appears to me, Gentlemen, that these extracts from General Jackson's messages read very differently from the extracts from President Polk's message at the opening of the last session of Congress, which I have quoted. I think that his notion of a revenue standard
if President Polk means any thing by it be