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and that if we would escape the rock on which they split, we must avoid their errors.
“ I hope gentlemen will deliberately survey the awful isthmus on which we stand. They may bear down all opposition; they may even vote the General the public thanks; they may carry
him triumphantly through this House. But, if they do, in my humble judgment, it will be a triumph of the principle of insubordination, a triumph of the military over the civil authority, a triumph over the powers of this House, a triumph over the Constitution of the land. And I pray most devoutly to Heaven, that it may not prove, in its ultimate effects and consequences, a triumph over the liberties of the people.”
EXTRACT FROM MR. CLAY’S SPEECH ON MR. TYLER'S
VETO OF THE BANK BILL.
“On the fourth of April last, the lamented Harrison, the President of the United States, paid the debt of nature. President Tyler, who, as VicePresident, succeeded to the duties of that office,
arrived in the city of Washington, on the sixth of that month. He found the whole metropolis wrapped in gloom, every heart filled with sorrow and sadness, every eye streaming with tears, and the surrounding hills yet flinging back the echo of the bells which were tolled on that melancholy occasion. On entering the Presidential Mansion, he contemplated the pale body of his predecessor stretched before him, and clothed in the black habiliments of death. At that solemn moment, I have no doubt that the heart of President Tyler was overflowing with mingled emotions of grief, of patriotism, and of gratitude-above all, of gratitude to that country, by a majority of whose suffrages, bestowed at the preceding November, he then stood the most distinguished, the most elevated, the most honoured, of all living Whigs of the United States.
“ Notwithstanding all our concessions, made in a genuine and sincere spirit of conciliation, the sanction of the President could not be obtained, and the bill has been returned by him with his objections.
“And I shall now proceed to consider those
objections, with as much brevity as possible, but with the most perfect respect, official and personal, toward the Chief Magistrate.
“After stating that the power of Congress to establish a National Bank, to operate per se,
has been a controverted question from the origin of the government, the President remarks :
«Men most justly and deservedly esteemed for their high intellectual endowments, their virtue and their patriotism, have, in regard to it, entertained different and conflicting opinions. Congresses have differed.
The approval of one President has been followed by the disapproval of another.'
“ From this statement of the case it may be inferred, that the President considers the weight of authority, pro and con, to be equal and balanced. But if he intended to make such an array of it, if he intended to say that it was an equilibrium, I must respectfully, but most decidedly, dissent from him. I think the conjoint testimony of history, tradition, and the knowledge of living witnesses proves the contrary. How stands the question as to the opinions of Congresses ? The
Congress of 1791, the Congress of 1813—’14, the Congress of 1815—’16, the Congress of 1831—-'32, and, finally, the present Congress, have all respectively and unequivocally, affirmed the existence of a power in Congress to establish a National Bank to operate per se.
We behold, then, the concurrent opinion of five different Congresses on one side. And what Congress is there on the opposite side? The Congress of 1811? I was a member of the Senate in that year, when it decided, by the casting vote of the Vice-President, against the renewal of the charter of the old Bank of the United States. And I now here, in my place, add to the testimony already before the public, by declaring that it is within my certain knowledge, that that decision of the Senate did not proceed from a disbelief of a majority of the Senate in the power of Congress to establish a National Bank, but from combined considerations of expediency and constitutionality. A majority of the Senate, on the contrary, as I know, entertained no doubt as to the power of Congress. Thus the account, as to Congresses, stands five for, and not one, or, at most, not more than one, against the power. .
“Let us now look into the state of authority derivable from the opinions of Presidents of the United States. President Washington believed in the powers of Congress, and approved a Bank bill. President Jefferson approved acts to extend branches into other parts of the United States, and to punish counterfeiters of the notes of the Bank-acts which were devoid of all justification, whatever, upon the assumption of the unconstitutionality of the Bank. For how could branches be extended, or punishment be lawfully inflicted upon the counterfeiters of the paper of a corporation which came into existence without any authority, and in violation of the constitution of the land ? James Madison, notwithstanding those early scruples which he had entertained, and which he probably still cherished, sanctioned and signed a bill to charter the late Bank of the United States. It is perfectly well known that Mr. Monroe never did entertain any scruples or doubts in regard to the power of Congress. Here, then, are four Presidents of the United States who have directly or collaterally borne official testimony to the existence of the Bank power in Congress. And what