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our old opponents, whose conclusions were fairly drawn from their premises, while his premises ought to have led him to opposite conclusions. The gentleman has told us that the new-fangled doctrines, as he chooses to call them, have brought State rights into disrepute. I must tell him, in reply, that what he calls new-fangled are but the doctrines of '98; and that it is he (Mr. Rives), and others with him, who, professing these doctrines, have degraded them by explaining away their meaning and efficacy. He (Mr. R.) has disclaimed, in behalf of Virginia, the authorship of nullification. I will not dispute that point. If Virginia chooses to throw away one of her brightest ornaments, she must not hereafter complain that it has become the property of another. But while I have, as a representative of Carolina, no right to complain of the disavowal of the Senator from Virginia, I must believe that he (Mr. R.) has done his native State great injustice by declaring on this floor, that when she gravely resolved, in '98, that “in cases of deliberate and dangerous infractions of the Constitution, the States, as parties to the compact, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose to arrest the progress of the evil, and to maintain within their respective limits the authorities, rights, and liberties appertaining to them,” she meant no more than to proclaim the right to protest and to remonstrate. To suppose that, in putting forth so solemn a declaration, which she afterward sustained by so able and elaborate an argument, she meant no more than to assert what no one had ever denied, would be to suppose that the State had been guilty of the most egregious trifling that ever was exhibited on so solemn an occasion.
Thomas H. BENTON was born in Hillsborough, North Carolina, March 14, 1782. He studied for a time at the University of North Carolina, but for his remarkable acquirements he was mainly indebted to the process of selfeducation, which continued all his life. From Tennessee, whither his family had removed, he passed to St. Louis, where for a time he edited the “Missouri Enquirer.” In 1820 he was sent from Missouri to the United States Senate, and kept a place in that body for thirty years. After being defeated for the Senate in 1850, he was two years later elected to the House of Representatives. In 1856 he was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of the State of Missouri. He died on April 10, 1858, at Washington. As the unwavering advocate of a currency of the precious metals issued only by the government, Benton is identified in the popular mind with a permanent question of public policy. He belongs, in the same group with Webster, Clay and Calhoun, among the most remarkable American speakers and statesmen of his time.
ON THE EXPUNGING RESOLUTION
UNITED STATES SENATE, JANUARY 12, 1837
Mr. President: T IS now three years since the resolve was adopted by the Senate, which it is my present motion to expunge from the journal. At the moment that this resolve was adopted, I gave notice of my intention to move to expunge it; and then expressed my confident belief that the motion would eventually prevail. That expression of confidence was not an ebullition of vanity, or a presumptuous calculation, intended to accelerate the event it affected to foretell. It was not a vain boast, or an idle assumption, but
was the result of a deep conviction of the injustice done (415)
President Jackson, and a thorough reliance upon the justice of the American people. I felt that the President had been wronged; and my heart told me that this wrong would be redressed! The event proves that I was not mistaken. The question of expunging this resolution has been carried to the people, and their decision has been had upon it. They decide in favor of the expurgation; and their decision has been both made and manifested, and communicated to us in a great variety of ways. A great number of States have expressly instructed their Senators to vote for this . expurgation. A very great majority of the States have elected Senators and Representatives to Congress, upon the express ground of favoring this expurgation. The Bank of the United States, which took the initiative in the accusation against the President, and furnished the material, and worked the machinery which was used against him, and which was then so powerful on this floor, has become more and more odious to the public mind, and musters now but a slender phalanx of friends in the two Houses of Congress. The late Presidential election furnishes additional evidence of public sentiment. The candidate who was the friend of President Jackson, the supporter of his administration, and the avowed advocate for the expurgation, has received a large majority of the suffrages of the whole Union, and that after an express declaration of his sentiments on this precise point. The evidence of the public will, exhibited in all these forms, is too manifest to be mistaken, too explicit to require illustration, and too imperative to be disregarded. Omitting details and specific enumeration of proofs, I refer to our own files for the instructions to expunge—to the complexion of the two Houses for the temper of the people—to the denationalized condition of the Bank