Abbildungen der Seite

tended for, the moment a majority of the people of the United States had consented, it would have bound the rest; and yet, after all the others, except one, had adopted the Constitution, the smallest still held out; and if Rhode Island had not consented to enter into the Confederacy, she would, perhaps, at this time, have been unconnected with us. “But with all these proofs (and I think them incontrovertible) that the Government could not have been brought into being without a compact, yet I am far from admitting that, because this entered so largely into its origin, therefore there are no characteristics of another kind, which impress on it strongly the marks of a more intimate union and amalgamation of the interests of the citizens of the different States, which gives to them the general character of citizens of the United nation. * * The Government, also, for the most part, (except in the election of Senators, Representatives, and President, and some others,) acts in the exercise of its legitimate powers directly upon individuals, and not through the medium of State authorities. This is an essential character of a popular Government. “I place little reliance on the argument which has been mostly depended on, to show that this is a popular Government: I mean the preamble, which begins with the words, “We, the people.’ It proves nothing more than the fact, that the people of the several States had been consulted, and had given their consent to the instrument. To give these words any other construction, would be to make them an assertion directly contrary to the fact. We know, and it never has been imagined or asserted, that the people of the United States, collectively, as a whole people, gave their assent, or were consulted in that capacity; the people of each State were consulted, to know whether that State would form a part of the United States, under the Articles of the Constitution, and to that they gave their assent, simply as citizens of that State.” The discussion, as already stated, came up unexpectedly to Mr. HAYNE and Mr. WBBSTER, certainly to the former, on a subject, namely the public lands, which had no necessary connection with the subject of Wullification; probably the mind of each was full of the latter subject; and hence the facility with which both entered on the discussion, after it had been distinctly introduced by Mr. WEBSTER. President JACKSON, in his annual message, at the opening of Congress, 1831, recommended the abolition of duties on numerous articles of necessity or comfort not produced at home. On the 9th of January, 1832, Mr. CLAY submitted a Resolution in relation to the tariff, and in a speech of three days’ duration he supported his “American system,” in subordination to which he proposed to make any reduction of duties which should be necessary. In opposition to Mr. CLAY's resolution, General SAMUEL SMITH of Maryland spoke as follows: “We have arrived at a crisis. Yes, Mr. President, a crisis more appalling than a day of battle. I adjure the Committee on Manufactures to pause; to reflect on the dissatisfaction of the South. South Carolina has expressed herself strongly against the tariff of 1828, stronger than the other States are willing to speak. But, sir, the whole South feel deeply the oppression of this tariff. In this respect there is no difference of opinion. The South, the whole Southern States, all consider it as oppressive. They have not yet spoken; but when they do speak, it will be in a voice that will not implore, but will demand redress. “I am, Mr. President, one of the few survivors of those who fought in the War of the Revolution. We then thought we fought for liberty, for equal rights. We fought against taxation, the proceeds of which were for the benefit of others. Where is the difference if the people are to be taxed by the manufacturers or by any others? I say manufacturers, and why do I say so When the Senate met, there was a strong disposition with all parties to ameliorate the tariff of 1828; but now I See a change, which makes me almost despair of any thing effectual being accomplished. Even the small concessions made by the Senator from Kentucky, (Mr. CLAY) have been reprobated by the lobby members, the agents of the manufacturers. I am told they have put their fiat on any change whatever, and hence, as a consequence, the change in the course and language of gentlemen that precludes all hope. Those interested may hang on the Committee of Manufactures like an incubus. I say to that Committee, depend upon your own good judgment, discard sectional interests, and study only the common weal. Act with these views, and thus retain the affections of the South.” Mr. CLAY was deeply and anxiously sensible of the discontent in the Southern States in respect to a protective tariff. He would, if possible, avert the danger to the Union from that

quarter, but he felt that there was a greater danger from .

another quarter if the “American system” should be given up. In his speech he expresses himself in the following terms: “And now, Mr. President, I have to make a few observations on a delicate subject, which I approach with all the respect that is due to its serious and grave nature. They have not, indeed, been rendered necessary by the speech of the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. HAYNE,) whose forbearance to notice the topic was commendable, as his argument throughout was characterized by an ability and dignity worthy of him and of the Senate. * * But it is impossible to conceal from our view the fact that there is a great excitement in South Carolina, that the protective system is openly and violently denounced in public meetings, and that the Legislature itself has declared its purpose of resorting to counteracting measures; a suspension of which has only been submitted to, for the purpose of allowing Congress to retrace its steps with respect to this Union. Mr. President, the truth cannot be too generally proclaimed, nor too strongly inculcated, that it is necessary to the whole and to all the parts—necessary to those parts in different degrees, but vitally necessary to each. “The danger to our Union does not lie on the side of persistence in the American system, but on that of its abandonment. If, as I have supposed and believe, the inhabitants of all north and east of James River, and all west of the mountains, including Louisiana, are deeply interested in the preservation of that system, would they be reconciled to its overthrow % Can it be expected that two-thirds or three-fourths of the people of the United States would consent to the destruction of a policy believed to be absolutely necessary to their prosperity? When, too, the sacrifice is made at the instance of a single interest, which they werily believe will not be promoted by it. * * *

What would be the condition of this Union, if Pennsylvania and New York, those mammoth members of our confederacy, were firmly persuaded that their industry was paralyzed and their prosperity blighted, by the enforcement of the British Colonial system, under the delusive name of free trade? They are now tranquil, and happy, and contented, conscious of their welfare, and feeling a salutary and rapid circulation of the products of home manufactures and home industry throughout all their great arteries. But let that be checked, let them feel that a foreign system is to predominate, and the sources of their subsistence and comfort are to be dried up ; let New England and the Middle States all feel that they too are the victims of a mistaken policy, and let those vast portions of our country despair of any favorable change, and then, indeed, might we tremble for the continuance of the Union.” Here we are presented with the picture of disunion coming from the North, if the protective system should be abandoned. Mr. CLAY thus intimates that if the North should not have the advantages of protection to their manufactures, it would adopt a course to destroy the Union. On January 23, 1832, Mr. DRAYTON, of South Carolina, presented a memorial of the members of the Legislature of South Carolina, opposed to nullification. They state “that they are exceedingly aggrieved by the laws of the United States, imposing high duties on foreign merchandise for the protection of manufactures; ” “that the policy, the justice, and the constitutionality of the present system of high protective duties have been strenuously denied.” “The objections to the restrictive system are of the gravest character, and the sense of oppression and injustice, which it has excited, are widely diffused and deeply felt.” Thus there appears to have been no difference of opinion in South Carolina, in respect to the injurious effects of the tariff laws then in force. While this bill was under consideration, Mr. CHOATE, of Massachusetts, in an able and characteristic speech, said: “Still the difficulty recurs. There is a great sectional excitement, and that, whether groundless or not, is, per se, a case to act on. It is desirable to allay the excitement. Yes, certainly; but how ! Sir, my humble scheme is this: I think, in the language of medical men, the case requires topical treatment, local applications. Search out the sectional grievance, if you can find it. Find what are the articles exclusively of Southern consumption, and important in the economy of the South, and relieve them of all protective duty. Strike them out of the statute. For so much let there be no tariff, and let them be fabricated in England, that the American Union may be preserved; and let all others be as they are now effectually protected.” He evidently was for concession and conciliation. * The bill was passed in the House, June 27, 1832, and in the Senate, July 9, 1832, and was entirely unsatisfactory to the Southern States. - In the next annual message, President JACKSON, and in his report, the Secretary of the Treasury, recommended a change in the tariff laws. The ORDINANCE of the Convention of South Carolina was . issued November 24, 1832, declaring the revenue laws of the United States null and void, and enjoining the Legislature to carry the decree into effect. The Legislature met and passed the necessary laws. The State authorities were now placed in opposition to the Federal laws. The militia of the State were organized and armed, to be ready for action. General Scott was sent to Charleston with Federal troops and two vessels of war, to be prepared to enforce the laws of the Federal Government for the collection of the revenue. The proclamation of General JACKson, in view of that ordinance, was issued December 11, 1832. His message was sent into the Senate and the House of Representatives, in which he asked for authority and means to enforce the collection of revenue in South Carolina. A bill för that purpose was introduced into the Senate from the Committee on the Judiciary, January 28, 1833. But before that bill was passed, Mr. CLAY introduced his compromise bill, February 12, 1883. This bill was passed in the House, February 22, 1833, and in the Senate, March 1, 1833. The revenue collection bill was passed in Senate, February 18, 1833, and in the House, February 28, 1833. The compromise bill satisfied South Carolina so far, that Governor HAMILTON called the Convention together, and communicated to it the modification of the tariff. The Convention then passed

« ZurückWeiter »