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ple of South Carolina, more satisfaction, than that the existing controversy should be happily adjusted, on just and liberal terms; and I beg you to be assured, that nothing can be further from our desire, than to disturb the tranquility of the country, or endanger the existence of the Union.
SIR —I do myself the honor of acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 5th, enclosing a copy of a communication you have received from Benjamin Watkins Leigh, Esq. Commissioner from the State of Virginia, covering certain Resolutions passed by the Legislature of that State, which that gentleman has been deputed to convey to the Executive of this State.
In reply to the reference which you have made to me, as President of the Convention of the People of South Carolina, consequent on the application on the part of that gentleman, for the meeting of that body, I beg leave to communicate to him, through your Excellency, that, appreciating very highly the kind disposition, and the patriotic solicitude, which have induced the highly respectable Commonwealth which he represents, to interpose her friendly and mediatorial offices in the unhappy controversy subsisting between the Federal Government and the State of South Carolina, I should do great injustice to those dispositions on her part, and, I am quite sure, to the feelings of the People of South Carolina, if I did not promptly comply with his wishes in reference to the proposed call.
You are, therefore, authorized to say to Mr. Leigh, that the Convention will be assembled with as much dispatch as may be compatible with the public convenience, and with a due regard to those circumstances which best promise a full consideration and final decision, on the proposition of which he is the bearer.
I have the honor to remain,
JAMES HAMILTON, Jr. President of the Convention of the People of South Carolina.
To his Excellency, Robert Y. HAyve.
The Committee, to whom was referred the communication of the Hon. B. W. Leigh, Commissioner from the State of Virginia, and all other matters connected with the subject, and the course which should be pursued by the Convention, at the present important crisis of our political affairs, beg leave to
That they have had under consideration, the act passed at the late session of Congress, to modify the “act of the 14th July, 1832, and all other acts imposing duties upon imports,” and have duly deliberated on the course which it becomes the people of South Carolina to pursue at this interesting crisis in her political affairs. It is now upwards of ten years since the people and constituted authorities of this State, took ground against the Protecting System, as “unconstitutional, oppressive and unjust,” and solemnly declared, in language which was then cordially responded to by the other Southern States, that it never could be submitted to “as the settled policy of the country.” After remonstrating for years against this system in vain, and making every possible effort to procure a redress of the grievance, by invoking the protection of the Constitution, and by appealing to the justice of our Brethren, we saw, during the session of Congress which ended in July last, a modification effected avowedly as the final adjustment of the Tariff, to take effect after the complete extinguishment of the Public Debt, by which the Protecting System could only be considered as riveted upon the country forever. Believing that under these circumstunces, there was no hope of any further reduction of the duties, from the ordinary action of the Federal Government, and convinced, that under the operation of this system, the labor and capital of the plantation States must be forever tributary to the manufacturing States, and that we should in effect, be reduced to a condition of colonial vassalage, South Carolina felt herself constrained, by a just regard for her own rights and interests, by her love of liberty and her devotion to the Constitution, to interpose in her sovereign capacity, for the purpose of arresting the progress of the evil, and maintaining, within her own limits, the authorities, rights and liberties, appertaining to her as a Sovereign State. Ardently attached to the union of the States, the people of South Carolina were still more devoted to the rights of the States, without which the Union itself would cease to be a blessing; and well convinced that the regulation of the whole labor and capital of this vast Confederacy by a great central Government, must lead inevitably to the total destruction of our free institutions, they did not hesitate to throw
themselves fearlessly into the breach, to arrest the torrent of usurpation
controversy—deserted by many to whom she had a right to look for suc
cour and support, and threatened with violence from abroad, and convulsions within, South Carolina, conscious of the rectitude of her intentions, and the justice of her cause, has stood unmoved; firmly resolved to maintain her liberties, or perish in the conflict. The result has been a beneficial modification of the Tariff of 1832, even before the time appointed for that act to go into effect, and within a few months after its enactment; accompanied by a provision for a gradual reduction of the Duties to the Revenue Standard. Though the reduction provided for by the Bill which has just passed, is, neither in its amount, nor the time when it is to go into effect, such as the South had a right to require, yet such an approach has been made towards the true principles on which the duties on imports ought to be adjusted under our system, that the people of South Carolina are willing so far to yield to the measure, as to agree that their Ordinance shall henceforth be considered as having no force or effect. Unequal and oppressive as the system of raising revenue by duties upon imports, must be upon the Agricultural States, which furnish more than two-thirds of the domestic exports of the United States, yet South Carolina always has been, and still is, willing to make large sacrifices to the peace and harmony of the Union. Though she believes that the Protecting System is founded in the assumption of powers not granted by the Constitution of the Federal Government, yet she has never insisted on such an immediate reduction of the duties as should involve the manufacturers in ruin. That a reduction to the lowest amount necessary to supply the wants of the Government, might be safely effected in four or five years, cannot, in our estimation, admit of a reasonable doubt; still, in a great struggle for principles, South Carolina would disdain to cavil about a small amount of duties, and a few years more or less in effecting the adjustment, provided only she can secure substantial justice, and obtain a distinct recognition of the principles for which she has so long contended. Among the provisions of the new Bill, which recommend it to our acceptance, are the establishment of a system of ad ralorem duties, and the entire abandonment of the specific duties, and the minimums; tyrannical provisions, by which duties rated nominally at 25 per cent, were, in many cases, raised to upwards of 100 per cent; and by which the coarse and cheap articles, used by the poor, were taxed much higher than the expensive articles used by the rich; a regulation against which we have constantly protested in the most earnest terms, as unjust and odious. The reduction before the expiration of the present year of one tenth part of the excess of the duties over 20 per cent, on all articles “exceeding 20 per cent, on the value thereof,” (embracing the entire mass
of the protected articles) and a gradual reduction thereafter, on such ar.
Whereas, the Congress of the United States, by an Act recently passed, has provided for such a reduction and modification of the duties upon foreign imports, as will ultimately reduce them to the Revenue Standard—and provides that no more Revenue shall be raised than may be necessary to defray the economical expenses of the Government.
It is therefore Ordained and Declared, That the Ordinance adopted by this Convention on the 24th day of November last, entitled “An Ordinance to Nullify certain acts of the Congress of the United States, purporting to be laws, laying duties on the importation of foreign commodities,” and all acts passed by the General Assembly of this State, in pursuance thereof, be henceforth deemed and held to have no force or effect: Provided, That the act entitled “An act further to alter and amend the Militia Laws of this State,” passed by the General Assembly of this State on the 20th day of December, 1832, shall remain in force, until it shall be repealed or modified by the Legislature.
Done at Columbia, the sifteenth day of March, in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three, and in the fifty-seventh year of the Sorereignty and Independence of the United States of America. ROBERT Y. HAYNE,
Delegate from the Parishes of St. Phil- Y PREsident of the CoNveNTion. lip and St. Michael.