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minority in the whole State, but forming exhibit a preponderance of three to five a majority in certain Districts; while New for the party controlling New Hampshire, Hampshire, choosing by general ticket, although a full poll of the two States has had a delegation uniformly of her domi- always shown a decided Whig preponnant party. Thus the joint vote of the derance. The fullest vote ever polled in two States, on the election of a Speaker, either State being that of 1840, we take or any clearly party question, would that to illustrate the facts already stated
Popular vote of 1840. Members of Congress.
Harrison. Van Buren Whig. Loco-Foco. New Hampshire, 26,297 32,801
6 Vermont, 32,443 18,019
7 Whig popular majority, 7,920. Loco majority in Congress, 3 Such examples of the inevitable effect districted so as to secure every memrer of choosing Members of Congress cotem to themselves at the ensuing election -poraneously, by opposite systems in Their refusal to district was, therefore, different States, might be multiplied a sheer exhibition of ill-temper ; a disindefinitely New Jersey, for instance, loyal wilfulness, courting collision with with but six members chosen by general the paramount authority of the Union. ticket, and a very slender popular majori. These States proceeded to choose ty, has usually exerted more weight in members to the XXVIIIth Congress, in the decision of party questions in the each case, by general ticket; and those House, than Pennsylvania, with four members having appeared at the opening times her representation and ten times of the Session to claim seats, an issue was her popular majority. It was said with distinctly made up between the Law and much force, in the course of the debate its contemners, which the House must on the enactment under consideration, decide. No question of graver import that the essential equality of Represen- could arise among a free people. No tation, which is the basis of Republican considerate, loyal citizen, especially one Institutions, imperatively demanded the who had just sworn fidelity to the Conestablishment of some uniform system of stitution, could vote the side of choosing Representatives.
Nullification except after the maturest The law of the land thus established, deliberation, and on the clearest convicfive States saw fit to set at defiance. New tion that the outraged provision of law Hampshire, Georgia, Mississippi, and was invalid. But the party-majority in Missouri-all under the sway of the the House cut the intricate knot with. party assuming to itself exclusive out ceremony. They first, treating with Democracy-severally nullified this em utter contempt the objections and the inently democratic and just measure. protest of the Whig minority, admitted They did it in express contempt and defi- without question the twenty-one memance of the act of Congress, prescribing bers, who appeared with certificates a uniform division of the several States showing on their face that each of them into single districts for the choice of had been chosen in ostentatious defiance Members of the House. In Georgia, of the law, suffered them to vote for indeed, the Legislature framed and passed Speaker and Clerk, and appointed them a districting bill, but the Governor vetoed upon various Committees ; and then diit, avowing in his Message, that he did rected the Committee on Elections to this less from hostility to the district sys- inquire into and report on the matter.tem, than to avoid the appearance of That Committee, as was foreordained, complying with the requisition of Con- reported that the second section of the gress. In each of these States, the same Apportionment act was unconstitutional ; ascendency which refused to district, the House promptly adopted the Report, had undisputed power to district entirely and thus the whole matter was seitled, to its own liking. In each State except virtually on the basis that no law is Georgia, the Democracy could have of binding force, which conflicts with the
* We have given here the usual division of the Vermont delegation under the fifth apportionment, though the minority at one election carried two districts, and at another
interests or the will of triumphant gress in the premises is perfect, to the Democracy.
extent of the desire or intention of acting The assumption of unconstitutionality at all. Congress first prescribed the ratio in this instance, is probably weaker than of Representation ; then the number of in any other known to our history. The members to which each State is entitled Federal Constitution expressly says: under that ratio; lastly, a uniform manner
of electing them. There it stopped. “Section IV. Election of Members:- So far all was perfect without a particle The times, places, and manner of holding of State legislation. The States were to Elections for Senators and Representatives, commence, as all but four did commence, shall be prescribed in each State by the
where Congress left off, and, in view of Legislature thereof'; but Congress may at the paramount law of the land, perform any time, by law, make or alter such reg. that duty in regard to the apportionment ulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.”
which had been wisely remitted to local
regulation. That Congress might legally Here is all that the Constitution says have gone much farther than it did, is on the subject ; could more be desired ? quite true ; but this truth is singularly The States may regulate the incidents of employed, when adduced to prove that it choosing Members of Congress, in the had no power to go so far.
A comabsence of any enactment by Congress mander who should assert that he could itself; but in Congress is vested a para- carry a certain fortress with twenty mount power, to which all State legisla- thousand men, but that forty thousand tion must give way. Thus, each State would be utterly inadequate, would aptly may legally choose by general ticket, parallel the absurdity employed to justify by single districts, or by double and nullification, and sustain the five contutreble districts, as to it shall seem good, macious States in trampling upon a law in the absence of any law of Congress of the Union. prescribing the manner of choosing ; Vain was all argument, all remon. but whenever Congress acts, all State strance. · Democracy' had power and laws which conflict with its regulation the disposition to use it to the uttermost. are superseded by it. The House had The second section of the Apportionment no more right to admit four members Act, standing to this day unrepealed, from New Hampshire chosen in notori was deliberately overborne, and twentyous defiance of the second section of the one Members of Congress hold seats and Apportionment Act, to partake in its are potential in making laws, by virtue organization, than forty members from of the overthrow. The immediate practi. the same State, it that interesting sove cal evil of this outrage may be borne reignty had seen fit to nullify the first if not forgotten. The requisition desection of the same act, and send two fied is, in itself, so obviously just, that score of her Jacobinic Solons, to direct it must eventually triumph over every the councils of the nation.
impulse of party madness. Already two The ground on which the enactment of the nullifying States, Georgia and of a uniform district system was pro- Missouri, have receded from their untennounced unconstitutional, is, if possible, able ground and districted according to more preposterous than the judgment law. But the spectacle afforded to the itself. It is, in substance, a denial of the Nation and the world of law-makers mathematical axiom, that the less is al- foremost, if not alone, in defying the reways included in the greater ; Congress, straints of law, and a Congress palpably argued the special pleaders for nullifica- constituted on the basis of contempt for the tion, had a clear right under the clause authority of Congress, will long be poof the Constitution above quoted, to tential in poisoning the fountains of loy; divide each State, however exceptiona- alty—a sentiment no where so needful bly, into single districts, and the States as in an unmilitary republic—and teachwould be bound to obey the act, and ing the lustful, the violent, the unprincielect members in accordance with such pled, the easily tempted, that law is no apportionment. But Congress has no emanation or reflection of Divine justice, right to prescribe the manner in which but a device of the cunning to facilitate the States shall legislate on the subject ; the gratification of their own passions, its action must be perfect in itself, or it while imposing restraints on others, and is invalid.The simple answer to this is only to be obeyed when obedience is quibble affirms that the action of Con- convenient, and resistance directly peril.
This one initial proceeding of the ernor, did not hesitate to declare, in wri. Twenty-Eighth Congress, though butcas. ting, that the Tariff of 1842 must be reually and superficially discussed by the pealed, because (among other reasons mass of the journals of the day, and equally sound) it would not afford adescarcely thought of by a majority of the quate revenue !--that we must return to American people, is of greater and more a twenty per cent. horizontal Tariff to enduring consequence to the national Save the country from bankruptcy. The well-being, than all the subsequent pro- very next year afforded a striking eviceedings of that body, through its two dence of his slender claims to eminence, annual sessions.
either as a statesman or a prophet. The
receipts of that year, (1844) exceeded by The plan of operations for this Con- many millions of dollars the current exgress, indicated by the leading organs of penditures of the government, and more the Democratic party, was a very simple than doubled those of the year preceding one. Its execution implied barely the the enactment of this Tariff, when the duundoing of all that had been done—in ties were the lowest and most uniform our judgment, wisely and nobly done that they had been in any year of the by the preceding Congress. To this end, last twenty. an early demonstration was made upon
The « Black Tariff” was the most imthe Tariff of 1842–a measure very pos
portant object of Loco-Foco hostility in sibly defective in some of its infinity of the first session of the Twenty-Eighth details, but as a whole eminently judicious Congress. The Speaker, strongly antiand beneficent. Against this Tariff, both Tariff, placed at the head of the Commitin inception and in operation, the whole tee of ways and Means, Gen. James J. artillery of the party had been directed, McKay, of N. C.-a man of barely reand well-nigh exhausted. It was repre- spectable talents, but a consistent and sented as a measure taxing onerously our decided champion of free trade with a eighteen millions of people for the bene- working majority of like principles. By fit of a few thousands of purse-proud this majority a bill was in due time manufacturers. was the Black Tariff, elaborated and reported, contemplating the Aristocrat Tariff, the death-blow to a radical reduction of the Tariff. Its genthe industry, commerce, and prosperity eral range of duties was thirty per cent. of the country. The Farmers were told, as on the foreign valuation of articles ima notorious and even admitted truth, that it ported for one year ensuing; after that, would signally enhance the price of every twenty-five per cent. From this standarticle they purchased, and depress that ard some remarkable deviations on either of whatever they had to sell. The side were allowed. The coarsest wool Planting, interest was assured that it was to pay fifteen per cent. duty, but the would destroy the market for cotton, fabrics (woolen blankets) made of such while increasing the cost of cloths, wool were admitted at ten per cent.-a bagging, &c. The Cities were haunted discrimination against the American proby the spectre of a crippled commerce and ducer. Cotton fabrics were universally famished internal trade. In our own city reduced to twenty per cent. and every of New York it was formally proclaimed minimum abolished. On the other hand, that the tariff would increase the cost of iron and sugar, the staples of Pennsylvamanufactures by some twenty-five to nia and Louisiana, were to be let off fifty per cent, while depressing the wages with a slight reduction, leaving the duof labor and drying up the springs of
ties on each in their several varieties still trade. When the sailors in port turned specific and fully equal to seventy per out to oppose a reduction of their wages, cent. ad valorem. This glaring inequality they were met and harangued by the was the device of politicians subtler than standing orators of Tammany Hall, who Gen. McKay. assured them that the Black Tariff was The manufacturing interests of the the cause of their trouble, and that nei. North were given over to destruction, as ther ship-building nor navigation could inexorably hostile to the Democracy; flourish until this was repealed. Its fail. but Pennsylvania and Louisiana were ure to afford an adequate revenue was States of doubtful political bias, which predicted with undoubting confidence. the party must have in the approaching Even so late as the midsummer of 1843, Presidential canvass. By this indefenMr. James K. Polk, then canvassing the sible partiality, their apprehensions of state of Tennesee as a candidate for Gov- evil from a Loco-Foco ascendency in the
government, were soothed, and both or any other target of popular jealousy States were carried for Polk in the en and hatred. And thus we saw the same suing struggle. Without them he would party which hesitated in, recoiled from, have been defeated; for New-York could its long meditated and loudly vaunted not have been lost to Mr. Clay had attack on the Protective Policy, unite as Pennsylvania declared for him.
one man in passing bills to re-establish The bill thus framed was submitted to the Sub-Treasury, and to repeal the conthe House, debated, considered by items, tingent and now too remote Distribution matured, and-rejected! Yes, the party of the Proceeds of the Public Lands. which had made the land ring with exe No man doubted that the Senate would crations of the “Black Tariff,” could not (as it did) promptly arrest both these frame a substitute for it acceptable to a bills; they were not passed to be perHouse wherein it had over sixty major- fected, but to indicate the purpose of the ity! All efforts to resuscitate it failed; House, to overthrow whatever the Whigs the House would not disturb the Tariff; had constructed, so far as it might do so it dared not present a direct, practical without periling its ascendency. A resoTariff issue to the
people. To find fault lution denying to Congress the power to with the Whig Tariff
, vaguely, or by create a National Bank, and denouncing attacks upon certain items obnoxious to such a Bank as dangerous, pernicious, local hostility, was neither difficult nor &c., was introduced to, and carried dangerous; but to proffer a rival mea. through the House, with no reference to sure, and ask the country to consider the any legislative action, present or prostwo and judge between them, was ano. pective, but in the sorry hope of filling ther matter. So the Senate was de- the party's sails with one blast from the prived of the satisfaction of nailing to its darkest caves of prejudice and distrust. table any anti-Tariff concoction of the It was not sent to the Senate for concurHouse, and the Whig Tariff remains untouched, and ever since unthreatened, to At the opening of the first session of this day.
These facts bespeak our ad. the expiring Congress, the House reversaries' respect for the merits, as well enacted the rules of its predecessoras the popularity, of that benign mea- amongst them the famous XXIst (now sure. Could they have framed a bill in XXVih), which forbids the reception of their own judgments likely to prove as petitions relating to Slavery. The same satisfactory to the country as the present House, at the opening of its second sesTariff, they would not have hesitated to sion, rescinded that very rule by a large send it to be defeated in the Senate, and majority. There was
no shadow of thus form one of the bases of a contrast reason for its maintenance at one time between the measures of the rival parties. more than another; in fact, no valid
reason for it at any time. But in the No corresponding shyness was evinced former instance, the ultra-slavery feeling by the House with respect to any other was to be gratified, and won to the supof the great practical issues which divide port, (as was presumed,) of Mr. Van the two parties, because no similar appre- Buren; in the latter it had been thoroughhensions were felt with regard to any ly gratified by the abandonment of Van other. A blow struck at the Tariffaffects Buren and the election of Polk. directly the great industrial interests of different spirit now required conciliating, the country, palsying the arm of the me. and the famous “Gag Rule”
was the chanic, arresting the shuttle of the sacrifice. weaver, and rendering unsalable many The persevering efforts, favored hy a of the products of the farmer. But large majority of the dominant party, to assaults, equally deadly, upon the na. alienate the Public Lands of the Union at tional well-being, through the medium a nominal price, deserve notice in view of the currency, or the fiscal economy of of the strenuous opposition of that party the government, are by no means so to the Land Distribution. Throughout perilous to their contrivers. The evils the late canvass the journals and harthence resulting are as real, perhaps as angues of the Democracy abounded in formidable, as in the other case, but they demonstrations of the importance and do not point so directly to their causes, necessity of the Land Proceeds to the and the unreflecting many are easily Federal Treasury. But, both before and taught to attribute them to the Banks, after this contest, a large majority of that he speculators, the moneyed capitalists, same · Democracy, as represented in
Congress, has never hesitated to vote the House, where the feature of a Uni. for Graduation Bills, which, if passed, form Rate of Letter Postage was stricken could not fail to diminish by at least one out, and a rate of ten cents, for letters half the receipts for Public Lands, and conveyed over three hundred miles, subpostpone the payment of even that moi- stituted. In this shape, the bill passed ety for years. The law now says, “you by a vote of 128 Yeas to 74 Nays, and
obtain no Public Land except for has become a law, to take effect on and cash, and then not below one dollar and after the 1st of July next. Newspapers a quarter per acre.” But Graduation are to be conveyed thirty miles or under changes all this. The man who pays free of charge; for greater distances the for his land when first offered for sale, is present rates are charged; while on all still required to pay the old price; but other printed matter a considerable relet him withold payment for a few years, duction is made. All compulsion to and he will have to pay but one dollar send newspapers or magazines through per acre; and in a few years more, still the Mails is removed by this bill. Iess, and so on till the price has fallen to Although we had advocated and fifty or twenty-five cents. The conse should have preferred, a Uniform Rate of quence is easily foreseen. Few will Letter Postage, yet, in view of the facts pay two hundred dollars for a quarter that the Franking Privilege is but parsection or one hundred and sixty acres of tially abolished by this act — Members of wild land, when, by quietly waiting for Congress as well as Presidents, Exa few years, he may have the same tract Presidents, &c., being allowed to frank for one hundred and sixty dollars, then without limitation, while the vital preone hundred and twenty dollars, and so payment of Postage is not exacted—we
The lowest price, all experience do not doubt that all the Postage acteaches, is that which will be paid for cruing under this bill will be needed to nearly all the Public Land that is pur sustain the Department-probably more. chased; and a bill to reduce the price af. But great reductions will eventually be terthirty years exposure to entry and sale, made in the cost of the service, which to fifty cents an acre, is in effect, a bill, will ultimately be effected under the to sell all lands hereafter at fifty cents an clause which forbids any stipulation of acre, and wait thirty years for the pay. the mode of conveyance in future conWe rejoice that this project has again tracts for transporting the Mails. That been condemned, though rallying a large the provisions of this bill may be greatly majority of the dominant party to its sup- amended, we cannot doubt, but we gladly port.
hail it as the first decisive step in a great For a Reform in the Rates of Postage and needed Reform; and by far the most and in the general policy and temper beneficent act of the Twenty-Eighth of the Post Office Department, the people Congress. Only thirteen Whigs voted have looked to this Congress with anx- against it in the House—not one of them jous hope. Petitions, representations, il- from a Free State. There were but lustrations innumerable, have been for- eleven votes against it from all the Free warded from every quarter to Washing: States, that of Charles J. Ingersoll being ton. At first (we speak from personal the only one from the North. experience), the disposition of the House, To the Senate be honor rendered for and especially of its Post Office Committee, daring to be just in the
matter of the long was decidedly averse to any material re- delayed Indemnity for French Spoliations duction of Postage or Reform of any prior to 1800. The equity of the claim kind. A bill reducing the Rates of Pos- is palpable: The French unjustly captage essentially, and proposing other tured and despoiled our merchantmen to needed Reforms, passed the Senate at the a great amount: our Government earnest. first session, but was lost in the House. ly demanded reparation ; our ministers A like measure, improved, though not yet obtained it in the purchase of Louisiana, perfect, passed the Senate seasonably'in of which the satisfaction of our subsistthis session. It proposed a Uniform Rate of ing claims on France was expressly a five cents for each letter or packet weigh- part of the consideration. The governing less than half an ounce, conveyed in ment thus pocketed the indemnity which the Mails, no matter for what distance. it had sought for its despoiled citizens, This Bill, though it had passed the Sen- and it has kept every penny of it to this ate by the strong vote of 38 to 12, en- day. Meantime, the claimants have, from countered a determined opposition in time to time, implored Congress for jus