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more were voted for the purpose : Both of which were before the retirement of General Jackson. At the extra session in October, 1837, a large amount was again appropriated ; and in 1838, the expenses for supporting an army in that quarter, against the Indians, were to as great an amount as in either of the two preceding years. When the difficulty arose with these Indians, President Jackson supposed that it would soon be terminated. And no one, at that time, had any reason to suppose it would continue for years, and have cost the government eight or ten millions. Other measures than those of force, would probably have terminated the difficulty at an early period. It would certainly have saved many valuable lives, now lost to the country; and been far more satisfactory to the friends of humanity throughout the Union.
Although generally opposed to the policy of internal improvements, at the expense of the federal government, large sums were expended for repairs on the Cumberland road, and for its continnance through the States of Indiana and Illinois. But this was an object of great national benefit, by opening a way from the Atlantic to the interior of the Union; and the work had originated with Congress several years before. The friends of the administration, who were also advocate of State rights, believed there was no inconsistency in this conduct. Large appropriations were also made in 1836, and in 1837, for lighthouses, lifeboats, buoys, and monuments, for the benefit of navigation ; but for these purposes there was always far more agreement among the different parties in Congress.
The public expenses continued, almost invariably, to increase, from the year 1829 to 1838. Public agents were multiplied, and an increased compensation, in many cases, were allowed them for their services. And large sums were lost by the improper appropriation of monies put into the hands of the federal oflicers. There was often a pretence for charging for extra service, and thus obtaining more than was clearly allowed by law. The expenses of the public printing for Congress, and for the departments under the executive, were among those in which great sums were expended; and it was found that frequently the business could have been performed at ten or twenty per cent. less than was given. And this conduct could justly deserve no other name than corruption, or a gross abuse of the patronage of the government, for party purposes. The full results of the peculiar and experimental policy
of President Jackson and President Van Buren, respecting banks and the currency, in their influence on the condition of the country, for good or for evil, for succeeding years, cannot be correctly estimated. The immediate consequences were a general disturbance of the trade and monetary affairs of the nation, and an unprecedented check to the accustomed pursuits of a people, so enterprizing in their spirit and so desirous of improving their condition, as are the citizens of the United States. The Sub-treasury scheme also gave alarm to the friends of the Constitution, generally, and to men of settled republican sentiments, who perceived in it a deviation from the essential elements of liberty recognized in the Constitution, and a weakening of the responsibility of public agents, who should always be controlled by the authority of law. They knew that power was corrupting; that it was necessary to impose checks on those who were clothed with political authority, and to make them constantly amenable to their constituents. The developments and effects of this fearful experiment must be left for narration to a distant day. The only just hope of the perpetuity and suture purity of the republic, rests on the intelligence and virtue of the people; and on their wisdom in the choice of men for places of public trust; who, like WASHINGTON, shall make the Constitution their guide; and, under the controlling influence of its doctrines and requisitions, shall seek to preserve the integrity of the Union, and the rights and welfare of individuals.
Extracts from the Speeches of Mr. Webster, a Senator from Massachusetts, and of Mr. Hayne, of South Carolina, January, 1830, on the subject of State Rights, and of the powers of the Federal Government, are deemed of such superior importance, and of such general interest, that they are here given.
MR. Webster. There remains to be performed, by far the most grave and important duty, which I feel to be devolved on me, by this occasion. It is to state, and to defend, what I conceive to be the true principles of the Constitution under which we are here assembled.
I undestand the honorable gentleman from South Carolina, [Mr. Hayne,] to maintain that it is a right of the State legislatures to interfere, whenever, in their judgment, this government transcends its constitutional limits, and to arrest the operation of its laws.
I understand him to maintain this right, as a right existing under the Constitution; not as a right to overthrow it, on the ground of extreme necessity, such as would justify violent revolution.
I understand him to maintain an authority, on the part of the States, thus to interfere, for the purpose of correcting the exercise of power by the general government, of checking it, and of compelling it to conform to their opinion of the extent of its powers.
I understand him to maintain that the ultimate power of judging of the constitutional extent of its own authority, is not lodged exclusively in the general government, or any branch of it; but, that, on the contrary, the States may lawfully decide for themselves, and each State for itself, whether, in a given case, the act of the general government transcends its power.
I understand him to insist, that if the exigency of the case, in the opinion of any State government, require it, such State government may, by its own sovereign authority, annul an act of the general government, which it deems plainly and palpably unconstitutional.
This is the sum of what I understand from him to be the South Carolina doctrine; and the doctrine which he maintains. I propose to consider it, and to compare it with the Constitution. Allow me to say, as a preliminary remark, that I call this the South Carolina doctrine, only because the gentleman himself has so denominated it. I do not feel at liberty to say that South Carolina, as a State, has ever advanced these sentiments. I hope she has not, and never may. That a great majority of her people are opposed to the Tariff
' laws, is doubtless true. That a majority, somewhat less than that just mentioned, conscientiously believe those laws unconstitutional, may probably also be true. But that any majority holds to the right of direct State interference, at State discretion, the right of nullifying acts of Congress, by acts of State legislation, is more than I know, and what I shall be slow to believe.
That there are individuals, besides the honorable gentleman, who do maintain these opinions, is quite certain. I recollect the recent expression of a sentiment, which circumstances attending its utterance and publication, justify us in supposing was not unpremeditated. “ The sovereignty of the State-never to be controlled, construed, or decided on, but by her own feelings of honorable justice.”
[Mr. Hayne here rose, and said, that for the purpose of being clearly understood, he would state, that his proposition was in the words of the Virginia resolution, as follows:
“That this assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the States are parties, as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting that compact, as no farther valid than they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact: and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the States who are parties thereto have the right, and are in duty bound to interpose, for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining, within their respective limits, the authorities, rights, and liberties appertaining to them.”)
Mr. Webster resumed-I am quite aware of the existence of the resolution which the gentleman read, and has now repeated, and that he relies on it as his authority. I know the source, too, from which it is understood to have proceeded. I need not say that I have much respect for the constitutional opinions of Mr. Madison; they would weigh greatly with me, always. But, before the authority of his opinion be vouched for the gentleman's proposition, it will be proper to consider what is the fair interpretation of that resolution, to which Mr. Madison is understood to have given his sanction. As the gentleman construes it, it is an authority for him. Possibly, he may not have adopted the right construction. That resolution declares, that, in the
case of the dangerous exercise of powers not granted, by the general government, the States may interpose to arrest the progress of the evil But how interpose, and what does this declaration purport ?-Does it mean no more, than that there may be extreme cases, in which the People, in any mnode of assembling, may resist usurpation, and relieve themselves from a tyrannical government? No one will deny this. Such resistance is not only acknowledged to be just in America, but in England, also: Blackstone admits as much, in the theory, and practice, too, of the English Constitution. We, sir, who oppose the Carolina doctrine, do not deny that the people may, if they choose, throw off any government, when it becomes oppressive and intolerable, and erect a better in its stead. We all know that civil institutions are established for the public benefit, and that when they cease to answer the ends of their existence, they may be changed. But I do not understand the doctrine now contended for to be that which, for the sake of distinctness, we may call the right of revolution. I understand the gentleman to maintain, that, without revolution, without civil commotion, without rebellion, a remedy for supposed abuse and transgression of the powers of the general government lies in a direct appeal to the interference of the State governnents. [Mr. Hayne here rose: He did not contend, he said, for the mere right of revolution, but for the right of constitutional resistance. What he maintained, was, that, in case of plain, palpable violation of the Constitution, by the general government, a State may interpose; and that this interposition is constitutional.] Mr. Webster resumed: So, sir, I understood the gentleman, and am happy to find that I did not misunderstand him. What he contends for, is, that it is constitutional to interrupt the administration of the Constitution itself, in the hands of those who are chosen and sworn to administer it, by the direct interference, in form of law, of the States, in virtue of their sovereign capacity. The inherent right in the people to reform their government, I do not deny; and they have another right, and that is, to resist unconstitutional laws, without overturning the government. It is no doctrine of mine, that unconstitutional laws bind the people. The great question is, whose prerogative is it to decide on the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the laws ? On that, the main debate hinges. The proposition, that, in case of a supposed violation of the Constitution by Congress, the States have a constitutional right to interfere, and annul the law of Congress, is the proposition of the gentleman; I do not admit it. If the gentleman had intended no more than to assert the right of revolution, for justifiable cause, he would have said only what all
But I cannot conceive that there can be a middle course between submission to the laws, when regularly pronounced constitutional, on the one hand, and open resistance, which is revolution, or rebellion, on the other. I say, the right