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and ambition ? When the minions of despotism heard, in Eu. rope, of the seizure of Pensacola, how did they chuckle, and chide the admirers of our institutions, tauntingly pointing to the demonstration of a spirit of injustice and aggrandizement made by our country, in the midst of an amicable negotiation. Be. hold, said they, the conduct of those who are constantly reproaching kings. You saw how those admirers were astounded and hung their heads. You saw, too, when that illustrious man, who presides over us, adopted his pacific, moderate, and just course, how they once more lifted up their heads with exultation, and delight beaming in their countenances. And you saw how those minions themselves were finally compelled to unite in the general praises bestowed upon our Government. Beware how you forfeit this exalted character. Beware how you give a fatal sanction, in this infant period of our Republic, scarcely yet two score years old, to military insubordination. Remember that Greece had her Alexander, Rome her Cæsar, England her Cromwell, France her Buonaparte, and that if we would escape the rock on which they split, we must avoid their errors.
“I hope gentlemen will deliberately survey the awful isthmus on which we stand. They may bear down all opposition ; they may even vote the General the public thanks; they may carry him triumphantly through this House. But, if they do, in my humble judgment, it will be a triumph of the principle of insub. ordination, a triumph of the military over the civil authority, a triumph over the powers of this House, a triumph over the Constitution of the land. And I pray most devoutly to Heaven, that it may not prove, in its ultimate effects and consequences, a triumph over the liberties of the people.”
EXTRACT FROM MR. CLAY'S SPEECH ON MR. TYLER'S
VETO OF THE BANK BILL.
“On the fourth of April last, the lamented Harrison, the President of the United States, paid the debt of nature. President Tyler, who, as VicePresident, succeeded to the duties of that office, arrived in the city of Washington, on the sixth of that month. He found the whole metropolis wrapped in gloom, every heart filled with sorrow and sadness, every eye streaming with tears, and the surrounding hills yet flinging back the echo of the
bells which were tolled on that melancholy occasion. On entering the Presidential Mansion, he contemplated the pale body of his predecessor stretched before him, and clothed in the black habiliments of death. At that solemn moment I have no doubt that the heart of President Tyler was overflowing with mingled emotions of grief, of patriotism, and of gratitude-above all, of gratitude to that country, by a majority of whose suffrages, bestowed at the preceding November, he then stood the most distinguished, the most elevated, the most honoured, of all living Whigs of the United States.
“ Notwithstanding all our concessions, made in a genuine and sincere spirit of conciliation, the sanction of the President could not be obtained, and the bill has been returned by him with his objections.
“ And I shall now proceed to consider those objections, with as much brevity as possible, but with the most perfect respect, official and personal, toward the Chief Magistrate.
“ After stating that the power of Congress to establish a National Bank, to operate per se, has been a controverted question from the origin of the government, the President remarks :
“ . Men most justly and deservedly esteemed for their high intellectual endowments, their virtue and their patriotism, have, in regard to it, entertained different and conflicting opinions. Congresses have differed. The approval of one President has been followed by the disapproval of another.'
“From this statement of the case it may be inferred, that the President considers the weight of authority, pro and con, to be equal and balanced. But if he intended to make such an array of it, if he intended to say that it was an equilibrium, I must respectfully, but most decidedly, dissent from him. I think the conjoint testimony of history, tradition, and the knowledge of living witnesses proves the contrary. How stands the question as to the opinions of Congresses? The Congress of 1791, the Congress of 1813–’14, the Congress of 1815—’16, the Congress of 1831–32, and, finally, the present Congress, have all respectively and unequivocally, affirmed the existence of a power in Congress to establish a National Bank to operate per se. behold, then, the concurrent opinion of five different Congresses on one side. And what Congress is there on the opposite side ? The Congress of 1811? I was a member of the Senate in that year, when it decided, by the casting vote of the Vice-President, against the renewal of the charter of the old Bank of the United States. And I now here, in my place, add to the testimony already before the public, by declaring that it is within my cer.
tain knowledge, that that decision of the Senate did not proceed from a disbelief of a majority of the Senate in the power of Congress to establish a National Bank, but from combined considerations of expediency and constitutionality. A majority of the Senate, on the contrary, as I know, entertained no doubt as to the power of Congress. Thus the account, as to Congresses, stands five for, and not one, or, at most, not more than one, against the power.
“ Let us now look into the state of authority derivable from the opinions of Presidents of the United States. President Washington believed in the powers of Congress, and approved a Bank bill. President Jefferson approved acts to extend branches into other parts of the United States, and to punish counterfeiters of the notes of the Bank-acts which were devoid of all justifica. tion, whatever, upon the assumption of the unconstitutionality of the Bank. For how could branches be extended, or punishment be lawfully inflicted upon the counterfeiters of the paper of a corporation which came into existence without any authority, and in violation of the constitution of the land ? James Madison, notwithstanding those early scruples which he had entertained, and which he probably still cherished, sanctioned and signed a bill to charter the late Bank of the United States. It is perfectly well known that Mr. Monroe never did entertain any scruples or doubts in regard to the power of Congress. Here, then, are four Presidents of the United States who have directly or collaterally borne official testimony to the existence of the Bank power in Congress. And what President is there, that ever bore unequivocally opposite testimony-that disapproved a Bank char. ter, in the sense intended by President Tyler ? General Jackson, although he did apply the Veto power to the bill for re-chártering the late Bank of the United States in 1832, it is within the perfect recollection of us all, not only testified to the utility of a Bank of the United States, but declared, that, if he had been applied to by Congress, he could have furnished the plan of such a Bank.
“ Thus, Mr. President, we perceive, that, in reviewing the action of the legislative and executive departments of the Government, there is a vast preponderance of the weight of authority maintaining the existence of the power in Congress. But President Tyler has, I presume unintentionally, wholly omitted to notice the judgment and decisions of the third co-ordinate department of the Government upon this controverted question—that department, whose interpretations of the Constitution, within its proper jurisdiction and sphere of action, are binding upon all; and which, therefore, may be considered as exercising a controlling power
over both the other departments. The Supreme Court of the United States, with its late Chief Justice, the illustrious Marshall, at its head, unanimously decided that Congress possessed this Bank power; and this adjudication was sustained and re-affirmed whenever afterward the question arose before the court.
“ After recounting the occasions, during his public career, on which he had expressed an opinion against the power of Congress to charter a Bank of the United States, the President proceeds to
• Entertaining the opinions alluded to, and having taken this oath, the Senate and the country will see that I could not give my sanction to a measure of the character described, without surrendering all claim to the respect of honourable men—all confidence on the part of the people, all self-respect, all regard for moral and religious obligations; without an observance of which no Government can be prosperous, and no people can be happy. It would be to commit a crime, which I would not wilfully commit to gain any earthly reward, and which would justly subject me to the ridicule and scorn of all virtuous men.'
“Mr. President, I must think, and hope I may be allowed to say, with profound deference to the Chief Magistrate, that it appears to me he has viewed with too lively sensibility the personal consequences to himself of his approval of the Bill; and that, sur. rendering himself to a vivid imagination, he has depicted them in much too glowing and exaggerated colours, and that it would have been most happy, if he had looked more to the deplorable consequences of a Veto upon the hopes, the interests, and the happiness of his country. Does it follow that a Magistrate who yields his private judgment tothe concurring authority of numerous decisions, repeatedly and deliberately pronounced, after the lapse of long intervals, by all the departments of Government, and by all parties, incurs the dreadful penalties described by the President? Can any man be disgraced and dishonoured, who yields his pri. vate opinion to the judgment of the nation? In this case, the country (I mean a majority), Congress, and, according to common fame, a unanimous Cabinet, were all united in favour of the Bill. Should any man feel himself humbled and degraded in yielding to the conjoint force of such high authority? Does any man, who at one period of his life shall have expressed a particular opinion, and at a subsequent period shall act upon the opposite opinion, expose himself to the terrible consequences which have been portrayed by the President? How is it with the Judge, in the case by no means rare, who bows to the authority of repeated precedents, settling a particular question, while in his private
judgment, the law was otherwise? How is it with that numerous class of public men in this country, and with the two great parties that have divided it, who, at different periods, have maintained and acted on opposite opinions in respect to this very
“How is it with James Madison, the Father of the Constitution —that greal man whose services to his country placed him only second to Washington; whose virtues and purity in private life, whose patriotism, intelligence, and wisdom in public councils, stand unsurpassed ? He was a member of the National Convention that formed, and of the Virginia Convention that adopted, the Constitution. No man understood it better than he did. He was opposed, in 1791, to the establishment of the Bank of the United States, upon constitutional ground; and, in 1816, he approved and signed the charter of the late Bank of the United States. It is a part of the secret history connected with the first Bank, that James Madison had, at the instance of General Washington, prepared a Veto for him in the contingency of his rejection of the bill. Thus stood James Madison, when, in 1815, he applied the Veto to a bill to charter a Bank upon considerations of expediency, but with a clear and express admission of the existence of a constitutional power of Congress to charter one. In 1816, the bill which was then presented to him being free from the objections applicable to that of the previous year, he sanctioned and signed it. Did James Madison surrender “all claim to the respect of honourable men, all confidence on the part of the people, all self-respect, all regard for moral and religious obligations ?' Did the pure, the virtuous, the gifted James Madison, by his sanction and signature to the charter of the late Bank of the United States, commit a crime which justly subjected him to the ridicule and scorn of all virtuous men?'”
“If it were possible,” (says Mr. Clay,) to disinter the venerated remains of James Madison, reanimate his perishing form, and place him once more in that chair of state, which he so much adorned, what would have been his 'course, if this bill had been presented to him, even supposing him never to have announced his acquiescence in the settled judgment of the nation ? He would have said that human controversy, in regard to a single question should not be perpetual, and ought to have a termination. This, about the power to establish a Bank of the United States, has been long enough continued. The nation, under all the forms of its public action, has often and deliberately decided it. A Bank, and associated financial and currency