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majesty in council had been issued in July, 1826, prohibiting after December then next--and now passed—the trade and intercourse with those ports to American vessels. These various acts of interdiction, restricting the trade to the West Indies belonging to Great Britain, operated injuriously to the citizens of the United States. But the executive of the federal government had made repeated attempts to regulate the trade on terms more favorable, and in a conciliating and magnanimous spirit towards the government of Great Britain.
The conduct of the State of Georgia, at this period, towards the Indians within its territorial limits, was such as to threaten a direct and forcible collision between that State and the federal government. The government of that State claimed lands, then and formerly occupied by the original tribes, and the entire control and authority over them; though they remained on their lands by the consent of the general government, and treaties had been made with them, promising them protection, until the terms for their removal should be adjusted. The government of Georgia complained that they did not remove, or were not forcibly removed by the federal executive. That State also insisted on a compliance with an agreement, by treaty, with some of the chiefs of the Creek Indians, and then the principal tribe within that State; but which the majority of the tribe highly disapproved; and which was superceded and annulled by a treaty made the year following, with the proper agents or chiefs of the tribe, and was also ratified by the President and Senate of the United States. The latter compact was more favorable to the Indians, as it gave them more time to remove, and engaged the support of the federal government until their voluntary removal. The executive of Georgia ordered a survey of the lands in dispute, and occupied by the Indians, contrary to the wishes and rights of the tribe; and committed or threatened acts of encroachment which were highly offensive to the Creek nation. And, on their application to the executive of the nation, the United States troops were ordered to protect them, and to prevent encroachments on their possessions. The governor of Georgia called on the militia to defend the State, and to be ready to carry into effect his orders, either against the Creek Indians, or the troops of the United States. His language and conduct were of a very menacing character. He impugned all authority of the federal government in the case, and assumed the right to treat the Indian tribe according to his will, and that of the
legislature of Georgia. His letters to the federal executive were indecorous, if not insolent; and such as had never been used by the governor of a State to the chief magistrate of the Union.* Owing to the united firmness and prudence of the President, the difficulty was cured without resort to military force. The message of the President to Congress, on the subject, was committed in the House of Representatives to a select committee, and a report made the day following—the last day of the session-recommending the adoption of two resolutions, viz. “That it is expedient to procure a cession of the Indian lands in the limits of Georgia—and, that until a cession is procured, the laws of the land, as set forth in the treaty of Washington, ought to be maintained by all necessary, constitutional, and legal means.” There was also a report of the minority of the committee asserting the right of Georgia to the soil and jurisdiction of the Indian lands within its limits—that the survey of those lands by Georgia was not improper—that the treaty at the Indian Springs, not having been constitutionally repealed, the rights of Georgia under it were unimpaired; and that the President be requested to extinguish the claim of the Creek Indians to lands in Georgia, not comprehended in the treaty of Washington.”
The Governor of Georgia contended for the validity and execution of the treaty at Indian Springs, (made the preceding year, which was favorable to the claims and wishes of that State for getting possession of the Indian lands) but which being disapproved by the majority of the Creek tribe living there, had been set aside and annulled, by adopting a different treaty, the following year. Georgia, claimed the fulfilment of the terms of the former treaty, while the federal executive insisted on observing the terms of the second agreement. When, therefore, the executive of Georgia ordered surveys of the Indian lands, in opposition to the will of the Creek tribe, and contrary to the provisions of the second compact, the President, on complaint and request of the heads of that tribe, sent agents to desire the governor of Georgia to desist, and promised protection to the Creeks, according to engagements in the last treaty.
In a letter to the Secretary of War, dated February 17, 1827, Governor Troup, says, “ You will distinctly understand, that I feel it my duty to resist to the utmost any military attack, which the government of the United States shall think proper to make on the territory, the people, or the sovereignty of Georgia ; and all measures necessary to the performance of this duty, according to our limited means, are in progress. From the first decisive act of hostility, you will be considered and treated as a public enemy.”,
He also notified the governor of Georgia, that if the military power should be employed by that State to enforce the order for a survey, he should feel obliged, under the sanction of a law of 1802 on the subject, and also by an obligation higher than any human authority, to repel the force, and to protect the Indians in their rights, as recognized in the last treaty made with them.
The message of the President to Congress, on this subject, produced a great excitement; and was censured, by members from Georgia and Alabama, as rash and tending to an open and forcible collision between the United States and the State of Georgia. But a large majority supported the views and conduct of the President, and disapproved of the proceedings of the governor of Georgia. Surely he could not justly be charged with rashness, in preferring, as he did, a civil and judicial process to a military force, to settle the difficulty ; and his declaration to employ force if necessary to protect the tribe, was sanctioned by the Constitution and law. The expression “of yielding to an obligation higher than that of any human authority,” was considered by some as unnecessary, if not improper; as the President of the Union should know no authority, in his official civil acts, above or beyond that of law and the Constitution.
A proposition was made in the House of Representatives to reimburse to those persons, who had been fined for violations of the sedition law of 1798, the amount which they had paid, and an indemnity for loss of time, &c. The object appeared to be a public expression of the opinion that the law was arbitrary and unconstitutional, as well as a desire to indemnify those who had been subjected to pecu. niary punishment. But the proposition was not received with favor by the majority of the House; and the object of the mover was not attained. The majority were evidently convinced of the inexpediency of passing any law on the subject; especially, at a period so long after the obnoxious law had ceased to be in force. By rejecting the motion, at an early day after it was offered, a discussion, at once unpleasant and useless, was happily prevented.
Another effort was made at this Congress, to allow compensation to the officers of the continental army, who continued in service till the close of the war of the Revolution, and were promised half pay for life, by the old Congress, in the year 1781. But the effort was unsuccessful at that time; owing in part to the shortness of the session, and in part to a want of agreement among those in favor of some
compensation, as to the amount, and to the manner of paying it. At the following session, an act was passed making to these worthy veterans an honorable compensation.
A bill for imposing additional duties on imported woollen goods for the purpose of giving aid to American manufacturers, was again presented in Congress, at an early day of the session, and urged, as in several preceding years, with great zeal and effort. This subject had been frequently proposed and discussed in Congress for ten years. The first direct legislation on the subject, by the federal legislature, was in 1816; though it was the policy of the government, from its first establishment, so to regulate trade with foreign nations—a principal object in the formation of the national government, with a view to the prosperity of commerce and to the augmentation of the revenue-as to encourage domestic manufactures of various kinds. At that period, a duty of twenty-five pr. ct. ad valorem was laid on woollen imported goods. Those who afterwards engaged largely in that branch of manufactures were not satisfied with that rate of duties; and by great activity and perseverance, obtained an additional law in 1824, by which a duty of thirty per cent. was imposed ; to be increased the following year to thirty-three. In 1826 and '27, they asked and demanded higher impost duties on woollens. A bill for the purpose was long and ably discussed in both houses of Congress; and in February, 1827, near the close of the session, the House of Representatives voted in favor of it; but it met great opposition in the Senate, and was rejected. The manufacturers, however, did not relinquish their object. In 1828, a convention was held in the State of Pennsylvania, by them and their friends from all parts of the Unionwhen it was agreed to continue their efforts with the federal legislature, to grant further protection to woollen and cotton manufacturers, to the extent of more than two hundred per cent. in some cases, and on some description of goods, though it should operate to an entire prohibition.* They also gave to their plan the imposing name of the American system ;"' asserting, that the same system, or policy, was favored and recommended by the Secretary of the Treasury, and by the administration, soon after the organization of the general
* In 1820, coarse woollens paid a duty of twenty-nine per cent : in 1827, it was thirty-eight, by virtue of the act of Congress of 1824; and the convention at Harrisburg, held in 1827, proposed from fifty-seven to two hundred and eighty-one per cent.! “We want protection,” said one of that convention, “ whether it be fifty per cent. or one hundred and fifty. And it matters not, if it amounts to prohibition. We want protection.”
government. But it fully appears from the reports of Secretary Hamilton on the subject, and the measures he recommended in 1790 and 1791, that he was not in favor of forcing manufactures by high duties. • Exorbitant duties on imported articles," he said, “serve to beget a general spirit of smuggling, which is always injurious to the fair trader, and eventually to the revenue itself. They also tend to render other classes of the community tributary, in an improper degree, to the manufacturers, to whom high duties give a premature monopoly of the markets. Industry is also sometimes thus forced out of its natural channels into others, in which it flows with less advantage. And, in the last place, they indirectly oppress the merchant, who is often obliged to pay them himself, without any retribution from the consumer.” Some of the woollen and cotton manufacturers themselves admitted that the tariff of 1824 afforded a sufficient protection; and expressed their fears, that such exhorbitant duties would eventually prove unfavorable to the manufacturing interests of the United States. *
A great portion of the citizens were opposed to the " American system,” as explained and advocated by the manufacturers. The merchants and mechanics of Boston held meetings to consider the proposed increase of duties on woollen and cotton goods; and a very elaborate report was made at an adjourned meeting, by a committee previously chosen for that purpose; in which they stated various facts and views, illustrating the impolicy and injustice of imposing any higher duties than were then required by the act of 1824.* It was asserted, that the general voice of New Eng
* Amount of imports into United States in 1826, was eighty-five millions of dollars, eighty millions of which were 'in American vessels. The exports amounted to seventy-seven millions and five hundred thousand dollars; of which fifty-three millions were of domestic, and twenty-four millions and five bundred thousand of foreign products or articles : of domestic articles, fortysix millions and two hundred thousand dollars exported in American vessels, and six millions and eight hundred thousand dollars in foreign vessels, of foreign articles, twenty-three millions three hundred and fifty thousand dollars in vessels of the United States, and one million one hundred and eighty thousand dollars in foreign vessels.
+ Even that tariff-law was considered as unequal and unreasonable, by some of the ablest statesmen, as well as by the merchants. In reply to Mr. Clay of Kentucky, Mr. Webster of Massachusetts, when the bill was under discussion in 1324, said, “ that there was a broad and marked distinction between prohibition and reasonable encouragement. Protection, when carried to the point proposed, that is, to an entire prohibition, seems to me destructive of all commercial intercourse between nations.” With far greater justice it might be said, that the tariff proposed in 1827, and adopted in 1828, was, in principle and in theory, indirectly unfavorable to commercial enterprise.