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djnxuu) according to an act of CongreM, in the year 1842, by 

Ib the Clerk'a Office of the U. 8< Court for the Southern Diatrict of New-York. 


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>nn Defence of the American System, t 9 

a National Bank, 6B 

the Bank Charter, » 8t 

the Veto of the Bank 8i 

On the Public Lands 104 

•^On Introdacing the Compromise Bil^, Mi 

"*In support of the Compromise Act,..,, 187 

On the Removal of the Deposites, 177 

On the State of the Country 

On the State of the Country, • 

^On Our Treatment of the Cherokees, 

On Surrendering the Cumberland Road, 

On Appointments and Removals,. I. ••• 

On the Land Distribution, • • 

On the Expunging Resolutions 

On the Sub-Treasury SIS 

On the Sub-Treasury 844 

Outline of a National Bank, • 

On Abolition Petitions, , 

On the Presidential' Election 490 

On the Pre-Emption Bill. 44S 

On the Bank Veto, 401 

^M)n a True Public Policy, 618 

^^On Retiring from the Senate,.*. .JSQjl 

Ob Retnming to Kentucky, .MO 

In Reply to Mr. MendmhiM, 






In THE Senate of the United States, February 2d, 3d, and 

6th, 1832. 

[Mr. Clat, having retired from CongresB soon after the ettablishment of tha 
American System, by the passage of the Tariff of 1S24, did not return to it till l831-2» 
when the opponents of thid system had covertly acquired the ascendancy, and were 
bent on its destniction. An act redacing the duties on many of the protected articles, 
was devised and passed. The bill being under consideration in the Senate, Mr 
Clat addressed that body as follows :] 

In one sMitiment, Mr. President, expressed by the honorable gen- 
tleman from South Carolina, (General Hayne,) though perhaps not 
in the sense intended by him, I entirely concur. I agree with himi 
that the decision on the system of policy embraced in this debate, in- 
volves the future destiny of this growing country. fOne way I verily 
believe, it would lead to deep and general distress, general bankrupt- 
cy and national ruin, without benefit to any part of the Union : the 
other, the existing prosperity will be preserved and augmented, and 
' the nation will continue rapidly to advance m wealth, power, and 
; greatness, without prejudice to any section of the confederacy! 



city of New York, from 1817 to 1831. This value is canvassed 
contested, scrutinized and adjudged by the proper sworn authorities. 
It is, therefore, entitled to full credence. During the first term, com- 
mencing with 1817, and ending in the year of the passage of the 
tariff of 1824, the amount of the value of real estate was, the first 
year, $57,799,435, and, after various fluctuations in the intermediate 
period, it settled down at 52,019,730, exhibiting a decrease, in seven 
years, of $5,779,705. During the first year of 1825, after the pas- 
sage of the tariff, it rose, and, gradually ascending throughout the 
whole of the latter period of seven years, it finally, in 1S31, reached 
the astonishing height of $95,716,485 ! Now, if it be said that this 
rapid growth of the city of New York was the effect of foreign com- 
merccy then it was not correctly predicted, in 1824, that the tariff 
would destroy foreign commerce, and desolate our commercial cities. 
If, on the contrary, it be the effect of internal trade, then internal 
trade cannot be justly chargeable with the evil consequences imputed 
to it. The truth is, it is the joint effect of both principles, the do- 
mestic industry nourishing the foreign trade, and the foreign com- 
merce in turn nourishing the domestic industry. Nowhere more 
than in New York is the combination of both principles so complete- 
ly developed. In the progress of my argument, I will consider the 
effect upon the price of commodities produced by the American Sys- 
tem, and show that the very reverse of the prediction of its foes, in 
1824, actually happened. 

Whilst we thus behold the entire failure of all that was foretold 
against the system, it is a subject of just felicitation to its friends, that 
all their anticipations of its benefits have been fulfilled, or are in pro- 
gress of fulfillment. The honorable gentleman from South Carolina 
has made an allusion to a speech made by me, in 1824, in the other 
House, in support of the tariff, and to which, otherwise, I shouid not 
have particularly referred. But I would ask any one, who can 
now command the courage to peruse that long production, what 
principle there laid down is not true ? what prediction then made has 
been falsified by practical experience ? 

It is now proposed to abolish the system, to which we owe so much 
of the public prosperity, and it is urged that the arrival of the period 
of the redemption of the public debt has been confidently looked to 
as preBenting a fuitable opcaiioii to rid the coontrj of the evils with 


which the system is alledged to be fraught. Not an inattentive ob- 
server of passing events, I hare been aware that, among those who 
were most early prt^ssing the payment of the public debt, and, upon that 
ground, were opposing appropriations to other great interests, there 
were some who cared less about the debt than the accomplishment 
of other objects. But the people of the United States have not cou- 
pled the payment of their public debt with the destruction of the pro- 
tection of their industry, against foreign laws and foreign industry. 
They have been accustomed to regard the extinction of the public 
debt as relief from a burthen, and not as the infliction of a curse. If 
it is to be attended or followed by the subversion of the American 
System, and an exposure of our establishments and our productions to 
the unguarded consequences of the selfish policy of foreign powers, 
the payment of the public debt will be the bitterest of curses. Iti 
firuit will be like the fruit 

** Of that forbidden tree, whofe mortal taste 
Brought death into thti world, and all our woe, 

If the system of protection be founded on principles erroneous in 
theory, pernicious in practice — above all if it be unconstitutional, as 
is alledged, it ought to b^ forthwith abolished, and not a vcstage of 
it suffered to remain. | But, before we sanction this sweeping de- 
nunciation, let us look aTlittle at this system, its magnitude, its rami- 
fications, its duration, and the high authorities which have sustained 
it. We shall see that its foes will have accomplished comparatively 
nothing, after having achieved their present aim of breaking down 
our iron-founderies, our woollen, cotton, and hemp manufactories, and 
our sugar plantations. The destruction of these would, undoubtedly, 
lead to the sacrifice of immense capital, the ruin of many thousands 
of our fellow citizens, and incalculable loss to the whole community. 
But their prostration would not disfigure, nor produce greater eflfect 
npon the whole system of protection, in all its branches, than the de- 
struction of the beautiful domes upon the capitol would occasion to 
the magnificent edifice which they surmount. ([Why, sir, there is 
scarcely an interest, scarcely a vocation in society, which is not em- 
braced by the beneficence of this systemTV 

It comprehends our coasting tonnage and trade, firom which all 
fereign tonnage is abaolotely excluded. 


It includes all our foreign tonnagCi with the inconsiderable excep- 
tion made by treaties of reciprocity with a few foreign powers. 

It embraces our fisheries, and all our hardy and enterprising fish- 

It extends to almost every mechanic art : to tanners, cordwainers, 
tailors, cabinet-makers, hatters, tinners, brass-workers, clock-makers, 
coach-makers, tallow-chandlers, trace-makers, rope-makers, cork-cut- 
ters, tobacconists, whip-makers, paper-makers, umbrella-makers, 
glass-blowers, stocking-weavers, butter-makers, saddle and harness- 
makers, cutlers, brush-makers, book-binders, dairy-men, milk-farm- 
ers, black-smiths, type-founders, musical instrument-makers, basket- 
makers, milliners, potters, chocolate-makers, fioor-cloth-makers, bon- 
net-makers, hair-cloih-makers, copper-smiths, pencil-makers, bellows- 
makers, pocket book-makers, card-makers, glue-makers, mustard- 
makers, lumber-sawyers, saw-makers, scale-beam-makers, scythe- 
makers, wood-saw-makers, and many others. The mechanics enu- 
merated, enjoy a measure of protection adapted to their several con- 
ditions, varying from twenty to fifty per cent. The extent and im- 
portance of some of these artizans may be estimated by a few par- 
ticulars. The tanners, curriers, boot and shoe-makers, and other 
workers in hides, skins and leather, produce an ultimate value per 
annum of forty millions of dollars ; the manufacturers of hats and 
caps produce an annual value of fifteen millions ; the cabinet-makers 
twelve millions; the manufacturers of bonnets and hats for the fe- 
male sex, lace, artificial flowers, combs, &c. seven millions ; and the 
manu&cturers of glass, five millions. 

It extends to all lower Louisiana, the Delta of which might as well 
be submerged again in the Gulf of Mexico, from which it has been a 
gtadual conquest, as now to be deprived of the protecting duty upon 
its great staple. 

It eflfects the cotton planter* himself, and the tobacco planter, both 
of whom enjoy protection. 

* To say nothing of cotton produced in other foreign countries, the cnltivation of 
dkis article, of a very superior quality, is constantly extending in the adjacent Mexi- 
eaa Provinces, and, hot for the duty probably a laige amount would be introduced 
iato dM United States, down Red liver and aioiw the coast of die Onlf of Mexico. 


The total amount of the capital vested in sheep, the land to sastain 
them, wool, woollen manufactures, and woollen fabrics, and the sub- 
sistence of the various persons directly or indirectly employed in the 
growth and manufacture of the article of wool, is estimated at one 
hundred and sixty-seven millions of dollars, and the number of per- 
sons at one hundred and fifty thousand. 

The value of iron, considered as a raw material, and of its manu* 
fiustures, is estimated at twenty-six millions of dollars per annum. 
Cotton goods, exclusive of the capital vested in the manufacture, and 
of the cost of the raw material, are believed to amount annually, to 
about twenty millions of dollars. 

These estimates have been carefully made, by practical men of un- 
doubted character^ who have brought together and embodied their 
information. Anxious to avoid the charge of exaggeration, thej 
have sometimes placed their estimates below what was believed to 
be the actual amount of these interests. With regard to the quantity 
of bar and other iron annually produced, it is derived fitim the known 
works themselves ; and I know some in western States which they 
have omitted in their calculations. 

Such are some of the items of this vast system of protection, which 
it is now proposed to abatidon. We might well pause and contem- 
plate, if human imagination could conceive the extent of mischief and 
rain from its total overthrow, before we proceed to the work of de- 
struction. Its duration is worthy also of serious consideration. Not 
to go behind the constitution, its date is coeval with that instrument. 
It began on the ever memorable fourth day (^ July — ^the fourth day of 
July, 1789. The second act which stands recorded in the statute 
book, bearing the illustrious signature of George Washington, laid the 
comer stone of the whole system. That there might be no mistake 
•bout the matter, it was then solemnly proclaimed to the American 
people and. to the world, that it was necessary for ^' the encourage- 
ment and proiecHon of manufactures,'^ that duties should be laid. It 
is hi vain to urge the small amount of the measure of the protection 
then extended. The great principle was then established by the fa- 
thers of the constitution, with the fiither of his country at their hesid. 
And it cannot now be questioned, that, if the government had not 
then been new and the subject untried, a greater measure of' protee^ ': 

i * r 

':x ■r^.\"-^"\ 






tion would have been applied, if it had been supposed necessary. 
fslK)rtly after, the master minds of Jefferson and Hamilton were 
brought to act on this inteiesting subject. {Taking views of it apper- 
taining to the departments of foreign affairs and of the treasury, which 
they respectively filled, they presented, severally, reports which yet 
remain monuments of their profound wisdom, and came to the same 
conclusion of protection to American industry. ^Mr. Jeflerson argued 
that foreign restrictions, foreign prohibitions, and foreign high dnties, 
ought to be met at home by American restrictions, American prohi- 
bitions, and American high duties. Mr. Hamilton, surveying the 
entire ground, and looking at the inherent nature of the subject, treat- 
ed it with an ability, which, if ever equalled, has not been surpassed, 
and earnestly recommended protection^ 

The wars of the French revolution commenced about this period, 
and streams of gold poured into the United States through a thousand 
channels, opened or enlarged by the successful commerce which our 
neutrality enabled us to prosecute. We forgot or overlooked, in the 
general prosperity, the necessity of encouraging our domestic manu- 
factures. Then came the edicts of Napoleon, and the British orders 
in council ; and our embargo, non-intercourse, non-importation, and 
war, followed in rapi J succession. These national measures, amount- 
ing to a total suspension, for the period of their duration, of our for- 
eign commerce, afforded the most efficacious encouragement to Amer- 
ican manufactures; and accordingly they everywhere sprung up. 
While these measures of restriction, and this state of war continuedli 
the manufacturers were stimulated in their enterprise by every a^u- 
rance of support, by public sentiment, and by legislative resolves. It 
was about that period (1808) that South Carolina bore her high tes- 
timony to the wisdom of the policy, in an act of her legislature, the 
preamble of which, now before me, reads : 

** Whereas, the estabhshment and eneourai^^ement of domestic mRnufactiires, is 
conducive to the interestii of a State, by adding new inemtivet io induttry, and as 
beiof the means of disposing to advantage the 8uri>lu8 productions of the agrtcultU' 
rtiC ; and whereas, in the present unexampled state of the world, their estabTi^hment 
in our country is not only txptdieiU, but poUtic in rendering ua indtpeneUfU of foreign 

The legialafeure, not being competent to afford the most efficacious 
•id, by imposing duties on foreign rival articlesi proceeded to iucor* 
ponle a company. 


Peace, under the treaty of Ghenti returned in 1815, but there did 
not return with it the golden days which preceded the edicts levelled 
at our commerce by Great Britain and France. It found all Europe 
tranquilly resuming the arts and the business of civil life. It found 
Europe no longer the consumer of our surplus, and the employer of 
our navigation, but excluding, or heavily burthening, almpst all the 
productions of our agriculture, and our rivals in manufactures, in 
navigation, and in conunerce. It found our country, in short, in a 
aituation totally di&rent from all the past — new and untried. It be- 
came necessary to adapt our laws, and especially our laws of impost, 
to the new circumstances in which we found ourselves. Accordingly, 
that eminent and lamented citizen, then at the head of the treasury, 
(Mr. Dallas,) was required, by a resolution of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, under date the twenty-third day of February, 1815, to 
prepare and report to the succeeding session of Congress, a system of 
of revenue conformable with the actual condition of the country. He 
had the circle of a whole year to perform the work, consulted mer- 
chants, manufacturers, and other practical men, and opened an ex- 
tensive correspondence. The report which he made at the session of 
1816, was the result of his inquiries and reflections, and embodies the 
principles which he thought applicable to the ^abject. It has been 
aaid, that the tariff of 1616 was a measure of mere revenue, and that 
it only reduced the war duties to a peace standard. It is true that 
the question then was, how much and in what way should the double 
duties of the war be reduced ? Now, also, the question is, on what 
articles shall the duties be reduced so as to subject the amounts of 
the future revenue to the wants of the government ? Then it was 
deemed an inquiry of the first importance, as it should be now, how, 
the reduction should be made, so as to secure proper encouragement 
to our domestic industry. That this was a leading object in the ar- 
rangement of the tariff of 1816, 1 well remember, and it is demon- 
strated by the language of Mr. Dallas. He says in his report : 

'* There are few, if any goyernmenta, which do not regard the esCabliahment of do- 
mestic manufactorea as a chief object of public policy. The United States have al- 
loayf BO regarded ic. * * * * The demands of the country, while the 
acquintions of supplies from foreign nations was either prohibited or impracticable, 
may have afforded a sufficient inducement for this investment of capital, and this 
application of labor : but the inducement, in its necessary extent, muBi fail when 
the day of competition returns. Upon that change in the condition of the conntiy, 
the preservation of the manufactures, which private citizens under favorable auspioea 
have constituted the property of the nation, becomes a consideration of general poli- 
cy^ to be resolved by a recollection of past embarrassments ; by the certainty of an 
increased difficulty of reinstating, upon any emergency, tho manufactures which 
iiiaU b« aUow^ to peri^t •»d paas ftway ,**«€. 


The measure of protection which he proposed was not adopted, in 
regard to some leading articleS| and there was great difficulty in as- 
certaining what it ought to have been. But the pnnciple was thett 
distinctly asserted and fully sanctioned. 

Hie subject of the American system was again brought up in IS20^ 
by the bill reported by the chairman of the committee of manufac^ 
tures, now a member of the bench of the Supreme Court of the Uni- 
ted States, and the principle was successfully maintained by the rep- 
resentatives of the people ; but the bill which they passed was de- 
feated in the Senate. It was revived in 1824 ; the whole groiind 
carefully and deliberately explored, and the bill then introduced, re- 
ceivii^ all the sanctions of the constitution, became the law of the 
land. An amendment of the system was proposed in 182S, to the 
history of which I refer with no agreeable recollections. The bill of 
that year, in some of its provbions, was framed on principles directly 
adverse to the declared wishes of the friends of the policy of protec- 
tion. I have heard, without vouching for the fact, that it was so 
framed, upon the advice of a prominent citizen, now abroad, with the 
view of ultimately defeating the bill, and with assurances that, being 
altogether unacceptable to the friends of the American system, the 
bill would be lost. Be that as it may, the most exceptionable fea- 
tures of the bill were stamped upon it, against the earnest remon- 
strances of the friends of the system, by the votes of southern mem- 
bers, upon a principle, I think, as unsound in legislation as it is repre- 
hensible in ethics. The bill was passed, notwithstanding this, 
it having been deemed better to take the bad along with the good 
which it contained, than reject it altogether. Subsequent legislation 
has corrected the error then perpetrated, but still that measure is ve- 
hemently denounced by gentlemen who contributed to noake it what 
it was. 

* Thus, sir, has this great system of protection been gradually built, 
alone upon stone, and step by step, from the fourth of July, 1789| 
down to the present period. In every stage of its progress it has re- 
ceived the deliberate sanction of Congress. A vast majority of the 
people of the United States has approved and continue to approve it. 
Every chief magistrate of the United States, from Washington to the 
present, in some form or other, has given to it the authority of his 
same ; and however the opinions of the existing President are inter- 


preted South of Mason's and Dixon's line, on the north they are at 
least understood to fiivor the establishment of a ju^ciaui tariff. 

The questioni therefore, which we are now called upon to deter^ 
mine, is not whether we shall establish a new and doubtful system of 
policy, just proposed, and for the first time presented to our consider* 
ation, but whether we shall break down and destroy a long establish- 
ed system, patiently and carefully bailt up and sanctioned, during a 
series ol^ years, again and again, by the nation and its highest and 
most revered authorities. And are we not bound deliberately to con- 
sider whether we can proceed to this work of destruction without a 
violation of the public faith ? The people of the United States have 
justly supposed that the policy of protecting their industry against 
foreign legislation and foreign industry was fully settled, not by a 
single act, but by repeated and deliberate acts of government, per- 
formed at distant and frequent intervals. In full confidence that the 
policy was firmly and unchangeably fixed, thousands upon thousands 
have invested their capital, purchased a vast amount of real and other 
estate, made permanent establishments, and accommodated their in- 
dustry. Can we expose to utter and irretrievable ruin this countless 
multitude, without justly incurring the reproach of violating the na- 
tional faith ? 

I shall not discuss the constitutional question. Without meanmg 
any disrespect to those who raise it, if it be debateable, it has been 
sufficiently debated. The gentleman from South Carolina suffered it 
to fall unnoticed from his budget ; and it was not until after he had 
closed his speech and resumed his seat, that it occurred to him that 
he had forgotten it, when he again addressed the Senate, and, by a 
sort of protestation against any conclusion from his silence, put for^ 
ward the objection. The recent free trade convention at Philadelphia, 
it is well known, were divided on the question ; and although the 
toj^c is noticed in their address to the public, they do not avow their 
own belief that the American system is unconstitutional, but repre 
sent that such is the opinion of respectable portions of the American 
people. Another address to the people of the United States, from a 
high souice, during the past year, treating this subject, does not as- 
sert the opinion of the distinguished author, but states that of others 
to be that it is unconstitutional. From which I infer that he did not 
hioMelf believe it 


[Here the Vice-President interposed and remarked that, if the Senator from Kty- 
tucky alluded to him, he must say that his opinion was, that the measure was on- 

When, sir, I contended with yoa, side by side, and with perhaps 
less zeal than you exhibited, in 1816, 1 did not understand you then 
to consider the policy forbidden by the constitution. 

[The Vice-President again interposed, and said that the constitutional question 
was not debated at that time, and (hat he bad never expressed an opinion contrary 
to that now intimated.] 

I give way with pleasure to these explanations, which I hope will 
always be made when 1 say any thing bearing on the individual 
opinions of the Chair. 1 know the delicacy of the position, and 
sympathise with the imcumbcnt, whoever he may be. It is true, 
the question was not debated in 1816; and why not? Because H 
was not debatable ; it was then believed not fairly to arbe. It never 
has been made as a distinct, substantial and leading point of objec- 
tion. It never was made until the discussion of the tarifi*of 1824,* 
when it was rather hinted at as against the spirit of the constitution, 
than formally announced as being contrary to the provisions of that 
mstrument. What was not dreamt of before, or in 1816, and scarce 
ly thought of in 1824, is now made, by excited imaginations, to as- 
sume the imposing form of a serious constitutional barrier. 

Such are the origin, duration, extent and sanctions of the polkj 
which we are now called upon to subvert. Its beneficial e&cts, al- 
though they may vary in degree, have been felt in all parts of the 
Union. To none, I verily believe, has it been prejudicial. In the 
North, every where, testimonials are borne to the high prosperity 
which it has diffused. There, all branches of industry are animated 
and flourishing. Commerce, foreign and domestic, active ; cities and 
towns springing np, enlarging and beautifying ; navigation fully and 
profitably, employed, and the whole &ce of the country smiling with 
improvement, cheerfulness and abundance. Tba-gentleman frpm 
\ South Carolina has supposed that we, in the West derive no advan- 
tages from this system. He is mistaken. Let him visit us, and he 
will find, fipom the head of La Belle Riviere, at Pittsburgh, to Ameri- 
; ca, at its mouth, the most rs^d and gratifying advances. He will 
behold Pittsburg itself, Wheeling, Portsmouth, Maysville, Cincinnati 

\ \ .. f. ^' 


^ hi^1>e)qince or the ahiricam system. 21 

f LouisYilH) and namerous other towns, lining and ornamenting the 
banks of the noble river, daily entending their limits, and prosecutingi 
with the greatest spirit and profit, numerous branches of the manu- 
facturing and mechanic arts. If he will go into the interior, in the 
State of Ohio, he will there perceive the most astonishing progress in 
agriculture, in the useful arls, and in all the improvements to which 
they both directly conduce. Then let him cross over into my own, 
my favorite State, and contemplate the spectacle which is there ex- 
hibited. He will perceive numPTous villages, not large, but neat 
thriving, and some of them highly ornamented ; many manufactories 
' of hemp, '.cotton, wool, and other articles. In various parts of the 
I country, atid especially in the Elkhorn region, an endless succession 
^ ^ o( natur^ parks ; the forests thinned ; fallen trees and undergrowth 
^--elearcdaway ; large herds and flocks feeding on luxuriant grasses ; 
and interspersed with comfortable, sometimes elegant mansions, sur- 
rounded by extensive lawns. The honorable gentleman from South a 
Carolina says, that a profitable trade was carried on from the West, T • 
through the Seleuda gap, in mules, horses and other live stock, which I ^ 
has been checked by the operation of the tariff. It is true that such * 
a trade was carried on between Kentucky and South Carolina, mu- 
tually beneficial to both parties ; but, several years ago, resolutions, 
at popular meetings, in Carolina, were adopted, not to purchase the 
produce of Kentucky byway of punishment for her attachment to the 
tariff*. They must have supposed us as stupid as the sires of one of 
the descriptions of the stock of which that trade consisted, if they 
Imagined that their resolutions would affect our principles. Our dro- 
vers cracked their whips, blew their horns, and passed the Seleuda 
gap, to other markets, where belter humors existed, and equal or 
greater profits were made. I have heard of your successor in the 
House of Representatives, Mr. President, this anecdote : that he 
joined in the adoption of those resolutions, but when, about Christ- 
nms, he applied to one of his South Carolina neighbors, to purchase 
the regular supply of pork for the ensuing year, he found that he had 
to' pay two prices for it ; and he declared if that were tne patriotism 
on which the resohitions were based, he would not conform to them, 
and, in point of fact, laid in his annual stock of pork by purchase from 
the first passing Kentucky drover. The trade, now partially resum- 
ed, was maintained by the sale of western productions, on the one 
side, and Carolina money on the other. From that condition of it 
the gentleman firom^Sbuth Carolina might have drawn this conclosioii) 



that an advantageous trade may exist, although one of the parties to 
it pays in specie for the production which he purchases from the 
other ; and consequently that it does not follow, if we did not pur- 
chase British fabrics, that it might not be the interest of England to 
purchase our raw material of cotton. The Kentucky drover receiv- 
ed the South Carolina specie, or, taking bills, or the evidences of de- 
posite in the banks, carried these home, and, disposing of them to the 
merch^t, he brought out goods, of foreign or domestic manufacture, 
in return. Such is the circuitous nature of trade and remittance, 
which no nation understands better than Great Britain. 

Nor has the system which has been the parent source of so mueh 
benefit to other parts of the Union, proved injurious to the cotton 
growing country. I cannot speak of South Carolina itself, where 1 
have never been, with so much certainty ; but of other portions of 
the Union in which cotton is grown, especially those bordering on 
'the Mississippi, I can confidently speak. If cotton planting is less 
profitable than it was, that is the result of increased production ; but 
*I believe it to be still the most profitable investment of capital of any 
branch of business in the United States. And if a committee were 
raised, with power to send for persons and papers, I take it upon my- 
self to say, that such would be the result of the inquiry. In Ken- 
tucky, I know many individuals who have their cotton plantations 
below, and retain their residence in that state, where they remain 
during the sickly season ; and they are all, I believe, without excep- 
tion, doing well. Others, tempted by their success, are constantly 
engaging in the business, while scarcely any comes from the cotton 
region to engage in western agriculture. A friend, now in my eye, 
a member of this body, upon a capital of less than seventy thousand 
dollars, invested in a plantation and slaves made, the year before last, 
sixteen thousand dollars. A member of the other House, I under- 
stand, who, without removing himself, sent some- of his slaves to 
Mississippi, made last year, about twenty per cent. Two friends of 
mine, in the latter State, whose annual income is from thirty to sixty 
thousand dollars, being desirous to curtail their business, have offered 
estates for sale which they are willing to show, by regular vouchers 
Jbf receipt and disbursement, yield eighteen percent, per annum. One 
(of my most opulent acquaintances, in a county adjoining that in which 
U reside, having married in Georgia, has derived a large portion of hit 
wealth from a cotton estate there situated. 



The loss of the tdnnage of Charleston, which has hecn dwelt on, 
does not proceed from the tariff; it never had a very large amount, 
and it has not heen able to retain what it had, iji consequence of the 
opejation of the principle of free trade on its navigation. Its tonnage ; 
has gone to the more enterprizing and adventurous tars of the north- ▼ 
cm States, with whom those of the city of Charleston could not main- 
tain a successful competition in the freedom of the coasting trade, ex- 
isting between the different parts of the Union. That this must be 
the true cause, is demonstrated by the fact, that however it may be 
with the port of Charleston, our coasting tonnage, generally, is con- 
stantly increasing. As to the foreign tonnage, about one-half of that 
which is engaged in the direct trade between Charleston and Great 
Britain, is English ; proving that the tonnage of South Carolina can- 
not maintain itself in a competition, under the free and equal naviga- 
tion secured by our treaty with that power. 


When gentlemen have succeeded in their design of an immediate 

or gradual destruction of the American System, what is their substi- 
tute ? Free trade .^(Free trade ! The call for free trade is as una- 
vailing as the cry of a spoiled child, in its nurse's arms, for the moon, 
or the stars that glitter in the firmament of heaven. It never has 
existed, it never will exist. Trade implies, at least two parties. To 
be free, it should be fair, equal and reciprocal. But if we throw 
our ports wide open to the admission of foreign productions, free of 
all duty, what ports of any other foreign nation shall we find open to 
the free admission of our surplus produce ? We may break down aU 
barriers to free trade on our part, but the work will not be complete 
until foreign powers snail have removed theirs. There would be 
freedom on one side, and restrictions, prohibitions and exclusions on 
the otherTl The bolts, and the bars, and the chains of all other na- 
tions will remain undisturbed. It is, indeed, possible, that our in- 
dustry and commerce would accommodate themselves to this unequal 
and unjust, state of things; for, such is the flexibility of our nature, 
that it bends itself to all circumstances. The wretched prisoner in- 
carcerated in a jail, afler a long time becomes reconciled to his soli- 
tude, and regularly notches down the passing days of his confinement. 


Grentlemen deceive themselves. It is not free trade that they are 
fecommending to our acceptance. It is in effect, the British colonial 
«yBtem that we are invited to adopt ; and, if their policy prevail, it 


will lead substantially to the re-colonization of these States, mni.*^ k- 
the commercial dominion of Great Britain. And whom do we fin x a. 
some of the principal supporters, out of Congress, of this foreign sys- 
tem ? Mr. President, there are some foreigners who always remain 
i exotics, and never become naturalized in our country ; whilst, happi^ 
]y, there are many others who readily attach themselves to our prin- 
ciples and our institutions. The honest, patient and industrious Ger- 
man readily unites with our people, establishes himself upon some of 
our fat land, fills his capacious barn, and enjoys in tranquility, the 
abundant fruits which his diligence gathers around him, always rea- 
dy to fly to the standard of his adopted country, or of its laws, when 
called by the duties of patriotism. The gay, the versatile, the philo- 
sophic Frenchman, accommodating himself cheerfully to all the vicis- 
situdes of life, incorporates himself without difficulty in our society. 
But, of all foreigners, none amalgamate themselves so quickly with 
our people as the natives of the Emerald Isle. In some of the vis- 
ions which have passed through my imagination, I have supposed 
that Ireland was originally, part and parcel of this continent, and 
that, by some extraordinary convulsion of nature, it was torn from 
America, and drifting across the oce^n, was placed in the unfortunate 
vicinity of Great Britain. The same open-heartedness ; the same 
generous hospitality ; the same careless and uncalculaling indiffer- 
ence about human life, characterize the inhabitants of both countries. 
Kentucky has been sometimes called the Ireland of America. And I 
have no doubt, that if the current of emigration were reversed, and 
set from America upon the shores of Europe, instead of bearing from 
Europe to America, every American emigrant to Ireland would there 
find, as every Irish emigrant here finds, a hearty welcome and a hap- 
py home ! 

But sir, the gentleman to whom I am about to allude, although 
long a resident of this country, has no feelings, no attachments, no 
sympathies, no principles, in common with oUr people. Near fifty 
years ago, Pennsylvania took him to her bosom, and warmed, and 
cherished, and honored him ; and how does he manifest his gratitude ? 
By aiming a vital blow at a system endeared to her by a thoiough 
conviction that it is indispensable to her prosperity. He has filled at 
home and abroad some of the highest offices undes this government^ 
during thirty years, and he is still at heart an alien. The authori^ 
of his name has been invoked^ and the labon o[ his pen, in the form 


I of a memorial to Congress have been engaged to overthrow the 
I American System, and to substitute the foreign. Go home to your 
native Europe, and there inculcate upon her sovereigns your Utopian 
doctrines of free trade, and when you have prevailed upon them to 
unseal their ports, and freely admit the produce of Pennsylvania and ^ 
other States, come back, and we shall be prepared to become con- 
verts, and to adopt your faith. 

A Mr. Sarchet also makes no inconsiderable figure in the c(mmion 
attack upon our system. I do not know the man, but I understand 
he is an unnaturalized emigrant from the island of Guernsey, situated 
in the channel which divides France and England. The principal 
business of the inhabitants is that of driving a contraband trade with 
the opposite shores, and Mr. Sarchet, educated in that school, is, I 
have been told, chiefly engaged in employing his wits to elude the 
{^ration of our revenue laws, by introducing articles at less rates of 
duty than they are justly chargeable with, which he effects by vary- 
ing the denominations, or slightly changing their forms. This man, 
at a former session of the scSnate, caused to be presented a memorial 
signed by some 150 pretended workers in iron. Of these a gentle- 
man made a careful inquiry and examination, and he ascertained that 
there were only about ten of the denomination represented ; the rest 
were tavern keepers, porters, merchants' clerks, hackney coachmen, 
&c. I have the most respectable authority, in black and white, for 
this statement. 

fHere General Hayne asked, who 1 and was lie a manufacturer 1 Mr. Clay replied, 
CoL Murray, of New York, a gentleman of the highest standing for honor, probity, 
and Teracity ; that he did not know whether he was a manufacturer or not, but the 
gentleman might take him as one.*] 

Whether Mr. Sarchet got up the late petition presented to the 
Senate from the journeyman tailors of Philadelphia, or not, I do not 
know. But I should not be surprised if it were a movement of his, 
and if we should find that he has cabbaged from other classes of so- 
ciety to swell odt the number of signatures. 

To the facts manufactured by Mr. Sarchet, and the theories by 
Mr. Grallatin there was yet wanting one circumstance to recommend 

* Bfr. Clay inbseqtiently nndentood that Col. Murray was a merchant. 


them to fayorable consideration, and that was the authority of some | 
high name. There was no difficulty in obtaining one from a British 4 
Repository. The honorable gentleman has cited a speech of my lord 
Groderich, addressed to the British Parliament, in favor of free trade, 
' and full of deep regret that old England could not possibly conform 
her practice of rigorous restriction and exclusion to her liberal doO' 
trincs of unfettered commerce, so earnestly recommended to foreign 
powers. Sir, I know my lord Goderich very well, although my 
acquaintance with him was prior to his being summoned to the 
British House of Peers. We both sign^.'d the convention between 
the United States and Great Britain ol^ 1815. He is an honors 
able man, frank, possessing business, but ordinary, talents, about the 
ftature and complexion of tho honorable gentleman from South Caro- 
Kna, a few years older than he, and every drop of blood running in 
his veins being pure and unadulterated Anglo-Saxon blood. If he 
were to live to the age of Methuselah, he could not make a speech 
of such ability and eloquence as that which the gentleman from South 
Carolina recently delivered to the Senate ; and there would be much 
more fitness in my lord Goderich making quotations from the speech 
of the honorable gentleman, than his quoting, as authority, the theo- 
retical doctrines of my lord Goderich. We are too much in the habit 
of looking abroad, not merely for manufactured articles, but for the 
sanction of high names, to support favorite theories. I have seen 
and closely observed the British Parliament, and, without derogating 
from its justly elevated character, I have no hesitation in saying, that 
in all the attributes of order, dignity, patriotism and eloquence, the 
American Congress would not suffer, in the smallest degree, by a 
comparison with it. 

I dislike this resort to authority, and especially /orei^n and interest' 
td authority, for the support of principles of public policy. I would 
greatly prefer to meet gentlemen upon the broad ground of fact, of 
experience, and of reason ; but, since they will appeal to British 
names and authority, I feel myself compelled to imitate their bad ex- 
ample. Allow me to quote from the speech of a member of the Brit- 
ish Parliament, bearing the same family name with my lord Goderich, 
(Hit whether or not a relation of his, I do not know. The member 
alluded to was arguing against the violation of the treaty of Methuen 
— that treaty, not less &tal to the interests of Portugid than would 


be the s^tem of gentlemen to the best interests of America — and ht 
went on to say : 

" Jt tmn idle for tu to endeavor to persuade other nations to join with us in adopting 
Hu principles of what was eaUed '''free trade.** Other nations knew, as ttell as the no- 
ble lord (jjiposite^ and those who acted with him, what we meant by **free trhde** was 
nothinfr more nor less than, by means of the f^eat advantages we enjoyed, to get a mO' 
nopoly of all their market 8 for our manufactures^ and to prevent them, one andailjram 
ever becoming manufacturing nations. When the 8>'8tem of reciprocity and Tree 

trade had been proposed to a French embaendor, bw remark wan, tnat the plan 

excellent in theory^ but, to make it fair in practice, it would be necefr^ary to defer 
the attempt to put it in execution for half a century, until France should oe on th« 
tame footing with (ireat iiritain, in tnitrine, in m'unufactures, in capital, and the 
many other peculiar advanta^<>s which it now enjoyed. The policy that France act- 
ed on, was taht of encouraging its ^lative manulactures, and it was a tritf policy ; 
because if it were freely to ndmitourmanul'nctures, it would Fpeedily be n'duced to 
the rank of an agrindtwal nation ; and thertfore, a poor nation, as all must be that 
depend exclusively upon ngnculture. America acted too upon the same principle 
with France. America legislated for futurity— legislated for an increasing popula- 
tion. America too^ was prospering under this pystcm. In twenty years, America 
Would be independent of England for manufacturesi altogether. • • ♦ • ♦ But 
■ioce the peace, France, Grerm any, America, and nil the other countries of the 
world, had proceeded upon the principle oi encouraging and protecting native man- 


But I have said that the system nominally called '^ free trade, '* so 
earnestly and eloquently recommended to our adoption, is a mere re- 
vival of the British colonial System, forced upon us by Great Britain 
during the existence of our colonial vassalage. The whole system ii 
fully explained and illustrated in a work published as far back as the 
year 1750, entitled " The Trade and Navigation of Great Britain 
considered, by Joshua Gee," with extracts from which I have been 
furnished by the diligent researches of a friend. It will be seen from i 
these, that the South Carolina policy now, is identical with the long | 
cherished policy of Great Britain, which remains the same as it was \ 
when the thirteen colonies were part of the British empire. In that/ 
work the author contends — 

"1. That mannfactures, in American coionieb, should be discouraged or prohi- 

" Great Britain, with its dependencies, is doubtless as well able to subsist within 
itself as any nation in Europe. We have an enterprising people, fiiMbr all the arts 
of peace and war. We have provisions in abundance^ and those of the best sort, and 
are able to raise sufficient for double the number of inhabitants. We have the very 
best materials for clothing, and want nothing either for use or even for luxury, but 
what we have at home, or might have from our colonies : so that we might make 
such ail intercourse of trade among ourselves, or between us and them, as would 
maintain a vast navigation. But we ought always to keep a watchful eye over onr 
colonies, to restrain them from settinl^ up any ot the manufactures which are car- 
ried on in Great Britain ; and any such attempts should be crushed in the beginning ; 
for if they are sutfered to grow up to maturity, it will be dilRcultto suppress them." 
Pages 177, 8,9. 

** Our colonies are much in th6 same sute Ireland was in, when they benn thf 
woollen manufactory, and as their numbers increase, will tall upon manufactures 
for clothing themselvef, if due caxe be not tdicn to find employment for them ia 



nifling such prodactiooB as may enable them to famish themseWes with all thetr 
necessaries from us.*' 

Then it was the object of this British economists to adapt the 
means or wealth of the colonists to the supply required by their ne- 
cessities, and to make the mother country the source of that supply. 
Now it seems the policy is only so far to be reversed that we must 
continue to import necessaries from Great Britain, in order to enable 
her to purchase raw cotton from us. 

** I should, therefore, think it wonhy the care of the government to endeavor, by 
all possible means, to encourage (hem in raiKing of silk, hemp, flax, iron, [only pig 
to be hammered in England] pot lu^h, «\:c., by giving them competent bounties in 
the beginning, and sending over judicious and skilful i)erBon8 at the public charge, to 
assist and instruct them in the mo^t proper methods of management, which in mv 
apprehension would lay a foundation for establishing the most profitable trade ol 
any we have. And considrring the t:ommanding situation of our colonies along thi 
sea coast ; the great convenience of navigable tivcrs in all of them : the cheapness of 
land, and the easiness of raising provisions, great numbers of |)eoplc would transpor 
themselves thither to settle upon such improvement.^ . Now, as people have been 
flUed with fears that the colonie.s, if encouraged to raise rough materials, would set 
up for themselves, a little rcf^vlation would remove all thot*e jealousies out of the 
way. They have never thrown or wove any silk as yet that we have heard of. 
Therefore, if a law was made to prohibit tne use of every throwster's mill, of 
doubling or horsling silk with any machine whatever, they would then ttnd it to mt 
raw. And as they will have th<; providing rough materiafl to themselves, so shall 
we have the manufacturing of them. If encouragement be given for raising hemp, 
flax, &c., doubtless they will soon begin to manufacture, if not prevented. There* 
fore, to stop the progress of anv such manufacture, it is proposed that no weaver 
■hall have liberty to set up any looms without first registering at an office kept for 
that purpose, and the name and place of abode of any journeyman that shall work 
for him. But if any particular inhabitant shall be incUned to have any linen or 
woollen made of their own spinning, they should not be abridged of the same liber- 
ty that they now make use of, namely, to carry to a weaver, (who shall be lirennd 
, by the governor,) and have it wrought up for the use of the family, but not to be sold 
' to any person in a private manner, nor exposed to any market or fair, upon pain of 

** And, inasmuch as they have been supplied with all their manufactures from 
\ hence, except what is used in building of ships and other countn- work, one half of 
our exports being supi>osed to be in NAILIS^ — a manufacture which they allow has 
never hitherto been carried on among them— it is proposed they shall, for time to 
eonUy never erect the manufacture of any under the size of a two shilling nail, horse 
nails excepted ; that all slitting mills and engines, for drawing wire, or weaving 
Iftockings, be mU dotm, and that every smith who keeps a common forge or shop, 
■hall register nis name and place of abode, and the name of every servant which he 
•hall employ, which license shall be renewed once every vear, Rndpay for the liberty 
of working at such trade. That all negroes shall be pronibited from weaving either 
linen or woollen, or spinning or combing of wool, or working at any manufacture of 
iron, further than making it into pig or oar iron. That they also be prohibited from 
manufacturing hats, stockings, or leather of any kind. This limitation will not 
abridge the planters of any pnvilege they now enjoy. On the contrary, it will turn 
their industry to promoting and raising those rough materials.'* 

The author then proposes that the hoard of trade and plantations 
should be furnished with statistical accounts of the various permitted 
mimu&ctures, to enable them to encourage or depress the industry of 
the colonists, and prevent the danger of interference with British in 


** It is hoped that this method would allay the heat that iome peifU hare riiows 
for cieatroyio^ the iroa w rks on the plantations, and pullin|[ down aU their foTge»— 
taking away in a violent manner their estates and prop^^rties— preventinK the hu»> 
bandinen from getting their ploughshares, carts, and other utensils mendea : destroy- 
ing* the manufacture of ship building, by depriving them of the liberty of making 
bolt?, spikes, and other thin^ proper for carrying on that work, by which articte 
returns are made for purchasing our woollen manufactures.*'— Pages 87, 88, 89. 

Such is the picture of colonists dependent upon the mother coun- 
try for their necessary supplies, drawn by a writer who was not among 
the number of those who desired to debar them the means of building 
a vessel, erecting a forge, or mending a ploughshare, but who was 
willing to promote their growth and prosperity as ^ as was consist- 
ent with the paramount interests of the manu&cturing or parent 

" 2. The advantages to Great Britain from keeping the colonists dependent on her 
for their essential supplies. 

" If we examine into the circumstances of the inhabitants of our plantations, and 
our own, it will appear that not one fourth part of their product redounds to their 
tfum profit, for, out of all that comes here, tney only carry back clothipg and other 
accommodations for their families, all of which is of the merchandise and manufac- 
ture of this kingdom." 

After showing how this system tends to concentrate all the surplus 
of acquisition over absolute expenditure in England, he says : 

'* All these advantages we receive by the plantations, bendes the mortgages on 
the planter's estates, and the high interest they pay us, which is very considerable ; 
and therefore very great care ought to be taken in regulating all the affairs of the 
colonists, that the pUnteri be not put under too man^ aificuUitt, but encouraged to 
go on cheerfully. 

*' New England, and the northern colonies, have not commodities and productr 
eoongh to send us in return for purchasing their necessarv clothing, but are under 
very great ditficulties ; and therefore any ordinary sort sell with them. And when 
they have grown out otfoihUm with us, they are new-fashioned enough there.'* 

Sir, I cannot go on with this disgusting detail. Their refuse goods, 
their old shop keepers, their cast-off clothes good enough for us! 
Was there ever a scheme more artfully devised by which the ener- 
gies and fisusulties of one people should be kept down and rendered 
irabservient to the pride, and the pomp, and the power of another ! 
The system then proposed differs only from that which is now recom- 
mended, in one particular ; that was intended to be enforced by pow- 
er, this would not be less effectually executed by the force of circum- 
stances. A gentleman in Boston, (Mr. Lee,) the agent of the free 
trade convention, from whose exhaustless mint there is a constant 
usue of reports, seems to envy the blessed condition of dependent 
Canada, when compared to the oppressed state of this Union ; and it 


is a fiiir inference from the view which he presents, that he would 
have us hasten back to the golden days of that colonial bondage, 
which is so well depicted in the work from which I have been quo- 
ting. Mr. Lee exhibits two tabular statements, in one of which ha 
presents the high duties which he represents to be paid in the ports 
of the United States, and in the other, those which are paid in Can- 
ada, generally about two per cent, ad valorem. But did it not occur 
to him that the duties levied in Canada are paid chiefly in Britidi 
manufactures, or on articles passing from one part to another of a 
common empire ; and that to present a parallel case in the United 
States, he ought to have shown that importations made into one State 
from another, which are now free, are subject to the same or higher 
duties than are paid in Canada ? 

I will now, Mr. President, proceed to a more particular considera- 
tion of the arguments urged against the Protective System, and an in- 
quiry into its practical operation, especially on the cotton growing 
country. And as I wish to state and meet the argument fairly, I in- 
vite the correction of my statement of it, if necessary. It is alleged 
that the system operates prejudicially to the cotton planter, by dimin- 
ishing the foreign demand for his staple ; that we cannot sell to Great 
Britain unless we buy from her ; that the import duty is equivalent 
to an export duty, aud falls upon the cotton grower ; that South Ca- 
rolina pays a disproportionate quota of the public revenue ; that an 
abandonment of the protective |)olicy would lead to an augmentation 
of our exports of an amount not less than one hundred and fifty mill* 
ions of dollars ; and finally, that the South cannot partake of the ad- 
vantages of manufacturing, if there be any. Let us examine these 
various propositions in detail. 1. That the foreign demand for cot- 
ton is diminished ; aud that we cannot sell to Great Britain unless wa 
buy from her. The demand of t)oth our great foreign customers is 
constantly and annually increasing. It is true, that the ratio of the 
increase may not be equal to that of production ; but this is owing to 
the fact that the power of producing the raw material is much great- 
er, and is, therefore, constantly in advance of the power of consump- 
tion. A single fact will illustrate. The average produce of laboren 
engaged in the cultivation of cotton, may be estimated at five bales, or 
fifteen hundred weight to the hand. Supposing the annual average 
oonsumption of each individual who uses cotton cloth to be five 


]Kmiid8, one band can produce enough of the raw material to clothe 
three hundred. 

The argument comprehends two errors, one of fact and the other 
of principle. It assumes that we do not in fact purchase of Great 
Britain. What is the true state of the case ? There are certain, 
but Yerj few articles which it is thought sound policy requires that 
we should manu£Eu;ture at home, and on these the tariff operates. 
But, with respect to all the rest, and much the larger number of ar- 
ticles of taste, fashion, and utility, they are subject to no other than 
revenue duties, and are freely introduced. 1 have before n\e from the 
treasury a statement of our imports from England, Scotland and Ire- 
land, including ten years, preceding the last, and three quarters of 
th^ last year, from which it will appear that, although there are some 
fluctuations in the amount of the different years, the largest amount 
imported in any one year has been since the tariff of 1824, and that 
the last year's importation, when the returns of the fourth quarter 
shall be received, will probably be the greatest in the whole term of 
eleven years. 

Now, if it be admitted that there is a less amount of the protected 
articles imported from Great Britain, she may be, and probably is, 
compensated for the deficiency, by the increased consumption in 
America of the articles of her industry not falling within the scope of 
the policy of our protection. The establishment of manu&ctures 
among us excites the creation of wealth, and this gives new powen 
of consumption, which are gratified by the purchase of foreign objects 
A poor nation can never be a great consuming nation. Its poverty 
will limit its consumption to bare-subsistence. 

The erroneous principle which the argument includes, is, that it 
devdives on us the duty of taking care that Great Britain shall be en- 
abled to purchase from us without exacting from Great Britain the 
corresponding duty. If it be true, on one side, that nations are bound 
to shape their policy in reference to the ability of foreign powers, it 
most be true on both sides of the Atlantic. And this reciprocal obli- 
gation ought to be emphatically regarded towards the nation supply* 
ing the raw material, by the manufacturing nation, because the in- 
dustry of the latter gives four or five values to what had been pro- 
dooed by the industry of the former. 


But, doei Great Britain practice towards us upon the principlei 
which we are now required to observe in regard to her ? The ex- 
ports to the United Kingdom, as appears from the same treasury 
statement just adverted to, during eleven years, from^ 1S21 to 1881, 
and exclusive of the fourth quarter of the last year, fiill short of the 
amount of imports by upwards of forty-six millions of dollars, and the 
total amount, when the returns of that quarter are repeived, will ex- 
ceed fifty millions of dollars ! It is surprising how we have been 
able to sustain, for so long a time, a trade so very unequal. We 
must have been absolutely ruined by it, if the un&vorable balance 
had not hpen neutralized by more profitable commerce with other 
parts of the world. Of all nations, Great Britain has the least cause 
to complain of the trade between the two <;oun tries. Our imports 
from that single power are nearly one-third of the entire amount of 
our importations from all foreign countries together. Great Britain 
constantly acts on the maxim of buying only what she wants and 
cannot produce, and selling to foreign nations the utmost amount she 
can. In conformity with this maxim, she excludes articles of prime 
necessity produced by us — equally, if not more necessary than any of 
her industry which we tax, although the admission of those articles 
would increase our ability to purchase from her, according to the ar- 
"niment of gentlemen. 

If we purchased still less from Great Britain than we do, and our 
conditions were reversed, so that the value of her imports from this 
country exceeded that of her exports to it, she would only then be 
compelled to do what we have so long done, and what South Caro- 
lina does, in her trade with Kentucky, make up for the unfavorable 
balance by trade with other places and countries. How does she 
now dispose of the one hundred and sixty millions of dollars worth 
of cotton fabrics, which she annually sells ? Of that amount the 
United States do not purchase five per cent. What becomes pf the 
other ninety-five per cent ? Is it not sold to other powers, and would 
not their markets remain, if ours were totally shut ? Would she not 
continue, as she now finds it her interest, to purchase the raw mate- 
rial firom us, to supply those markets ? Would she be guilty of the 
folly of depriving herself of markets to the amount of upwards of 
one hundred and fifty millions of dollars, because we refused her a 
market for some eight or ten millions ? 


But if there were a diminution of the British demand for cotton 
equal to the loss of a market for the few British fabrics which are 
within the scope of our protective policy, the question would still 
remain, whether the cotton planter is not amply indemnified by the 
creation of additional demand elsewhere ? With respect to the cot- 
ton-grower, it is the totality of the demand, and not its fUitributionj 
which efiects his interests. If any system of policy will augment the 
aggregate of the demand, that system is fevorable to his interests, 
although its tendency may be to vary the theatre of the demand. It 
could not, for example, be injurious to him, if, instead of Great Brit- 
ain continuing to rebeive the entire quantity of cotton which she now 
does, two or three hundred thousand bales of it were taken to the 
other side of the channel, and increased to that extent, the French 
demand. It would be better for him, because it is always better to 
have several markets than one. Now, if, instead of a transfer to the 
opposite side of the channel, of those two or three hundred thousand 
bales, they are transported to the northern States, can that be injuri- 
ous to the cotton grower ? Is it not better for him ? Is it not better 
to have a niarket at home, unafiected by war or other foreign causes, 
lor that amoimt of his staple ? 

If the establishment of American manufactures, therefore, had the 
sole effect of creating a new and an American demand for cotton, ex- 
actly to the same extent in which it lessened the British demand, there 
would be no just cause of complaint against the tariff. The gain in 
one place would precisely equal the loss in the other. But the true 
state of the matter is much more favorable to the cotton grower. It 
is calculated that the cotton manufactories of the United States absorb 
at least two hundred thousand bales of cotton annually. I believe it to 
be more. The two ports of Boston and Providence alone received dur- 
ii^ the last year, near one hundred and ten thousand bales. The amount 
it annually increasing. The raw material of that two hundred thousand 
bales is worth six millions, and there is an additional value conferred 
by the manu&cturer of eighteen millions ; it being generally calculated 
that, m such cotton fabrics as we are in the habit of making, the manu < 
&cture constitutes three-fourths of the value of the article. If, there- 
fore, these twenty-four millions worth of cotton fabrics were not made 
in the United States, but were manufactured in Great Britain, in or- 
der to obtain them, we should have to add to the already enormous 
disproportion between the amount of our imports and exports^ in the 


trade with Great Britain, the further sum of twenty-four millions, or 
deducting the price of the raw material, eighteen millions ! And will 
gentlemen tell me how it would be possible for this country to sustain 
such a ruinous trade ? From all that portion of the United States 
lying North and East of James River, and West of the mountains, 
Grreat Britain receives comparatively nothing. How would it be 
possible for the inhabitants of that largest portion of our territory, to 
supply themselves with cotton fabrics, if they were brought from 
England exclusively ? They could not do it. But for the existence 
of the American manufacture, they would be compelled greatly to 
curtail their supplies, if not absolutely to suffer in their comforts. 
By its existence at home, the circle of those exchanges is created 
which reciprocally diffuses among all who arc embraced within it the 
productions of their respective industry. The cotton-grower sells 
the raw material to the manufacturer ; he buys the iron, the bread, 
the meal, the coal, and the countless number of objects of his con- 
sumption from his fellow-citizens, and they in turn purchase his 
fabrics. Putting it upon the ground merely of supplying those with 
necessary articles who could not otherwise obtain them, ought there 
to be from any quarter, an objection to the only system by which that 
object can be accomplished ? But can there be any doubt, with those 
who will reflect, that the actual amount of cotton consumed is in- 
creased by the home manufacture ? The main argument of gentle- 
men is founded upon the idea of mutual ability resulting from mutual 
exchanges. They would furnish an ability to foreign nations by pur- 
chasing from them, and I to our own people, by exchanges at home. 
If the American mauufacture were discontinued, and that of England 
were to take it^j place, how would she sell the additional quantity of 
twenty-four millions of cotton goods, which we now make ? To us ? 
That has been shown to be impracticable. To other foreign nations ? 
She has already pushed her supplies to them to the utmost extent 
The ultimate consequence would then be, to diminish the total con- 
sumption of cotton, to say nothing now of the reductio;) of price that 
would take place by throwing into the ports of Great Britain the two 
hundred thousand bales, which no longer being manufactured in the 
United States would go thither. 

That the import duty is equiyalent to an export duty, and falls on 
the producer of cotton. 


[Here General Hajne explained, and said that he never contended that an import 
doty was equivalent to an export duty, under all circumstances ; he had explained 
in tiis speech his ideas of the precise operation of (he existing syslvm. To which 
Mr. Clay replied, that he had seen the argument so stated in some of the ingenious 
essays from the South Carolina press, and would therefore answer it.] 

The framers of our Constitution, by granting the power to Con- 
gress to lay imports, and prohibiting that of laying an export duty, 
manifested that they did not regard them as equivalent. Nor does 
the common sense of mankind. An export duty fastens upon, and 
incorporates itself with, the article on which it is laid. The article 
cannot escape from it — it pursues and follows it, wherever the article 
goes ; and if, in the foreign market, the supply is above or just equal 
to the demand, the amount of the export duty will be a clear deduc- 
tion to the exporter from the price of the article. But an import du- 
ty on a foreign article leaves the exporter of the domestic article free, 
1st, to, import specie ; 2dly, goods which are free from the protect- 
ing duty ; or, 3dly, such goods as being chargeable with the protect- 
ing duty, he can sell at home, and throw the duty on the consumer. 

But, it is confidently argued that the import duty falls upon the grow- 
er of cotton ; and the case has been put in debate, and again and again 
in conversation, of the South Carolina planter, who exports one hun- 
dred bales of cotton to Liverpool, exchanges them for one hundred 
bales of merchandise, and, when he brings them home, l)eing compelled 
to leave, at the custom-house, forty bales in the form of duties. The 
argument is founded on the assumption that a duty of forty per cent, 
amounts to a subtraction of forty from the one hundred bales of mer- 
chandise. The first objection to it is, that it supposes a case of barter, 
which never occurs. If it be replied, that it nevertheless oc-curs in the 
operations of commerce, the answer would be that, since the export 
of Carolina cotton is chiefly made by New York or foreign merchants, 
the loss stated, if it really accrued, would fall upon them, and not upon 
the planter. But, to test the correctness of the hypothetical case, let us 
suppose that the duty, instead of forty per cent., should be one hundred 
and fifly, which is asserted to be the duty in some cases. Then, the 
planter would not only lose the whole hundred bales of merchandise, 
which he had gotten for his hundred bales of cotton, but he would 
have to purchase, with other means, an additional fifty bales, in order 
to enable him to pay the duties accruing on the proceeds of the cot- 
ton. Another answer iS| that if the producer of cotton in Americai 


exchanged against English fabrics pays the duty, the producer of 
those fiaibrics also pays it, and then it is twice paid. Such must be 
the consequence, unless the principle is true on one side of the Atlan- 
tic, and false on the other. The true answer is, that the exporter of 
an article, if he invests its proceeds in a foreign market, takes care to 
make the investment in such merchandise, as when brought home, 
he can sell with a fair profit ; and, consequently, the consumer would 
pay the original cost, and charges and profit. 

3. The next objection to the American System is, that it subjects 
South Carolina to the payment of an undue proportion of the public 
revenue. The basis of this objection is the assumption, shown to 
have been erroneous, that the producer of the exports from this coun- 
try pays the duty on its imports, instead of the consumer of those 
imports. The amount which South Carolina really contributes to 
the public revenue, no more than that of any other State, can be pre- 
cisely ascertained. It depends upon her consumption of articles pay- 
ing duties, and we may make an approximation sufficient for all prac- 
tical purposes. The cotton planters of the valley of the Mississippi 
with whom I am acquainted, generally expend about one-third of 
their income in the support of their families and plantations. On this 
subject I hold in my hands a statement from a friend of mine, of great 
accuracy, and a member of the Senate. According to this statement, 
in a crop of ten thousand dollars, the expenses may fluctuate between 
two thousand eight hundred dollars and three thousand two hundred 
dollars. Of this sum, about one-fourth, from seven to eight hundred 
dollars, may be laid out in articles paying the protecting duty ; the 
residue is disbursed for provisions, mules, horses, oxen, wages of 
overseer, kjz. Estimating the exports of South Carolina at eight 
millions, one-third is two millions six hundred and sixty>six thousand 
six hundred and sixty-six dollars ; of which one-fourth will be six 
hundred and sixty-six thousand six hundred and sixty-six and two- 
thirds dollars. Now supposing the protecting duty to be fifty per 
cent., and that it all enters into the price of the article, the amount 
paid by South Carolina would only be three hundred and thirty-three 
thousand three hundred and thirty-three and one third dollars. But 
the total revenue of the United States may be stated at twenty-five 
millions, of which the proportion of South Carolina, whatever stand- 
ard, whether of wealth or population, be adopted, would be about 
one milKon. Of oourse, on this view of the subject, she actually 


pays only about one-third of her fair and legitimate share. I repeat, 
that I have no jx^rsonal knowledge of the habits of actual expenditure 
in South Carolina ; they may be greater than I have slated, in re^ 
spect to other parts of the cotton country ; but if they are, that fact 
does not arise from any defect in the system of public policy. 

4. An abandonment of the American System, it is urged, would 
Iciidto an addition to our exports of one hundred and fifty millions of 
dollars. The amount of one hundred and fifty millions of cotton in 
the raw state, would produce four hundred and fifty millions in the 
manufactured state, supposing no greater measure of value to be com* 
municated, in the manufactured form, thau that which our industry 
imparts. Now sir, where would markets be found for this vast ad« 
dition to the supply ? Not in the United States, certainly, nor in 
any other quarter of the globe, England having already everywhere 
pressed her cotton manufactures to the utmost point of repletion. We 
must look out for new worlds ; bcek for new and unknown races of 
mortals to consume this immense increase of cotton fabrics. 

(General Hayne said (hat he did not mean that the incroa.^c of one hundred and 
flfly millioDs to the amoant of our exports would be of cotton alone, but of other 

What other articles ? Agricultural produce — bread studs, beef and 
pork ? &c. Where shall we find markets for them r Wiither shall we 
go ? To what country whose ports are^not hermetically sealed against 
their admission ? Break down the home market and you are without 
resource ? Destroy all other interests in the country for the imagina- 
ry purpose of advancing the cotton planting interest, and you inflict a 
positive injury, without the smallest practical benefit to the cotton 
planter. Could Charleston^ or the whole South, when all other mur« 
kets are prostrated, or shut against the reception of the surplus of our 
iiurmers, receive that surplus r W^ould they buy more than they 
might want for their own consumption ? Could they find markets 
which other parts of the Union could not r Would gentlemen /orce 
the freemen of all north of James river, east and west, like the mia* 
erable slave, on the Sabbath day, to repair to Charleston, with a tur* 
key under his arm, or a pack upon his back, and beg the clerk of 
some English or Scotch merchant, living in his gorgeous palace, or 
rolling in his splendid coach in the streets, to exchange his " truck** 
fcii( a hit of fltt^el tjo cover his naked wife and children! No! lam 



tore that I do no more than justice to their hearts, when I belierr 
that they would reject, what I believe to be the inevitable effecti 
of their policy. 

5. But it is contended, in the last place, that the South cannot, 
from physical and other causes, engage in the manufacturing arts. 1 
deny the premises, and I deny the conclusion. I deny the fact of in- 
ability, and, if it existed, I deny the conclusion, that we must, there- 
fore, break down our manufactures, and nourish those of foreign coun 
tries. The South possesses, in an extraordinary degree, two of th# 
most important elements of manufacturing industry — water-power 
and labor. The former gives to our whole country a most decided 
advantage over Great Britain. But a single experiment, stated by 
the gentleman from South Carolina, in wich a faithless slave put th<» 
torch to a manufncturing establishment, has discouraged similar en- 
terprises. We have in Kentucky the same description of population, 
and we employ them, and almost exclusively them, in many of our' 
hemp manufactories. A neighbor of mine, one of our most opulent 
and respectable citizens, has had one, two, if not three, manufactories 
burnt by incendiaries ; but he persevered, and his perseverance haa 
been rewarded with wealth. We found that it was less expensive to 
keep night watches than to pay premiums for insurance, and we em 
ployed them. 

Let it be supposed, however, that the South cannot manufacture , 
must those parts of the Union which can, be, therefore, prevented ? 
Must we support those of foreign countries .' I am sure that injustice 
would be done to the generous and patriotic nature of South Caroli- 
na, if it were believed that she envied or repined at the success of 
other poitions of the Union in branches of industry to which she 
might happen not to be adapted. Throughout her whole career she 
has been liberal, national, high-minded. 

The friends of the American System have been reminded by the 
honorable gentleman from Maryland, (General Smith,) that they are 
the majority, and he has admonished them to exercise their power in 
moderation. The majority ought never to trample npon the feelings, 
or violate the just rights of the minority. They ought never to tri* 
iUnpo over the fidien, nor to make any but a temperate and equitable 
liie of their power. Bat these connsds come with an ill grace from 


the gentlemftn firom Maryland. He, too, is a member of a majority-— 
« political majority. And how has the administration of that major- 
ity exercised their power in this country ? Recall to your recollee- 
tiou the 4th of March, 1829, when the lank, lean, famished forms, 
from fen and forest, and the firar quarters of the Union, gathered to- 
gether in the halls of patronage ; or stealing by evening's twi light 
into the apartments of the President's mansion, cried out, with ghMt- 
ly faces, and in sepulchral tones, ^^ Give us bread ! give us treasury 
pap ! give us our reward !" England^ bard was mistaken ; ghosts 
will fiometiincs come, called or uncalled. Go to the families who 
were driven from the employments on which they were dependcmt 
ibr subsistence, in consequence of their exercise of the dearest right 
of freemen. Go to mothers, while hogging to their bosoms their 
starving children. Go to fathers, who, after being disqualified by 
long public service for any other business, were stripped of their hnm- 
ble places, and then sought, by the minions of authority, to be stripped 
of 'all that was left them — their good names — and ask, what mercy 
was shown to them ! As for myself, born in the midst of the revolu- 
tion, the first air that I ever breathed on my native soil of Virginia, 
having been that of liberty and independence, I never expected jus- 
tice, nor desired mercy at their hands ; and scorn the wrath and dvfy 
the oppression of power. 

1 regret, Mr. President, tnat one topic has, I think, unnecessarily 
been introduced' into this debate. I allude to the charge brought 
against the manufacturing system, as favoring the growth of aristoc- 
racy. If it were true, would gentlemen prefer supporting foreign 
aecumulations of wealth, by that description of industry, rather than 
in their own country ? But is it correct ? The joint stock companies 
of the north, as i understand them, are nothing more than associa- 
tions, sometimes of hundreds, by means of which the small earnings 
of many are brought into a common stock, and- the associates, ob- 
taining corporate privileges, are enabled to prosecute, under one su- 
perintending bead, their business to better udvantage. Nothing can 
be more essentially democratic or better devised to counterpoise the 
influence of individual wealth. In Kentucky, almost every manufac* 
toiy kBOwn to me, is in the hands of enterprising and self-made men, 
who have acquired whatever wealth they possess by patient and dil- 
%aDt labor. Comparisons are odious, and but in defence, would not 
beauide bfie^ Qui is there more tendency to aristocracy in a miu^ 



xdactOTY supporting hundreds of freemen, or in a cotton plantation, 
with its not less numerous slaves, sustaining perhaps only two white 
fiunilies — that of the master and the overseer ? 

I pass, with pleasure, from this disagreeable topic, to two general 
propositions which cover the entire ground of debate. The first is, 
that under the operation of the American System, the objects which 
it protects and fosters are brought to the consumer at cheaper prices 
than they commanded prior to its introduction, or, than they would 
command if it did not exist. If that be true, ought not the countr> 
to be contented and satisfied with the system, unless the second pro- 
position, which I mean presently also to consider, is unfounded ? And 
that is, that the tendency of- the system is to sustain, and that it ha5 
upheld the prices of all our agricultural and other produce, including 

And is the fact not indisputable, that all essential objects of con- 
sumption affected by the tariff, are cheaper and better since the act of 
1S24, than they were for several years prior to that law ? I appeal 
for its truth to common observation and to all practical men. I appeal 
to the farmer of the country, whether he does not purchase on belter 
terms his iron, salt, brown sugar, cotton* goods, and woollens, for his 
laboring people ? And I ask the cotton planter if he has not been 
better and more cheaply supplied with his cotton bagging ? In re- 
gard to this latter article, the gentleman from South Carolina was 
mistaken in supposing that I complained that, under the existing duty 
the Kentucky manufacturer could not compete with the Scotch. The 
Kentuckian furnishes a more substantial and a cheaper article, and at 
a more uniform and regular price. But it wa.s the frauds, the viola- 
tions of law of which I did complain ; not smuggling, in the common 
sense of that practice, which has something bold, daring, and enter- 
prising in it, but mean, barefaced cheating, by fraudulent invoices and 
fidse denomination. 

I plant myself upon this fact, of cheapness and superiority, as upon 
impregnable ground, txentlemen may tax their ingenuity and pro- 
duce a thousand speculatire solutions of the fact, but the fact itself 
will remain undisturbed. Let us look into some particulars. The 
total consumption of bar iron in the United States is supposed to be 
about 146,000 tons, of which 1 12,866 tons are made within the oonn- 
trjf and the reridoe imported. The nomber of men employed in the 


Bumfacture is estimated at 29^254, and the total number of persona 
•ubsisted by it, at 146,273. The measure of protection extended to 
this necessary article, was never fully adequate until the passage of 
the act of 1828 ; and what has been the consequence ? The annual 
increase of quantity, since that period, has been in a ratio of near 
twenty-five per cent., and the wholesale price of bar iron in the 
northern cities was, in 1828, $105 per ton, in 1829, $100, in 1830 
$90, and in 1831, from $85 to $75— constantly diminishing. We 
import very little English iron, and that which we do, is very inferior, 
and only adapted to a few purposes. In instituting a comparison be« 
tween that inferior article and our superior iron, subjects entirely dif- 
ferent are compared. They ar6 nuule by different processes. The 
English cannot make iron of equal quality to ours, at a less price than 
we do. They have three classes, best-best, and best and ordinary. 
It is the latter which is imported. Of the whole amount imported, 
there is only about 4,000 tons of foreign iron that pays the high duty, 
the residue paying only a duty of about thirty per cent., estimated oq 
the pricey of the importation of 1829. Our iron ore is superior to 
that of Great Britain, yielding often from sixty to eighty per cent., 
while theirs produces only about twenty-five. This fact is so well 
known, that I have heard of recent exportations of iron ore to Eng- 

It has been alleged, that bar iron, being a raw material, ought to be 
admitted free, or with low duties, for the sake of the jnanufacturers 
themselves. But I take this to be the true principle, that if our coun- 
try is producing a raw material of prime necessity, and with reason- 
able protection, can produce it in sufficient quantity to supply our 
wants, that raw material ought to be protected, although it may be 
proper to protect the article also out of which it is manufactured. 
The tailor will ask protection for himself, but wishes it denied to the 
grower of wool and' the manufacturer of broadcloth. The cotton 
planter enjoys protection for the raw material, but does not desire it 
to be extended to the cotton manufacturer. The ship builder will 
mik protection for navigation, but does not wish it extended to the 
essential articles which enter into the construction of his ship. Each 
in his proper vocation solicits protection, but would have it denied to 
all other interests which are supposed to come into collision with his. 

Mow the duty of the statesman is, to elevate himself above these 


petty conflicts ; calmly to survey all the tbtioos interests, and delib- 
erately to proportion the measures of protection to each, according to 
its nature and to the general wants of society. It is quite possible 
that, in the degree of protection which has been afibrdod to the va- 
rious workers in iron, there maybe some error committed, although I 
have lately read an argument of much ability, proving that no injustice 
has really been done to them. If there be, it ought to be remedied. 

The next article to which I would call the attention of the Senate, 
is that of cotton fabrics. The success of our manufacture of coarse 
cottons is generally admitted. It is demonstrated by the fact that 
they meet the cotton fabrics of other countries, in foreign markets, 
and maintain a successful competition with them. There has been 
a gradual increase of the exports of this article, which is sei)t to 
Mexico and the South American Republics, to the Mediterranean, and 
even to Asia. The remarkable feet was lately communicated to'me, 
that the same individual, who twenty-five years ajro was engaged fn 
the importation of cotton cloth from Asia for American consumption, 
is now engaged in the exportation of coarse American cottons to As^a, 
for Asiatic consumption ! And my honorable friend from Massachu- 
setts, now in my eye, (Mr. Silsbee,) informed mc that on his depart- 
ure from home, among the last orders which he gave, one was for the 
exportation of coarse cottons to Sumatra, in the vicinity of Calcutta ! 
I hold in my hfind a statement, derived from the most authentic source, 
showing that the identical description of cotton cloth, which sold in 
1817, at twenty-nine cents per yard, was sold in ISIO at twent^'-one 
cents, in 1821 at nineteen and a half cents, in 1^23 at seventeen cents, 
in 1S25 at fourteejfi and a half cents, in 1827 at thirteen cents, in 1829 
at nine cents, in 1830 at nine and a half cents, and in 1831 at from 
ten and a half to eleven. Such is the wonderful effect of protection^ 
competition, and improvement in skill, combined ! The year 1S29 was 
one of some suffering to this branch of industry, probably owing to the 
principle of competition being pushed too for. Hence we observe a 
small rise in the article of the next two years. The introduction of 
calico printing into the United States, constitutes an important era in 
oar manufacturing industr}^ It commenced about the year 1S25, and 
has since made such astonishing advances, that the whole quantity 
now annually printed is but little short of forty millions of j-ards — 
about two-thirds of our whole consumption. It is a beautiful manu- 
ftctnre, combining great mechanical skill with scientific discovcrict 


IV DKnmcs OF the amkeican system. 43 

in chemistry. The engraved cyliDders for making the impression 
require much taste, and put in requisition the genius of the fine arte 
of design and engraving. Are the fine graceful forms of our fair 
countrywomen less lovely vrhen enveloped in the chintses and cali- 
coes produced hy native industry, than when clothed in the tinsel of 
of foreign drapery ? 

Gentlemen are no doubt surprised at these fiBicts. They should 
not underrate the energies, the enterprise, and the skill of our fellow- 
citizens. I have no doubt they are every way competent to accom- 
plish whatever can be efiected by any other people, if encouraged 
and protected by the fostering care of our own government. Will 
gentlemen believe the fact, which I am authorised now to state, that 
the United States, at this time, manufacture one-half the quantity of 
cotton which Great Britain did in 1816 ! We possess three great 
advantages; 1st. The raw material. 2d. Water power instead of 
that of steam, generally used in England. And 3d. The cheaper 
labor of females. In England, males spin with the mule and weave ; 
in this country women and girls spin with the throstle, and superin- 
tend the power loom. And can there be any employment more ap- 
IHTopriate ? AVho has not been delighted with contemplating the 
clock-work regularity of a large cotton manufactory ? I have often 
visited them at Cincinnati and other places, and always with increas- 
ed admiration. The women, separated firom the other sex, work in 
apartments, large, airy, well warmed and spacious. Neatly dressed, 
with rudy complexions, and happy countenances, they watch the 
work before them, mend the broken threads, and replace the exhaust- 
ed balls or broaches. At stated hours they are called to their meals, 
and go and return with light and cheerful step. At night they sepa- 
rate, and repair to their respective houses, under the care of a mother, 
guardian cr friend. '^ Six days shalt thou labor and do all that thou 
hast to do, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Ix>rd thy God.'' 
Accordingly, we behold them, on that sacred day, assembled together 
in His Temples, and in devotional attitudes and with pious counte* 
nances ofiering their prayers to Heaven for all its blessings, of which 
it is not the least that a system rf policy has been adopted by their 
country, which admits of their obtaining a comfortable subsistence. 
Manufactures have brought into profitable employment a vast 
amount of female labor, which, without them, would be lost to the 


In respect to woollens, every gentleman's own observation and ex* 
perience will enable him to judge of the great reduction of price 
which has taken place in, most of these articles, since the tariff of 
1824. It would have been still greater, but for the high duty on the 
raw material, imposed for the particular benefit of the farming interest. 
But, without going into particular details, I shall limit myself to in^ 
viting the attention of the Senate to a single article of general and 
necessary use. The protection given to flannels in 1828 was folly 
adequate. It has enabled the American manufacturer to obtain com- 
plete possession of the American market ; and now, let us look at the 
effect. I have before me a statement from a highly respectable mer^ 
cantile house, showing the price of four descriptions of flannel, during 
six years. The average price of them, in 1826, was thirty-eight and 
three quarter cents ; in 1827, thirty-eight ; in 1828, (the year of the 
tariff,) forty-six ; in 1829, thirty-six ; in 1830, (notwithstanding the 
advance in the price of wool) thirty-two; and in 1831, thirty-two 
and one-quarter. These facts require no comments. I have be- 
fore mc another statement of a practical and respectable man, well 
versed in the flannel manufacture in America and England, demon- 
strating that the cost of manufacture is precisely the same in both 
countries ; and that, although a yard of flannel which woul dsell in 
England at 15 cents, would command here twenty-two, the difier- 
ence of seven cents is the exact difference between the duties in the 
two countries, which are paid on the six ounces of wool contained in 
a yard of flannel. 

Brown sugar, during ten years, from 1792 to 1802, with a duty of 
one and a half cents per pound, averaged fourteen cents per pound. 
The same article, during ten years, from 1820 to 1830, with a duty 
of three cents, has averaged only eight cents per pound. Nails, with 
a duty of five cents per pound, are selling at six cents. Window 
glass, eight by ten, prior to the tariff of 1824, sold at twelve or thir- 
teen dollars per hundred feet ; it now sells for three dollars seventy- 
five cents. 

The gentleman from South Carolina, sensible of the incontestible 
fact of the very great reduction in the price of the necessaries of life^ 
protected by the American System has felt the full force of it, and 
has presented various explanations of the causes to which he ascribes 
it. The first is the diminished production of the precious metals, in 


^xnupequence of the distreflsed state of the coontries in which they are 
extracted, and the coi^pequent increase of their value relative to that 
of the commodities for which they are exchanged. But, if thb be 
the true cause of the reduction of price, its operation ought to have 
been general, on all objects, and of course upon cotton among the 
rest. And, in point of fact, the diminished price of that staple is not 
greater than the diminution of the value of other staples of our agri- 
culture. Flour, which commanded some years ago, ten or twelve 
dollars per barrel, is now sold for five. The fall of tobacco has been 
still more. The kite-foot of Maryland, which sold at from sixteen 
to twenty dollars per hundred, now produces only four or five. That 
of Virginia has sustained an equal decline. Beef, pork, every article 
almost, produced by the farmer, has decreased in value. Ought not 
South Carolina then to submit quietly to a state of things, which is 
general, and proceeds from an uncontrolabie cause ? Ought she to 
ascribe to the ^^ accursed'' tariff what results from the calamities of 
civil and foreign war, raging in many countries ? 

Bat, sir, I do not subscribe to this doctrine implicitly. I do not 
believe that the diminished production of the precious metals, if that 
be the factj satisficustorily accounts for the fall in prices : For I think 
that the augmentation of the currency of the world, by means of 
banks, public stocks and other facilities arising out of exchange and 
credit, has more than supplied any deficiency in the amount of the 
precious metals. 

It is fiirther urged that the restoration of peace in Europe, after the 
battle of Waterloo, and the consequent return to peaceful pursuits of 
large masses of its population, by greatly increasing the aggregate 
amount of effective labor, had a tendency to lower prices ; and un- 
doubtedly such ought to have been its natural tendency. The same 
cause, however, must also have operated to reduce the price of our 
agricultural produce, for which there was no longer the same demand 
in peace as in war — and it did so operate. But its influence on the 
price of manufactured articles, between the general peace of Europe 
in 1815, and the adoption of our tariff in 1824, was less sensibly felt, 
because, perhaps, a much larger portion of the labor, liberated by the 
dtsbandment of armies, was absorbed by manufactures than by agri* 
culture. It is also contended that the invention and improvement of 
labor isving machinery have tended to lessen the prices. of manufiic* 


tared objects of consumption ; and onqoubtedly this cause has bad 
some eflfect. Ought not America to contribute her quota of tiiis cause, 
and has she not, by her skill and extraordinary adaptation to the arts, 
in truth, largely contributed to it ? 

This brings me to consider what I apprehend to iiave been the 
most efficient of all the causes in the reduction of the prices of manu« 
factured articles — and that is competition. By competition, the to- 
tal amount of the supply is increased, and by increase of the supply, 
a competition in the sale ensues, and this enables the consumer to 
buy at lower rates. Of all human powers operating on the afiairs 
of mankind, none is greater than that of competition. It is action 
and re-action. It operates between individuals in the same nation, 
and between different nations. It resembles the meeting of the moun- 
tain torrent, grooving by its pvficipitous motion, its own channel, and 
ocean ^s tide. Unopposed, it sweeps every thing before it ; but, coun- 
terpoised, the waters become calm, safe and regular. It is like the 
segments of a circle or an arch ; taken separately, each is nothing ; 
but in their combination they produce efficiency, symmetry, and per- 
fection. By the American System this vast power has been excited 
in America, and brought into being to act in co-operation or collision 
with European industry. Europe acts within itself, and with Ame- 
rica ; and America acts within itself, and with Europe. The conse- 
quence is, the reduction of prices in both hemispheres. Nor is it fair 
to argue from the reduction of prices in Europe, to her own presum- 
ed skill and labor, exclusively. We aflbct her prices, and she affects 
ours. This must always be the case, at least in reference to any ar- 
ticles as to which there is not a total non-intercourse ; and if our in- 
dustry, by diminishing the demand for her supplies, should produce 
a diminution in the price of those supplies, it would be very unfair to 
ascribe that deduction to her ingenuity, instead of placing it to the 
credit of our own skill and excited industry. 

Practical men understand very well this state of the case, whether 
they do or do not comprehend the causes which produce it. I have 
in my possession a letter from a respectable merchant, well known to 
me, in which he says, after complaining of the operation of the tariff 
of 1828, on the articles to which it applies, some of which he had 
imported, and that his purchases having been made in England, be- 
fore the passage of that tariff was known, it produced such an effect 


vpon the EDglUh tnaiket, that the articles could not be re-«old with- 
out loss, he adds : ^* for it really appears that, when additional duties 
are laid upon an article^ it then becomes htcer instead of higher. ^^ 
This would not probably happen^ where the supply of the foreign 
article did not exceed the hoine demand, unless upon the supposition 
of the increased duty having excited or ttimulated the measure of the 
home production. 

The great law o^ price is determined by supply and demand. What- 
ever affects either, a^cts the price. If the supply is increased, the 
demand remaining the same, the price declines ; if the demand is in- 
creased, the supply remainiog the same, the price advances ; if both 
supply and demand are undiminished, the price is stationary, and the 
price is influenced exactly in proportion to the degree of disturbance 
to the demand or supply. It is therefore a great error to suppo.<ie 
that an existing or new duty necessarily, becomes a component ele- 
ment to its exact amount of price. If the proportions of demand 
and supply are varied by the duty, either in augmenting the supply, 
or diminishing the demand, or vice versa, price is aflected to the ex* 
tent of that variation. But the duty never becomes an integral part 
of the price, except in the instances where the demand and the sup- 
ply remain after the duty is imposed, precisely what they were before, 
or the demand is increased, and the supply remains stationary. 

Competition, therefore, wherever existing, whether at home or 
abroad, is the parent cause of cheapness. If a high duty excites pro- 
duction at home, and the quantity of the domestic article exceeds 
the amount which had been previously imported the price will fall. 
This accounts for an extraordinary feict stated by a Senator from 
Missouri. Three conts were laid as a duty upon a pound of lead, 
by the act of 18;^8. The price at Galena, and the other lead mines, 
afterwards fell to one and a half cents per pound. Now it is obvious 
that the duty did not, in this case, enter into the price : for it was 
twiee the amount of the price. What produced the fall ? It was 
#ftmii/a/e(i production at home, excited by the temptation of the ex- 
clusive possession of the home market. This state of things could 
aot last. Men would not continue an unprofitable pursuit ; some 
abandoned the business, or the total quantity produced was diminish- 
ed, and living prices have been the consequence. But, break down 
the domestic supply, fdaoe us again in a state of dependence on the 


fiyreign source, and can it be doabted that we should ultimately have 
to supply ourselves at dearer rates ? It is not iair to credit the for* 
eign market with the depression of prices produced there by the io- 
flaence of our competition. Let the competition be withdrawn, and 
their prices would instantly rise. On this subject, great mistakes are 
committed. I have seen some most erroneous reasoning in a late 
report of Mr. Lee, of the Free Trade Convention in regard to the ar- 
ticle of sugar. He calculates the total amount of brown sugar pro- 
duced in the world, and tlien states, that what is made in Louisiana 
is not more than two and a half per cent, of that total. Althoi^h 
his data may be questioned, let us assume their truth, and what might 
be the result ? Price being determined by the proportions of sup- 
ply and demand, it is evident that when the supply exceeds the de- 
mand, the price will fall. And the fall is not always regulated by 
the amount of that excess. If the market at a given price, required 
five or fifty millions of hogsheads of sugar, a surplus of only a few 
hundred* might materially influence the price, and diffuse itself 
throughout the whole mass. Add, therefore, the eighty or one huiH 
dred thousand hoghsheads of Louisiana sugar to the entire mass 
produced in other parts of the world, and it cannot be doubted that 
a material reduction of the price of the article throughout Europe 
and America, would take place. The Louisiana sugar substituting 
foreign sugar in the home market, to the amount of its annual pro- 
duce, would force an equal amount of foreign sugar into other mar- 
kets, which being glutted, the price would necessarily decline, and 
this decline of price would press portions of the foreign sugar into 
competition in the United States, with Louisiana sugar, the price of 
which would also be brought down. The fact has been in exact con- 
formity with this theory. But now let us suppose the Louisiana su- 
gar to be entirely withdrawn from the general consumption — what 
then would happen } A new demand would be created in America 
for foreign sugar, to the extent of the eighty or one hundred thoQ- 
■and hogsheads made in Louisiana ; a less amount by that quantity^ 
would be sent to the European markets, and the price would conse- 
quently everywhere rise. It is not, therefore, those who, by keep- 
ing on duties, keep down prices, that tax the people, but those who, 
by repealing duties, would raise prices, that really impose burthena 
upon the people. 

But, it if argued that if, by the fkill, experience, and p^feetion 


which we have acquired in certain branches of manufacture, they 
can be made as cheap as similar articles abroad, and enter fairly into 
competition with them, why not repeal the duties as to those articles? 
And why should we ? Assuming the truth of the supposition the 
foreign article would not be introduced in the regular course of trade, 
but would remain excluded by the possession of the home market, 
which the domestic article had obtained. The repeal, therefore, 
would have no legitimate effect. But might not the foreign article 
be imported in vast quantities, to glut our markets, break down our 
establishments, and ultimately to enable the foreigner to monopolize 
^l|e supply of our consumption? America is the greatest foreign 
market for European manufactures. It is that to which European 
attention is constantly directed. If a great house becomes bankruj;^ 
there, its store-houses are emptied, and the goods are shipped to 
America, where, in consequence of our auctions, and our custom* 
house credits, the greatest facilities are afforded in the sale of them. 
Combinations among manufacturers might take place, or even the 
operations of foreign governments might be directed to the destruc- 
tion of our establishments. A repeal, therefore, of one protecting 
duty, from some one or all of these causes, would be followed by 
flooding the country with the foreign fabric, surcharging the market, 
reducing the price, and a complete prostration of our manufactories ; 
after which the foreigner would leisurely look about to indemnify him- 
self in the increased prices which he would be enabled to command 
by his monopoly of the supply of our consumption. What American 
citizen, afier the government had displayed this vascillating policy, 
would be again tempted to place the smallest confidence in the public 
fiuthi and adventure once more in this branch of industry ? 

Gentlemen have allowed to the manufacturing portions of the 
community no peace ; they have been constantly threatened with the 
overthrow of the American System. From the year 1820, if not from 
1816, down to this time, they have been held in a condition of con- 
stant alarm and insecurity. Nothing is more prejudicial to the great 
interests of a nation than imsettled and varying policy. Although 
every appeal to the national legislature has been responded to in con* 
formity with the wishes and sentiments of the great majority of the 
people, measures of protection have only been carried by such small 
majorities as to excite hopes on the one hand, and fears on the other. 
Let the country breathe, let its vast resources be developed, let its 


energies be fully put forth, let it have tranquillity, and my word for 
it, (he degree of perfection in the arts which it will exhibit, wUl be 
greater than that which has been presented, astonishing as our pro- 
gress has been. Although some branches of our manufactures might, 
and in foreign markets now do, fearlessly contend with similar foreign 
fabrics, there are many others yet in their infancy, struggling with 
the difficulties which encompass them. We should look at the whole 
system, and recollect that time, when we contemplate the great 
movements of a nation, is very ditferent from the short period which 
is allotted for the duration of individual life. The honorable gentle- 
man from South Carolina well and eloquently said, in 1S24, ** No 
great interest of any country ever yet grew up in a day ; no new 
branch of industry can become firmly and profitably established but 
in a long course of years ; every thing, indeed, great or good, is ma- 
tured by slow degrees : that which attains a speedy maturity is of 
small value, and is destined to a brief existence. It is the order of 
Providence, that powers gradually developed, shall alone attain per- 
manency and perfection. Thus must it be with our national institu- 
tions, and national character itself. '' 

I feel roost sensibly, Mr. President, how much I have trespassed 
upon the Senate. My apology is a deep and deliberate conviction, 
that the great cause under debate involves the prosperity and the 
destiny of the Union. But the best requital I can make, for the 
friendly indulgence which has been extended to me by the Senate, 
and for which I shall ever retain sentiments of lasting gratitude, is 
to proceed with as little delay as practicable, to the conclusion of a 
discourse which has not been more tedious to the Senate than ex- 
hausting to me. I have now to consider the remaining of the two 
propositions which I have already announced. That is : 

Secondly. That under the operation of the American System, the 
products of our agriculture command a higher price than they would 
do. without it, by the creation of a home market ; and by the aug- 
mentation of wealth produced by manufacturing industry, which en- 
larges our powers of consumption both of domestic and foreign arti- 
cles. The importance of the home market is among the establidied 
maxims which are universally recognised by all writers and all men. 
However some may difier as to the relative advantages of the foreigi. 
ttid the bome market, ndnd deny to the latter great value and Ul|^ 


oonaideration. It is nearer to us ; beyond the control of foreign legis- 
lation ; and undisturbed by those vicissitudes to which all internation- 
al intercourse is more or less exposed. The most stupid are sensible 
of the benefit of a residence in the vicinity of a large manufactory, or 
of a market town, of a good road, or of a navigable stream, which 
connects their farms with some great capital. If the pursuits of all 
men were perfectly the same, although they would be in possession 
of the greatest abundance of the particular produce of their industry, 
they might, at the same time, be in extreme want of other necessary 
articles of human subsistence. The uniformity of the general occu- 
pation would preclude all exchanges, all commerce. It is only in the 
diversity of the vocations of the members of a community that the 
means can be found for those salutary exchanges which conduce to 
the general prosperity . Anc^the greater that diversity, the more ex- 
tensive and the more animating is the circle of exchange. Even if 
foreign markets were freely and widely open to the reception of our 
agricultural produce, from its bulky nature, and the distance of the 
interior, and the dangers of the ocean, large portions of it could never 
profitably reach the foreign market. But let us quit this field of the- 
ory, clear as it is, and look at the practical operation of the system of 
protection, beginning with the most valuable staple of our agriculture. 

In considering this staple, the first circumstance that excites our 
surprise, is the rapidity with which the amount of it has annually in- 
creased. Does not this fact, however, demonstrate that the cultiva- 
tion of it could not haye been so very unprofitable ! If the business 
were ruinous, would more and more have annually engaged in it ? 
The quantity in 1816, was eighty-one millions of pounds ; in 1826, 
two hundred and four millions ; and in 1S30, near three hundred 
millions ! The ground of greatest surprise is, that it has been able to 
sustain even its present price with such an enormous augmentation of 
quantity. It could not have been done but for the combined opera- 
tion of three causes, by which the consumption of cotton fabrics has 
been greatly extended, in consequence of their reduced prices : 1st. 
competition ; 2d., the improvement of labor-saving machinery ; and 
3dJy.9 the low price of the raw material. The crop of 1619, amount- 
ing to eighty-eight millions of pounds, produced twenty-one millions 
of dollars ; the crop of 1823, when the amount was swelled to one 
himdred and seveniy-^ar millions (almost double that of 1819,) pro 
d«oad a kas Sam Iqf iDoie tfan half a million of dollars ; andthecrop 


of 1824, amounting to thirty millions of pounds less than that of the 
preceding year, produced a million and a half of dollars more. 

If there he any foundation for the established law of price, suppiy, 
and demand, ought not the fact of this great increase of the supply to 
account satisfactorily for the alleged low price of cotton ? Is it neces- 
sary to look beyond that single fact to the tariiF— to the diminished 
prod uc!boitlie mines furnishing the precious metals, or to any other 
cause, for the solution ? This subject is well understood in the South, 
and allliough I cannot approve the practice which has been intro* 
duced of quoting authority, and still less the authority of newspapers, 
for favorite theories, I must ask permission of the Senate to read an 
article from a southern newspaper. 

[Here General Hayne requested Mr. Clay to give the name of the anthority, that 
it might ap()eur whether it was not some other than a southern iwper expressina 
southern sentiments, ^{r. Clay stated that it was from the Charlei^ton City Gazette, 
one, he believed, of the oldest and most respectable prints in that city, although he 
was not sure what might be its sentiments on the question which at present dividei 
the people of South Carolina. The article comprises a full explanatioa of the low 
price of cotton, and assigns to it its true cause— increased production.] 

Let us suppose that the home demand for cotton, which has been 
created by the American System, were to cease, and that the two 
hundred thousand* bales, which the home market now absorbs, were 
thrown into the glutted markets of foreign countries — would not the 
eflect inevitably be to produce a further and great reduction in the 
price of the article } If there be any truth in the facts and principles 
which 1 have before stated and endeavored to illustrate, it cannot be- 
doubted that the existence of American manufactures has tended to 
increase the demand, and extend the consumption of the raw mate- 
rial ; and that, but for this increased demand, the price of the article 
would have fallen, possibly one-half lower than it now is. The error 

* Mr. Clay stated that he assumed the quantity which was generally computed, 
but he believed it moch greater, and subsequent iuformation justifies his belief. It 
aiipears from the report of the cotton Committee appointed by the New York Con- 
vention, that partial returns show a consumption of upwards of two hundred and 
fifty thoosand bales ; that the cotton manufaetnre employs nearly forty thonaand 
females, and about five thousand children ; that the total dependents on it are one 
hundred and thirty one thousand four hundred eighty-nine ; that the annual wagea 
paid are 912,155723 ; the annual value of its products 832,906,(176 ; the capital 
944,914,984 ; the number of milb 796; of spindlee, 1,246,606 ; and of doth made, 
960,46^90 yards. This statement does not oompnhend the wctfani Binuiaetanik 


of the opposite argnment is, in aMiiining one thing, which being de- 
nied, the whole fails; that is, it assumes that the vfhok labor of the 
United States would be profitably employed without manu&ctures. 
Now, the truth is, that the Sjrstem excites and createe labor, and this 
labor creates 'vij^alth, and this new wealth communicates additional 
ability to consume, which acts on all the objects CKontributing to hu- 
man oomfiirt and enjoyment The amount of cotton imported into 
the two ports of Boston and ProTidence alone during the last year, 
(and it was imported exclusively for the home manufacture,) was 
one hundred and nine thousand five hundred and seyenteen bales. 

On passing from that article to others of our agricultural produc- 
tions, we shall find not less gratifying fects. The total quantity oi 
flour imported into Boston, during the same year, was two hundred 
eighty-four thousand five hundred and four barrels, and three thou- 
sand nine hundred and fifty-five half barrels ; of which, there were 
from Virginia, Georgetown and Alexandria, one hundred fourteen 
thousand two hundred and twenty-two barrels; of Indian corn, six 
hundred eighty-ene thousand one hundred and thirty-one bushels ; of 
oats, two hundred thirty-nine thousand eight hundred and nine bush- 
els ; of rye, about fifty thousand bushels ; and of shorts, thirty-three 
thousand four hundred and eighty-nine bushels. Into the port of Pro- 
vidence, seventy-one thousand three hundred and sixty-nine barrels 
of Hour ; two hundred sixteen thousand six hundred and sixty-two 
bushels of Indian com, and seven thousand seven hundred and seven- 
ty-two bushels of. rye. And there were discharged at the port of 
Philadelphia, four hundred twenty thousand three hundred and fifty- 
three bushels of Indian com ; two hundred one thousand eight hun- 
dred and seventy eight bushels of wheat, and one hundred ten thou- 
sand five hundred and fifty-seven bushels of rye and barley. There 
were slaughtered in Boston, during the same year, 1831, (the only 
northern city firom which I have obtained returns,) thirty-three thou- 
sand nine hundred and twenty-two beef cattle ; fifteen thousand and 
four hundred calves ; eighty-four thousand four hundred and fifty- 
three sheep, and twenty-six thousand eight hundred and seventy-one 
swine. It is confidently believed that there is not a less quantity of 
Southern flour consumed at the N<»th than eight hundred thousand 
barrels — a greater amount, probably, than is shipped to all the foreign 
maiketo of the woild together. 


What would be the condition of the ftming countiyof the United 
Statee— of all that p(^on which liea North, East and West of JaoMe 
riyeri including a large part cS North Carolina, if a home market did 
not exist for this immense amount of agricultural produce ? Without 
t|iat market, where could it be sold ? In foreign markets ? If their 
restrictiTe laws did not exist, their capacity would not enable them 
to purchase and consume this vast addition to their present suppliMi 
which must be thrown in, or thrown away, but for the home maiket. 
Qut their laws exclude us from their markets. I shall content my- 
self by calling the attention of the Senate to Great Britain only. The 
duties in the ports of the United Kingdom, on bread-stuffii are pro- 
hibitory, except in times of dearth. On rice, the duty is fifteen shill- 
ings sterling per hundred weight, bein^ more than one hundred per 
cent. On manufactured tobacco it is nine shillings staling per pound, 
or about two thousand per cent. On leaf tobacco three shillings per 
pound, or one thousand two hundred per cent On lumber, and some 
other articles, they are from four hundred to fifteen hundred per cent, 
more than on similar articles imported firom British colonies. In the 
British West Indies the duty on beef, pork, hanw and bacon is twelve 
shillings sterling per hundred, more than one hundred per cent, on 
the first cost of beef and pork in the western States. And yet Gremt 
Britain is the power in whose b^ialf we are called upon to legislate, 
so that VDS may enable her to purchase our cotton ! Great Britain 
that thinks only of herself in her own legislation ! When hare we 
experienced justice, much less faror, at her hands ? When did she 
shape her legislation in reference to the interests dfimy foreign pow- 
er ? She is a great, opulent and powerful nation ; but haughty, ar- 
rogant, and supercilious — not more separated firom the rest of the 
world by the sea that girts her island, than she is separated in feeling, 
sympathy, or friendly consideration of their welfiue. Gentlemen, in 
supposing it im{Mracticable that we should successfully compete with 
her in manufactures, do injustice to the skill and enterprise of their 
own country. Gallant, as Great Britain undoubtedly is, we hara 
gloriously contended with her, man to man, gun to gun, ship to ship, 
fleet to fleet, and army to army. And I have no doubt we are des- 
tined to achieTe equal success in the more useful, if not nobler contest 
for raperioriiy in the arts of civil life. 

I could extend and dwell on the long list of articles— the hemp, 
iron, lead, coal and other items, m which a demand is created in the 


home market bj tho operetioii of the Amencan SjBtem ; but I should 
exhaust the patieiice cdT the Senate. Wherey where should we find a 
matket for aU these articles, if it did not exist at home ? What wooM 
be the condition of the largest {Airtion of our people, and of the terri- 
tory, if this home market were annihilated ? How could they be sup- 
plied with objects of prime necessity? What would not be the certahi 
and ineritable dedine in the price of all these articles, but for the 
home market ? And allow me, Mr. President, to say, that of all the 
agricultural parts of the United States which are benefited by the 
operation of thufsystem, none are equally so with those which bor- 
der the CSiesapeake Bay, the lower parts of North Carolina, Virginia, 
and the two shores' of Maryland. Their fiicilities of transportation, 
and proximity to the North, give them decided advantages. 

But if all this reasodng were totally fallacious — ^if the price of 
manufikctured articles were really higher, under the American Sys- 
tem, than without it, I should still argue that high or low prices were 
themselves relative-Hrelative to the ability to pay them. It is in vahi 
to tempt, to tantalize us with the lower prices of European Mnee 
than our own, if we have nothing wherewith to purchase them. If, 
by the home exchanges, we can be supplied with nedbssaiy, even if 
th^ are dearer and worse, articles of American production than the 
fi>reign, it is better than not to be supplied at all. And how would 
the bffge portion of our country which I have described be supplied, 
but fbr die home exchanges ? A poor people, destitute of wealth or 
of exchangeable commodities,.has nothing to purchase foreign fabrics. 
To them they are equally beyond their reach, whether their cost be 
a ddlar or a guinea. It Is in this view of the matter that Greet 
Britain, by her vast wealth — ^her ereiied and protected industry — is 
enabled to bear a burden of taxation vrhich, when compared to that 
of others nations, i^ppears enormous ; but which, when her immense 
riches are compared to theirs, is light and trivial. The gentleman 
firom South Carolina has drawn a lively and flattering picture of our 
coasts, bays, rivers and harbors ; and he argues that these proclaimed 
the design of Providence, that we should be a conmiercial people. 
I agree with him. We diflfaronlyas to the means. He would cher- 
ish the fordgn, and neglect the internal trade. I would foster both. 
What is navigafion without ships, or ships without cargoes ? By pen- 
eMttng the boioui of our mountains, and extracting from them thefar 
precious treasoiea'; by cdtivitiBg tte eartt^ and tsevriiN^ a homr 

56 ■PXECHfit or HRNRT CLAT. 

market for its rich and abundant products ; by employing the water 
power with which we are blessed ; by stimulating and protecting our 
native industry, in all its forms ; we shall but nourish and promote 
the prosperity of conunerce, foreign and domestic. 

I have hitherto considered the question in reference only to a state 
of peace ; but a season of war ought not to be entirely overlooked. 
We have enjoyed near twenty years of peace ; but who can tell when 
the storm of war shall again break forth ? Have we forgotten, bo 
soon, the privations to which, not merely our brave soldiers and our 
gallant tars were subjected, but the whole community, during the last 
war, for the want of absolute necessaries ? To what an enormous 
price they rose ! And how inadequate the supply was, at any price ! 
The statesman who jusly elevates his views, will look behind, as well 
as forward, and at the existing state of things ; and he will graduate 
the policy, which he recommends, to all the probable exigencies 
which may arise in the Republic. Taking this comprehensive range, 
it would be easy to show that the higher prices of peace, if prices 
were higher in peace, were more than compensated by the lower 
prices of war, during which supplies of all essential articles are india- 
pensable to its vigorous, effectual and glCirious prosecution. I conr 
elude this part of the argument with the hope that my humble exer 
tions haye not been altogether unsuccessful in showing — 

1. That the policy which we have been considering ought to con- 
tinue to be regarded as the genuine American System. 

2. That the Free Trade System, which is proposed as its substi- 
tute, ought really to be considered as the British Colonial System. 

3. That the American System is beneficial to all parts of the UnioUi 
and absolutely necessary to much the larger portion. 

* 4. That the price of the great staple of cotton, and of all our chief 
productions of agriculture, has been sustained and upheld, and a de- 
cline averted by the Protective System. 

5. That if the foreign demand for cotton has been at all diminish*' 
ed by the operation of that system, the diminution has been more 
than ffftmiwnsatiid in tlu* oAlitinnMl AtantunA created at 1^^*"^- 

IN DKFKirCE or THK AMlRlCAir 8T8TIK. 87 

6. That the constant tendency of the system, by creating competi- 
tion among onrselyes, and bet'ween American and European industry, 
reciprocally acting upon each other, is to reduce prices of manufac- 
tured objects. 

7. That in point of fact, objects within the scope of the policy of 
protection have greatly jfiftllen in price. 

8. That if, in a season of peace, these benefits are experienced, in 
a season of war, when the foreign supply might be cut off, they would 
be much more extensirely felt. 

9. And finally, that the substitution of the British Colonial System 
for the American System, without benefiting any section' of the Union, 
by subjecting us to a foreign legislation, regulated by foreign interests, 
would lead to the prostration of our manufactures, general impover- 
ishment^ and ultimate ruin. 

And now, Mr. President, I have to make a few observations on a 
delicate subject, which I approach with all the respect that is due to 
its serious and grave nature. They have not, indeed, been rendered 
necessary by the speech from the gentleman firom South Carolina, 
whoee forbearance to notice the topic was commendable, as his argu- 
ment throughout, was characterized by an ability and dignity worthy 
of him, and of the Senate. The gentleman made one declaration, 
which might possibly be misinterpreted, and I submit to him whether 
an explanation of it be not proper. The declaration, as reported in 
his printed speech, is ^^ the instinct of self-interest might have taught 
us an easier way of relieving ourselveil from this oppression. It 
wanted but the will to have supplied ourselves with every article 
embraced in the protective system, free of duty, without any other 
participation on our part than a simple consent to receive them.'' 

tHen General Hayne rose and remarked, that the panage which immediately 
preceded and followed the paragraph cited, he thought plainly indicated his mean- 
ing, which nlated to evasiona of the system, by illicit introduction of goods, which 
they were not disposed to countenance in South Carolina.] 

' I am happy to hear this explanation. But, sir, it is impossible to 
conceal firom oar view the facts that there is a great excitement in 
South Caitriina ; thiit the proactive system is openly and vidoitly 


denounced in popular meetings ; and that the Legialature itself has 
declared its purpose of resorting to counteracting measures — a sus- 
pension of which has only been submitted to, for the purpose of al- 
lowing Ck>ngraM time to retrace its steps. With respect to this 
Union, Mr. President, the truth cannot be too generally proclaimed, 
nor too strongly inculcated, that it is necessary to the whole and to all 
the porta — necessary to those parts, indeed, in different degrees, but 
yitally necessary to each—r^md that threats to disturb or dissolve it, 
eonuDig from any of the parts, would be quite as indiscreet and im- 
proper as would be threats from the residue to exclude those parts 
from the pale of its benefits. The great principle, which lies at the 
foundation of all free governments, is, that the majority must govern ; 
from which there is or can be no appeal but to the sword. That ma- 
jority ought to govern wisely, equitably, moderately and constitu- 
tionally, but govern ii irksI , subject only to that terrible appeal. If 
ever one, or several States, being a minority, can, by menacing a dis- 
solution of the Union, succeed in forcing an abandonment of great 
measures deemed essential to the interests and prosperity of the 
whole, the Union, from that moment, is practically gone. It may 
linger on, in form and name, but its vital spirit has fled for ever ! En- 
tertaining these deliberate opinions, I would entreat the patriotic pecH 
pie of South Carolina — ^the land of Marion, Sumpter and Pickens ; 
of Rutledge, Laurens, the Pinkneys and Lowndes — of living and 
present names, which I would mention if they were not living or 
present — to pause, solemnly pause ! and contemplate the frigbtfol 
piecipice which lies directly before them. To retreat may be pain- 
ful and mortifying to their gallantry and pride, but it is to retreat to 
die Union, to safety, and to those brethren with whom, or with 
whose ancestors, they, or their ancestors, have won, on fields of 
glory, imperidiable renown. To advance, is to rush on certain and 
inevitable disgrace and destruction. 

We have been told of deserted castles, of uninhabited halls, and of 
mansions, once the seats of opulence and hospitality, now abandoned 
and mouldering in ruins. I never had the honor ai being in South 
Carolina ; but I have heard and read of the stories of its chivalry, 
and of its generous and open-hearte<l liberality. I have heard, too, 
of the struggles for power between the lower and upper country. 
The same causes which existed in Virginia, with which I have been 
^u » int ed j I presome, hnv^ bad tbav ii^noe in Oaiolina. in 

ui jotnac^ 09 rat amibicak trsTBic. 

wbom httidt BOW an the once pnmd leats of Westo¥«r Curly Ma]^ 
cox, Shirley/ and others, on James River, and in loww Virginia ? 
Under the operation of laws, aboliahing the principle df primogeni* 
tnre, and providing the equitable mle of an equal distribution of 
estates among those in equal degree of consanguinity, they haye pass« 
ed into other and stranger hands. Some of the descendants of iUus* 
trious fiunilies have gone to die £tf West, while others, lingering 
behind, have contrasted their present condition with that of 
yenerated anceston. They behold themselTcSi excluded from 
ftther's bouses, now in the hands of those who were once their tk* 
ther's overseers, or sinking into decay ; their imaginations^paint an* 
cient renown, the fiiding honors of their name — giories gone by ; too 
poor to live, too proud to work, too high-minded and honorable to 
resort to ignoble meant of acquisition, brave, daring, chivalrous ; 
tt^ can be the cause of their present unhappy state ? The ^' ac» 
cursed^' tariff presents itself to their excited imaginations, and they 
biiidly rush into the ranks of those who, unfurling the banner of nul- 
liCeUion, would place a State upon its sovereignty ! 

The danger to our Union does not lie on the side of persistence in 
the American System, but on that of its abandonment. If, as I hav^a 
supposed and believe, the inhabitants of all north and east <tf James 
river, and all west of the moimtains, including Louisiana, are deeply 
interested in the preservation of thai system, would ihi&y be recon* 
eiled to its overthrow ? Can it be expected that two«thirds, if not 
three-fimrths, of the people of the United States, would consent to 
the destruction of a policy, believed to be indiiqpeBsably necessary to 
their prosperity ? When, too, the sacrifice is made at the instance of ■ 
a single interest, whicfa they verily believe will not be promoted by 
it ? In estimating the degree of peril which may be incident to two 
opposite courses of human policy, the statesman would be short- 
sighted who should content himself with viewing only the evils, real 
or imaginary, which belong to that course which is in practical ope- 
ration. He should lift himself up to the contemplation of those 
greatsr and more certilin dangers which might inevitably attend the 
adoption of the alternative course. What would be the condition of 
this Union, if Pennsy^^uuA and New York, those mammoth memben 

• Ai to flhiilBy.lfr. Clay udoiowltdsM Us misUke, midt la the wurmth <if do- 
bats. ItJsyettfcaiJHKkofthaieysotibkindhoipitaMsdasoiisdiBttofilifonn^ 
\ ofekat profifietor. 


of our confederacy, were firmly persaaded that their industry 
paralysed, and their prosperity blighted, by the enforcement of the 
British colonial system, under the delusive name of free trade ? They 
are now tranquil and happy, and contented, conscious of their wd- 
fiure, and feeling a salutary and rapid circulation of the products of 
home manufactures and home industry throughout all their great ar- 
teries. But let that be checked, let them feel that a foreign system 
is to predominate, and the sources of their subsistence and comfort 
dried up ; let New England and the west, and the middle States, all 
feel that they too are the victims of a mistaken policy, and let these 
vast portions of our country despair of any &vorable change, and 
then indeed might we tremble for the continuance and safety of this 
Union! » 

And need I remind you, sir, that this dereliction of the duty of prtH 
teeting our domestic industry, and abandonment of it to the fete of 
foreign legislation, would be directly at war with leading considera- 
tions which prompted the adoption of the present constitution ? The 
States respectively, surrendered to the general government the whole 
power of laying imposts on foreign goods. They stripped themselves 
of all power to protect their own manufactures, by the most effica* 
cious means of encouragement — the imposition of duties on rival for- 
eign febrics. Did they create that great trust ? Did they voluntarily 
suhject themselves to this self-restriction, that the power should re- 
main in the Federal government inactive, unexecuted, and lifeless ? 
Mr. Madison, at the commencement of the government, told you 
otherwise. In discussing at that early period this very subject, he 
declared that a failure to exercise this power would be a ^^yroaif ' 
upon the northern States, to which may now be added the middle and 
western States. 

[Governor Miller asked to what ezpreauon of Mr. Madison's opinion Mr. Clay re- 
ferred ; and Mr. Clay replied, his opinion, expressed in the House of Representativett 
la n8d» as reported in Lloyd's Congreasional Debates.] 

Gentlemen are greatly deceived as to the hold which this system 
has in the affections of the people of the United States. They repre- 
sent that it is the policy of New England^ &ud that she is most bene- 
fitted by it. If there be any part of thb Union which has been most 
steady, most unanimous, and most determined in its support, it is 
Pennsylvania. Why is not that powerful State attacked ? Why pass 


her over, and aim the blow at New England ? New England came 
reluctantly into the policy. In 1824 a majority of her delegation was 
ojqpoaed to it. From the largeit State of New England there was 
bat a solitary TOte in &yor of the bill. That enterprising people can 
readily accommodate their industry to any pdicy, provided it be sef- 
tkd. They suj^Med this was fixed, and they submitted to the de- 
crees of government. And the progress of public opinion has kept 
pace with the developments of the benefits of the system. Now, all 
New England, at least in this house (with the exception of one small 
still voice) is in fitvor of the system. In 1824 all Maryland was 
against it ; now the majority is for it. Then, Louisiana, with one 
exception, was opposed to it ; now, without any exception, she is in 
fiivor of it. The march of public sentiment is to the South. Virginia 
will be the nexiconvert ; and in less than sev^i years, if there be no 
obstacles from political causes, or prejudices industriously instilled, 
the majority of eastern Virginia will be, as the mi^rity of western 
Virginia now is, in frtvor of the American System. North Carolina 
will follow later, but not less certainly. Eastern Tennessee is now 
in fiivor of the system. And finally, its doctrines will pervade the 
whole Union, and the wonder will be, that they ever should have 
been imposed. 


I have now to proceed to notice some objections which have been 
urged against the resolution under consideration. With respect to the 
amendment which the gentleman from South Carolina has offered, as 
he has intimated his purpose to modify it, I shall forbear for the pre* 
sent to comment upon it. It is contended that the resolution [MPopo- 
ses the repeal of duties on luxuries, leaving t&ose on necessaries to 
remain, and that it will, therefore, relieve the rich without lessening 
the burdens of the poor. And the gentlemen from South Carolina 
has carefully selected, for ludicrous effect, a number of the unprotect- 
ed articles, cosmetics, perfumes, oranges, to. I must say, that this 
exhilntion of the gentleman is not in keeping with the candor which 
he has generally diq>layed ; that he knows very well that the duties 
upon these articles are trifling, and that it is of little consequence 
whether they are repealed or retained. Both systems, the American 
and the foreign, comprehend some articles which may be deemed 
luxuries. The Senate knows that the unprotected articles which 
yield the principal ipai of ike revenue, with which this measure would 
diqwise, are ooOm f tnij ipioaa> win—, and sUki. Of all theae artides, 

•pnam or hbtbt glat. 

wiMS and tilki alone can be proiiouiioed to be luxnriei ; and aa to 
winei, we have already ratified a treaty, not yet promulgated, by 
whidi the dutka on them are to be oonaideraUy reduced. If the 
univeraality of the uae of objecta of consumption detenninea ihdt 
claaaififation, cofibei tea, and ipioea, in present condition of ciTiliaed 
aociefyy may be considered neoeasaries. Even if th^ were llwruriaa, 
-why should not the poor, by cheapening their prices, if that can te 
efiboted, be allowed to use ttiem ? Why should not a poor man be 
allowed to tie a silk handkerchief on his neck, occasionally regale 
himself witti a glass of cheap Erench wine, or present his wife as 
danghter with a ailk gown, to be worn on Sabbath or gala days ? I 
am quite sure diat I do not misconstrue the feelings of the gentle* 
Bian^ heart, in supposii^ that he would be happy to see the poor aa 
well as the rich nooderately indulging themselves in those innocmt 
gratifications. For one, I am delighted to see the condition of the 
poor attracting the consideration of the opponents of the tariff. It is 
far the great body of the people, and especially for the poor, that I 
have ever scqpported the American System. It afibrds &em profits* 
Ue employment, and supplies the means of comfortable subsistence. 
k sacttret to tbem,certainhf, necessaries of life, manufactured at hoaae 
and places within their reach, and enables them to acquire a reason** 
ble share of foreign luxuries ; while the system of gentlemen prami$€$ 
thans necessaries auide in fi^eign countries, and which are beyond 
their power, and dMst to them luxuries, which they would possess 
no means to purchaae. 

The constant complaint of South Carolina against the tariff, ia, 
tiiat it checks importations, and disables foreign powers from pnr^ 
ehiaing the agricultural productions of the United States. The e^ 
feel of the resolution will be to intrease importations,^ not so mneh^ 
it is tme firom Great Britain, as from the other powers, but not the 
Imi aoceptaUe on that account. It is a misfortune that so large* 
portion of our fooreign commecte conceaftrates in one nation ; it sab* 
jectsustoomnchtothelegislatioBand thepoUqyof that natioui and 
ssposes us to the influence of her numerous agents, fectors, and mer^ 
chants. And it is not among the smallest recommendations of the 
maaenre befece the Senate, that its tetidency will be to expand (mr 
eesm ncic e with France, our great revelntionary ally — the land <^ 
our Lafeyette* Ther^ fe muoh greater pnAability also, of an enlai|ge- 
UMttl of te iMMnt imbmk for eetton in SVanoe^ than in Great 

oiiiiniiGB^«HBAMiBiOAii«rsraf. €3 

Bntiuii. Fnnoe engaged bier in the manufiM^tureof cottoni.andbM 
madei therefov^ kn progreae. She haa, in<nreaTer, no coloniea pro- 
dnckig the article in abundance, whoae induatiy she might be iesopt" 
^ toenconn^ 

The honoiable yntleinan from Maiyland, (General Smith,) by his 
reply to a ipeech which, on the opening of the aubject of thia reaola- 
taon, I had occaaion to make, has rendered it ncceaaary that I abonid 
tidse aome notice of bia obaeryationa. The honorable gentleman 
atated that he had been uteuied of partiality to the manufacturing in- 
tereat. Never waa there a moie groundleaa and malioioua charge 
preferred against a calumniated man. Since this question haa been 
ilgilaled in the public councils, although I hnTe often beard Irom him 
pcofesskms of attachment to thia branch of industry, J have never 
known any member amore uniform, determined and unoompromiaia|^ 
opponent of them, than the honoiable Senator haa invariably been. 
And iCf hereafter, the calumny ahould be r^^^eated, of his friendship 
to the American System, I shall be ready to ftimish to him, in the 
most solemn mannor, my teatimony to his innocence. The honor- 
able gentltfnan aupposed that I had advanced the idea that the jpenaa- 
iMfil vsvenueof this country should be fixed at eighteen millions of dol- 
lars. Certainly 1 had no intention to announce such an opinion, nor 
do my eaqpsessions, ihirly interpreted, imply it. I ptated, on the oo- 
caaioo referred to, that, estimating the ordinary revenue of the coun- 
liy at twenty-five millions, and the amount of the duties on the ua- 
piotecled articles proposed to be repealed by the reaolution, at seven 
maUions, thrtsttor sum taken fiKwi the former would leave eighteen. 
But I did got intimate any belief that the revenue, of the country 
ought, for the future, to be permanently fixed at that oi any other 
precise sum. I stated that, after having eftcted ao great a reduo* 
lioii, we mig^t pause, cautiously survey the whole ground, and de- 
libttately detenniae upon other measures of reduction, some of which 
I indicated. And I now aay, preserve the Protective S^tem in full 
vigor ) give us the prooeeds of the public domain tot internal mi- 
pnnrementa, or if you please, partly for that object, and partly for the 
removal of the fit^e Uaeks, with their own consent, from the United 
fltntes ; and for one, I hsve no objection to the reduction of the put^ 
lie reveime to fifteen, to ttiirteen, or even to nine millions of dollars. 

la ngard to Urn Mhema of the Seoratary of the Trtaaury for pay- 


ing off the whole of the remaining pablic debt, by the 4th day of 
March 1833, including the three per cent., and forthat purpose, sell- 
ing the bank stock, 1 had remarked that, with the exception c^ Ae 
three per cent., there was not more than about four millions of dol- 
lars of the debt due and payable within this year, that, to meet this, 
the Secretary had stated in his annual report, that the treasury would 
have, from the receipts of this year, fourteen millions of doUais, iq>- 
plicable to the principal of the debt ; that I did not perceive any ur- 
gency for paying off the three per cent, by the precise day suggested : 
and that there was no necessity, according to the plans of the treasu- 
ry, assuming them to be expedient and proper, to postpone the repeal 
of the duties on unprotected articles. The gentleman from Mary- 
land imputed to me ignorance of the act of the 24th April 1830, ac- 
cording to which in his opinion the Secretary was obliged to pur- 
chase the three per cent. On what ground the Senator supposed I 
was ignorant of that act he has not stated. Although when it passed 
1 was at Ashland, I assure him that I was not there altogether unin- 
formed of what was passing in the world. I regularly received the 
Register of my excellent friend (Mr. Niles,) published in Baltimove, 
the National Intelligencer, and other papers. There are two emnrs 
to which gentlemen are sometimes liable ; one is to magnify the 
amount of knowledge which they possess themselves, and the second 
is to depreciate that which others have acquired. And will the gen- 
tleman from Maryland excuse me for thinking that no man is more 
prone to commit both errors than himself? I will not say that he k 
ignorant of the true meaning of the act of 1830, but I certainly place 
a different construction upon it from what he does. It dies not oblige 
the Secretary of the Treasury, or rather the Commissioners of tbe 
Sinking Fund, to apply the surplus of any year to the purchase of 
the ^ree per cent, stock particularly, but leaves them at liberty ^ to 
apply such surplus to the purchase of any portion of the public debt, 
at such rates as, in their opinion may be advantageous to the United 
States." This vests a discretionary authority, to be exercised under 
official responsibility. And if any Secretary of the Treasury, when 
he had the option of purchasing a portion of the debt, bearing a high- 
er rate of interest at par or about 'par, were to execute the act by 
purchasing the three per cents., at its present price, he would merit 
impeachment. Undoubtedly a state of foct may exist, such as there 
being no public debt remaining to be paid, but the three per cent 
stock, with a surplus in the treasury, idle and unproductive, in which 


it might |be expedient to vppLj that ■aq>ln8 to the reimbunemeDt of 
the three per cents. But whilst the interest of money is at a greater 
rate than three per cent., it would not, I think, be wise to produce 
an accumulation of public treasure for such a purposes The post- 
ponement of any reduction of the amount of the revenue, at this ses- 
sion, must however give rise to that very aocummulation ; and it is, 
therefore, thai I cannot perceive the utility of the postponement 

We are told by the gentleman from Maryland, that offers have 
been made to the Secretary of the lYeasury to exchange three per 
cents, at their market j^oe of ninety-dx per cent, for the bank stock 
of the government at its market price, which is about one hundred 
and twenty-six, and he thinks it would be wise to accept them. If 
the charter of the Bank is renewed, that stock will be probably worth 
much more than its present price ; if not renewed, much less. Would 
it be hxt in government, while the question is pending and undecided, 
to make such an exdumge ? The difference in value between a stock 
bearing three per cent, and one bearing seven per cent, must be really 
much greater than the difference between ninety-six and one hundred 
and twenty-six per cent. Supposing them to be perpetual annuities, 
the one would be worth more than twice the value of the other. But 
myobjection to the treasury plan is, that it is not necessary to execute 
itT-4o continue these duties as the Secretary proposes. The Secre- 
taiy has a debt of twenty-fofur millions to pay ; he has from the ac- 
cruing receipts of this year fourteen millions, and we are now told by 
the Senator from Maryland, that this sum of fourteen millions is ex- 
clusive of any of the duties accruii^ this year. He proposes to raise 
eight millions by sale of the Bank stock, and to anticipate from the 
revenue receivable next year, two millions mdre. These three items 
theli of .fourteen milHons, eight millions, and two millions, make up 
the sum required, of twenty-four millions, without the aid of the du- 
ties to which the resolution relates. 

The gentleman from Maryland insists that the general government 
has been liberal toward the West in its appropriations of public lands 
for internal improvements ; and, as to fortifications, he contends that 
the expenditures near the mouth of the Mississippi are for its especial 
benefit. The appropriations of land to the States of Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, and Alabaiaa, have been liberal ; but it is not to be overlocA- 
edy that the genand. government is itself the greatest proprietor of 



land) and that a tendency of the imprcnrementSy which theK appfopri- 
atkma were to effect, is to increase the Talne of the unsold puUie do* 
main. The erection of the fortifications for the defence of Louisiaoft, 
was highly proper ; but the gentleman might as well place to the ao 
count of the West, the disbursement kat the fortifieations intended to 
defend Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, to all which capitab 
western produce is sent, and in the security of all of which the west* 
em people feel a lively interest. They do not object to expenditures 
for the army, for the navy, for fortifications, or for any odier ofiensiTe 
or commercial object on the Atlantic, but they do think that thnr 
condition ought also to receive friendly attentiim from the general go- 
vernment. With respect to the State of Kentucky, not one cent of 
money, or one acre of land, has been applied to any object of internal 
improvement within her limits. The subscription to the stock of the 
canal at Louisville was for an object in which many States were in- 
terested. The Senator firom Maryland complains that he has been 
unable to obtain any aid for the railroad which the enterprise of Bal-* 
timore has projected, and in part executed. That was a great work, 
the conception of which was bold, and highly honorable, and it de- 
serves national encouragement. But how has the committee of roads 
and canais, at this session been constituted ? The Senator firom Mar 
ryland possessed a brief authority to organize it, and, if I am not mis- 
informed, a majority of the monbers composing it, i4[ipoinied by him, 
are opposed both to the constitutionality of the power, and the ezpe- 
difm^ of exercising it. 

And now, sir, I would address a few words to the firiends of the 
American System in the Senate. The revenue musi— ought to be 
reduced. The country will not, after, by the payment of the public 
debt, ten or twelve millions of dollars become unnecessary, bear such 
an annual surplus. Its distribution would form a subject of perpetual 
contention. Some of the opponents of the system understand the 
stratagem by which to attack it, and are shaping their course accord- 
ingly. It is to crush the system by the accumulation of revenue, and 
by die effikrt to persuade the people that they are unnecessarily taxed, 
while those would really tax them who would break up the native 
souroei of suj^ply, and render them dependent upon the foreign. But 
the revenue ought to be reduced, so as to accommodate it to the bek 
of die pqrment of the public debt. And the alternative is or may be, 
to p r e s eiyi the protecting system, and repeal the duties on the unpro- 


tected articles, or to pre$erve the duties on miproiteied articleS| and 
endanger if not destroy, the system. Let us then adopt the measure 
before us, which will benefit all classes ; the farmer, the professional 
man, the merdiant, the manufactoxcor, the mechanic ; and the cotton " 
planter more than all. A few months ago there was no diversity of 
opinion as to the expediency oi this measure. AU, then, seemed to 
unite in the selection of these objects for a repeal of duties which 
were not produced within the country. Such a repeal did not touch 
our domestic industry, violated no principle, ofiended no prejudice. 

Can we not all| whatever may be our &vorite theories, cordially 
unite on this neutral ground ? When that is occupied, let us look be* 
yond it, and see if any thing can be done in the field of protection, to 
modify, to improve it, or to satisfy those who are opposed to the sys« 
tern. Our southern brethren believe thai it is injurious to them, and 
ask its repeal. We believe that its abaadonmentwill be prejudicial to 
them, and ruinous to every other section of the Union. However 
strong their convictions may be, they are not stronger than ours. Be- 
tween the points of the preservation of the system and its absolttte 
repeal, there is no principle of union. If it can be shown to operate 
immoderately on any quarter-*-if the measure of protection to any 
article can be demonstrated to be undue and inordinate, it would be 
the duty of Congress to interpose and apply a remedy. And none 
will co-operate more heartily than I shall in the performance of that 
duty. It is quite probable that beneficial modifications of the system 
may be made without impairing its efficacy But to make it fulfill 
the purposes of its institution, the measure of protection ought to be 
adequate. If it be not, all interests will be injuriously afifected. The 
manufacturer, crippled in his exertions, will produce less perfect and 
dearer &brics, and the consumer will feel the consequence. This is 
the spirit, and these are the principles only, on which, it seems to 
me, that a settlement of the great question can be made, satis&ctorily 
to all parts of our Unicm. 


In the Sritate 6f the United States — 1811. 

[The course of Mr. Clat, in regard to a National Bank has been a subject of 
eztenmtc comment throughout the last ten years. All know that he opposed the 
Rediarter of the first United States Bank in 1811 ; that he favored the ereatioit of 
the tecond in 1816, and that he has ever since been an ardent and prominent cham- 
pion of such an institution. As this is the only topic of any moment on which Mr. 
Clay, has seen occasion to change his opinions in the course of a long and active 
public life, we have chosen to present at one view his sentiments at each different 
period on this much controverted question. We give, therefore, in snoceasion, his 
speech of 1811, the* substance of his remariu in 1816, and his speech of 18391— m 
foUows I] 

Mr. President, when the subject inyolved in the motion now un- 
der consideration was depending before the other branch of the Legis- 
lature, a disposition to acquiesce in their decision was evinced. For 
although the committee who reported this bill had been raised many 
weeks prior to the determination of that House on the proposition to 
re-charter the Bank, except the occasional reference to it of memo- 
rials and petitions, we scarcely ever heard of it. The rejection, it is 
true, of a measure brought before either branch of Congress does not 
absolutely preclude the otber from taking up the same proposition ; 
but the economy of our time, and a just deference for the opinion of 
others, would seem to recommend a delicate and cautious exercise of 
this power. As this subject, at the memorable period when the 
charter was granted, called forth the best talents of the nation — as it 
has, on rarious occasions, undergone the most thorough investigation^ 
and as we can hardly expect that it is susceptible of receiving any 
further elucidation, it was to be hoped that we should have been spared 
useless debate. This was the more desirable because there are, I 
conceive, much superior claims upon us for every hour of the small 
portion of the session yet remaining to us. Under the operation of 
these motives, I had resolved to give a silent vote, until I felt myself 
bound, by the defying manner of the arguments advanced in support 


of the renewal, to obey the paramount duties I owe my country and ita 
constitution ; to make one effort, however feeble, to avert the pas- 
aage of what appears to me a most unjustifiable law. After my hon- 
orable friend from Virginia (Wr. Giles). had instructed and amused ua 
with the very able and ingenious argument which he delivered on 
yesterday, I should have still forborne to tresspass on the Senate, but 
for the extraordinary character of )iis speech. He discussed both 
aides of the question with great ability and eloquence, and certainly 
demonstrated to the satisfaction of all who heard him, both that it 
was constitutional and unconstitutional, highly proper and improper 
to prolong the charter of the bank. The honorable gentleman ap- 
peared to me in the predicament in which the celebrated orator of 
Virginia, Patrick Henry, is said to have been once placed. Engaged 
in a most extensive and lucrative practice of the law, he mistook in 
one instance the side of the cause in which he was retained, and ad- 
dressed the court and jury in a very masterly and convincing speech 
in behalf of his antagonist. His distracted client came up to him 
whilst he was thus employed, and interrupting him, bitterly exclaim- 
ed| *^ you have undone me ! You have ruined me !" — *^ Never mind, 
give yourself no concern,'* said the adroit advocate ; and turning to 
the court and jury continued his argument by observing, may it 
l^ease your honors and you, gentlemen of the jury, I have been stat-' 
ting to you what I presume my adversary may urge on his side. I 
will now show you how fallacious his reasoning and groundless his 
pretensions are." The skilful orator proceeded, satisfactorily refuted 
every argument he had advanced, and gained his cause ! A success 
with which I trust the exertion of my honorable friend will on this 
occasion be crowned. 

it has been said by the honorable gentleman from Geoigia, (Mr. 
Crawford) that this has been made a party question, although the 
law incorporating the Bank was passed prior to the formation of par- 
tiesi and when Congress was not biased by party prejudices. 

[Mr. Crawford explained. He didaot mean that it had been made a party qnefc 
lion in the Seaats. Hia allunon was elsewhere.] H 

I do not think it altogether &ir to refer to the discussions in the Houm 
sf Representatives, as gentlemen belonging to that body have no oppoiw 
to^ofdefending themselves here. It is true that this UwwmmHI^ 



the effi^et, but it is no less true that it was one of the causes of the po^ 
litical divisions in this countiy. And, if, during the agitation of the 
present question, the renewal has, on one side, been opposed on party 
principles, let me ask if, on the other, it has not been advocated on 
similar principles ? Where is the Macedonian phalanx, the opposi- 
tion in Congress ? I believe, sir, I shall not incur the charge of pre- 
sumptuous prophecy, when I predict we sliall not pick up from its 
ranks one single straggler ! And if, on this occasion, my worthy friend 
from Georgia has gone over into the camp of the enemy, is it kind in 
him to look back ujion his former friends, and rebuke them for the 
fidelity with which they adhere to their old principles ? 

I shall not stop to examine how far a representative is bound by 
the instructions of his constituents. That is a question between the 
giver and receiver of the instructions. But I must be permitted to 
express my surprise at the pointed difTorence which has been made 
between the opinions and instructions of State Legislatures, and the 
opinions and details of the deputations with which we have been sur- 
rounded from Philadelphia. Whilst the resolutions of those legisla- 
tures — known legitimate, constitutional and deliberative bodies — ^have 
been thrown into the back ground, and their interference regarded as 
officious, these delegations from self-created societies, composed of' 
uobody knows whom, have been received by the committee with the 
utmost complaisance. Their communications have been treasured 
up with the greatest diligence. Never did the Delphic priests col- 
lect with more holy care the frantic expressions of the agitated Py- 
thia, or expound them with more solemnity to the astonished Gre- 
cians, than has the committee gathered the opinions and testimoniet ' 
of these deputies, and through the gentleman from Massachusetts, 
pompously detailed them to the Senate ! Philadelphia has her im- 
mediate representatives, capable of expressing her wishes npon the' 
floor of the other house. If it be improper for States to obtrude upon 
Congress their sentiments, it is much more highly so for the un&u- ' 
thorizcd deputies of fortuitous congregations. 


The first ^gular feature that attracts attention in this bill is the 
new and unconstitutional veto which it establishes. The constitution 
has required only, that after bills have passed the House of Repre^ . 
seatttUves and the Senate, they shall be presented to the President . 
fe hii appAfnl or rejection, and his determination is to be mad« 


known in ten days. But this bill provides, that when all the cod- 
stitational sanctions are obtained, and when according to the usual 
routine of legislation it ought to be considered as a law, it is to be 
submitted to a new branch of the legislature, consisting of the Presi- 
dent and twenty-four Directors of the Bank of the United States, 
holding their sessions in Philadelphia, and if they please to approve 
it, why thcn^^ is to become a law ! And three months (the term 
allowed by our law of May last, to one of the great belligerents Sot 
revoking his edicts, after the other shall have repealed his) are grant- 
ed them to decide whether an act of Congress shall be the law of the 
land or not ! An jact which is said to be indispensably necessary to 
our salvation, and without the passage of which universal distress 
and bankruptcy are to pervade the countzy. Remember, sir, that 
the honorable gentleman from Greorgia has contended that this char- 
ter is no contract. Does it then become the representatives of the 
nation to leave the nation at the mercy of a corporation ? Ought the 
impending calamities to be left to the hazard of a contingent remedy ? 

This vagrant power to erect a Bai)k, afler having wandered 
throughout the whole constitution in quest of some congenial spot to 
fasten upon, hvts been at length located by the gentleman from Geor- 
gia on that provision which authorizes Congress to lay and collect 
taxes, &c. In 1791, the power is referred to one part of the instru- 
ment ; in 1811, to another. Sometimes it is alleged to be deducible 
firom the power to regulate conomerce. Hard pressed here, it disap- 
pears and shows itself under the grant to coin money. The sagacious 
Secretary of the Treasury in 1791 pursued the wisest course— he has 
taken shelter behind general, high-sounding and imposing terms. He 
has declared, in the preamble establishing the Bank, that it will be 
very conducive to the successful conducting of the national finances ; 
will tend to give Jacility to the obtaining of loans, and will be produc- 
tive of considerable advantage io irctde and industry in general. No 
allusion is made to the collection of ta^i^es. What is the nature of this 
government ? It is emphatically federal, vested with an aggregate of 
specified powers for general purposes, conceded by existing sovereign- 
ties, who have themselves retained what is not so conceded. It is 
said that there are cases in which it must act on implied powers. 
This is not controverted, but the implication must be necessary, and 
<^mously jflow fipom the enumerate4. power with which it is allied. 
libe power ta charier compttiiief it not specified in the grant, tad I 


contend is of a nature not transferable by mere implication. It is one 
of the most exalted attributes of sovereignty. In the exercise of this 
gigantic power, we have seen an East India Company created, which 

tias carried dismay, desolation, and death, throughout one of the 
largest portions of the habitable world. A company which is in itself 
a sovereignty — whijh has subverted empires, and set up new dynas- 
ties, and has not only made war, but war against its legitimate sove- 
reign ! Under the influence of this power, we have seenarise a South 
Sea Company, and a Mississippi Company, that distracted and con- 
vulsed all Europe, and menaced a total overthrow of all credit and 
confidence, and universal bankruptcy. Is it to be imagined that a 
power so vast would have been left by the wisdom of the constitu- 
tion to doubtful inference ? It has been alleged that there are many 
instances in the constitution, where powers in their nature incidental, 
and which would have necessarily been vested along with the princi- 
pal, are nevertheless expressly enumerated ; and the power " to make 
rules and regulations for the government of the land and naval forces,'' 
which it is said is incidental to the power to raise armies and provide 
a navy, is given as an example. What does this prove 1 How ex- 
tremely cautious the convention were to leave as little as possible to 
implication. In all cases where incidental powers are acted upoDi 
the principal and incidental ought to be congenial with each other, 
and partake of a common nature. The incidental power ought to be 
strictly subordinate and limited to the end proposed to be attained 
by the specified power. In other y;ords, under the name of accom- 
plishing one object which is specified, the power implied ought not to 
be made to embrace other objects, which are not specified in the con- 
stitution. If then you could establish a bank to collect and distribute 
the revenue, it ought to be expressly restricted to the purpose of such 
collection or distribution. It is mockery, worse than usurpation, to 
establish it for a lawful object, and then to extend it to other objects 
which are not lawful. In deducing the power to create' corporations, 
such as I have described it, from the power to collect taxes, the rel»» 
tion and condition of principal and incident are prostrated and destroy- 
ed. The accessory is exalted above the principal. As well might it 
be said that the great luminary of to-day is an accessory, a satelite to 
the humblest star that twinkles forth its feeble light in the firmameal 
of heaven ! 

Suppose the cosftitation had been silent m to an individaal deport- 


0ient of thb c^ovemmeiit, could yon, under the power to lay and cd« 
kct taxes, establish a judiciary ? I presume not ; but if you could 
derive the power by mere implication, could you vest it with any 
other authority than to enforce the collection of the revenue ? A bank 
18 made for the ostensible purpose of aiding in the collection of the 
revenue, and while it is engaged in this, the most inferior and subordi- 
nate of all its functions, it is made to diffuse itself throughout society^ 
and to influence all the great operations of credit, circulation, and 
commerce. Like the Virginia justice, you tell the man whose turkey 
had been stolen, that your books of precedents furnish no form for his 
case, but then you will grant him a precept to search for a cow, and 
when looking for that he may possibly find his turkey ! You say to 
this corporation — we cannot authorize you to discount, to emit paper^ 
to regulate commerce, &c. No ! Our book has no precedents of that 
kind. But then we can authorize you to collect the revenue, and 
while occupied with that, you may do whatever else you please ! 

What is a corporation, such as the bill contemplates ? It is a 8{^n- 
did association of favored individuals, taken from the mass of society, 
and invested with exemptions, and surrounded by immunities and 
privileges. The honoiable gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. 
Lloyd,) has said that the original law, establishing the Bank, was 
justly liable to the objection of vesting in that ihstitution an exclusive 
privilege, the faith of the government being pledged that no other 
bank should be authorized during its existence. This objection he 
supposes is obviated by the bill under consideration ; but all corpora- 
tions enjoy exclusive privileges — that is, the corporators have privi- 
leges which no others possess : if you create fifty corporfitions instead 
of one, you have only fifty privileged bodies instead of one. I con- 
tend that the States have the exclusive power to regulate contracts, 
to declare the capacities and incapacities to contract, and to provide 
aa to the extent of responsibUity of debtors to their creditors. If Con- 
gress have the power to erect an artificial body, and say it shall be 
endowed with the attributes of an individual — ^if you can bestow on 
this object of your own creation the ability to contract, may you not, 
in contravention of State rights, confer upon your slaves, infants, and 
femmes covert the ability to contract ^ And if you have the power 
to say that an association of individuals shall be responsible for their 
debts only in a certain limited degree, what is to prevent an exten- 
sion of a similar exemption to individuals ? Where is the limitation 


upon this power to set up corporations ? You establish one in the 
heart of a State, the basis of whose capital is money. You may erect 
others whose capital shall consist of land, slaves, and personal estates, 
and thus the whole property within the jurisdiction of a State might 
be absorbed by these political bodies. The existing Bank contends 
that it is beyond the power of a State to tax it, and if this pretension 
be well founded, it is in the power of Congress, by chartering compa- 
nies, to dry up all the sources of State revenue. Georgia has under- 
taken, it is true, to levy a tax on the branch within her jurisdiction ^ 
but this law^now under a course of litigation, is considered as invalid. 
The United States own a great deal of laud iu the State of Ohio. 
Can this government, for the purpose of creating an ability to pur- 
chase it, charter a company ? Aliens are forbidden, I believe, in that 
State, to hold real estate— could you, in order to multiply purchasers^ 
confer upon them the capacity to hold land, in derogation of the local 
law } I imagine this will hardly be insisted upon ; and yet there ex- 
ists a more obvious connexion between the undoubted power which 
is possessed by this government, to sell its land, and the means of 
executing that power, by increasing the demand in the nuirket, thaa 
there is between this Bank and the collection of a tax. This govern- 
ment has the power to levy taxes, to raise armies, provide a navy^ 
make war, regulate commerce, coin money, &c., &c. It would not 
be difficult to show as intimate a connexion between a corporation, 
established for any purpose whatever, and some one or other of those 
great powers, as there is between the revenue and the Bank of the 
United States. 

Let us inquire into the actual participation of this bank in the col-- 
lection of the revenue. Prior to the passage of the act of 1800, re- 
quiring the collectors of those ports of entry at which the principal 
bank, or any of its offices are situated, to deposit with them the cus- 
tom-house bonds, it had not the slightest agency in the collection of 
the duties. During almost one moiety of the period to which the 
existence of this institution was limited, it was nowise instrumental 
in the collection of that revenue, to which it is now become indis- 
pensable ! The collection previous to 1800, was made entirely by 
the collectors ; and even at present, where there is one port of entry, 
at which thb bank is employed, there are eight or ten at which the 
•(Section is made as it was before 1800. And, sir, what does thi» 
bank or its branches^ where resort is had . to it ? It does not adjust 


With the merchaiit the amount of duty, nor take his bond, nor, if the 
bond is not paid, coerce the payment, by distress or otherwise. In 
fact, it has no active, agency whatever in the collection. Its opera- 
tion is merely passive ; that is, if the obligor, after his bond is placed 
in the bank, discharges it, all is very well. Such is the mighty aid 
afforded by this tax-gatherer, without which the government cannot 
get along ! Again, it is not pretended that the very limited assis- 
tance which this institution docs in truth render, extends to any other 
than a single species of tax, that is, duties. In the collection of the 
excise, the direct and other internal tixcs, no aid was dtTived from 
any bank. It is true, in the collection of those taxes, the farmer did 
not obtain the same indulgence which the merchant receives in pay- 
ing duties. But what obliges Congress to give credit at all ? Could 
it not demand prompt paymont of the duties ? And, in fact, does it 
not so demand, in many instances ? Whether credit is given or not, 
is a matter merely of discretion. If it be a facility to mercantile ope- 
rations, (as I presume it is) it ought to be granted. But I deny the 
right to engrail upon it a bank, which you would not otherwise have 
the power to erect. You cannot create the necessily of a bank, and 
then plead that necessity for its establishment. In the administration 
of the finances, the bank acts simply as a payer and receiver. The 
Secretary of the Treasury has money in New York and wants it in 
Charleston — the bank will furnish him with a check, or bill, to make 
the remittance, which any merchant would do just as well. 

I will now proceed to show by fact, actual experience, not theo- 
retic reasoning, but by the records themselves of the treasury, that 
the operations of thsULdepartment may be as well conducted without 
as with this bank. ,[|^he delusion has consisted in the use of certain 
high-sounding phrases, dexterously used on the occasion — '' the col- 
lection of the revenue" — " the administration of the finance" — " the 
conducting of the fiscal-affairs of the government," the usual. lan- 
guage of the advocates of the bank, extort express assent, or awe into 
acquiescence, without inquiry or examination into its necessity. 
About the commencement of this year, there appears, by the report 
of the Secretary of the Treasury of the 7th of January, to have been 
a little upwards of two millions and four hundred thousand dollars in 
the treasury of the United States ; and more than one-third of this 
whole sum was in the vaults of local banks. In several instances 
where opportunities existed of selecting the bank, a preference has 


been given to the State bank, or at least a portion of the deposits has 
been made with it. In New York, for example, there was deposited 
with the Manhattan Bank $188,970, although a branch bank is in 
that city. In this district, $115,080 were deposited with the Bank 
of Columbia, although here also is a branch bank, and yet the State 
banks are utterly unsafe to be trusted ! If the money, after the bonds 
are collected, is thus placed with these banks, I presume there can be 
no difficulty in placing the bonds themselves there, if they must be 
deposited with some bank for collection, which I deny. 

Again, one of the most important and complicated branches of the 
treasury department, is the management of our landed system. Tho 
sales have, in some years, amounted to upwards of half a million of 
dollars — are genrally made upon credit, and yet no bank whatever is 
made use of to fecilitate the collection. Aflcr it is made, the amount, 
in some instances, has been deposited with banks, and, according to 
the Secretary's report, which I have befcre adverted to, the amount 
80 deposited was, in January, upwards of three hundred thousand 
dollars, not one cent of which was in the vaults of the Bank of the 
United States, or in any of its branches, but in the Bank of Pennsyl- 
vania, its branch at Pittsburgh, the Marietta Bank, and the Kentucky 
Bank- Upon the point of responsibility, I cannot subscribe to the 
opinion of the Secretary of the Treasury, if it is meant that the ability 
to pay the amount of any deposits which the government may make, 
under any exigency, is greater than that of the State banks ; that 
the accountahxHty of a ramified institution, whose affairs are managed 
by a single head, responsible for all its members, is more simple than 
that of a number of independent and unconnected establishments, I 
ahall not deny ; but, with regard to safety, I am strongly inclined to 
think it is on the side of the local banks. The corruption or miscon- 
duct of the parent, or any of its branches, may bankrupt or destroy the 
whole system, and the loss of the government, in that event, will 
be of the deposits made with each ; whereas, in the failure of one 
State bank, the loss will be confined to the deposit in the vault of 
that bank. It is said to have been a part of Burr's plan to seize on 
the branch bank at New Orleans. At that period large sums, im- 
ported from La Vera Cruz, are alledged to have been deposited with 
it, and if the traitor had accomplished the design, the Bank of the 
United States, if not actually bankrupt, might have been constrained 
to stop payment. 


It 18 urged by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Lloydi) 
that as this nation advances in commerce, wealth and population, 
new energies will be unfolded, new wants and exigences will arise, 
and hence he infers that powers must be implied from the consti* 
tution. But, sir, the question is, shall we stretch the instrument to 
embrace cases not fairly within its scope, or shall we resort to thai 
remedy, by amendment, which the constitution prescribes ? 

Gentlemen contend that the construction which they give to the 
constitution has been acquiesced in by all parties, and under all admin* 
istrations ; and they rely particularly on an act which passed in 1804, 
for extending a branch to New Orleans ; and another act of 1807, for 
panishing those who should forge or utter forged paper of the Bank. 
With regard to the first law, passed no doubt upoiv the recommenda- 
tion of the treasury department, I would remark, that it was the ex- 
tension of a branch to a territory over which Congress possesses the 
power of legislation almost uncontrolled, and where, without any 
eonstitutional impediment, charters of corporation may be granted. 
As to the other act, it was passed no less for the benefit of the com- 
munity than the Bank — to protect the ignorant and unwary from 
eounterfeit paper, purporting to have been emitted by the Bank. 
When gentlemen are claiming the advantage supposed to be deduci- 
Ue from acquiescence, let me inquire what they would have had 
those to do who believed the establishment of a Bank an encroach- 
ment upon State rights ? Were they to have resisted, and how ? By 
force ? Upon the change of parties in ISOO, it must be well recol- 
lected that the greatest calamities were predicted as a consequence of - 
that event. Intentions were ascribed to the new occupants of power, 
of violating the public faith, and prostrating national credit. Under 
•och circumstances, that they should act with great circumspection, 
was quite natural. They saw in full operation, a bank chartered by 
a Congress who had as much right to judge of their constitutional 
powers as their successors. Had they revoked the law which gave 
it existence, the institution would, in all probability, continued to 
transact business notwithstanding. The judiciary would have been 
appealed to, and from the known opinions and predilections of the 
judges then composing it, they would have pronounced the act of 
faicorporation as in the nature of a contract, beyond the repealing 
power of any succeeding legislature. And, sir, what a scene of con- 
Awpfi would foch a state of things have presented — an act of Con- 


78 SPKSCUE8 or hsnrt clat. 

gressy which was law in the statute book, and a nullity on the judicial 
records ! was it not the wisest to wait the natural dissolution of the 
corporation rather than accelerate that event by a repeaUng law in- 
Tolving so many delicate considerations ? 

Wlien gentlemen attempt to carry this measure upon the ground 
of acquiescence or precedent, do they forget that we are not in VVest^ 
minster Hall ? In courts of justice, the utility of uniform decisiotti 
exacts of the judge a conformity to the adjudication of his predeces* 
sor. In the interpretation and administration of the law, this practice 
is wise and proper, and without it, every thing depending upon the 
caprice of the judge, we should have no security for our dearest rights. 
It is far otherwise when applied to the source of legislation. Here 
no rule exists but. tlic constitution, and to legislate upon the ground 
n(ierely that our predecessors thought themselves authorized, und^ 
similar circumstances, to legislate, is to sanctify error and to perpetu* 
ate usurpation. But if we are to be subjected to the trammels of 
precedent, I claim on the other hand, the benefit of the restrictions 
under which the intelligent judge cautiously receives them. It is an 
established rule, that to give a previous adjudication any effect, the 
mind of the judge who pronounced it, must have been awakened to 
the subject, and it must have been a deliberate opinion, formed after 
full argument. In technical language, it must not have been $nb 
Hlentio. Now the acts of 1804 and 1807, relied upon as pledges for 
the rechartering this company, passed not only without any discus- 
sion whatever of the constitutional power of Congress to establish a 
Bank, but I venture to say, without a single member having had hit 
attention drawn to this question. I had the honor of a seat in the 
Senate, when the latter law passed, probably voted for it, and I de- 
clare with the utmost sincerity, that I never once thought of that 
point, and I appeal conBdcntly to every honorable member who was 
then present, to say if that was not his situation. 

This doctrine of precedents, applied to the legislature, appears to 
me to be fraught with the most mischievous consequences. The 
great advantage of our system of government over all others, is, that 
we have a written constitution, defining its limits, and prescribing its 
authorities ; and, that, however, for a time, faction may convulse the 
nation, and passion and party prejudice sway its functionaries, the 
season of reflection, will recur, when calmly retracing their deedS| 


all aberratioDB from fuDdamental principle will be corrected. But 
oaee substitute fwacHce for principle — ^the exposition of the constitu- 
tion for the text of the constitution, and in vain shall vre look for the 
iaatrument in the instrument itself ! It will be as diffused and intan- 
gible as the pretended constitution of England : — and must be sought 
for in the statute book, in the fugitive journals of Congress, and in 
reports of the Secretary of the Treasury ! What would be our con- 
dition . if we were to take the interpretations given to that sacred 
book, which is, or ought to be, the criterion of our faith, for the book 
itself? We should find the Holy Bible buried beneath the interpre* 
tations, glosses, and comments of councils, synods, and learned di- 
vines, which have produced swarms of intollerant and furious sects, 
partaking less of the mildness and meekness of their origin than of a 
vindictive spirit of hostility towards each other ! They ought to af- 
ford us a solemn warning to make thatconstiution which we have 
sworn to support, our invariable guide. 

I conceive then, sir, that we were not empowered by the constitu- 
tion, nor bound by any practice under it, to renew the charter of this 
Bank, and I might here rest the argument. But as there are strong 
objections to the renewal on the score of expediency, and as the dis- 
tresses which will attend the dissolution of the Bank, have been 
greatly exaggerated, I will ask for your indulgence for a few mo- 
ments longer. That some temporary inconvenience will arise, I shall 
not deny ; but most groundlessly have the recent failures in New 
Tork been attributed to the discontinuance of this Bank. As well 
might you ascribe to that cause the failures of Amsterdam and Ham- 
burgh of London and Liverpool. The embarrassments of commerce 
— the sequestrations in France — ^the Danish captures — in fine, the 
belligerent edicts, are the obvious sources of these failures. Their 
iounediate cause in the return of bilb upon London, drawn upon the 
hhh of unproductive or unprofitable shipments. Yes, sir, the pro- 
tests of the notaries of London, not those of New York, have occa- 
sioned these bankruptcies. 

The power of a nation is said to consist in the sword and the purse. 
I^erhaps at last all power is resolvable into that of the purse, for with 
it you may command almost every thing else. The specie circula- 
tion of the United States is estimated by some calculators at ten mil- 
of dollars, and if it be no more, one moiety is in the vaults of 


this Bank. May oot Ihe time arrive when the concentration of such 
a raat portion of the circulating medium bf the country in the hands 
of any corporation, will be dangerous to our liberties ? By whom is 
this immense power wielded ? By a body, who, in derc^ation of 
the great principle of all our institutions, responsibility to the people, 
is amenable only to a few stockholders, and they chiefly foreigners. 
Suppose an attempt to subvert this government — would not the trai- 
tor first aim by force or corruption to acquire the treasure of this 
company ? Look at it in another aspect. Seven-tenths of its capital 
are in the hands of foreigners, and these foreigners chiefly English 
subjects. We are possibly on the eve of a rupture with that nation. 
Should such an event occur, do you apprehend that the English pre- 
mier would experience any difficulty in obtaining the entire control 
of this institution ? Republics, above all other governments, ought 
most seriously to guard against foreign influence. All history 
proves that the internal dissentions excited by foreign intrigue^ 
have produced the downfall of almost every free government that has 
hitherto existed ; and yet, gentlemen contend that we are benefitted 
by the possession of this foreign capital ! If we could have its use^ 
without its attending abuse, 1 should be gratified also. But it is in 
vain to expect the one without the other. Wealth is power, and, 
under whatsoever form it exists, its proprietor, whether he lives on 
this or the other side of the Atlantic, will have a proportionate influ- 
ence. It is argued that our possession of this English capital gives 
us a great influence over the British government. If this reasoning 
he sound, we had better revoke the interdiction as to aliens holding 
land, and invite foreigners to engross the whole property, real and 
personal, of the country. We had better at once exchange the con- 
dition of independent proprietors for that of stewards. We should 
then be able to govern foreign nations, according to the reasoning of 
the gentleman on the other side. But let us put aside this theory, 
and appeal to the decisions of experience. Go to the other side of 
the Atlantic, and see what has been achieved for us there by Eng- 
lishmen holding seven-tenths of the capital of this Bank. Has it re- 
leased from galling and ignominious bondage one solitary American 
seaman bleeding under British oppression ? Did it prevent the un. 
manly attack upon the Chesapeake ? Did it arrest the promulgation, 
or has it abrogated the orders of council — those orders which have 
given birth to a new era in commerce } In spite of all its boasted 
eiecty are not the two nations brought to the very brink of war? 



Are we quite sure, that on this side of the water, it has had no ef> 
feet favorable to British interests? It has often been stated, and 
although I do not know that it is susceptible of strict proof, I believe 
it to be a fact that this Bank exercised its influence in support of 
Jay's treaty — and may it not have contributed to blunt the public 
aentiment, or paralyze the efforts of this nation against British ag- 

The duke of Northumberland is said to be the most considerable 
stockholder in the Bank of the United States. A late lord chancel- 
lor of England besides other noblemen, was a large stockholder. 
Suppose the prince of fissling, the duke of Cadore, and other French 
dignitaries owned seven-eighths of the capital of the Bank, should 
we witness the same exertions (I allude not to any made in the 
Senate) to re-charter it ? So far from it, would not the danger of 
French influence be resounded throughout the nation ? 

I shall therefore give my most hearty aasent to the motion for stri* 
king out the first section of the bill. 


At Lkxington, KEicTucKY, June 3, 1816. 

IMr. Clay^i 5peoch on the qoestioD of cbartorin? the Bank of the United States in 
1S16 w<i8 not reported ; but in an Addrew to bia ConMituontp, published in the K«»- 
tncky Gazette, l^xin^ton, June 3d, 1816, he givc the iab?tancc of it, as follows s} ' 

Ov one subject, that of the Bank of the United States, to whieh, 
at the late session of Congress, I gave my humble support, I feel 
particularly anxious to explain the grounds on which I acted. This 
explanation, if not due to my own character, the State and distiiot to 
which 1 belong have a right to demand. It would have been unne- 
cessary, if my observations, addressed to the House of Reprcsentar 
tives, pending the measure, had been published ; but they were not 
published, and why they were not published, I am unadvised. 

When I was a member of the Senate of the United States, I was 
induced to oppose the renewal of the charter of the old Bank of the 
United States, by three general considerations. The first was, that 
1 was instructed to oppose it by the legislature of the State. What 
were the reasons that operated with the Legi^^lature, in giving the 
instruction, I do not know. I have understood from members of that 
l>ody, at the time it was given, that a clause, declaring that Congrem 
had no power to grant the charter, was stricken out ; from which it 
might be inferred, either that the Legislature did not believe a bank 
unconstitutional, or that it had formed no opinion on that point. Thb 
inference derives additional strength from the fact, that, although the 
two late Senators from this State, as well as the present SenatcNns, 
voted for a National Bank, the Legislature, which must have been 
well apprised that such a measure was in contemplation, did not 
again interpose, either to protest against the measure itself, or to 
censure the conduct of those Senators. From this silence on the 
part of a body which has ever fixed a watchful eye upon the pro*- 


ceedings of the general government, I had a right to helieve that the 
Legislature of Kentucky saw, without dissatisfaction, the proposal to 
establish a National Bank ; and that its opposition to the former one 
was upon grounds of expediency, applicable to that corporation alone, 
or no longer existing. But when, at the last session, the que»tion 
came up as to the establishment of a National Bank, being a membrr 
of the House of Representatives, the point of inquiry with me was 
not so much what was the opinion of the Legislature, although un- 
doubtedly the opinion of a body so respectable would have great 
freight with me under any circumstances, as what were the senti- 
ments of my immediate constituents. These I believed to be in favor 
of flucfa an institution, from the following circumstances : In the first 
fdace, my predecessor, (Mr. Hawkins) voted for a National Bank, 
without the slightest murmur of discontent. Secondly, during the 
last fall, when I was in my district, 1 conversed freely with many of 
my constituents upon that subject, then the most common topic of 
conversation, and all, without a single exception as far as I recollect, 
agreed that it was a desirable, if not the dniy efficient remedy, for the 
alarming evils in the currency of the country. And lastly, during the 
session I received many letters from my constituents, prior to the pas- 
sage of the bill, all of which concurred, I believe without a solitary 
exception, in advising the measure. So far, then, firom being instruct- 
ed by my district to oppose the bank, 1 had what was perhaps tanta- 
mount to an instruction to support it — the acquiescence of my con- 
stituents in the vote of their former representative, and the communi- 
cations, oral and written, of the .opinions of many of them in favor of 
a bank. 

.The next consideration which induoed me to oppose the renewal 
of the M charter, was, that I believed the corporation had, during a 
portion of the period of its existence, abused its powers, and had 
sought to subserve the views of a political party. Instances of its 
oppression for that purpose were asserted to have occurred at Phila^ 
delphia and at Charleston ; and, although denied in Congress by the 
firiendfl of the institution during the discussions on the application for 
the renewal of the charter, they were, in my judgment, satisfactorily 
made out. This oppression,, indeed, was admitted in the House of 
Representatives, in the debate on the present bank, by a distinguished 
faanaber of that party which had to warmly espoused tlie renewal of 
Old charter. li may ba iaid,/«hal aecuhiy is there that the 90W 



bank will not imitate this example of oppression ? I answer, the 
fate of the old bank warning all similar institutions' to sbun politic9| 
with which they ought not to have any concern ; the existence of 
abundant competi^.ion, arising from the mulliplication of banks, and 
the precautions which are to be found in the details of the present bilL 


A thhd consideration, under which 1 acted in IS 11, was that, m 
the power to create a corporation, such as was proposed to be con- 
tinued, was not specifically granted in the constitution, and did not 
then appear to me to be necessary to carry into efiect any of the 
powers which were specifically granted, Congress was not authorised 
to continue the bank. The constitution contains powers delegated 
and prohibitory, powers expressed and constructive. It vests it 
Congress all powers necessary to give efiect to enumerated powere— 
all that may be necessary to put into motion and activity the machine 
of government which it constructs. The powers that may be so ne> 
cessary are deducible by construction. They are not defined in the 
constitution. They are, fft>m their nature, indefinable. When the 
question is in relation to one of these powers, the point of inquirj 
should be, is its exertion necessary to carry into efiect any of the 
enumerated powers an<l objects of the general government ? Witk 
regard to the degree of necessity, various rules have been, at difierent 
tiroes, laid down ; but, perhaps, at last, there is no other than a sound 
and honest judgment exercised, under the checks and control whick 
belong to the constitution and to the people. 

The constructive powers, being auxiliary to the specifically granted 
powers, and depending, for their sanction and existence, upon a neces- 
aity to give eSSect to the latter, which necessity is to be sou^t for 
and ascertained by a sound and honest discretion, it is manifest that 
this necessity may not be perceived, at one time, under one state of 
things, when it is perceived at another time, under a difierent state 
of things. The constitution, it is true, never changes ; it is alwaja 
the same ; but the force of circumstances and the lights of experience 
may evolve to the fallible persons, charged with its administration, 
the fitness and necessity of a particular exercise of a constnictiTe 
power to-day, which they did not see at a former period. 

When the application was made to renew the old charter of the 
Bank of the United States, iuch an institotion did not qipear iowm 


to be 80 necessarj to the jfalfiilroent of any of the objects specifically 
enumerated in the comtitution as to justify Congress in assuming, by 
emistruction, power to establish it. It was supported tpainly upon 
the ground that it was indispensable to the treasury operations. But 
the local institutions in the several States were at that time in pros- 
perous existence, confided in by the community, having a confidence 
in each other, and maintaining an intercourse and connexion the most 
intimate. Many of them were acti^dly employed by the treasury 
to aid that department, in a part of its fiscal arrangements , and they 
appeared to me to be fiilly capable of afibrding to it all the facility 
that it ought to desire in all of them. They superseded, in my judg^ 
ment, the necessity of a national institution. But how stands the 
case in 1816, when I am called upon again to examine the power of 
the general government 'to incorporate a National Bank? A total 
change of circumstances is presented. £vents of the utmost magni- 
tude have intervened. 

A general suspension of specie payments has taken place, and this 
has led to a train of consequences of the most alarming nature. I 
behold, dispersed over the immense extent of the United States, 
about three hundred banking institutions, enjoying, in difl^nt de- 
grees, the confidence of the public, shaken as to them all, under no 
direct control of the general government, and subject to no actual re- 
sponsibility to the State authorities. These institutions are emitting 
the actual currency of the United States ; a currency consisting of a 
paper, on which they neither pay interest nor principal, while it is 
exchanged for the paper of the community, on which both arc paid. 
I see these institutions, in fact, exercising what has been considered, 
•t all times and in all countries, tme of the highest attributes of sov- 
ereignty, the regulation of the current medium of the country. Th^ 
are no longer competent to assist the treasury in either of the great 
operations of collection, deposit, or distribution of the public revenues. 
In fact, the paper which they emit, and which the treasury, from the 
force of events, finds itself constrained to receive, is constantly ob- 
structing the operations of that department. For it will accumulate 
where it is not wanted, and cannot be used where it is wanted for 
the purposes of government, without a ruinous and arbitrary broker- 
age. Every man who pays or receives from the government, pays or 
leoeives as much less than he ought, as is the difierence between the 
medium in which the payment is efiacted, and specie. Taxes are no 



iOBger QoifonB. In New England^ where specie payments have net 
bten suspended, the people are called upon to pay larger oontribii- 
tions than where they are suspended. In Kentucky, as much move 
is paid by the people in their taxes than is paid, for example, in the 
State of Ohio, as Kentucky paper is wwth more than Ohio paper. 

It appears to me that, in this condition of things, the general gov- 
emment can no longer depend upon these local institutions, multiplied 
•and multiplying daily— <;oming into existence by the breath of eighteen 
State sovereignties, some of which, by a single act of volition, haipc 
created twenty or thirty at a time. Even if the resumption of specie 
psyments could be anticipated, the general government remaining 
passive, it does not seem to me that the general government ought 
longer to depend upon these local institutions exclusively for aid in 
its opemtions. But I do not believe it can be justly so anticipated. 
It is not the interest of all of them that the renewal shall take plaee 
of specie payments, and yet, without concert between all or most of 
them, it cannot be effected. With regard to those disposed to relam 
to a regular state of things, great difficulties may arise, as to the timi 
of its commencement. 

Considering, then, that the state of the currency is such that na 
thinking man can contemplate it without the most serious alarm, that 
it threatens general distress, if it does not ultimately lead to convul- 
sion and subversion of the government, it appears to me to be the 
duty of Congress to apply a remedy, if a remedy can be devised. A 
National Bank, with other auxiliary measures, is proposed as that 
remedy. I determined to examine the question, with as little preju- 
dice as possible arising from my TOrmer opinion. I kiiow that the 
aafest course for me, if I were to pursue a cold, calculating policy, is 
to adhere to that opinion, right or wrong. I am perfectly aware that 
if I change or seem to change it, I shall expose myself to some cul- 
ture. But, looking at the subjct with the light shed upon it by events 
which have happened since the commencement of the war, I can n* 
longer doubt. A Bank appears to me not only necessary, but indis 
pensably necessary, in connexion with another measure, to remedy 
the evils of which all are but too sensible. I prefer, to the suggea- 
tions of the pride of consistency, the evident interests of the commii- 
nity« and am determined to throw myself upon their candor and ju»* 
tice. That which appeared to me in 1811, under the state of tfiiagi 


then existing, noit to be necessary to the general government, seems 
SQiw to be necessary, under the present state of things. Had I then 
foreseen what now exists, and no objection had laid against the re- 
newal of the charter, I should have TOted for the renewal. 

Other provisions of the constitution, but little noticed, if noticed at 
-ail, on the discussions in Congress in 1811, would seem to urge that 
body to exert all its powers to restore to asound state the money of 
the country. That instrument confers upon Congress the power to 
coin money, and to regulate the value of foreign coins ; and the States 
are prohibited to coin money, to emit bills of credit, or to make any 
thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts. The 
pfaun inference is, that the subject of the general currency is in- 
tended to be submitted exclusively to the general government. In 
lioint of fact, however, the regulation of the general currency is in 
the hands <tf the State governments, or, which is the same thii^, of 
the banks created by them. Their paper has every quality of money 
except that of being a tender, and even this is imparted to it by some 
iitates, in the law by which a creditor must receive it, or submit lo a 
ruinous suspension of the payment of his debt. It is incumbent upon 
Congress to recover the control which it has lost over the general 
currency- The remedy called for is one of caution and moderation, 
but of firmness. Whether a remedy, directly acting upon the banks 
and their paper thrown into circulation, is in the power of the gen- 
eral government or not, neither Congress nor the community are pre- 
pared for the application of such a remedy. An indirect remedy, of 
% milder character, seems to be furnished by a National Bank. Going 
into operation with the powerful aid of the Treasury of the United 
States, I believe it will be highly instrumental in the renewal of specie 
payments. Coupled with the other measure adopted by Congress for 
that object, I believe the remedy efiectual. The local banks must 
follow the example, which the National Bank will set them, of re- 
deeming their notes by the papment of specie, or their notes will be 
discredited and put down. 

If the constitution, then, warrants the establishment of a Bank, 
other considerations, besides those already mentioned, strongly urge 
it. The want of a general medium is everywhere felt. Exchange 
varies continually, not only between different parts of the Union, but 
betweeen difierent parts of the same city. If the paper of a National 


Bank is not redeemed in specie, it will be much better than the cur- 
rent paper, since, although its value, in comparison with specie, maj 
fluctuate, it will afford an uniform standard. 

If political power be incidental to banking corporations, there ought 
perhaps to be in the general government some counterpoise to that 
which is exerted by the States. Such a counterpoise might not in- 
deed be so necessary, if the States exercised the power to incorporate 
banks equally, or in proportion to their respective populations. But 
this is not the case. A single State has a banking capital equivalent, 
or nearly so, to one-fifth of the whole banking capital of the United 
States. In the event of any convulsion, in which the distribution of 
banking institutions might be important, it may be urged that the 
mischief would not be alleviated by the creation of a National Bank, 
since its location must be within one of the States. But in this re- 
spect the location of the Bank is extremelv favorable, being in one of 
the middle States, not likely, from its position as well as its loyalty, 
to concur in any scheme for subverting the government. And a suf- 
ficient security against such contingency is to be found in the distri- 
bution of branches in different States, acting and reacting upon tha 
parent institution, and upon each other 


In the Senate of the United States, July 12, 1832. 

I HAVE soine obserTatioos to submit on tliis question, which I would 
not trespass on the Senate in ofiering, but that it has some ccHnmand 
of leisure, in consequence of the conference which has been agreed 
upon in respect to Uie tariff. 

A bill to recharter the bank has recently passed Congress, after 
much deliberation. In this body, we know that there are members 
enough who entertain no constitutional scruples, to make, with the 
▼ote by which the bill was passed, a majority of two-thirds. In the 
House of Representatives, also, it ia betieved, there is a like majority 
in favor of the bill. Notwithstanding this state of things, the Presi- 
dent has rejected the bill, and transmitted to the Senate an elaborate 
message, communicating at large his objections. The constitution 
requires that we should reconsider the bUl, and that the question of 
its passage, the President's objections notwithstanding, shall be taken 
by ayes and noes. Respect to him, as well as tiro injunctions of the 
constitution, require that we should deliberately examine his reasons, 
and reconsider the question. 

The veto is an extraordinary power, which, though tolerated by 
the constitution, was not expected, by the convention, to be used in 
ordinary cases. It was designed for instances of precipitate legisla- 
tion, in unguarded moments. Thus restricted, and it has been thus 
restricted by all former Presidents, it might not be mischievous. Dur- 
ing Mr. Madison's administration of eight years, there occurred but 
two or three cases of its exercise. During the last administration I 
do not now recollect that it was once. In a period little upwards of 
three years, the present Chief Magistrate has employed the veto four 
times. We now hear quite frequently, in the progress of measures 


through Congress, the statement that the President will veto them, 
urged as an objection to their passage. 

The veto is hardly reconcileable with the genius of representative 
government. It is totally irreconcileable with it, if it is to be fre» 
quently employed in respect to the expediency of measures, as well 
as their constitutionality. It is a feature of our government borrowed 
from a prerogative of the British king. And it is remarkable that in 
England it has grown obsolete, not having been used for upwards of 
a century. At the commencement of the French revolution, in dis- 
cusssing the principles of their constitution, in national convention, 
the veto held a conspicuous figure. The gay, laughing population 
€i Paris bestowed on the king the appellation of Monsieur Veto, and 
on the queen, that of Madame Veto. The convention finally decreed 
that if a measure rejected by the king should obtain the sanction of 
two concurring legislatures, it should be a law, notwithstanding the 
veto. In the constitution of Kentucky, and perhaps in some other 
of the State constitutions, it is provided that if, after the rejection of 
a bill by the Governor, it shall be passed by a majority of all the 
members elected to both Houses, it shall become a law, notwithstand- 
ing the Governor's objections. As a co-ordinate branch of the gov- 
ernment, the chief magistrate has great weight. If, af^er a respect- 
ful consideration of his objections urged against a bill, a majority of 
all the members elected to the legislature shall still pass it, notwith- 
standing his official influence and the force of his reasons, ought it 
not to become a ^w } Ought the opinion of one man to overrule 
that of a legislative body twice deliberately expressed ? 

It cannot be imagined that the convention contemplated the appli- 
cation of the veto to a question which has been so long, so often, and 
so thoroughly scrutinized, as that of the Bank of the United States, 
by every department of the government, in almost every stage of its 
existence, and by the people, and by the State legislatures. Of all 
the controverted questions which have sprung up under our govern- 
ment, not one has been so fully investigated as that of its power to 
establish a Bank of the United States. More than seventeen yean 
ago, in January, 1815, Mr. Madison then said, in a message to the 
Senate of the United States : 

** WiiTiaff the qoestioo of the conecitntional authority of the LegiibtttTe to cAah 


Dih tt ittcofpoxated Bnk, m being pindndedy in my jodcmeDt, by r^ated reccf - 
liidpii^ under yaiied circniiistanceB^ of the yaliditv of sncn an institution, in acts of 
l&e legialatiTe, ezecutiTe, and judicial branehet of the govermnent. acooiniNuiied faw 
i^^pcations, in difiereat modes, of a concurrence of the general will of the nation. 

Mr. MadiaoD, himself oppofled to the first Bank of the United 
States, yielded his own convictions to those of the nation, and all 
th^ departments of the government thus often expressed. Subse- 
«quent to this true but strong statement of the case, the present Bank 
of the United States was established, and numero«s other acts, of all 
the departments of government, manifesting their settled sense of the 
power, have been added to those which existed prior to the date of 
Mr. Madison's message. 

No question has been more generally discussed, within the last two 
years, by the people 9i large, and in State Legislatures, than that of 
the Bank. And this consideration of it has been prompted by the 
President himself. In his first message to Ck)ngress, (in December, 
1829,) he brought the subject to the view of that body and the nation, 
and expressly declared, that it could not, for the interest of all con- 
cerned, be '^ too soon" settled. In each of his subsequent annual mes- 
sages, in 1830 and 1831, he again invited the attention of Congress to 
the subject. Thus^ after an interval of two years, and after the inter- 
vention of the election of a new Congress, the President proposes to 
renew the charter of the Bank of the United States. And yet his 
friends now declare the agitation of the question to be premature ! 
It was. not premature in 1829 to present the question, but it is pre- 
nv^ure in 1832 to consider and decide it ! 

After the President had directed public attention to this question, 
it became uot only a topic of popular conversation, but was discussed 
ia the press and employed as a theme in popular elections. I was 
myself interrogated, on more occasions than one, to make a public 
eixpreasion of my sentiments ; and a friend of mine in Kentucky, a 
candidate for the State Legislature, told me near two years ago, that^ 
he was surprised, in an obscure part of his county, (the hills of Ben- 
son) where there was but little occasion for Banks, to find himself 
qoefltiooed on the stump, as to the recharter of the Bank of the United 
States. It seemed as if a sort of general order ^ had gone out, from 
heiad-quarters, to the partizana of the adnunistration every where, to 
agitate and make the moat of the question. They have done so : and 


their conditioii now remindg me of the fable invented by Dr. FVank- 
lin of the eagle and the cat, to demonstrate that Maop had not ex- 
hausted invention, in the construction of his memorable ftLbles. The 
eagle, you know, Mr. President, pounced from his lofty flight in the 
air upon a cat, taking it to be a pig. Having borne off his prize, he 
quicldy felt most painfully the paws of the cat thrust deeply into hia 
sid^B and body. Whilst flying, he held a parley with the supposed 
pig, and proposed to let go his hold, if the other would let him alone. •* 
No says puss, you brought me from yonder earth below, and I will 
hold fast to you until you carry me back — a condition to which the 
eagle readily assented. 

The friends of the President, who have been for near three year* 
agitating this question, now turn round upon their opponents, who 
have supposed the President quite serious and in earnest in present- 
ing it for public consideration, and charge them with prematurely ' 
agitating it. And that for electioneering purposes ! The other side 
understands perfectly the policy of preferring an unjust charge in or- 
der to avoid a well founded accusation. 

If there be an electioneering motive in the mattei*, who have 
been actuated by it ? Those who have taken the President at hn 
word, and deliberated on a measure which he has repeatedly recom- 
mended to their consideration ; or those who have resorted to all sorts 
of means to elude the question ? By alternately coaxing and threat- 
ening the Bank ; by an extraordinary investigation into the admini- 
stration of the Bank ; and by every species of postponement and pro- 
crastination, during the progress of the bill. 

Nothwithstanding all these dilatory expedients, a majority of Con- 
gress, prompted by the will and the best interests of the nation, passed 
the bill. And I shall now proceed, with great respect and deference, 
to examine some of the objections to its becoming a law, contained 
%i the President's message, avoiding, as much as I can, a repetition of 
what gentlemen have said who preceded me. 

The President thinks that the precedents, drawn from the proceed- 
ings of Congress, as to the constitutional power to establish a Bank, 
are neutralized, by there being two for and two against the authori- 
ty. He supposes that one Congress in 1811, and another in 1815, 


decided agaiiiBt tbe power. Let us examine both of these cases. 
the House of Rejweseiitatiyes in 181 1, passed the bill to re-charter 
the Bank, and, conseqnendy affirmed the power. 'The Senate dming 
the same year were diyided, 17 and 17, and the Vice-President gare 
the casting vote. Of the 17 who voted against the Bank, we know 
from the declaration of the senator from Maryland, (General Smith,) 
now present, that he entertained no doubt whatever of the constitu- 
tional power of Congress to e«tablish a Bank, and that he voted on 
totally distinct ground. Taking away his vote and adding it to the 
17 who voted for the Bank, the number would have stood 18 for, and 
16 against the power. But we know further, that Bfr. Gaillard, Mr. 
Anderson and Mr. Robinson, made a part of that 16 ; and that in 
1815, all three of them voted for the Bank. Take those three votes 
from the 16, and add them to the 18, and the vote of 1811, as to the 
question of constitutional power, would have been 21 and 13. And of 
these thirteen there might have been others still who were not go- 
verned in their votes by any doubts of the power. 

In regard to the Congress of 1815, so far from their having enter- 
tained any scruples in respect to the power to establish a Bank, they 
actually passed a Bank bill, and thereby affirmed the power. It is 
true that, by the casting vote of the speaker of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, (Mr. Cheves,) they rejected another bank bill, not on 
grounds of want of power, but upon considerations of expediency in 
the particular structure of that Bank. 

Both the adverse precedents therefore, relied upon in the message, 
operate directly against the argument which they were brought for- 
ward to maintain. Congress, by various othw acts, in relation to the 
Bank of the United States, has again and again sanctioned the power. 
And I believe it may be truly affirmed that from the commencement 
of the government to this day, there has not been a Congress opposed 
to the Bank of the United States upon the distinct ground of a want 
of power to establish it. 

And here, Mr. President, I pust request the indulgence of the 
Senate, whilst I express a few words in relation of myself. 

I voted, in 1811, against the old Bank of the United Stetes, and I 
delivered on the occasion, a speech, in which, among other reaaonS| 



I assigned that of its beiQg uDConstitutioDal. My speech has heea 
I9ad to the Senate, during the progress of this hill, but the readiii^ 
qf iC excited no other regret than that it was read in such a wretch^ 
boQglingi mangling manner.* During a long public life, (I mentiom 
the &ct, not as claiming any merit for it| the only great question in 
vhich 1 have ever changed my opinion, is that of the Bank of the 
United States. If the researches of the Senator had carried bim a 
little further, he would, by turning over a few more leaves of the 
same book from which he read my speech, have found that which I 
made in 1816, in support of the present Bank. By the reasons ap* 
sigaed in it for the change of my opinion, I am ready to Htude in tba 
judgment of the present generation and of posterity. In 1816, bei^g 
speaker of the House of Representatives, it was perfectly in my pow- 
er to have said nothing and done nothing, and thus have concealed 
the change of opinion which my mind had undergone. But I did not 
choose to remain silent and escape responsibility. I chose publidj 
to avow my actual conversion. The war and the fatal experieooe 
of its disastrous events, had changed me. Mr. Madison, Governor 
Pleasants, and almost all the public men around me, my political 
Qrifioads^ had changed their opinions from the same causes. 

The power to establish a Bank is deduced from that clause of the 
QQUstituti^ which confers on Congress all powers necessary and 
pit^per to carry into effect the enumerated powers. In 1811, 1 he* 
lieved a Bank of the United States not necessary, and that a safe le^ 
liance might be placed on the local banks, in the administration of 
the fiscal a&irs of the* government. The war taught us naany les- 
sens, and among others demtonstrated the necessity of the Bank of tUa 
United States, to the successful operations of the government. I -wSX 
not trouble the Senate with a perusal of my speech in 1816, but ade 
its permission to read a few extracts : 

" But how stood the ctae \n 181^ when he was called upon to examine the pow- 
ers of the general government to incorporate a National Bank 1 A total change of 
circunutances was presented— eTcnts of the ntmoet magnitude bad intervened. 

"^ gjncnil suspension of specie payments had taken place, and this had led to a 
tftip of cireqrostanoes of the mosc alarming nature. He beheld, dispersed over the 
immense ex||pnt of the United States, about three hundred bankmg institutions, en- 
joying, m difierent degrees, the eonfidenee of the public, shaken as to them aB- 
njMer no direct control of the general government, and subject to no actual respon, 
wnlity to the state authorities. These institutions were emitting the actual our* 

* It > aadeia to od tQ havt baea wad by Mg. HilL 


mncf of the United Sutes— a cairency coosutinc of paper, on which they neiihar 
paid interest nor principal, whilst it was exchanged for the paper of the community. 
mt which both were paid. We saw theae inatiiutiooa in fact, ezercising what haa 
been coosidercd, at all times, and in all countries, one of the highest attributes of 
•vvereignty— >the regulation of the carrent medium of the country. They ware na 
knf er competent to assist the Trcasuir. in either of the great operations of colleen 
don, deposite or distribution of the pnouc reTenuen. In fact, the paper which they 
•mitted, and which the Treasury, from the force of eventa, found itself ooostraiacd 
to receive, was constantly obstructing the o|>eration8 of that department ; for it 
wonld accarniUate where it waa not wanted, and could not be ased where it waa 
wanted, for the purposes of government, without a ruinous and arbitrary brokerage. 
Every man who Paid to or received from the goTemment, naid or received as much 
leas than he ought to have done, as waa the diO'erence between the medium in 
which the pavment was effected and specie. Taxes were no longer uniform. In 
New England, whete specie payments had not been suspended, the people were 
called upon to pay larger contributions than where they were suspended. In Ken- 
tneky aa nraeh more was paid by the people, in their taxes, than was pnid, for eK*> 
•miple; in the State of Ohio, as KTeniucky paper waa worth more than Ohio paper. 

** Conaidering, then, that the state of the currency was such that no thinking man 
eottld comenrolate it without the most serious alarm ; that it threatened genetil 
distress, if it did not ultimately lead to convulsion and subversion of the government 
•—it appeared to him to be the duty of Congress to ai)p!y a remedy, if a remedy 
oould be devised* A National Bank, with other auxiliary measures was proposed aa 
that remedy. Mr. Clay said he determined lo examine the qui'stion with aa little 
prejudice as possible, arising from his former opinion ; he knew that the safeM course 
to nim, if he pursued a coul calculating prudence, was to adhere to that opinion 
right or wrong. He was perfectly aware that if he changed, or seemed to change 
it, he should expose himself to some censure ; b«it, looking at the aubject with tiif 
light shed upon it, by events happening since the commencement ot the war, he 
oonid no longer doubt * * * * He preferred to the aaggeationa of the pride of 
oonsisteacy, the evident interests of the community, and determined to throw hiro- 
«lf npon their justice and candor.** 

The interest which fbreigaers hold in the exiiting Bank of the 
United States, ia dwelt upon in the message as a serious objection to 
the recharter. But this interest is the result of the assignable nature 
oC the stock ; and if the objection be well founded, it applies to gov-* 
eminent stock, to the stock in local banks, in canal and other compa* 
nics, created for internal improvements, and every species of money 
or moveables in which foreigners may acquire an interest. The as- 
signable character of the stock is a quality conferred not for the bene- 
fit of foreigners, but for that of our own citizens. And the fact of its 
being tran^srred to them is the effect of the balance of trade being 
against us — an evil, if it be one, which the American system will 
correct. All governments wanting capital, resort to foreign nations 
possessing it in superabimdance, to obtain it. Sometimes the resort 
is even made by one to another belligerent nation. During our revo* 
lutionary war we obtained foreign capital (Dutch and French) to aid 
us. Durii^ the late war American stock was sent to Europe to sell ; 
•ad if f am not misinformed, to Liverpool. The question does not 
depend npon the place whence the capital is obtained, but the advan- 
tageous use of it The confidence of foreigners in our stocks, is a proof 


3f the solidity of our credit. Foreigners have no yoice in the admin- 
istration of this Bank ; and if they buy its stock, they are obliged to 
submit to citizens of the United States to manage it. The senator 
from Tennessee, (Mr. White,) asks what would have been the condi- 
tion of this country, if, during the late war, this Bank had existed, 
with such an interest in it as foreigners now hold ? I will tell him. 
We should have avoided many of the disasters of that war, perhaps 
those of Detroit and at this place. The government would have po0- 
aessed ample means for its vigorous prosecution ; and the interest of 
foreigners, British subjects especially, would have operated Upon 
them, not upon us. Will it not be a serious evil to be obliged to remit 
in specie to foreigners the eight millions which they now have in this 
bank, instead of retaining that capital within the country to stimulate 
its industry and enterprise ? 

The President assigns in his message a conspicuous place to the 
alleged injurious operation of the Bank on the interests of the western 
people. They ought to be much indebted to him for his kindness 
manifested towards them ; although, I think, they have much reason 
to deprecate it. The people of all the west owe to this Bank aboot 
thirty millions, which have been borrowed from it ; and the President 
thinks that the payments for the interest, and other fitcilities which 
they derive from the operation of the Bank, are so onerous as to pro* 
duce << a drain of their currency, which no country can bear without 
inconvenience and occasional distress.'* His remedy is to compel 
them to pay the whole of the debt which they have contracted in a 
period short of four years. Now, Mr. President, if they cannot pay 
the interest without distress, how are they to pay the principal ? If 
they cannot pay a part how are they to pay the whole ? Whether die 
payment of the interest be or be not a burthen to them, is a question 
for themselves to decide, respecting which they might be disposed to 
dispense with the kindness of the President, if, instead of borrowiqg 
thirty millions from the Bank, they had borrowed a like sum from a 
Qirard, John Jacob Astor, or any other banker, what would they 
think of one who should come to them and say — <' Grentlemen of the 
west, it will ruin you to pay the interest on that debt, and therefcnre I 
wUl oblige you to pay the whole of the principal in less than four 
years.*' Would they not reply — " We know what we are about ; 
mind your own business ; we are satisfied that in ours we can make 
not only the interest on what we loan, but a &ir profit besides." 


A great mistake exists about the western operation of the Bank. It 
is not the Bank, but the business, the commerce of the west, and the 
operations of gOTemment, that occasions the transfer, annually, of 
money from the west to the Atlantic States. What is the actual 
course of things ? The business and commerce of the west are car^ 
ried on with New Orleans, with the southern and southwestern States 
and with the Atlantic cities. We transport our dead or inanimate 
produce to New Orleans, and receiire in return checks or drafis of the 
Bank of the United States at a premium of a half per cent. We send 
by our drovers our live stock to the south and southwest, and receive 
similar checks in return. With these drafts or checks our merchants 
proceed to the Atlantic cities, and purchase domestic or foreign goods 
ibr western consumption. The lead and fur trade of Missouri and 
Illinois is also carried on principally through the Bank of the United 
States. The government also transfers to places where it is wanted, 
through that Bank, the sums accumulated at the different land offices, 
for purchases of the puWc lands. ' 

Now all these varied operations must go on ; all these remittances 
must be made— Bank of* the United States or no Bank. The Bank 
does not create, but facilitates them. The Bank is a mere vehicle ; 
just as much so as the steamboat is the vehicle which transports our 
produce to the great mart of New Orleans, and not the grower of that 
produce. It is to confound <Sause and effect, to attribute to the Bank 
Atd transfer of money from the west to the east. Annihilate the 
Bank tomorrow, and similar transfers of capital, the same description 
of pecuniary operations, must be continued ; not so well, it is true, 
but performed they must be, ill or well, under any state of circum- 

The true questions are — how are they now performed ; how were 
ibty conducted prior to the existence of the Bank ; how would they 
be alter it ceased ? I can tell you what was our condition before the 
Bank was established ; and, as I reason from the past to future expe- 
rience, und^ analogous circumstances, I can venture to predict what 
it will probably be without the Bank. 

Before the establishment of the Bank of the United States, the 
exchange business of the west was carried on by a premium, which 
was generally paid on all remtttanees to the east of two and a half 


per cent. The a^;regate amount of all remittances, throughout the 
whole circle of the year, waa very great, and instead of t/be sum thaa 
paid, we now pay half per cent, or nothing, if notes of the Bank of 
the United States be used. Prior to the Bank, we were without the 
capital of the thirty millions which that institution now suppliea, 
stimulating our industry and invigorating our enterprise. In Ken- 
tucky we have no specie paying Bank, scarcely any currency other 
than that of paper of the Bank of the United States and its branches. 

How is the west to pay this enormous debt of thirty nullions of 
dollars? It is impossible. It cannot be done. General distreia, 
certain, wide-spread, inevitable ruin must be the consequences of ssi 
attempt to enforce the payment. Depression in the value of all pro- 
perty, sheriff's sales and sacrifices — bankruptcy, must neoessarly 
ensue , and, with them, relief laws, paper money, a prostration of 
the courts of justice, evils from which wa have just emerged, must 
again, with all their train of afflictions, revisit our country. But it 
is argued by the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. White) that similar 
predictions were made, without being realized, from the downfall of 
the old Bank of the United States. It is, however, to be recollected, 
that the old Bank did not possess one-third of the capital of the pte- 
sent ; that it had but one office west of the* mountains, whilst Am 
present has nine ; and that it had little or no debt due to it in thfti 
quarter, whilst the present Bank has thirty millions. The war, t4N»y 
which shortly followed the downfidl of the old Bank, and the sai*> 
pension of specie payments, which soon followed the war, prevented 
the injury apprehended from the discontinuance of the old Bank. 

The same gentleman further argues that the day of payment mnrt 
come ; and he asks when, better than now ? It is to be indefinitely 
postponed ; is the charter of the present Bank to be perpetual ? Why, 
Mr. President, all things — governments, republics, empires, laws, 
human life — doubtless are to have an end ; but shall we therefoM 
accelerate their termination ? The west is now young, wants oapi^ 
tal, and its vast resources, needing nourishment, ace daily developing. 
By and by, it will accumulate wealth from its industry and enterprise, 
and possess its surplus capital. The charter is not made perpetual, 
because it is wrong to bind posterity perpetually. At the end of the 
term limited for its renewal, posterity will have the power of deter* 
mining for itself whether the Bank shall then be wound up, cc pro* 


longed another term. And that question may be decided, as it now 
o^^t to be, by a consideration of the interests of all parts of the Union, 
the west among the rest SuflBoieDt fix* the day is the e? il thereof. 

The President teUs us, that, that if the executive had been called 
apon to fumirii the project of a Bank, the duty would have been 
cheerfully performed ; and he states that a Bank, competent to i^ the 
duties which may be required by the government, might be so oiga- 
Dised, as not to infiringe on our own delegated powers, or the reserv- 
ed rights d the States. The President is a co-ordinate branch of the 
k|p'slative department. As such, bills which have passed both houses 
of Congress, are presented to him for bis approval or rejection. The 
Mea of going to the President for the project oi a law, is totaUy new 
in the practice, and utterly contrary to the theory <]€ the government. 
What should we think oi the Senate calling upon the house, or the 
House upon the Senate, for the prajeet of a law. ? 

In France, the king possessed the initiative of all kws, and none 
could pass without its having been previously presented to one of the 
chambers by the crown, through the ministers. Does the President 
wish to introduce the initiative here ? Are the powers of recommen- 
dation, and that of veto, not sufficient? Must all legislation, in its 
commencement and in its termination concentrate in the President ? 
When we shall have reached, that state of things, the election and 
SBBual sessions of Congress will be a useless charge upon the peo- 
ple, and the whole business of government may be economically con- 
dncted by ukases and decrees. 

Congress 'tloes sometimes receive the suggestions and opinions of 
the heads of departaoent, as to new laws. And, at the commenee- 
ment of this session, in his annual report, the Secretary of the Trea- 
svry stated his reasons at large, not merely m fiivor of a Bank, but in 
support of the renewal of the charter of the existing Bank. Who 
could have believed that that responsible officer was communicating 
to Congress opinions directly adverse to those entertained by the 
President himself ? When before has it happened, that the head of a 
department recommended the passage of a law which, being accord- 
ingly passed and presented to the President, is subjected to his veto ? 
What sort of a Bank it % with a project of which the President 
wooUL have de igned to ftmdsh Congressi if they had applied to hhn, 


100 • 8P1E0HB8 OP HmRT CLAY. 

he has not stated. In the absence oi such statement^ we can only 
coiyecture that it is his famous Treasury Bank, formerly recommended 
by him, from which the people hare recoiled with the instinctiTe 
horror, excited by the approach of the cholera. 

The message states, that ^^ an investigation vnwilimgly conceded, 
and so reairicted in time as necessarily to make it inccmpktt and «»- 
saiufactoryf disclose enough to excite suspicion and -alarm." Ab 
there is no prospect of the passage of this bill, the President's objee- 
tions notwithstanding, by a ronstitutional majority of twQ-thirds, it 
can never reach the House of Representatives. The members of that 
House, and especially its distinguished chairman of' the committee of 
ways and means, who reported the bill, are therefore cut off from all 
opportunity of defending themselves. Under these circumstances, 
allow me to ask how the President has ascertained that the investi* 
gation was unwillingly conceded? I have understood directly the 
contrary ; and that the chairman, already referred to, as well as other 
members in favor of the renewal of the charter, promptly consented 
to and voted for the investigation. And we all know that those in 
support of the renewal could have prevented the investigation, and 
that they did not. But suspicion and alarm have been excited ! 
Suspicion and alarm ! Against whom is this suspicion ? The 
House, or the Bank, or both ? 

Mr. President, I protest against the right of any Chief Magistrate 
to come into either house of Congress, and scrutinize the motives of 
its members ; to examine whether a measure has been passed with 
promptitude or repugnance ; and to pronounce npon the willingness 
or unwillingness with which it has been adopted or rejected. It is an 
interference in concerns which partake of a domestic nature. The 
official and constitutional relations between the President and the 
two houses of Congress subsist with them as organized bodies. His 
action is confined to their consununated proceedings, and does not 
extend to measuses in their incipient stages, during their progress 
through the houses, nor to the nootives by which they are actuated. 
There are some parts of this message that ought to excite deep alarm ; 
and that especially in which the President announces that each pub* 
lie officer may interpret the constitution as he pleases. His language 
is, ^^ Each public officer, who takes an oath to support the constitu- 
tion, swears that he will support it as he understands it, and not as it 


is understood by others." • • • « jhe opinion of the judges 
has no more aathority o^rer Congress than the opinion of Congress 
has over the judges ; and on thai point the Prendent is independent of 
hoth.'*^ Now, Mr. President, i conceive, with great deference, that 
the President has mistaken the purport of the oath to support the 
constitution of the United States. No one sweats to support \i €L$ he 
understands tf,but to support it simply as it is in truth. All men are 
bound to obey the laws, of which the constitution is the supreme ; 
but must they obey them as they are, or as they understand them 1 If 
the obligation of obedience is limited and controlled by the measure 
of information — in other words, if the party is bound to obey the con- 
stitution only as he understands it, what would be the consequence ? 
The judge of an inferior court would disobey the mandate of a supe- 
rior tribunal, because it was not in conformity to the constitution, as 
he understands it ; a custom house oQicer would disobey a circular 
from the treasury department, because contrary to the constitution, 
as he understands it ; an American minister would disregard an in- 
struction from the President, communicated through the department 
of Slate, because not agreeable to the constitution, as he understands 
a ; and a subordinate otiicer in the army or navy, would violate the 
orders of his superior, because they were not in accordance with the 
constitution, as he understands it. We should have nothing settled, 
nothing stable, nothing fixed. There would be general disorder and 
confusion throughout every branch of administration, from the high- 
est to the lowest officers — universal nullification. For what is the 
doctrine of the President but that of South Carolina applied through- 
out the Union? The President, independent both of Congress and 
the Supreme Court ! Only bound to execute the laws of the one and 
tlie decisions of the other, as far as they conform to the constitution 
of the United States, as far as he understands it ! Then it should be 
the duty of every President, on his installation into office, to carefully 
examine all the acts in the statute book, approved by his predeces- 
sors, and mark out those which he was resolved not to execute, and 
to which he meant to apply this new species of veto, because they 
were repugnant to the constitution as he understands it. And, after 
the expiration of every term of the supreme Court, he should send for 
the record of its decisions, and discriminate between those which he 
would, and those which he would not, execute, because they were 
or were i^ot agreeable to the constitation^ as he ttnderstands it. 




There is another coDstiiutional doctrine contained in the meatage, 
which 18 entir<)ly new to me. It asserts that ^' the government of the 
United States have no constitutional power to purchase lands within 
the States,'' except ^< for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, 
dockyards, and other needful buildings ;" and even for these objects, 
only ^^ by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the 
same shall be." Now sir, I had supposed that the right of CongreM 
to purchase lands in any State was incontestible : and, in point of 
fiM^t, it probably at this moment, owns land in every State of the 
(Jnion, purchased for taxes, or as a judgment or mortgage creditor. 
And there are various acts of Congress which regulate the purchase 
and transfer of such lands. The advisers of the Pre.sident have con* 
founded the feculty of purchasing lands with the exercise of exclusiTe 
jurisdiction, which is restricted by the constitution to the forts aed 
other buildings described. 

The message presents some striking instances of discrepancy. 1st. 
It contests the right to establish one bank, and objects to the bill tbat*^ 
it limits and restrains the power of Congress to establish several, dd. 
It urges that the bill does not recognise the power of State taxation 
generally ; and complains that facilities are afforded to the exercise 
of that power in respect to the stock held by individuals. 3d. It ob- 
jects that any bonus is taken, and insists that not enough is demand* 
" ed. And 4th. It complains that foreigners have too much influence, 
and that stock transferred loses the privilege of representation in the 
elections of the Bank, which, if it were retaitied, would give theot 

Mr. President, we are about to close one of the longest and most 
arduous sessions of Congress under the present constitution ; and 
when we return among our constituents, what account of the opera- 
tions of their government shall we be bound to communicate } We 
shall be compelled to say, that the Supreme Court is paralysed, and 
the missionaries retained in prison in contempt of its authority, and in 
defiance of numerous treaties and laws of the United States ; that 
the Elxecutive through the Secretary of the Treasury, sent to Con* 
gress a tariff bill which would have destroyed numerous branches of 
our domestic industry, and led to the destruction of all ; that the veto 
has been applied to the Bank of the United States, our only reliance 
for a sound and uniform currency ; that the Senate has been violently 




attacked for the exercise of a clear constitutional power ; that the 
House of Representatives has heen unnecessarily assailed ; and that 
the President has promulgated a rule of action for those who hare 
taken the oath to support the constitution of the United States, that 
must, if there be practical conformity to it, introduce general nullifi- 
cation! and end in the absolute subTersion of the gOTcmment. 

' ■ •• 

-ji . • 


Iw THE Senate op the United States, 1832. 

[The proper disposition of the Public Lands o\ the United States, afier the pay 
ment of the Revolutionary Debt for which they were originally pledged, and to aid 
in di^churxin^ which was a principal inducement to their cession by the States to 
the Union, had for some time been a subject of increasing solicitude to our wisest 
statesmen. President Jekkkksox, as early as 1S06, suggested the appropriation of 
their proceeds to the construction of works oflnlernal Improvement and to the support 
of Education, even though it should be deemed prerequisite to alter the Federal Con- 
stitution. General Jack^ox, as early as 1S90, again called the attention of Congress to 
the subject, and pro|K>sed the cession of the remaining Lands, without recompense, to 
the several States v/hich contained them, thu.^ shutting out the Old Thirteen States 
altogether (with a good part of the New,) from any participation in their benefits. 
This proposition would very naturally be received with great favor in the States 
containing Public Lands, while the others might very safely be relied on, judging 
from all exinrrience, lo take little or no interest in the subject. Mr. Clav and Gen- . 
eral Jacksox were then rival candidates for President, and the election not very 
distant ; and the adversaries of Mr. Clav, composing a decided majority of the 
Senate, having placed iiim at the head of the Committee on Manufactures, now 
resolved to embarrass and prejudice him with the New States by referring to that 
committee this proposition to give away to those States the Public Lands. Extrs- 
ordinary as this resolution may well seem, it was carried into eflect, and Mr. Clat 
required to n^port directly on this project of Cession. He did not hesitate to discharge 
manfully the duty so un£;raciously thrust upon him, and after eaniest consid<-ratioii, 
devised and reported a bill to Distribute to all the Statks the Proceeds of thIi 
Public Lands, with which his fame and fortunes will stand identified to all future 
time. In supi>ort of this bill, he addressed the Senate as follows :] 

In rising to address the Senate, I owe, in the first place, th^ ex- 
pression of my hearty thanks to the majority, hy whose vote, just 
given, I am indulged in occupying the floor on this most important 
question. I am happy to see that the days when the sedition acts 
and gag laws were in force, and when screws were applied for the 
suppression of the freedom of speech and debate, are not yet to return ; 
and that, when the consideration of a great question has been special* 
ly assigned to a particular day, it is not allowed to be arrested and 
thrust aside by any unexpected and unprecedented parliamentary 
nuuKBuvre. The decision of the majority demonstrates that feelings 


of liberality, and courtesy, and kindness still prevail in the Senate ; 
and that they will be extended even to one of the huniblest members 
of the body ; for such, I assure the Senate, I feel myself to be.* 

It may not be amiss again to allude to the extraordinary reference 
of the subject of the public lands to the committee of manufactures. 
I have nothing to do with the motives of honorable Senators who com- 
posed the majority by which that reference was ordered. The deco- 
rum proper in this hall obliges me to consider their motives to have 
been pore and patriotic. But still I must be permitted to regard the 
proceeding as very unusual. The Senate has a standing committee 
on the public lands, appointed under long established rules. The 
members of that committee are presumed to be well acquainted with 
the subject ; they have some of them occupied the same station for 
many years, are well versed in the whole legislation on the public 
lands, and familiar with every branch of it — and four out of five of 
them come from the new States. Yet, with a full knowledge of all 
these circumstances, a reference was ordered by a majority of the 
Senate to the committee on manufactures — ^a committee than which 
there is not another standing committee of the Senate whose prescrib- 
ed duties are more incongruous with the public domain. It happen- 
ed, in the constitution of the committee of mannfieustures, that there 
was not a solitary Senator from the new States, and but one from any 
western State. We earnestly protested against the reference, and 
insisted upon its impropriety ; but we were overruled by the majority, 
including a majority of Senators from the new States. I will not at- 
tempt an expression of the feelings excited in my mind on that occa- 
sion. Whatever may have been the intention of honorable Senators, 
I could not be insensible to the embarrassment in which the commit- 
tee of manufactures was placed, and especially myself. Although 
any other other member of that committee could have rendered him- 
self, with appropriate researches and proper time, more competent 
than I was to understand the subject of the public lands, it was known 
that, from my local position, I alone was supposed to have any par- 

* This cmbject had been aet down for this day. It was generally expected, in and 
out of the Senate, that it would be taken np, and that Mr. Clay would address the 
Senate. The members were generally in their seat?, and the gallery and lobbies 
crowded. At the customary hour, he moved that the subject pending should be laid 
on the table, to take up the Lemd BiU. It was ordered accordingly. At this point of 
time Mr. Forsyth made a motion, eupported by Mr. Taiwell, that the Senate pro- 
ceed to executive bnsineas. The motion was overruled 


iicular knowledge of them. Whatever emanated from the committee 
was likely, therefore, to be ascribed to me. If the committee should 
propose a measure of great liberality towards the new States, the old 
States might complain. If the measure should seem to lean towards 
the old States, the new might be dissatisfied. And, if it inclined to 
neither class of States, but recommended a plan according to which 
there would be distributed impartial justice among all the States, if 
was far from certain that any would be pleased. 

Without venturing to attribute to honorable Senators the purpose 
of producing this personal embarrassment, I felt it as a necessary cos- 
sequence of their act, just as much as if it had been in their contemr 
plation. Nevertheless, the committee of manufactures cheerfully 
entered upon the duty which, againi^ its will, was thus assigned to it 
by the Senate. And, for the causes already noticed, that of prepar- 
ing a report and suggesting some measure embracing the whole sul^ 
ject, devolved in the committee upon me. The general features of 
our land system were strongly impressed on my memory ;« but I found 
it necessary to re-examine some of the treaties, deeds of cession, and 
laws which related to the acquisition and administration of the 
public lands ; and then to think of, and, if possible, strike out some 
project, which, without inflicting injury upon any of the States, mi^ 
deal equally and justly with all of them. The report and bill, sub- 
mitted to the Senate, after having been previously sanctioned by a 
majority of the committee, were the results of this consideration. The 
report, with the exception of the principle of distribution which con- 
cludes it, obtained the unanimous concurrence of the committee of 

This report and bill were hardly read in the Senate before they 
were violently denounce^* And they were not considered by the 
Senate before a proposition was made to refer the report to that vcxy 
conunittee of the public lands to which, in the first instance, I con- 
tended the subject ought to have been assigned. It was in vain that 
we remonstrated against such a proceeding, as unprecedented, as im- 
plying unmerited censure on the conmiittee of manu&ctures as lead- 
ing to interminable references ; for what more reason could there be 
to refer the report of the committee of manufactures to the land com- 
mittee, than would exist for a subsequent reference to the report of 
this eommittee, when made, to some third committee, and so on in 


an endless circle ? In spite of all our remonstrances, the same ma- 
jority, with but little if any variation, which had originally resolved 
to refer the subject to the committee of manufactures, now determin- 
ed to commit its bill to the land committee. And this not only with- 
out particular examination into the merits of that bill, but without 
the avowal of any specific amendment which was deemed necessary ! 
The committee of public lands after the lapse of some days, presented 
a report, and recommended a reduction of the price of the public 
lands immediately to one dollar per acre, and eventually to fifty cents 
per acre ; and the grant to the new States of fifteen per cent, on the 
nett proceeds of Ihe sales, instead of ten, as proposed by the com- 
mittee of manufactures, and nothing to the old States. 

And now, Mr. President, I desire, at this time, to make a few ob- 
eervations in illustration of the original report ; to supply some omis- 
aions in its composition *, to say something as to the power and rights 
4>f the general government over the public domain to submit a few 
jemarks on the counter report; and to examine the assumptions 
which it contained, and the principles on which it is founded. 

No subject which had presented itself to the present, or perhaps 
any preceding Congress, was of greater magnitude than that of the 
public lands. There was another, indeed, which possessed a more 
exciting and absorbing interest — but the excitement was happily but 
temporary in its nature. Long after we shall cease te be agitated by 
the tariff, ages after our manufactures shall have acquired a stability 
and perfection which will enable them successfully to cope with the 
manufactures of any other country, the public lands will remain a 4 
subject of deep and enduring interest. In whatever view we con- 
template them, there is no question of such vast importance. As to 
their extent, there is public land enough to found an empire ; stretch- 
ing across the immense continent, £r6m the Atlantic to the Pacific 
ocean, fix>m the Gulf of Mexico to the northwestern lakes, the quan- 
tity, according to official surveys and estimates, amounting to the 
prodigious sum of one billion and eighty millions of acres ! As to 
the duration of the interest regarded as a source of comfort to our 
people, and of public income-— during the last year, when the great- 
est quantity was sold that ever in one year, had been previously sold, 
it amounted to less than three millions of acres, producing three mil- 
lioBS and a half of dollars. Assuming that year as afibrding the stand- 


ard rate at which the lands will be annually sold, it would peqaire 
three hundred years to dispose of them. Bu^ the sales will prohaUj 
be accelerated from increased population and other causes. We mfty 
safely, however, anticipate that lon^, if not centuries after the pre- 
sent day, the representatives of our children's children may be de- 
liberating in the halls of Congress, on laws relating to the public 

The subject in other points of view, challenged the fullest atten 
tion of an American statesman. If there were any one circumstance 
more than all others which distinguished our happy condition frofn 
that of the nations of the old world, it was the possession of this 
vast national properly, and the resources which it afibrded to our 
people and our government. No European nation, (possibly with 
the exception of Russia,) commanded such an ample resource. With 
respect to the other republics of this continent, we have no inforniA- 
tion that any of them have yet adopted a regular system of previous 
survey and subsequent sale of their wild lands, in convenient tracts^ 
well defined, and adapted to the wants of all. On the contrary, the 
probability is that ihey adhere to the ruinous and mad system of old 
Spain, according to which large unsurveyed districts are granted to 
fiivorite individuals, prejudicial to them, who often sink under the 
incumbrance, and die in poverty, whilst the regular current of entii- 
gration is checked and diverted from its legitimate channels. 

And if there be in the operations of this government, one which 
more than any other displays comsummate wisdom and statesmao- 
ship, it is that system by which the public lands have been so suc^ 
cessfully administered. We should pause, solemly pause, before we 
subvert it We should touch it hesitatingly, and with the gentlest 
hand. The prudent manaa[ement of the public lands, in the hands of 
the general government, will be more manifest by contrasting it with 
that of several of the States, which had the disposal of large bodies 
of waste lands. Virginia possessed an ample domain west of die 
mountains, and in the present State of Kentucky, over and above her 
munificent ^cession to the general government. Pressed for pecuni- 
ary means, by the revolutionary war, she brought her wild lands, 
during its progress, into market, receiving payment in paper money. 
There were no previous surveys of the waste lands — no townships, 
no sections, no official definition or descriDtioQ of tracts. Each por- 


M Tn posuc LAtnm. lOS 

ehaaer made his own location, describing the land booght as he 
thooght proper. Tbe*e locations or descriptions were often vague 
ud uncertain. The consequence was, that the same tract was not 
nnfrequentlj entered Tirious times by difierent purchasers, so as to 
be literally shingled over with conflicting claims. The state perhaps 
■old in this way, much more land than it was entitled to, but then it 
received nothing in return that was valuable; whilst the purchaser* 
in consequence of the clashing snd interference between their lighta, 
were exposed to tedious, vexatious, and ruinous litigation. Ken- 
tucky long and severely sufiered from this cause ; and is just emerg- 
ing from tbe troubles brought upon her by improvident land Icgisla- 
klion. Western Virginia hoa also suffered greatly, though not to 
the same extent. 

The state of Georgia had large bodies of waste lands, which she 
dbposed of in a manner satisfactory no doubt to herself, but aston- 
ishing to every one out of that commonwealth. According to her 
system, waste lands are distributed in lotteries among the people of 
the State, in conformity with the enactments of the legislature. And 
when one district of country is disposed of, as there are many who do 
not draw prizes, the unsuccessful call out for fresh distributions. 
These are made from time to time, as lands are acquired from the 
liidians ; and hence one of the causes of the avidity with which the 
Indian lands are sought. It is manifest that neither the present gen- . 
eration nor posterity can derive much advantage from his mode <d 
alienating public lands. On the contrary, I should think, it cannot 
fail to engender speculation and a spirit of gambling. ■ 

The State of Kentucky, in virtue of a compact with Virgiu'a, ac- 
quired a right to a quantity of public lands south of Green river. 
Neglecting to profit by the unfortunate example of the parent S(at4!, 
■be did not order the country to be surveyed previous tQ its being 
tiered to purchasers. Seduced by some of those wild land projects, 
of which at oil times there have been some afloat, and which hither- 
to the general government alone has firmly resisted, she was tempted 
to ot&T her waste lands to settlers, at different prices, under the name 
(^ head-rights or pre-emptions. As the laws, like most lirgislation 
upon euch subjects, were somewhat loosely worded, the keen eye of 
the speculator soon discerned the defects, and he took advantsge of 
them. Ingt«iic« hod oocnned of maiters (ArtaiiuDg cerificatea of 

110 tPXBcaKs or uihet clat. 

bead-rights in the name of their slaves, and thus securing the land, 
in contravention of the intention of the legislature. Slaves generally 
have but one name, being called Tom, Jack, Dick, or Harry To 
conceal the fraud, the owner would add Black, or some other cog- 
nomination, so that the certificate would read Tom Black, Jack 
Black, &c. The gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. Grundy,) will 
remember, some twenty-odd years ago, when we were both mem- 
bers of the Kentucky legislature, that I took occasion to animadvert 
upon these fraudulent practices, and observed that when the names 
came to be alphabeted, the truth would be told, whatever might be 
the language of the record ; for the alphabet would read Black Tom, 
Black Harry, &c. Kentucky realised more in her treasury than the 
parent State had done, considering that she had but a remnant of 
|>ublic lands, and she added somewhat to her population. But they 
were far less available than they would have been under a system of 
previous survey and regular sale. 

These observations in respect to the course of the respectable States 
referred to, in relation to their public lands, are not prompted by any 
unkind feelings towards them, but to show the supeiiority of the 
4and system of the United States. 

Under the system of the general government, the wisdom of which, 
in some respects, is admitted even by the report of the land commit- 
tee, the country subject to its operation, beyond the Alleghany 
mountains, has rapidly advanced in population, improvement and 
prosperity. The example of the State of Ohio was emphatically re- 
lied on by the report of the committee of manufactures — its million 
of people, its canals, and other improvements, its flourishing towns, 
its highly cultivated fields, all put there within less than forty years, 
^o weaken the force of this example, the land committee deny that 
the population of the State is principally settled upon public lands 
derived from the general government. But, Mr. President, with 
great deference to that committee, 1 must say that it labors under 
misapprehension. Three-fourths, if not four-fifths of the population 
of that State, are settled upon public lands purchased from the United 
States, and they are the most flourishing parts of the State. For the 
correctness of this statement I appeal to my friend from Ohio, (Mr. 
Ewing,) near me. He knows as well as I do, that the rich valleys 
of the Miami of Ohio, and the Maumee of the Lake, the Sciota and 


09 rWE nhUC LAHOt. Ill 

die Miukingiim are prioeipally settled by pertoni deriving titles to 
their lands from the United States. 

In a national point of view, one of the greatest advantages 
these public lands in the west, and this system of selling them, affi>rds, 
is the resource which they present against pressure and want, in other 
parts of the Union, from the vocations of society being too closely 
filled, and too much crowded. They constantly tend to sustain the 
price of labor, by the opportunity which they offer of the acquisitioB 
of fertile land at a moderate price, and the consequent temptation to 
emigrate from^ those parts of the Union where labor may be badly 
lewarded. I 

The progress of settlement, and the improvement in the fortunes 
and condition of individuals, under the operation of this beneficent 
system, are as simple as they are manifest. Pioneers of a more ad*- 
venturous character, advancing Ivsfore the tide of emigration, pene* 
trate into the uninhabited regions of the west. They apply the axe 
to the forest, which &lls before them, or the plough to the prahrie, 
■deeply sinking its share in the unbroken wild grasses in which it 
abounds. They build houses, plant orchards, enclose fields, cultivate 
the earth, and rear up families around them. Meantime, the tide of 
emigration flows upon them, their improved &rms rise in value, a de- 
mand for them takes place, they sell to the new comers, at a great 
advance, and proceed farther west, with ample means to purchase 
from government, at reasonable prices, sufficient land for all the mem- 
bers of their fiunilies. Another and another tide succeeds, the first 
poshing on westwardly the previous settlers, who, in their turn, sell 
out their fiirms, constantly augmenting in price, until they arrive at 
a fixed and stationary value. In this way, thousands and tens of 
thousands are daily improving their circumstances and bettering their 
condition. I have often witnessed this gratifying progress. On the 
same farm you may sometimes behold, standing together, the first 
Tode cabin of round and unhewn logs, and wooden chimneys, the 
hewed log house, chinked and shingled, with stone or brick chim- 
neys ; and, lastly, the comfortable brick or stone dwelling, each de- 
noting the different occupants of the fiirm, or the several stages of the 
oondition of the same occupant. What other nation can boast of such 
an ouUet for its increasing population, such bountiful means of pro- 
motinfr their prosperity, and securing their independence ? 


To the pablic lands of the United States, and especially to the ex- 
isting system by which they are distributed with so much regularity 
and equity, are we indebted for these signal benefits in our national 
eondition. And every consideration of duty, to ourselves, and to 
posterity, enjoins that we should abstain from the adoption of aay 
wild project that would cast away this vast national property, holden 
by the general government in sacred trust for the whole people of tlie 
United States, and forbids that we should rashly touch a system which 
has been so successfully tested by experience. 

It has been only within a few years that restless men have thrown 
before the public their visionary plans for squandering the public do- 
main. With the existing laws the great State of the west is satisfied and 
contented. She has felt their benefit, and grown great and powerful 
under their sway. She knows and testifies to the liberality of the 
general government in the administration of the public lands, extend- 
ed alike to her and to the other new States. There are no petitions 
from, no movements in Ohio, proposing vital and radical changes in 
the systsm. During the long period, in the House of Representa- 
tives, and in the Senate, that her upright and unambitious citizen, the 
first representative of that State, and afterwards successively Senator 
and Governor, presided oyer the committee of public lands, we heard of 
none of these chimerical schemes. All went on smoothly, and quietly, 
and safely. No man, in the sphere within which he acted, ever com- 
manded or deserved the implicit confidence of Congress more than 
Jeremiah Morrow. There existed a perfect persuasion of his entire 
impartiality and justice between the old States and the new. A few 
artless but sensible words, pronounced in his plain Scotch Irish dia- 
lect, were always sufficient to ensure the passage of any bill or reso- 
lution which he reported. For about twenty-five years, there was 
no essential change in the system ; and that which was at last made, 
varying the price of the public lands from two dollars, at which it had 
all that time remained, to one dollar and a quarter, at which it has 
been fixed only about ten or twelve years, was founded mainly on the 
oonsideratioQ of abolishing the previous credits. 

Assuming the duplication of our population in terms of twenty- 
five years, the demand for waste land, at the end of every term, will 
at least be double what it was at the commencement. But the ratio 
of the increased demand will be much greater than the increase of 


tlie whole population of the United States, because the Western 
States nearest to, or including i\Le public lands, populate much more 
rapidly than other parts of the Union ; and it will be from them that 
the greatest current of emigration will flow. At this moment Ohio, 
Kentucky, and Tennessee, are the most migrating States in the Union. 

To supply this constantly augmenting demand, the policy, which 
has hitherto characterized the general government, has been highly 
liberal both towards individuals and the new States. Large tracts, 
fax surpassing the demand of purchasers, in every climate and situa- 
tion, adapted to the wants of all parts of the Union, are brought into 
market at moderate prices, the government having sustained all the 
expense of the original purchase, and of surveying, marking, and di- 
viding the land. For fifty dollars any poor man may purchase forty 
acres of first rate land ; and for less than the wages of one year's labor, 
he may buy eighty acres. To the new States, also, has the govern- 
ment been liberal and generous in the grants for schools and for inter- 
nal improvements, as well as in reducing the debt, contracted for the 
purchase of lands, by the citizens of those States, who were tempted, 
in a spirit of inordinate speculation, to purchase too much, or at too 
high prices. 

Such is a rapid outline of this invaluable national property — of the 
system which regulates its management and distribution, and of the 
efiects of that system. We might here pause, and wonder that there 
should be a disposition with any to waste or throw away this great 
resource, or to abolish a system which has been fraught with so many 
manifest advantages. Nevertheless, there are such, who, impatient 
with the slow and natural operation of wise laws, have pot forth va- 
rious pretensions and projects concerning the public lands, within a 
few years past. One of these pretensions is an assumption of the 
sovereign right of the new States to all the lands within their respec- 
tive limits, to the exclusion of the general government, and to the 
exclusion of all the people of the United States, those in the new 
States only excepted. It is my purpose now to trace the origin, ex- 
amine the nature, and expose the injustice of this pretension. 


This pretension may be fiurly ascribed to the propositions of the 
gentleman from Missouri, (Mr. Benton,) to graduate the public lands, 
to reduce the price, and cede the ^* refuse" lands (a term which I 


believe originated with him) to the States within which they Ii«. 
Prompted probably, by these propositions, a late Governor of llJinoia, 
anwilling to be outdone, presented an elaborate message to the l^is* 
iature of that State, in which he gravely and formally asserted the 
right of that State to all the land of the United States, comprehended 
within its limits. It must be allowed that the Governor was a most 
knpartial judge, and the legislature a most disinterested tribunal, to 
decide such a question. 

The senator from Missouri was chanting most sweetly to the tuiie^ 
^ refuse lands," ^' refuse lands," '< refuse lands," on the Missouri side 
of the Mississippi, and the soft strains of his music, having caught 
the ear of his excellency, on the Illinois side, he joined in chorus, and 
ftmck an octave higher. The senator from Missouri wished only to 
pick up some crumbs which fell firom Uncle Sam's table ; but ths 
Governor resolved to grasp the whole loaf. The senator modestly 
claimed only an old smoked, rejected joint ; but the stomach of hb 
excellency yearned after the whole hog ! The Governor peeped over 
the Mississippi into Missouri, and saw the senator leisurely roaming 
in some rich pastures, on bits of refuse lands. He returned to IllincMs, 
and, springing into the grand prairie, determined to claim and oocupj 
it, in all its boundless extent. 

Then came the resolution of the senator from Virginia, (Mr. Tai»- 
well,) in May, 1826, in the following words : 


Rnehid, That it ia expedient for the ITuited States to cede and tarrpnder to Am 
■everal States, within whose limits the same may be sitaated^ all the riisht, title» aad 
interest of the United States, to any lands lying and being within the boundaries of 
Moh States, respectively, upon such terms and conditions as may be conastent with 
the due observance of tne public faith, and with the general interest of the United 

The latter words rendered the resolution somewhat ambiguous ;. 
bat still it contemplated a cession and surrender. Subsequently, the 
senator firom Virginia proposed, after a certain time, a gratuitous snr« 
render of all unsold lands, to be applied by the legislature, w 9uppoti 
of education and the intemal iuq)ravement of the State. 

CHera Mr. Taaewell controverted the statement. Mr. Clay called to tba Secrertiy 
to hand him the journal of April, 1828, which he held up to the Senate, and read fimn 

• *"Ib«bil togndiHt thtprieeoftliep«bliohuidi»to ouikndoiyitioasdierMf Is 


Miml mnUn, tnd to etde the refuse to the Stetes in which thej lit, beio^ vadtr 


Mr. Tazewell moyed to insert the following as a substitute : 

" That the lands which shall have been subject to sale under the provisions of this 
act, and 6hall remain unsold for two years, after having been oti'rred at twenty-five 
cents per acre^ shall be, and the same is ceded to the State in which the same may 
lie, to be applied by the legislature thereof in support of edvcation, and the interaal 
improvement of the State.'*] 

Thus it appesra not only that the honorable senator proposed the 
cession, bat showed himself the friend of edur;ation and internal im- 
prorements, by means derived from the general government. For 
this liberal disposition on his part, I believe it was, that the State of 
Missouri honored a new county with his name. If he had carried 
his proposition, that State might well have granted a principality to 

. The memorial of the legislature of niinois, probably produced by 
the message of the Governor already noticed, had beeir presented, 
asserting a claim to the public lands. And it seems (although the 
ftct bad escaped my recollection until I was reminded of it by one of 
lier senators (Mr. Hendricks,) the other day, that the legislature of 
Indiana had instructed her senators to bring forward a similar claim. 
At the last session, however, of the legislature of that State, resolu- 
tions had passed, instructing her delegation to obtain from the gene- 
ral govenunent cessUms of the unappropriated public lands, on the 
most favorable terms. It is clear from this last expression of the will 
of that legislature, that, on reconsideration, it believed the right to 
the public lands to be in the general government, and not in the State 
cC Indiana. For, if they did not belong to the general government, 
it had nothing to cede ; if they belonged already to the State, no 
cession was necessary to the perfection of the right of the State. 

I will here submit a passing observation. If the general govern- 
ment had the power to cede the public lands to the new States for 
particular purposes, and on prescribed conditions, its power must be 
unquestionable to make some reservations for similar purposes in be- 
half of the old States. Its power cannot be without limit as to the 
new States, and circumscribed and restricted as to the old. Its capa- 
city to' bestow benefits or dispense justice is not confined to the new 
Slalaa^ but is coextensive with the whole Union. It may grant to 
ally or it can grant to none. And this comprehensive ec^oity is not 




only Id conformity with the spirit of the cessions in the deeds from 
the ceding States, but is expressly enjoined by the terms of those 

Such is the probable origin of the pretension which 1 have been 
tracing ; and now let us examine its nature and foundation. The ar* 
gument in behalf of the new States, is founded on the notion, that as 
the old States, upon coming out of the revolutionary war, had or 
claimed a right to all the lands within their respective limits ; and as 
the new States have been admitted into the Union on the same foot* 
ing and condition in all respects with the old, therefore they are enti- 
tled to all the waste lands embraced within their boundaries. But the 
argument forgets that all the revolutionary States had not waste 
lands ; that some had but very little, and others none. It forgeUi 
that the right of the States to the waste lands within their limits was 
controverted ; and that it was insisted that, as they had been con- 
quered in a common war, waged with common means, and attended 
with general sacrifices, the public lands should be held for the com- 
mon benefit of all the States. It forgets that in consequence of this 
right asserted in behalf of the whole Union, the States that contained 
any large bodies of waste lands (and Virginia, particularly, that bad 
the most) ceded them to the Union for the equal benefit of all the 
States. It forgets that the very equality, which is the basis of the 
argument, would be totally subverted by the admission of the validity 
of tiie pretension. For how would the matter then stand } The re- 
volutionary States will have divested themselves of the large districts 
of vacant lands which they contained, for the common benefit of all 
the States ; and those same lands will enure to the benefit of the new 
States exclusively. There will be, on the supposition of the validity 
of the pretension, a reversal of the condition of the two classes of 
States. Instead of the old having, as is alleged, the wild lands which 
they included at the epoch of the revolution, they will have none, 
and the new States ali* And this in the name and for the purpose 
of equality among all the members of the confederacy ! What, espe- 
cially, would be the situation of Virginia ? She magnanimously ceded 
an empire in extent for the common benefit. And now it is proposed, 
not only to withdraw that empire from the object of its solemn dedi- 
cation, to the use of all the States, but to deny her any particijJation 
in it, and appropriate it exclusively to the benefit of the new States 
carved out of it. 


If the new States had any right to the public lands, in order to 
produce the very equality contended for, they ought forthwith to cede 
that right to the Union, for the common benefit of all the Stales. Ha- 
ving no such right, they ought to acquiesce cheerfully in an equality 
which does, in bct^ now exist between them and the old Statea 


The committee of manu&ctures has clearly shown, that if the right 
were recognised in the new States now existing, to the public lands 
within their limits, each of the new States, as they mighf hereafter 
be successively admitted into the Union, would have the same right ; 
and consequently that the pretension under examination embraces, in 
efiect, the whole public domain, that is, a billion and eighty millions 
of acres of land. 

The right of the Union to the public lands is incontestible. It ought 
.not to be considered debateable. It never was questioned but by a 
few, whose monstrous heresy, it was probably supposed, would escape 
:Animadversion from the enormity of the absurdity, and the utter im- 
practicability of the success of the claim. The right of the whole is 
aealed by the blood of the revolution, founded upon solemn deeds^of 
oession from sovereign States, deliberately executed in the face of the 
world, or resting upon national treaties concluded with foreign pow- 
ers, on ample equivalents contributed from the common treasury of 
the people of the United States. 

This right of the whole was stamped upon the face of the new 
States at the very instant of their parturition. They admitted and 
recognised it with their first breath. They hold their stations, as 
members of the confederacy, in virtue of that admission. The sena- 
tors who sit here, and the members in the House of Representatives 
from the new States, deliberate in Congress with other senators and 
representatives, under that admission. And since the new States came 
into being, they have recognised this right of the general government 
by innumerable acts. 

By their concurrence in the jyussage of hundreds of laws respecting 
the public domain, founded upon the incontestible right of the whole 
of the States. 

By repeated applications to extbguish Indian titles, and to survey 

the fauida which they covered. 

^ H 


And l»7 solicitation and acceptance of extensire grants from thft 
general government, of the public lands. 

The existence of the new State is a felsehood, or the right of all 
the States to the public domain is an undeniable truth. They ha^e 
no more right to the public lands, within their particular jurisdiction, 
than other States have to the mint, the forts and arsenals, or public 
ships within theirs, or than the people of the District of Columbia 
have to this magnificent capitol, in whose splendid halls we now de- 

The equality contended for between all the States now exists. The 
public lands are now held, and ought to be held and adininistered lor 
the common benefit of all. I hope our fellow citizens of Illinois, In- 
diana, and Missouri will reconsider the matter ; that they will cease 
to take counsel from demagogues who would deceive them, and instill 
eiToneous principles into their ears ; and that they will feel and ac- 
knowledge that their brethren of Kentucky and of Ohio, and of all 
the States in the Union, have an equal right with the citizens of those 
three Stales in the public lands. If the possibility of an event so dire- 
ful as a severance of this Union, were for a moment contemplated,, 
what would be the probable consequence of such an unspeakable 
calamity ; if three confederacies were formed out of its fragments, do 
you imagine that the western confederacy would consent to the States 
including the public lands, holding them exclusively for themselves ? 
C^n you imagine that the States of Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, 
would quietly renounce their right in all the public lands west of 
them ? No, sir ! No, sir ! They would wade to their knees in 
blood before they would make such an unjust and ignominious sur- 

But this pretension, unjust to the old States, unequal as to all, 
would be injurious to the new States themselves, in whose behalf it 
has been put forth, if it were recognized. The interest of the new 
States is not confined to the lands within their limits, but extends to 
the whole billion and eighty millions of acres. Sanction the claims 
however, and they are cut down and restricted to that which is in- 
cluded in their own boundaries. Is it not better for Ohio, instead of 
the five millions and a half — ^for Indiana, instead of the fifteen mil- 
lions—or even for Illinois, instead of the thirty-one or thirty-two mill- 


Missouri, instead of the thirty-eight millions — within their 
respective limits, to retain their interest in those several quantities, 
tad also retain their interest, in common with the other members of 
the Union, in the countless millions of acres that lie west, or north- 
weBiy beyond them ? 

I will now proceed, Mr. President, to consider the expediency of a 
reduction of the price of the public lands and the reasons assigned by 
the land committee^ in their report, in &vor of that measure. They 
are presented there in formidable detail, and spread out under seven 
difierent heads. Let us examine them : the first is, '^ because the 
new States have a clear right to participate in the benefits of a reduc- 
tion of the revenue to the wants of the government, by getting the 
reduciion extended to the article of revenue chiefly used by them.^^ Here 
is a renewal of the attempt made early in the session to confound the 
public lands with foreign imports, which was so successfully exposed 
and refuted by the report of the committee on manufactures. Will 
not the new States participate in any reduction of the revenue, in 
common with the old States, without touching the public lands ? As 
fiur as they are consumers of objects of foreign imports, will they not 
equally share the benefit with the old States ? What right, over and 
above that equal participation, have the new States to a reduction of 
the price of the public lands ? As States j what right, much less 
what ^* clear right" have they to any such reduction ? In their sove- 
mgn or corporate capacities, what right ? Have not all the stipula- 
tions between them, as States y and the general government been fully 
complied with ? Have the people within the new States, consider- 
ed distinct from the States themselves, any right to such reduction f 
Whence is it derived ? They went there in pursuit of their own 
happiness. They bought lands from the public because it was their 
interest to make the purchase, and they enjoy them. Did they, be- 
cause they purchased some land, which they possess peacefully, ac- 
quire any, and what right, in the land which they did not buy ? But 
it may be ar^ed, that by settling and improving these lands, the ad- 
jacent public lands are enhanced. True ; and so are their own. The 
enhancement of the public lands was not a consequence which they 
went there to produce, but was a collateral efiect, as to which they 
were passive. The public does not seek to avail itself of this aug- 
mentation in value, by augmenting the price. It leaves that where it 
iras ; and tfie demand for reduction is made in behalf of those who 



say their labor has increased the value of the public lands, and the 
claim to reduction is founded upon the fact of enhanced value! The 
public, like all other landholders, had a right to anticipate that the 
sale of a part would communicate, incidentally, greater value upon 
the residue. And, like all other land proprietors, it hA the right to 
ask more for that residue, but it does not, and for one, I should 
unwilling to disturb the existing price by augmentation as by reduc- 
tion. But the public lands is the article of revenue which the people 
of the new States chiefly consume. In another part of this report libe- 
ral grants of the public lands are recommended, and the idea of Hold- 
ing the public lands as a source of revenue is scouted, because it is 
said that more revenue could be collected from the settlers as comm- 
mers, than from the lands. Here it seems that the public lands are 
the articles oi revenue chiefly consumed by the new States. 

With respect to lands yet to be sold, they are open to the purch 
' alike of emigrants from the old States, and settlers in the new. As 
the latter have most generally supplied themselves with lands, the 
probability is, that the emigrants are more interested in the question 
of reduction than the settlers. At all events, there can be no peculiar 
right to such reduction existing in the new States. It is a question 
common to all, and to be decided in reference to the interest of tiie 
whole Union. 

2. " Because the public debt being now paid, the public lands are entirely relaaaed 
from the pledge the^ were under to that objectj and are free to receive a mw and 
liberal datination^fir tht rditfcf the Stata in lohich Ihey lie.** 

The payment of the public debt is conceded to be near at hand ; 
and it is admitted that the public lands, being liberated, may now re- 
ceive a new and liberal destination. Such an appropriation of their 
proceeds is proposed by the bill reported by the committee of maan- 
fieu^tores, and which I shall hereafter call the attention of the Senate 
more particularly to. But it did not seem just to that committee, 
that this new and liberal destination of them should be restricted *< for 
the rolief of the States in which they lie," exclusively, but should 
extend to all the States indiscriminately upon principles of equitable 

8. '* Because nearly one hundred millions of acres of the land now in market ara 
the refuse of saleft and donations, throngh a long series of yeanr, and are of yery lit* 
tie actnal value, and only fit to be given to aettleDi, or abandoned to the States in 
which they lie.** 


• * 

According to an official statement, the total quantity of pablic land 
which has been surveyed up to the 31st of December last, was a little 
upwards of one hundred and sixty-two millions of acres. Of this a 
large proportion, perhaps even more than the one hundred millions 
of acres stated in the land report, has been a long time in market. 
The entire quantity which has ever been sold by the United States, 
up to the same day, after deducting lands relinquished and lands re- 
verted to the United States, according to an official statement, also, 
is twenty-five millions two hundred forty-two thousand five hundred 
and ninety acres. Thus after the lapse of thirty-six years, during 
which the present land system has been in operation, a little more 
than twenty-five millions of acres have been sold, not averaging a 
million per annum, and upwards of one hundred millions of the sur- 
veyed lands remain to be sold. The argument of the report of the 
land committee assumes that '< nearly one hundred millions are the 
refuse of sales, and donations," are of very little actual value, and 
only fit to be given to settlers, or abandoned to the States in which 
they lie. 

Mr. President, let us define as we go— let us analyze. What do 
the land committee mean by '^ refuse land ?" Do they mean worth- 
less, inferior, rejected land, which nobody will buy at the present 
government price ? Let us look at facts,- and make them our guide. 
The government is constantly pressed by the new States to bring 
more and more lands into the market ; to extinguish more Indian titles ; 
to survey more. The new States themselves are probably urged 
to operate upon the general government by emigrants and settlers, 
who see still before them, in their progress west, other new lands 
which they desire The general government yields to the soliciti^ 
tions. It throws more land into the market, and it is annually and 
daily preparing additional surveys of fresh lands. It has thrown) 
and is preparing to throw open to purchasers already one hundred 
and sixty-two millions of acres. And now, because the capacity to 
purchase, in its nature limited by the growth of our population, is to- 
tally incompetent to absorb this immense quantity, the government 
is called upon, by some of the very persons who urged the exhibition 
of this vast amount to sale, to consider all that remains unsold as re- 
fuse ! Twenty-five millions in thirty-six years only are sold, and all 
the rest is to be looked upon as refuse. Is this right ? If there had 
been five hundred millions in inar^t, there probably would not haye 


been more, or much more sold. But I deny the correctness of the 
conclusion that it is worthless because not sold. It is not sold be- 
cause there were not people to buy it. You must have gone to other 
countries, to other worlds, to the moon, and drawn from thence peo- 
ple to buy the prodigious quantity which you ofiered to sell. 

Refuse land ! A purchaser goes to a district of country and baye 
oat of a township a section which strikes his fancy. He exhanitt 
his money. Others might have preferred other sections. Other sec- 
tions may even be better than his. He can with no more propriety 
be said to have " refused" or rejected all the other sections, than a 
man who, attracted by the beauty, charms and accomplishments of 
a particular lady, marries her, can be said to have rejected or refus^ 
all the rest of the sex. 

Is it credible that out of one hundred and fiHy or one hundred and six- 
ty millions of acres of land in a valley celebrated for its fertility, there 
are only about twenty-five millions of acres of good land, and that all 
the rest is refuse ? Take the State of Illinois as an example. Of all 
the States in the Union, that State probably contains the greatest 
proportion of rich, fertile lands ; more than Ohio, more than Indiana, 
abounding as they both do in fine lands. Of the thirty-three mil- 
lions and a half of pnblic lands in Illinois, a little more only than two 
millions have been sold. Is the residue of thirty-one millions all re- 
fuse land } Who that is>acquainted in the west can assert or believe 
it ? No, sir ; there is no such thing. The unsold lands are unsold 
because of the reasons already assigned. Doubtless there is much 
inferior land remaining, but a vast quantity of the best of lands also. 
For its timber, soil water power, grazing, minerals, almost all land 
possesses a certain value. If the lands unsold are refuse and worth- 
less in the hands of the general government, why are they sought 
after with so much avidity ? If in our bands they are good for noth- 
ing, what more would they be worth in the hands of the new States ? 
" Only fit to be given to settlers !" What settlers would thank you ? 
what settlers would not scorn a gift of refuse^ worthless land ? If you 
mean to be generous, give them what is valuable ; be manly in yoor 

But let us examine a little closer this idea of refuse land. If there 
be any State in which it is to be found in large quantities, that State 


would be Ohio. It is the oldest of the new Slates. There the pub- 
lic lands have remained longer exposed in the market. But thm 
we find only five millions and a half to be sold. And I hold in my 
hand an account of sales in the Zanesville district, one of the oldest 
in that State made during the present year. It is in a paper, entitled 
the «^Ohio Republican," published at Zanesville the 2()th May, 1833. 
The article is headed ^^ refuse land," and it states : ^' It has suited 
the interest of some to represent the lands of the United States which 
have remained in market for many years, as mere ' refuse' which 
cannot be sold ; and to urge a rapid reduction of price, and the ces* 
sion of the residue in a short period, to the States in which they are 
situated. It is strongly urged against this plan that it is a specula- 
ting project, which, by alienating a large quantity of land from the 
United States, will cause a great increase of price to actual settlers, 
in a few years — instead of their being able forever, as it may be said 
is the case under the present system of land sales, to obtain a farm 
at a reasonable price. To show how far the lands unsold are from 
being worthless, we copy from the Gazette the following statement 
of recent sales in the Zanesville district, one of the oldest districts in 
the west. The sales at the Zanesville land office since the com* 
mencement of the present year have been as follows: January^ 
$7,120 80, February $8,542 67, March $11,744 75, April $9,209 
19y and since the first of the present month about $9,000 worth 
have been sold, more than half of which was in 40 acre lots" And 
there cannot be a doubt that the act, passed at this season, authr riz- 
iBg sales of forty acres, will firom the desire to make additions to 
frnns, snd to settle young members of fionilies, increase the sales very 
much, at leyt during this year. 

A friend of mine in this city bought in Illinois last fall about two 
thousand acres of this refuse land, at the minimum price, for which 
he has lately refused $6 per acre. An officer of this body, now in 
my eye, purchased a small tract of this same refuse land of one bun- 
dled and sixty acres, at second or third hand, entered a few years 
ago, and which is now es^mated at $1,900. It is a business, a very 
profitable business, at which fortunes are made in the new States, to 
purchase these refuse lands, and, without improving them, to sell 
them at large advances. 

Far from being discouraged by the fact of so much surveyed public 


land remaining unsold, we should rejoice that this bountiftd resoiuws, 
possessed by our country, remains in almost undiminished quantitj^ 
notwithstanding so many new and flourishing States have sprung up 
in the wilderness, and so many thousands of families have been m^> 
commodated. It might be otherwise, if the public land was dealt out 
by government with a sparing, grudging, griping hand. But thej 
are liberally offered, in exhaustless quantities, and at moderate price0| 
enriching individuals, and tending to the rapid improvement of the 
country. The two important facts brought forward and emphatical- 
ly dwelt on by the committee of manufactures, stand in their foil 
force, unaffected by anything stated in the report of the land commit- 
tee. These facts must carry conviction to every unbiassed mind that 
will deliberately consider them. The first is, the rapid increase of the 
new States, far outstripping the old, averaging annually an increase 
of eight and a half per cent., and doubling of course in twelve yean. 
One of these States, Illinois, full of refuse land, increasing at the rate 
of eighteen and a half per cent. ! Would this astonishing growth 
take place if the lands were too high or all the good land sold ? The 
other fact is, the vast increase in the annual sales : in 1830, rising of 
three millions. Since the report of the committee of manufactures, 
the returns have come in of the sales of last year, which had been 
estimated at three millions. They were in fact $3,566,127 94! 
Their progressive increase baffles all calculation. Would this hap- 
pen, if the price were too high ? 

It is argued that the value of different townships and sections is 
various ; and that it is, therefore, wrong to fix the same price for all. 
The variety in the quality, situation, and advantages of difi^rent tracts, 
is no doubt great. After the adoption of any system of classification, 
there would still remain very great diversity in the tracts belonging 
to the same class. This is the law of nature. The presumption ct 
inferiority, and of refuse land, founded upon the length of time that 
the land has been in market, is denied, for reasons already stated. 
The ofier, at public auction, of all lands to the highest bidder, previ* 
ons to their being sold at private sale, provides in some degree for the 
variety in the value, since each purchaser pushes the land up to the 
price whi(;h, according to his opinion, it ought to command. But if 
the price demanded by government is not too high for the good land, 
(and no one can believe if,) why not wait until that is sold before any 
i^uction in the price of the bad ? AimI that will not be sold fiot 


maoy yean to cone. It would be quite as wrong to bring the price 
of good land down to the standard of the bad^ as it is aliedged to be 
to carry the latter up to that of the former. Until the good land ia 
sold there will be no purchasers of the bad : for, as has been stated in 
the report of the committee of manufactures, a discreet farmer would 
rather give a dollar and a quarter per acre for first rate land, than 
accept refuse and worthless land as a presept. i 

" 4. Because the speedy extinction of the federal title within their limits is ntee^ 
smy to the independej%ce of the new States, to their ejwdity with the eider States ; lo 
the development of their resources; to the mtkjettvm of their soil to taxation, eidtir 
vation and tettUmtntf and to the proper eqjoyment of their joriadiotion and soTei* 

All this is mere assertion and declamation. The general govern- 
^ment at a moderate price, is selling the public land as fast as it can find 
purchasers. The new States are populating with unexampled ra^ 
pidity ; their condition is now much more eligible than that of some 
of the old States. Ohio, I am sorry to be obliged to confess, is, in 
internal improvement and some other respects, fifty years in advance 
of her elder sister and neighbor, Kentucky. How have her growth 
and prosperity, her independence, her equality with the elder States, 
the development of her resources, the taxation, cultivation, and set- 
tlement of her soil, or the proper enjoyment of her jurisdiction and 
sovereignty, been affected or impaired by the federal title within her 
limits ? The federal title ! It has been a source of blessings and of 
bounties, but not one of red grievance. As to the exemption from 
taxation of the public lands, and the exemption for.five years of those 
sold to individuals, if the public land belonged to the new% States, 
would they tax it ? And as to the latter exemption, it is paid for by 
the general government, as may be seen by reference to the compacts ; 
and it is moreover, beneficial to the new States themselves, by hold- 
ing out a motive to emigrants to purchase and settle within their 

**& Because the ramified machinery of the land oAoe depamnent, and the own- 
enhip of so much soil, extends the patronage and authority of the general govern- 
meat into the heart and comert of the new States, and soSjects their pdic§ to ths 
danger of a foreign %mipaumfnl infloenee.'^ 

A foreign and powerful influence ! The federal government a for- 
eign government ! And the exercise of a legitimate control over the 
national property, for the benefit of the whole people of the United 
States, a deprecated penetratkm into the heart and comers of thei^w 


States ! As to the calamity of the land offices, which are held witb- 
in them, I believe that is not regarded by the people of those Statm 
with quite as much horror as it is by the land committee. They 
justly consider that they ought to hold those offices themselves, and 
that no persons ought to be sent from the other foreign States of thia 
Union to fill them. And, if the number of the offices were increased, 
it would not be looked upon by them as a grievous addition to the 

But what do the land committee mean by the authority of 
foreign, federal government ? Surely they do not desire to get rid of 
the federal government. And yet the final settlement of the land 
question will have effected but little in expelling its authority from 
the bosoms of the new States. Its action will still remain in a thou- 
sand forms, and the heart and comers of the new States will still be 
invaded by post-offices and post-masters, and post-roads, and the Cum- 
berland road, and various other modifications of its power. 

** Because the sum of $425,000,000 proposed to be drawn from the new States and 
Territories, by the sale of their soil, at $\ 25 per acre, is unconscionable and on- 
praclicable — such as never can be paid— and the bare attempt to rai&e which. maK 
dnin, exhaust and impoverihh these Statep, and give birth to the fcelingt?, wnicb a 
f«D8e of injustice and oppreraion never fail to excite, and the excitement of whid^ 
Mould be so carefully avoided in a confederacy of free Stales.** 

In another part of their report the committee say, speaking of the 
immense revenue alledged to be derivable from the public lands, 
^' this ideal revenue is estimated at $425,000,000, for the lands now 
within the limits of the States and Territories, and at $1,363,589,- 
691 for the M'hole federal domain. Such cA/inmca/ calculations pre* 
dude the propriety of argumentative answers." Well, if these cal- 
culations are all chimerical, there is no danger from the preservation 
of the existing land system of draining, exhausting and impoverish- 
ing the new States, and of exciting them to rebellion. 

The manufacturing committee did not state what the public landt 
would, in fact, produce. They could not state it. It is hardly a 
subject of approximate estimate. The committee stated what would 
be the proceeds, estimated by the minimum price of the public lands ; 
what, at one-half of that price ; and added that, although there might 
be much land that would never sell at one dollar and a quarter per 
acre, ^' as fresh lands are brought into market and exposed to sale at 
auction, many of them sell at prices exceeding one doUarand a quar- 


fer per acre.'' Tbey concluded by remarking that the least fiivora- 
ble view of regarding them was to consider them a capital yielding 
ao annuity of three millions of dollars at this time ; that, in a few 
years, that annuity would probably be doubled, and that the capital 
might then be assumed as equal to one hundred millions of dollars. 

Whatever may be the sum drawn from the sales of the public lands, 
it will be contributed, not by citizens of the States alone in which 
they are situated, but by emigrants from all the States. And it will 
be raised, not in a single year, but in a long series of years. It would 
have been impossible for the State of Ohio to have paid, in one year, 
the millions that have been raised in that State by the sale of public 
lands ; but in a period of upwards of thirty years the payment has 
been made, not only without impoverishing, but with the constantly 
increasing prosperity of the State. 

Such, Mr. President, are the reasons of the land committee for the 
reduction of the price of the public lands. Some of them had been 
anticipated and refuted in the report of the manufacturing committee i 
and I hope that I have now shown the insolidity of the residue. 

I will not dwell upon the consideration urged in that report against 
any large reduction, founded upon its inevitable tendency to lessen 
the value of the landed property throughout the Union, and that in 
the western States especially. That such would be the necessary 
consequence, no man can doubt who will seriously reflect upon such 
a measure as that of throwing into market, immediately, upwards of 
one hundred and thirty millions of acres, and at no distant period up- 
wards of two hundred millions more, at greatly reduced rates. 

If the honorable chairman of the land committee (Mr. King,) had 
relied upon his own sound practical sense, he would have presented 
a report far less objectionable than that which he has made. He has 
availed himself of another's aid, and the hand of the Senator from 
Missouri (Mr. Benton,) is as visible in the composition as if his name 
had been subscribed to the instrument. We hear again, in this pa- 
per, of that which we have so often heard repeated before in debate, by 
the Senator from Missouri — the sentiments of Edmund Burke. And 
what was the state of things in England, to which those sentiments 
were applied. 



England has too little land, and too many people. America has too 
much land, for the present population of the country, and wants peo- 
ple. The British crown had owned, for many generations, large 
bodies of land, preserred for game and forest from which but snudl 
revenues were derived. It was proposed to sell out the crown lands, 
that they might be peopled and cultivated, and that the royal family 
should be placed on the civil list. Mr. Burke supported the propo- 
sition by convincing arguments. But what analogy is there between 
the crown lands of the British sovereign, and the public lands of the 
United States ? Are they here locked up from the people, and, for 
the sake of their game or timber, excluded from sale ? Are not they 
freely exposed in market, to all who want them, at moderate prices ? 
The complaint is, that they are not sold fast enough, in other words, 
that people are not multiplied rapidly enough to buy them. Pa- 
tience, gentlemen of the land committee^ patience ! The new States 
are daily rising in power and importance. Some of them are already 
great and flourishing members of the confederacy. And, if you will 
only acquiesce in the certain and quiet operation of the laws of 
God and man, the wilderness will quickly teem with people, and be 
filled with the monuments of civilization. 

The report of the land committee proceeds to notice and to animad- 
vert upon certain opinions of a late Secretary of the Treasury, con- 
tained in h^s annual report, and endeavors to connect them with some 
sentiments expressed in the report of the committee of manufactures. 
That report has before been the subject of repeated commentary in 
the Senate, by the Senator from Missouri, and of much misrepresen- 
tation and vituperation in the public press. Mr. Rush showed me 
the rough draft of that report, and I advised him to expunge the 
paragraphs in question, because I foresaw that they would be mis- 
represented, and that he would be exposed to unjust accusation. But 
knowing the purity of his intentions, believing in the soundness of the 
views which he presented, and confiding in the candor of a just pub- 
lic, he resolved to retain the paragraphs. I cannot suppose the Sen- 
ator from Missouri ignorant of what passed between Mr. Rush and 
me, and of his having, against my* suggestions, retained the para- 
graphs in question, because these facts were all stated by Mr. Rush 
himself, in a letter addressed to a late member of the House of Rep- 
resentatives, representing the district in which I reside, which letter^ 
more than a year ago, was published in the western papers. 


I shall say nothing in defence of myself — nothing to disprove the 
charge of my cherishing unfriendly feelings and sentiments towards 
any part of the west. If the public acts in which I have participa- 
ted ; if the uniform tenor of my whole life will not refute such an 
imputation, nothing that I could here say would refute jt. 

But I trz// say something in defence of the opinions of my late pa- 
triotic and enlightened colleague, not here to speak for himself; and 
I will vindicate his official opinions from the erroneous glosses and 
interpretations which have been put upon them. 

Mr. Rush, in an official report which will long remain a monument 
of his ability, was surveying with a statesman's eye the condition of 
America. He was arguing in favor of the Protective Policy — the 
American system. He spoke of the limited vocations of our society, 
and the expediency of multiplying the means of increasing subsis- 
tence, comfort and wealth. He noticed the great and the constant 
tendency of our fellow-citizens to the cultivation of the soil, the want 
of a market for their surplus produce, the inexpediency of all blindly 
rushing to the same universal employment, and the policy of dividing 
ourselves into various pursuits. He says : 

" The manner in which the Tfinote lands of the United States are aellinf and m'U 
tlumr, whilst it poasibly may tend to increase more quickly the as^greg ate poinilation 
.of the country, and the mere means of subsistence, does not increase capital in the 
tame proportion. * • * Anything that may serve to hold back this tendency 
to diffusion from running too far and too long into an extreme^ can scarcely prove 
otherwise than salutary. ♦ * ♦ • If the population of th*»9e, (a ma- 
jority of the States, including some western States,) not yet redundant in fact, 
though appearing to be so, under this legislative incitement to emigrate, remain 
fixed m more instances, as it probably would be by extending the moiivei to manu* 
facturingjabor, it is believed that the nation would gain in two ways : first, by the 
more rapid accumulation of capital ; and next by the gradual reduction of the ex- 
tern of its agricultural population over that engaged in other vocations. It is not 
imagined that it ever would be practieable, even if it were desirable, to turn this 
ttream of emigration aside; but resonrces. opened through the influence of the 
]mw?. in new fields of industryi^ to the inhabitants of the States already siifnciently 

E opted to enter upon them, migtat operate to lessen, in some degree, and usefully 
Hen, its absorbing force.** 

Now, Mr. President, what is there in this view adverse^ to the 
west, or unfavorable to its interests ? Mr. Rush is arguing on the 
tendency of the people to engage in agriculture, and the incitement to 
emigration produced by our laws. Does, he propose to change those 
laws in that particular ? Does he propose any new measure ? So far 
from suggesting any alteration of the conditions on which the public 
lands are sold, he expressly says that it is not desirable, if it were 



practicable, to tarn this stream of emigration aside. Leaving all the 
laws in full force, and all the motives to emigration, arising from fer- 
tile and cheap lands, untouched, he recommends the encouragement 
of a new branch of business, in which all the Union, the west as well 
as the rest, is interested ; thus presenting an option to population to en*' 
gage in manufactures or in agriculture, at its own discretion. And does 
liuch an option afford just ground of complaint to any one ? Is it not 
an advantage to all ? Do the land committee desire (I am sure they do 
Dot) to create starvation in one part of the Union, that emigrants may 
be forced into another ? If they do not, they ought not to condemn a 
multiplication of human employments, by which, as its certain conse* 
quence, there will be an increase i^n the means of subsistence and com- 
fort. The objection to Mr. Rush, then, is, that he looked at his whole 
country, and at all parts of it ; and that, whilst he desired the prosperity 
and growth cf the west to advance undisturbed, he wished to buildup, 
on deep foundations, the welfare of all the people. 

Mr. Rush knew that there were thousands of the poorer classes 
who never would emigrate ; and that emigration, under the best aus- 
pices, was far from being unattended with evil. There are moral, 
physical, pecuniary obstacles to all emigration ; and these will increase 
as the good vacant lands of the west are removed, by intervening set- 
tlements further and further from society, as it is now located. It is, 
I believe. Dr. Johnson, who pronounces that of all vegetable and ani- 
mal creation, man is the most difficult to be uprooted and transferredl 
to a distant country ; and he was right. Space itself — mountains, and 
seas, and rivers, are impediments. The want of pecuniary means — 
the expenses of the outfit, subsistence and transportation of a family, 
is no slight circumstance. When all these difficulties are overcome, 
(and how few, comparatively, can surmount them,) the greatest of 
all remains — that of being torn from one^s natal spot — separated for- 
ever from the roof under which the companions of his childhood were 
sheltered, from the trees which have shaded him from summer's heats, 
the spring from whose gushing fountain he has drunk in his youth, 
the tombs that hold the precious relic of his venerated ancestors ! 

But I have said that the land committee had attempted to con- 
CMind the sentiments of Mr. Rush with some of the reasoning em- 
ployed by the committee of manufactures against the proposed reduc- 
tioii of the price of the public lands. What is that reasoning ? Hers 



it it ; it vill apeak for itself; uti without a tingle commcDt will de- 
nwsslrate bow difierenl it is from that of the late Secretary of thft 
Treasiirj, uuexceptionattle u that haa been showa to be. 

"The m«t*«t ewigiBtinn {«« the mBDnfaciuring TOmmiUfc) ihal m btlit^ni 
now to talif p!»ce from Bny of rlie Sioim, is from f'liio. Ki-iiiuiliv, »w\ Tennfawe. 
The eUcels of * maicrid rnluclioa in the price t-t <\h- fiuUc lii[iil>- -ximUl be — lR.,tO 

leseen liie vslueorreal esiale in thoM ihree Slai ■<. - il , tml r.i i, ili. "j inlerenl ia 

ihe pnblic domain, u a common fnod for the ij'niiii nf uM i\,-- ^i..r< - ; and Sd.,ta 
otfer whet wonid operate aa a boUDly to further cnu^'i.iiKiLi iTum iii<<-'i' i^lalpp. oca* 
lioning more and more lands, ail uated within tlii-iri, in In- Uimtvn \uu. the market, 
thrriby not only leaarning the (alue of ibcu lands, but iJtiiitnii^ iliini bolb of theii 
po^talion and labor." 

There are good men in di&rent parts, but especially in the Atlantio 
portion of the Udiod, who have been induced to re)i;ard lightly this 
fast national property ; who have been persuaded that the people of 
the west are dissatisfied with the ad ministration of it ; and who be- 
lieve that it will, in the end, be lost to the nation, and that it is not 
worth present care and preservation. But these are radical mistakes. 
The great body of the west are satisfied — perfectly salisfled with the 
general administration of the public lands. They would indeed like, 
and are entitled to, a mora liberal expenditure among them of the 
proceeds of thtf sates. For this provision is made by the bill to which 
I will hereafter call the attention of the Senate. But the great body 
<rf the west have not called for, and understand too well their real 
interest to desire any essential change in the system of survey, sale, 
or price of the lands. There may be a few, stimulated by dem^ 
gogues, who desire chai^ ; and what sjrstem is there, what govera- 
ment, what order of human society, that a few do not desire change I 

It is one of the admirable properties of the existing system, that It 
contains within itself and carries along principles of conservation and 
■alety. In the progress of its operation, new States become identified 
with the old, in feeling, in thinking, and in interest. Now, Ohio is 
■ as sound as any old State in the Union, in all her views relating to 
Ihe public lands. She feels (hat her share in the exterior domain is 
much more important than would be an exclusive right to the few 
millions of acres left unsold, within her limits, accompanied by a vir- 
tual stirrender of her interest )D all the other public lands of the (Jol- 
ted States. And I have no doubt that now, the people of the other 
new States, left to their otm unbiassed sense of equity and justicSi 
would form the same judgment. They cannot believe that what the/ 
have not bought, what lemaina the property of themselves and aD 


their brethren of the United Stages, in common, belong^ to them ex- 
clusively. But if I am mistaken — if they have been deceived bj 
erroneous impressions on their mind, made by artful men, as the sales 
proceed, and the land is exhausted, and their population increased, 
like the State of Ohio, they will feel that their true interest points to 
their remaining copartners in ih% whole national domain, instead of 
bringing forward an unfounded pretension to the inconsiderable lem- 
nant which will be then left in their own limits. 

And now, Mr. President, I have to say something, in respect to 
the particular plan brought forward by the committee of munofac- 
tures for a temporary appropriation of the proceeds of the sales of the 
public lands. « 

The committee say that this fund is not wanted by the general go- 
vernment ; that the peace of the country is not likely, from praaeiit 
'appearances, to be speedily disturbed ; and that the general goveiti- 
men? is absolutely embarrassed in providing against an enormous 
surplus in the treasury. While this is the condition of the Fedenl 
■government, the States are in want of, and can most beneficially use, 
that very surplus with which we do not know what to do. The pow- 
ers of the general government are limited ; those of the States ue 
Ample. If those limited powers authorised an application of the fond 
to some objects, perhaps there are some others, of more importanot, 
to which the powers of the States would be more competent, or to 
which they may'apply a more provident care. 

But the government of the whole and of the parts, at last is but one 
'government of the same people. In form they are two, in substance 
one. They both stand under the same solemn obligation to promola 
by all the powers with which they are respectively entrusted, tii^ 
happiness of the people ; and the people in their turn, owe respeet 
and allegiance to both. Maintaining these relations, there should be 
mutual assistance to each other affi>rded by these two systems. When 
the States are full-handed, and the cofiers of the general government 
are empty, the States should come to the relief of the general govem- 
-ment, as many of them did, most promptly and patriotically, during 
the late war. When the conditions of the parties are reversed, as is 
BOW the case, the States wanting what is almost a burthen to die 


general government, the duty of this government is to go to the relief 
qg the States. 

They were views like these which induced a majority of the com- 
mittee to propose the plan of distribution contained in the bill now 
under consideration, For one, hofWever, I will again repeat the de- 
daration, which I made early in the session, that I unite cordially 
with those who condemn the application of any principle of distribu- 
tion among the several States, to surplus revenue derived from taxa- 
tion. I think income derived from taxation stands upon ground totally 
distinct from that which is received from the public lands. Congress 
can prevent the accumulation, at least for any considerable time, of 
revenue from duties, by suitable legislation, lowering or augmenting 
the imposts ; but it cannot stop the sales of the public lands, without 
the exercise of arbitrary and intolerable power. The powers of Con- 
gress over the public lands are broader and more comprehensive than 
those which they possess over taxation and the money produced by it. 

This brings me to consider Ist —the power of Congress to make 
the distribution. By the second part of the third section of the fourth 
article of the constitution. Congress ^* have power to dispose af^ and 
make all needfril rules and regulations respecting the territory or 
other property of the United States." The power of disposition is 
plenary, unrestrain(3d, unqualified. It is not limited to a specified 
object or to a defined purpose, but left applicable to any object or 
purpose which the wisdom of Congress shall deem fit, acting under 
its high responsibility. 

• The government purchased Louisiana and Florida. May it not 
i^pl^y the proceeds of lands within those countries to any object which 
the good of the Union may seem to indicate ? If there be a restraint 
in the constitution, where is it — ^what is it ? . 

The uniform practice of the government has conformed to the idea 
of its possessing full powers over the public lands. They have been 
freely granted, from time to time, to communities and individuals, for 
a great variety of purposes. To States for education, internal im- 
pfovements, public buildings ; to corporations for education ; to the 
deaf and dumb ; to the cultivators of the olive and the vine ; to pr»- 
•mptionen ; to Gieneral La&yette, Itc. 



The deeds from the ceding States, far from opposing, fully 
(he distribution. That of Virginia ceded the land as^acommOft 
fund fo.' the use and benefit of such of the United Slates as have be- 
come, or shall become members of the confederation or federal alli- 
ance of the said States, Virginia inclusive." The cession was for the 
benefit of all the States. It may be argued that the fund must faa 
retained in the common treasury, and thence paid out. But by the bill 
reported, it will come into the common treasury, and then the ques- 
tion how it shall be subsequently applied for the use and benefit of 
tuck of the United States as compose the confederacy, is one of 
modus only. Whether the money is disbursed by the general govern* 
ment directly, or is paid out upon some equal and just priuciple to Um 
States, to be disbursed by them, cannot affect the right of distributiiMi. 
If the general government retained the power of ultimate disburse- 
ment, it could execute it only by suitable agents ; and what agency is 
more suitable than that of the States themselves ? If the States ez« 
pend the nrtoney, as the bill contemplates, the expenditure will, ia 
effect, be a disbursement for the benefit of the whole, although the 
several States are organs of the expenditure ; for the whole and all 
the parts are identical. And whatever redounds to the benefit of all 
the parts necessarily contributes in the same measure to the benefit of 
the whole. The great question should be, Is the distribution upoa 
equal and just principles ^ And this brings me to consider. 

2d. The terms of the distribution proposed by the bill of the 
mittee of manufactures. The bill proposes a division of the nett pro- 
ceeds of the sales of the public lands among the sveral States compcK 
sing the Union, according to their federal representative population, 
as ascertained by the last census ; and it provides for new States that 
may hereafter be admitted into the Union. The basis of the distribi^ 
tion, therefore^ is derived from the constitution itself^ which has 
adopted the same rule in respect to representation and direct taxes. 
None could be more just and equitable. 

But it has been contended in the land report, that the revolutionary 
States which did not cede their public lands, ought not to be allowel 
locome into the d'istribution. This objection does not apply to tha 
purchases of Louisiana and Florida, because the consideration hi 
them was paid out of the common treasury, and was consequentlf 
contributed by all the Slates. Nor has the objection any just found*- 


lion when applied to the public lands deriv^ from Virginia and the 
Other ceding States ; because by the terms of the deeds the cessions 
were made for the use and benefit of all the States. The ceding 
States having made no exception of any State, what right has the 
general government to interpolate in the deeds, and now create an 
Exception ? The general government is a mere trustee, holding the 
domain in virtue of those deeds, accordmg to the terms and conditions 
which they expressly describe ; and it is bound to execute the trust 
' accordingly. But how is the fund produced by the public lands now 
'expended ^ It comes into the common treasury, and is disbursed for 
the common benefit, without exception of any State. The bill only 
proposes to substitute to that object, now no longer necessary, another 
and more useful common object. The general application of the fand 
will continue, under the operation of the bill, although the particnltf 
purposes may be varied. 

The equity of the proposed distribution, as it respects the two class- 
es of States, (he old and the new, must be manifest to the Senate; 
It proposes to assign to the new States, besides the five per cenl 
stipulated for in their several compacts with the general government, 
the further sum of ten per cent, upon the nett proceeds. Assuming 
the proceeds of the last year, amounting to $3,566,127 94, as the 
btsis of the calculation, I hold in my hand a paper which shows the 
sum that each of the seven new States would receiye. They hare 
oomplained of the exemption from taxation of the public lands sold 
bj the general government for five years after the sale. If that ex- 
emption did not exist, and tliey were to exercise the power of taxing 
(hose lands, as the average increase of their population is only eight 
«iid a half per cent, per annum, the additional revenue which thej 
would raise would only be eight and a half per cent, per annum ; 
(hat is to say, a State now collecting a revenue of $100,000 per an* 
num, would collect only $108,500, if it were to tax the lands recent- 
ly sold. But by the bill under consideration, each of (he seven new 
States will annually receive, as its distribvtive share, more than the 
whole amount of its annual revenue. 

It may be thought that to set apart ten per cent to the new States, 
in the first instance, is too great a proportion, and is unjust toward 
(be old States. But it will be recollected that, as they populate much 
Cuter than the old States, and as the last eensus is to govern in Ike 


apportionment, they ought to receive more than the old States. If 
they receive too much at the commencement of the term, it may be 
neutralized by the end of it. 

After the deduction shall have been made of the fifteen per cent 
allotted to the new States, the residue is to be divided among the 
twenty-four States, old and new, composing the Union. What each 
of the States would receive, is shown by a table annexed to the re- 
port. Taking the proceeds of the last year as the standard, there 
must be added one-sixth to what is set down in that table &i the pro* 
portion of the several States. 

'If the power and the principle of the proposed distribution be satis- 
&ctory to the Senate, I think the objects cannot fail to be equally so. 
They are education, internal improvements, and colonization — all 
great and beneficent objects — all national in their nature. No mind 
can be cultivated and improved ; no work of internal improvement 
can be executed in any part of the Union, nor any person of color 
transported from any of its ports, in which the whole Union is not 
interested. The piosperity of the whole is an aggregate of the pros- 
perity of the parts. 

. The States, each judging for itself, will select among the objects 
enumerated in the bill, that which comports best with its own policy 
There is no compulsion in the choice. Some will prefer, perhaps, to 
apply the fund to the extinction of debt, now burdensome, created for 
internal improvement ; some to new objects of internal improvement ; 
others to education; and others again to colonization. It may be 
supposed possible that the States will divert the fund from the speci- 
fied purposes : but against such a misapplication we have, in the first 
place, the security which arises out of their presumed good faith; 
and, in the second, the power to withhold subsequent, if there has 
been any abuse in previous appropriations. 

It has been argued that the general government has no power in 
respect to colonization. Waiving that, as not being a question at this 
time, the real inquiry is, have the States themselves any such power ? 
For it is to the States that the subject is referred. The evil of a free 
black population is not restricted to particular States, but extends to 
and is felt by all. It is not, therefore, the slave question, but totally 


.distinct from and unconnected with it. I have heretofore often ex- 
pressed my perfect conviction that the general government has no 
constitutional power which it can exercise in regard to African sla- 
very. That conviction remains unchanged. The States in which 
■layery is tolerated, have exclusively in their own hands the entire 
regulation of the subject. But the slave States differ in opinion as to 
the expediency of African colonization. Several of them have sig- 
nified their approbation of it. The legislature of Kentucky, I believe 
unanimously, recommended the encouragement of colonization to 

Should a war break out during the term of five years, that the 
operation of the bill is limited to, the fund is to be withdrawn and 
applied to the vigorous prosecution of the war. If there be no war. 
Congress, at the end of the term, will be able to asceitain whether 
the money has been beneficially expended, and to judge of the pro- 
priety of continuing the distribution. 

Three reports have been made, on this great subject of the public 
lands, during the present session of Congress, besides that of the Seo- 
letary of the Treasury at its commencement — two in the Senate and 
one in the House. All three of them agree, 1st, In the preservation 
of the control of the general government over the public lands ; and 
2d, They concur in rejecting the plan of a cession of the public lands 
to the States in which they are situated, recommended by the Secre- 
tary. The land committee of the Senate propose an assignment of 
fifteen per cent of the nett proceeds, besides the five per cent. stipiH 
lated in the compacts, (making together twenty per cent.) to the new 
States, and nothing to the old* 

The committee of manufactures of the Senate, after an allotment 
ef an additional sum of ten per cent, to the new States, propose an 
equal distribution of the residue among all the States, old and new, 
upon equitable principles. 

The Senate's land committee, besides the proposal of a distribution| 
restricted to the new States, recommends an immediate reduction of 
the price of " fresh lands," to a minimutn of one dollar per acre, and 
to fifty cents per acre for lands which have been five years or up- 
wards in market. 


The land committee of the House is opposed to all distrihutioii) 
general or partial, and recommends a reduction of the price to oos 
dollar per acre. 

And now, Mr. President, I have a few more words to say and shall 
be done. We are admpnished by all our reflections, and by existing 
signs, of the duty of communicating strength and energy to the glori^ 
ous Union which now encircles our favored country. Among the 
ties which bind us together, the public domain merits high considers* 
lion. And if we appropriate, for a limited time, the proceeds of that 
great resource, among the several States, for the important objects 
which have been enumerated, a new and powerful bond of afiection 
and of interest will be added. The States will feel and recognize the 
operation of the general government, not merely in power and bur- 
dens, but in benefactions and blessings. And the general govemraenl 
in its tnm will feel, from the expenditure of the money which it duF 
penses to the States, the benefits of moral and intellectnal improve- 
ment of the people, of greater facility in social and commercial inters 
course, and of the purification of the population of our country, them- 
selves the best parental sources of national character, national Union, 
and national greatness. Whatever may be the fate of the particular 
proposition now under consideration, 1 sincerely hope that the attexK 
tion of the nation may be attracted, to this most interesting subject; 
that it may justly appreciate the value of this immense national prop- 
erty ; and that, preserving the regulation of it by the will of the whole, 
for the advantage of the whole, it may be transmitted, as a sacred 
end inestimable succession, to posterity, for its benefit and blesainf 
for ages to come 


In Tus Sknatk of the United States, Febbuart 12, 1833. 

(The election of General Jacxion to the Freiiidency for a second term took phmi 
i* the fall of 18S2, and immediately thereafter, the State of South Curolina assum- 
ed hy the formal edict of a regular Convention of her people, to nullify and make 
foid the Taritfiawaof the United States, on the ground that, being imposed for the 
porpoee of protecting American Manufactureis, they were unconstitutional and in- 
Tslid. General Jackson promptly issued a vigorous Proclanmlion, denouncing the 
ftct as rebellious and treasonable, and declaring that h^ should use all the power 
entnwted to him to vindicate the laws of the Union and cause them to be respected. 
General Scott at the head of a considerable regular force, was posted at Charles* 
ton, S. C. and every portent of a desperate and bloody ttruggle was visible. Gen. 
Jackson's imperious puf-sioos were lathed to madness by ^e Carolina rosistance, 
■Bd the whole physical power of the country but awaited bis nod. At this crisif 
Congress assembled, and the eifortsof Mr. Clay were promptly directed to the de- 
mising and maturing of some plan to prevent a collision between the Union and the 
mnifying State, and spare the effusion of blood. Under these circumstances, he 
yra^ected and presented the bill known as the CoitPRointc Act. On introducing this 
hUl, he addiened the Senate as follows } 

I TE6TEBDAT, slr, gave notice that I should ask leave to introduce 
a bill to modify the various acts imposing duties on imports. 1 at 
(be same time added, that I should, wilh the permission of the Sen- 
ate^ ofier an explanation of the principle on vrhich that bill is founded. 
I owe, sir, an apology to the Senate for this course of action, because, 
although strictly parliamentary, it is, nevertheless, out of the usual 
practice of this body ; but it is a course which I trust that the Senate 
will deem to be justified by the interesting nature of the subject. 
I rise, sir on this occasion, actuated by no motives of a private nature, 
by no personal feelings, and for no personal objects ; but exclusively 
in obedience to a sense of the duty which I owe to my country. I 
trust, therefore, that no one will anticipate on my part any ambitious 
display of suchliumble powers as 1 may possess. It is sincerely my 
purpose to present a plain, unadorned, and naked statement of facts 
connected with the measure which 1 shall have the honor to propose, 
and with the condition of the country. When I survey, sir, the whola 


hce of our conntry, I behold all around me evidences of the mofl 
gratifying prosperity, a prospect which would seem to be without n 
oloud upon it, were it not that through all parts of the country there 
exist great dissensions and unhappy distinctions, which, if they .can 
possibly be relieved and reconciled by any broad scheme of legisfa^ 
tion adapted to all interests, and regarding the feelings of all sections^ 
ought to be quieted ; and leading to which object any measure ought 
to be well received. 

In presenting the modification of the tariff laws, which I am now 
about to submit, I have two great objects in view. My first objeet 
looks to the tariff. I am compelled to express the opinion, formed 
after the most deliberate reflection, and on full survey of the whole 
country, that whether rightfully or wrongfully, the tariff stands in 
imminent danger. If it should be preserved during this session, it 
must &11 at the next session. By what circumstances, and through . 
what causes, has arisen the necessity for this change in the policy of 
our country, I will not pretend now to elucidate. Others there are 
who may differ from the impressions which my mind has received, 
upon this point. Owing, however, to a variety of concurrent causes, 
the tariff, as it now exists, is in imminent danger, and if the sy^em 
can be preserved beyond the next session, it must be by some means 
not now within the reach of human sagacity. The fall of that policy, 
sir., would be productive of consequences calamitous indeed. When 
I look to the variety of interests which are involved, to the number 
of individuals interested, the amount of capital invested, the value 
of the buildings erected, and the whole arrangement of the business 
for the prosecution of the various branches of the manufacturing art 
which have sprung up under the fostering care of this government, I 
cannot contemplate any evil equal to the sudden overthrow of all those 
interests. History can produce no parallel to the extent of the mis- 
chief which would be produced by such a disaster. The repeal of the 
edict of Nantes itself was nothing in comparison with it. That con- 
demned to exile and brought to ruin a great number of persons. The 
most respectable portion of the population of France was condemned 
to exile aud ruin by that measure. But in my opinion, sir, the sud- 
den repeal of the tariff policy would bring ruin and destruction on 
the whole people of this country. There is no evil, in my opinion,' 
equal to the consequences which would result from such a cata»- 


What, sir, are the complaints which unhappily divide the people 
of this great country ? On the one hand, it is said by those \i'ho are 
<qpposed to the tariff, that it unjustly taxes a portion of the people, 
and paralyzes their industry ; that it is to he a perpetual operation ; 
that there is to b^ no end to the system ; which, right or wrong, is to 
be urged to their inevitable ruin. And what is the just complaint, 
on the other hand, of those who sgpport the tariff? It is, that the 
policy of the government is vascillating and uncertain, and that there 
is no stability in our legislation. Before one set of books are fairly 
opened, it becomes necessary to close them, and to open a new set. 
Before a law can be tested by experiment, another is passed. Be- 
fore tbe present law has gone into operation — before it is yet nine 
months old — passed, as it was, under circumstances of extraordinary 
deliberation, the fruit of nine months labor — before we know anything 
of its experimental effects, and even before it ommences its operas 
tions, we are required to repeal it. On one side we are urged to re* 
peal a system which is fraught with ruin ; on the other side, the 
check now imposed on enterprise, and the state of alarm in which the 
public mind has been thrown, renders all prudent men desirous, look- 
ing ahead a little way, to adopt a state of things, on the stability of 
which they may have reason to count. Such is the state of feeling 
on the one side and on the other. I am anxious to find out some 
principle of mutual accommodation, to satisfy, as far as practicable, 
both parties-r-to increase the stability of our legislation ; and at some 
distant day — but not too distant, when we take into view the magni- 
tude of the interests which are involved — to bring down the rate of 
duties to that revenue standard for which our opponents have so long 
contended. The basis on which I wish to found this modification, is 
one of time ; and the several parts of the bill to which I am about to 
call the attention of the Senate, are founded on this basis. I propose 
to give protection to our manufactured articles, adequate protection, 
jEbr a length of time, which, compared with the length of human life, 
IS very long, but which is short, in proportion to' the legitimate dis- 
cretion of every wise and parental system of government — securing 
the stability of legislation, and allowing time for a gradual reduction, 
on one side ; and, on the other, proposing to reduce the duties to that 
revenue standard for which the opponents of the system have so long 
contended. I will now proceed to lay the provisions of the bill before 
the Senate, with a view to draw their attention to the true charactet 
of the bill. 


[Mr. CiaT then proceeded to read the fUstiectloD of the bill.] 

According to this section, it nvill be perceived that it is proposed to 
come down to the revenue standard at the end of little more than oii|( 
years and a half, giving a protection to our own manufactures which 
I hope will be adequate, during the intermediate time. 

[Mr, Clav here recapitulated the provi.«;ions of the sections, and showed by vaii- 
008 illustrations how they would oi)erate : and then proceeded to read and comment 
ipon the second section of the bill.] 

It will be recollected, that at the last session of Congress, with a 
iriew to make a concession to the southern section of the country, low 
priced woollens, those supposed to enter into the consumption o^ 
slaves and the poorer classes of persons, were taken out of the general 
class of duties on woollens, and the duty on them reduced to five pet 
cent. It will be also recollected that at that time the gentlemen from 
the south said that this concession was of no consequence, and that they 
did not care for it, and I believe that they do not now consider it of aoy 
greater importance. As, therefore, it has failed of the purpose for whicl^ 
it was taken out of the common class, 1 think it ought to be brought buck 
•gain, and placed hy the side of the other description of woollens, and 
made subject to the same reduction of duty as proposed by this sectiott> 

tHaving next read throngh'nhe third section of the bill, Mr. Clay said :J 

After the expiration of a term of years, this section lays down a 
rule by which the duties are to be reduced to the revenue standard} 
which has been so long and so earnestly contended for. Until other- 
wise directed, and in default of provision being made for the wants 
of the government in 1842, a rule is thus provided for the rate of 
duties thereafter. Congress being in the meantime authorized to adopt 
any other rule which the exigencies of th^ country, or its financial 
condition, may require. That is to say, if, instead of the duty of 
twenty per cent, proposed, fifteen or seventeen per cent, of duty is 
sufficient, or twenty-five per cent, should be found necessary, to pro- 
duce a revenue to defray the expenses of an economical administra- 
tion of the government, there is nothing to prevent either of those 
rates, or any other, from being fixed upon : whilst the rate ( f twenty 
per cent, is introduced to guard against any failure on the part of 
Congress to make the requisite provision in due season. 


This leciioD of the bill contains also another clause, suggested bf 
that spirit of harmony and conciliation which I pray may preside over 
(he councils of the Union at this trying moment. It provider (what 
those persons who are engaged in manufactures have so long aax* 
iously required for their security) that duties shall be paid in ready 
money — and we shall thus get rid of the whole of that credit system, 
into which an inroad was made, in regard to woollens, by the 
act of the last session. This section further contains a proviso that 
nothing in any part of this act shall be construed to interfere with the 
freest exercise of the power of Congress to lay any amount of duties, 
in the event of war breaking out between this country and any foreign 

[Mr. Clay then read the fourth tectioD of the bill.] 

One of the considerations strongly urging for a reduction of the 
tariff at this time is, that the government is likely to be placed in a 
dilt^mma by having an overflowing revenue ; and this apprehension if 
the ground of an attempt totally to change the protective policy of 
the country. The section which I have read is an eflbrt to guard 
against this evil, by relieving altogether from duty a portion of the 
, articles of import now subject to it. Some of these would, under 
the present rate of duty upon them, produce a considerable revenue; 
the article of silks alone would yield half a million of dollars per an* 
num. If it were possible to pacify present dissensions, and let thingi 
take their course, I believe that no difficulty need be apprehended. 
If the bill which this b«dy passed at the last session of Congress, and 
has again passed at this session, shall pass the other Ilouse, and be* 
come a law, and the gradual reduction of duties should take place 
which is contemplated by the first section of this bill, we shall have 
settled two (if not three) of the great questions which have agitated 
this country, that of the tariff, of the public lands, and, I will add, of 
hiternal improvement also. For, if there should still be a surplus 
revenue, thai surplus might be appli^, until the year 1S42, to the 
completion of the works of internal improvement already commenced ; 
and, after 1842, a reliance for all funds for purposes of internal im- 
provement should be placed upon the operation of the land bill, to 
which ] have already referred. 

It is not my object in referring to thai measure in connexion witk 



that inrhich I am about to propose, to consider them as united in their 
&te, being desirous, partial as I may be to both, that each shall stand 
or fiill upon its own intrinsic merits. If this section of the bill, ad- 
ding to the nunil)er of free articles, should become law, along ¥rith 
the reduction of duties proposed by the first section of the bill, it is 
by no means sure that we shall have any surplus revenue at all. I 
have been astonished indeed at the process of reasoning by which the 
Secretary of the Treasury has arrived at the conclusion, that we 
diall have a surplus revenue at all, though I admit that such a con- 
clusion can be arrived at in no other way. But what is this procesi? 
Duties of a certain rate now exist. The amount which they produce 
is known ; the Secretary, proposing a reduction of the rate of duty, 
supposes that the duties will be reduced in proportion to the amount 
of the reduction of duty. Now no calculation can be more uncertain 
dian that. Though perhaps the best that the Secretary could have 
made, it is still all uncertainty ; dependent upon the winds and waves, 
on the mutations of trade, and on the course of commercial operiM- 
tions. If there is any truth in political economy, it cannot be that 
result will agree with the prediction ; for we are instructed by all ex- 
perience that the consumption of any articlt is in proportion to the 
reduction of its price, and that in general it may be taken as a rule, 
that the duty upon an article forms a portion of its price. I do not 
mean to impute any improper design to any one ; but, if it had been 
80 intended, no scheme for getting rid of of the tariff could have been 
more artfully devised to effect its purposes, than that which thus cal- 
culated the revenue, and in addition, assumed that the expenditure 
of the government every year would be so much, &c. Can any one 
here say what the future expenditure of the government will be ? In 
this young, great, and growing community, can we say what will be 
the expenditure of the government even a year hence, much less 
what it will be three, or four, or five years hence ? Yet it has been 
estimated, on assumed amounts, founded on such uncertain data, both 
of income and expenditure, that the revenue might be reduced so 
many millions a year ! 

I ask pardon for this digression, and return to the examination of 
articles in the fourth section, which are proposed to be lefl free of 
duty. The duties on these articles now vary from five to ten per 
cent, ad valorem ; but low as they are, the aggregate amount of 
revenue which they produce is considerable. By the bill of the lail 


iession, the doiies on French silks was fixed at five per cent, and that. 
on Chinese silks at ten per cent, ad valorem. By the bill now pro- 
posed, the duty on French silks is proposed to be repealed, leaving 
the other unlouched. I will frankly state why I made this distinc* 
lion. It has been a subject of anxious desire with me to s<^e our com- 
merce with France increased. France, though not so large a cus- 
tomer in the great staples of our country as Great Britain, is a great 
growing customer. 1 have been much struck with a fact going to 
prove this, which accidentally came to my knowledge the other day ^ 
which is, that within the short period of fourteen years, the amount 
<^ consumption in France of the great southern staple of cotton has 
been iriplnd. Again, it is understood that the French silks of the 
lower grddes of quality cannot sustain a competition with the Chinese 
without some discrimination of this sort. I have understood, also, 
that the duty imposed upon this article at the last session has been 
very much complained of on the part of France ; and, considering all 
the circumstances connected with the relations between the two gov- 
ernments, it appears to me to be desirable to make this discriminv 
tion in favor of the French product. If the Senate should think 
differently, I shall be content. If, indeed, they should tliink proper 
to strike out this section altogether, I shall cheerfiUly submit to their 

[After reading the fifth and lixth sections, Mr. Clat said :] 

I will now take a few of some of the objections which will be made 
to the bill. It may be said that the act is prospective, that it binds 
oar successors, and that we have no power thus to bind them. It 
IB true that the act is prospective, and so is almost every act which 
we ever passed, but we can ref)eal it the next day. It is the estab- 
lished usage to give all acts a prospective operation. In every tariff 
diere are some provisions which go into operation immediately, and 
others at a future time. Each Congress legislate according to their 
own views*of propriety ; their act does not bind their successors, but 
creates a species of public faith, which will not rashly be broken. 
But if this bill shall go into operation, as I hope even against hope, 
that it may, I doubt not that it will be adhered to by all parties. 
There is but one contingency which will render a change necessary, 
and that is the intervention of a war, which is provided for in the 
bill. The hands of Congress are left untied in this event, and they 
will he at liberty to reiort to any mode of taxation which they may 


{>ropose. But if we suppose peace to continue, there will be no mo- 
tive for disturbing the arrangement, but on the contrary, every motive 
to carry it into effect. In the next place, it will be objected to the 
bill, by the friends of the protective policy, of whom I hold myself to 
be one, for my mind is immutably fixed in favor of that policy, that 
it abandons the power of protection. But I contend, in the first placoi 
that a suspt'nsion of the exercise of the power is not an abandonment 
of it ; tor the power is in the constitution according to our theory—- 
was put there by its framers, and can only be dislodged by the people. 
^ After the year 1842, the bill provides that the power shall be exer- 
cised in a certain mode. There are four modes by which the industry 
of the country can be protected. 

First, The absolute prohibition of rival foreign articles that are 
totally untouched by the bill ; but it is competent to the wisdom of 
the government to exert the power whenever they wish. Second ; 
The imposition of duties in such a manner as to have no reference to 
any object but revenue. When we had a large public debt in 1816, 
the duties yielded thirty-seven millions, and paid so much more of 
the debt, and subsequently they yielded but eight or ten millions, and 
paid so much less of the debt. Sometimes we have to trench on the 
sinking fund. Now we have no public debt to absorb the surplui 
revenue, and no motive for continuing the duties. No man can look 
at the condition of the country, and say that we can carry on this 
aystem with accumulating revenue, and no practical way of expend- 
ing it. The third mode was attempted last session, in a resoluttoo 
which I had the honor to submit last year, and which in fact ulti- 
mately formed the basis of the act which finally passed both Housea. 
This was to raise as much revenue as was wanted for the use of the 
government, and no more, but to raise it from the protected and not 
from the unprotected articles. I will say, that 1 regret most deeply 
that the greater part of the country will not suffer this principle to 
pirevail. It ought to prevail — and the day, in my opinion, will comoi 
when it will be adopted as the permanent policy of the country. 
Shall we legislate for our own wants or that of a foreign country f 
To protect our own interests in opposition to foreign legislation waa 
the basis of. this system. The fourth mode in which protection can 
be afforded to domestic industry, is to admit free of duty every arti- 
cle which aided the operations of the manufacturers. These are the 
tmr modes for protecting our bdustry ; and to those who aay thai 


(be bill abandoiw the power of protection, I reply, that it does 
not touch that power ; and that the fourth mode, so far from being 
UMtndoned, is extended and upheld by the bill. The most that can 
be objected to the bill by those with whom 1 co-operate to support 
ihe protective system, is that, in consideration of nine and a half yean 
of peace, certainty, and stability, the manufacturers relinquished some 
advantages which they now enjoy. What is the principle which hai 
always been contended for in this and in the other House ? Afier the 
accumulation of capital and skill, the manufacturers will stand alone, 
imaided by the government, in competition with the imported articlei 
from any quarter. Now give us time ; cease all fluctuations and 
agitations, for nine years, and the manufacturers in every branch will 
•Qstain themselves against foreign competition. If we can see our 
way clearly for nine years to come, we can safely leave to posterity 
to, provide for the rest. If the tariff* be overthrown, as may be its &te 
next session, the country will be plunged into extreme distress and 
agitation. I want harmony. I wish to see the restoration of those 
ties which have carried us triumphantly through two wars, i delight 
tot in this perpetual turmoil. Let us have peace, and become once 
more united as a band of brothers. 


It may be said that the farming interest cannot subsist under a 
tirenty per cent, ad valorem duty. My reply is, ^* sufficient for the 
day is the evil thereof." 1 will leave it to the day when the reduction 
takes effect, to settle the question. When the reduction takes place, 
aad the farmer cannot live under it, what will he do .^ 1 will tell you 
what he ought to do. He ought to try it — make a fair experiment of 
it — ard if he cannot live under it, let him come here and say that he 
is bankrupt and ruined. If then nothing can be done to relieve him| 
sir, I will not pronounce the words, for I will believe that something 
will be done, and that relief will be afforded, without hazarding the 
peece and integrity of the Union. The confederacy is an excellent 
eontrivance, but it must be managed with delicacy and skill. There 
ere an infinite variety of prejudices and loeal interests to be regarded, 
but they should all be made to yeild to the Union. 

If the system proposed cannot be continued, let us try some inter 
■lediate system, before we think of any other dreadful alternative. 
Sir, it will be said, on the other hand — for the objections are made 
Vj tiie friends of protection principally — ^that the time is too loeg; 


thai the intermediate reductions are too inconsiderable, and that there 
is no guarantee that, at the end of the time stipulated, the reduction 
proposed would be allowed to take efiect. In the first place, should 
be recollected, the diversified interests of the country — the measures 
of the government which preceded the establishment of manufactures 
— the public faith in some degree pledged foi their security ; and ibm 
ruin in which rash and hasty legislation would involve them. I will 
not dispute about terms. It would not, in a court of justice, be maiD- 
tained that the public faith is pledged for the protection of manufac- 
tures ; but there are other pledges which men of honor are bound by, 
besides those of which the law can take cognizance. 

If we excite, in our neighbor, a reasonable expectation which in- 
duces him to take a particular course of business, we are in honor 
bound to redeem the pledge thus tacitly given. Can any man doubt 
that a large portion of our citizens believed that the system would ba 
permanent ? The whole country expected it. The security agaimi 
any change of the system proposed by the bill, is in the character of 
the bill, as a compromise between two conflicting parties If the bill 
should be taken by common consent, as we hope it will be — the his- 
tory of the revenue will be a guarantee of its permanence. The cir- 
cumstances under which it was passed will be known and recorded — 
and no one will disturb a system which was adopted with a view to 
give peace and tranquillity to the country. 

The descending gradations by which I propose to arrive at the 
minimum of duties, must be gradual. I never would consent to any 
precipitate operation to bring distress and ruin on the community. 

Now, viewing it in this light, it appears that there arc eight yean 
and a half, and nine years and a half, taking the ultimate time, which 
would be an efficient protection, the remaining duties will be with- 
drawn by a biennial reduction. The protective principle must be said 
to be, in some measure, relinquished at the end of eight years and a 
half. This period cannot appear unreasonable, and I thijik that no 
member of the Senate, or any portion of the country, ought to make 
the slightest objection. It now remains for me to consider the otlier 
objection — the want of guarantee to there being an ulterior continu- 
ance of the duties imposed by the bill, on the expiration of the term 
which it prescribes. The best guarantee will be found in the circum 


stances under which the measure would he passed. If it peaaea 
by common consent ; if it is passed with the assent of a portion — a 
considerable portion of those who have directly hitherto supported 
this system, and by a considerable portion of those who opposed it — 
if they declare their satisfaction with the measure, 1 have no doubt 
the rate of duties guarantied, will be continued aflcr the expiration of 
the term, if the country continues at peace. And, at the end of the 
term, when the experiment will have been made of the eiBciency of 
the mode of protection fixed by the bill, while the constitutional ques- 
tion has been sufiered to lie dormant, if war should render it neces- 
sary, protection might be carried up to prohibition ; while if the coun- 
try should remain at peace, and this measure go into full operation, 
the duties will be gradually lowered down to the revenue standard, 
which has been so earnestly wished ff)r. 

But suppose that I am wrong in all these views, for there are no 
guarantees, in one sense of the term, of human infallibility. Suppose 
a different state of things in the south — that this Senate, from causes 
which I shall not dwell upon now, but which are obvious to every 
reflectincr man in this country— causes which have operated for years 
past, and which continue to operate — suppose, for a moment, that 
there should be a majority in the Senate in favor of the southern 
views, and that they should repeal the whole system at once, 
what guarantee would we have that the repealing of the law would 
not destroy those great interests which it is so important to preserve ? 
What guarantee will you have that the thunders of those powerful 
nmnufactures will not be directed against your capitol, because of this 
abandonment of their interests, and because you have given them no 
protection against foreign legislation. Sir, if you carry your measure 
of repeal without the consent, at least, of a portion of those who are 
interested in the preservation of manufactures, you h^ve no security, 
00 guarantee, no certainty, that any protection will be continued. 
But if the measure should be carried by the comnribii consent of both 
parties, we shall have all security ; history will faithfully record the 
transaction ; narrate under what circumstances the bill was passed ; 
that it was a pacifying measure ; that it was as oil poured from the 
vessel of the Union to restore peace and harmony to the country. 
When all this was known, what Congress, what Legislature, would 
mar the guarantee? What nuun who is entitled to deserve the char- 


•cierof an American statesman, would stand up in his place in either 
House of Congress, and disturb this treaty of peace and amity ? 

Sir, I will not say that it may not he disturbed. All that I say is, 
that here is all the reasonable security that can be desired by those 
on the one side of the question, and much more than those on the 
other would have by any unfortunate concurrence of circumstances. 
Such a repeal of the whole system should be brought about as would 
he cheerfully acquiesced in by all parties in this country. All parties 
may find in this measure some reasons for objection. And what 
human measure is there which is free from objectionable qualities ? 
It has been remarked, and justly remarked, by the great father of our 
country himself, that if that great work which is the charter of our 
liherties, and under which we have so long flourished, had been suh- 
mitted, article by article, to all the different States composing this 
Union, that the whole would have been rejected ; and yet when the 
whole was presented tc^ther, it was accepted as a whole. I will 
•dmit that my friends do not get all they could wish for ; and the 
gentlemen on the other side do not obtain all they might desire ; hut 
both will gain all that in my humble opinion is proper to be given in 
the present condition of this country. It may be true that there will 
be loss and gain in this measure. But how is this loss and gain dis- 
tributed ? Among our countrymen. What we lose, no foreign hand 
gains ; and what we gain, will be no loss to any foreign power. It 
is among ourselves the distribution takes place. The distribution is 
founded on that great principle of compromise and concession which 
Ues at the bottom of our institutions, which gave birth to the consti- 
fcation itself, and which has continued to regulate us in our onward 
marchy and conducted the nation to glory and renown. 

It remains for me now to touch atiother topic. Objections hate 
been made to all legislation at this session of Congress, resulting from 
the attitude of one of the States of this confederacy. I confess that 
I felt a very strong repugnance to any legislation at all on this sub- 
ject at the commencement of the session, principally because I mis* 
eonceived the purposes, as 1 have found from subsequent observation, 
which that State has in view. Under the influence of more accurate 
iofinmation, I must say that the aspect of things since the commence- 
ment of the session have, in my opinion, greatly changed. When I 
oame to take my seat on this floor^ I had suppotsed that a member of 


this Union had taken an attitude of defiance and hostility against the 
authority of the general government. I had imagined that she had 
arrogantly required that we should abandon at once a system which 
had long been the settled policy of this country. Supposing that she 
had manifested this feeling, and taken up this position, I had, in con- 
sequence, felt a disposition to hurl defiance back again, and to impress 
upon her the necessity of the performance of her duties as a member 
of this Union. But since my arrival here, I find that South Carolina 
does not contemplate force, for it is denied and denounced by that 
State. She disclaims it — and asserts that she is merely making an 
experiment. That experiment is this : by a course of State legisla- 
tion, and by a change in her fundamental laws, she is endeavoring by 
her civil tribunals to prevent the general, government from carrying 
the laws of the United States into operation within her limits. That 
she has professed to be her object. Her appeal is not to arms, but to 
another power ; not to the sword, but to the law. I must say, and 1 
will say it with no intention ot disparaging that State, or any other 
of the States — it is a feeling unworthy of her. As the purpose of 
South Carolina is not that of force, this at once disarms, divests legis- 
lation of one principal objection, which it appears to me existed 
against it at the commencement of this session. Her purposes are all 
of a civil nature. She thinks she can oust the United States from 
her limits ; and unquestionably she has taken good care to prepare 
her judges beforehand by swearing them to deride in her favor. If 
we submitted to her, we should thus stand but a poor chance of ob- 
taining justice. She disclaims any intention of resorting to force un- 
less we should find it indispensable to execute the laws of the Union 
by applying force to her. It seems to me the aspect of the attitude 
of South Carolina has changed—- or rather, the new light which I have 
obtained, enables me to see her in a different attitude — and I have 
not truly understood her until she passed her laws, by which it was 
intended to carry ^er ordinance into effect. Now, I venture to pr^ 
diet that the State to which I have referred must ultimately £ftil in her 
attempt I disclaim any intention of saying anything to the dispar- 
agement oi that State. Far from it. I think that she has been rash, 
intemperate, and greatly in error ; and to use the language of one of 
her own writers*— made up an issue unworthy of her. From one end 
to the other of tkis continent, by acclamation, as it were, nullification 
has been put down, and put jdown in a manner more efiectuilly than 
lijrAtlMWMndwacpiwyn-tfapQia^ miMfMi; by tfie irresistible i^ma 


bj the mighty influence of public opinion. Not a voice beyond the 
single State of South Carolina has been heard in favor of the princi- 
ple of nullification, which she has asserted by her ov. n ordinance ; 
and I will say, that she must fail in her lawsuit. I will express two 
opinions ; the first of which is, that it is not possible for the ingenuity 
of man to devise a system of State legislation to defeat the execution 
of the laws of the United States, which cannot be countervailed by 
federal legislation. 

A State might take it upon herself to throw obstructions in the way 
of the execution of the laws of the federal government ; but federal 
legislation can follow at her heel quickly, and successfully counteract 
the course of State legislation. The framers of the constitution fore- 
saw this, and the constitution has guarded against it. What has it 
said? It is declared, in the clause enumerating the powers of this 
government, that Congress shall have all power to carry into efiect 
all the powers granted by the constitution, in any branch of the go¥- 
emnsent under the sweeping clause — for they have not specified con- 
tingencies, because they could not see what was to happen — but 
whatever powers were necessary, all, all are given to this govern- 
ment by the fundamental law, necessary to carry into effect thoiifB 
powers which are vested by that constitution in the federal govern- 
ment. That is one reason. The other is, that it is not possible for 
any State, provided this government is administered with prudence 
and propriety, so to shape its laws as to throw upon the general gov- 
ernment the responsibility of first resorting to the employment of force ; 
but, if force at all is employed, it must be by State legislation, and 
not federal legislation ; and the responsibility of employing that forca 
must rest with, and attach to, the State itself. 


I shall not go into the details of this bill. I merely throw out these 
sentiments for the purpose of showing you that South Carolina, bar* 
hag declared her purpose to be this, to make an experiment whether, 
by a course of legislation, in a conventional form, or a legislative form 
of enactment, she can defeat the execution of certain laws of the 
United States, I, for one, will express my opinion — that I believe it 
is utterly impracticable, whatever course of legislation she may choose 
to adopt, for her to succeed. I am ready, fbr one, to give the tribu* 
nals and the executive of the country, whether that executive has or 
has not my oonfidence^ibe u e cc ssM j measiires ef power and autborilj 


to execute the laws of the Union. But I would not go a hair's breadth 
further than what was necessary for those purposes. Up to that point 
I would go, and cheerfully go ; for it is my sworn duty, as I regard 
it, to go to that point. 

Again : taking this view of the subject. South Carolina is doing 
nothing more, except that she is doing it with more rashness, than 
some other States have done— that respectable State, Ohio, and, if I 
am not mistaken, the State of Virginia also. An opinion prevailed 
aome years ago, that if you put the laws of a State into a penal form, 
you could oust federal jurisdiction out of the limits of that State, be- 
cause the State tribunals had an exQlusivc jurisdiction over penalties 
and crimes, and it was inferred that no federal court could wrest the 
authority from them. According to that principle, the State of Ohio 
passed the laws taxing the branch of the United States Bank, and 
high penalties were to be enforced against every person who should 
attempt to defeat her taxation. The question was tried. It happened 
to be my lot to be counsel at law to bring the suit against the State, 
and to maintain the federal authority. The trial took place in the 
State of Ohio ; and it is one of the many circumstances which re- 
dounds to the honor of that patriotic State, she submitted to the fed- 
eral force. I went to the office of the public treasury myself to which 
was taken the money of the Bank of the United States, it having re- 
mained there in sequestration until it was peaceably rendered, in obe- 
dience to the decision of the court, without any appeal to arms. In 
a building which I had to pass in order to reach the treasury, I saw 
the most brilliant display of arms and musquetry that I ever saw in 
my life ; but not one was raised or threatened to be raised against the 
due execution of the laws of the United States, when they were then 
enforced; In Virginia (but I am not sure that I am correct in the 
history of it,) there was a case of this kind. Persons were liable to 
penalties for selling lottery tickets. It was contended that the State 
tribunals had an exclusive jurisdiction over the subject. The casc^ 
was brought before the Supreme Court — the parties were a Mr. Myers 
and somebody else, and it decided as it must always decide, no mat- 
ter what obstruction — no matter what the State law may be, the con- 
stitutional laws of the United States must follow and defeat it, in its 
attempt to arrest the federal arm in the exercise of its lawful authority. 
South Carolina has attempted — and, I repeat it, in a much more of- 
fensive way, attempted to defeat the execution of the lawa of the 


United States. But it seems that, under all the circumstances of the 
case, she has, for the present, determined to stop here, in order that, 
hy our legislation, we may prevent the necessity of her advancing any 
farther. But there are other reasons for the expediency of legisla- 
tion at this time. Although I came here impressed with a different 
opinion, my mind has now hecome reconciled. 

The memorahle first of Fehruary is past. I confess I did feel an 
unconquerable repugnance to legislation until that day should have 
passed, because of the consequences that were to ensue. I hoped 
that the day would go over well. I feel, and 1 think that we must 
all confess, we breathe a freer air than when the restraint was upon 
us. But this is not the only consideration. South Carolina has prac 
tically postponed her ordinance, instead of letting it go into effect, till 
the fourth of March. Nobody who has noticed the course of events, 
can doubt that she will postpone it by still further legislation, if Con- 
gress should rise without any settlement of this question. I was 
going to say, my life on it, she will postpone it to a period subsequent 
to the fourth of March. It is in the natural course of events. South 
Carolina must perceive the embarrassments of her situation. She 
must be desirous — it is unnatural to suppose that she is not — ^to re- 
main in the Union. What ! a State whose heroes in its gallant an- 
cestry fought so many glorious battles along with those of the other 
States of this Union — a State with which this confederacy is linked 
by bonds of such a powerful character ! I have sometimes fancied 
what would be her condition if she goes out of this Union ; if her five 
hundred thousand people should at once be thrown upon their own 
resources. She is out of the Union. What is the consequence ? She 
is an independent power. What then does she do ? She must have 
armies and fleets, and an expensive government — have foreign mis- 
sions — she must raise taxes — enact this very tariff, which has driven 
her out of the Union, in order to enable her to raise money, and to 
sustain the attitude of an independent power. If she should liave no 
force, no navy to protect her, she would be exposed to piratical in- 
cursions. Their neighbor, St. Domingo, might pour down a horde 
of pirates on her borders, and desolate her plantations. She must 
have her embassies, therefore must she have a revenue. And, let me 
tell you, there is another consequence — an inevitable one ; she has a 
oertain description of persons recognized as property south of the 
Bolamac, tad west of the Mistissippi, which would be no logger 



recognized as such, except within their own limits. This species of 
property would sink to one-half of its present value, for it is Louis- 
iana and the south-western States which are her great market. 

But I will not dwell on this topic any longer. I say it is utterly 
impossible that South Carolina ever desired, for a moment, to become 
a separate and independent State. If the exisfence of the ordinance^ 
while an act of Congress is pending, is to be considered as a motive 
for not passing that law, why, this would be found to be a sufficient 
reason for preventing the passing of any laws. South Carolina, by 
keeping the shadow of an ordinance even before us, as she has it in 
her power to postpone it from time to time, would defeat our legisla- 
tion for ever. I would repeat that, under all the circumstances of the 
case, the condition of South Carolina is only one of the elements of a 
combination, the whole of which, together, constitutes a motive of 
action which renders it expedient to resort, during the present session 
of Congress, to some measure in order to quiet and tranquilize the 

If there b^ any who want civil war — who want to see the blood 
of any portion of our countrymen spilt — I am not one of them. I 
wish to see war of no kind ; but, above all, I do not desire to see a 
civil war. When war begins, whether civil or fbreign, no human 
sight is competent to foresee when, or how, or where it is to termi- 
nate. But when a civil war shall be lighted up in the bosom of our 
own happy land, and armies are marching, and commanders are win- 
ning their victories, and fleets are in motion on our coast — tell me, if 
you can, tell me if any human being can tell its duration. God alone 
knows where such a war would end. In what a state will be left 
our institutions ? In what state our liberties ? I want no war ; above 
ail, no war at home. 

Sir, I repeat, that I think South Carolina has been rash, intemper- 
ate, and greatly in the wrong , but I do not want to disgrace her, nor 
any other member of this Union. No : I do not desire to see the 
lustre of one single star dimmed, of that glorious confederacy which 
constitutes our political system still lessdo I wish to see it blotted out, 
and its light obliterated for ever. Has not the State of South Caro- 
lina been one of the members of this Union in <' days that tried men's 
^ouli ?" Hare not her anceators fought along side our ancestors ? 


156 8PEECHB8 OF H£iatT CLAT. 

Have we not, conjointly, won together many a glorious battle ? If 
we had to go into a civil war with such a State, how would it termi- 
nate ? Whenever it should have terminated, what would be her con- 
dition I 'If she should ever return to the Union, what would be the 
condition of her feelings and affections ; what the state of the heart 
of her people ? She has been with us before, when her ancestors 
mingled in the throng of battle, and as I hope our posteiity will min- 
gle with hers, for ages and centuries to come, in the united defence 
of liberty, and for the honor and glory of the Union, Ldo not wish to 
see her degraded or defaced as a member of this confederacy. 

In conclusion, allow me to entreat and implore each individual mem- 
ber of this body to bring into the consideration of this measure, which 
I have had the honor of proposing, the same love of country which, 
if I know myself, has actuated me , and the same desire of restoring 
harmony to the Union, which has prompted this effort. If we can 
forget for a moment — but that would be asking too much of human 
nature — if we could suffer, for one moment, party feelings and party 
causes — and, as I stand here before my God, I declare I have looked 
beyond those considerations, and regarded only the vast interests of 
this united people — I should hope that, under such feelings, and with 
such dispositions, we may advantageously proceed to the considera- 
tion of this bill, and heal, before they are yet bleeding, the wounds 
of our distracted countrv. 



In THE Senate of the United States February 25, 1833. 

I The bill before noted, having been introduced and favorably reported,lt8 passage 
was oppo;»ed in the Senate, especially by Mr. Wesstcr. Mr. Clay replied to the 
aigiuneubi adduced against it as follows x] 

Being anxious, Mr. President, that this bill should pass, and past 
this day, I will abridge as much as I can the observations I am called 
upon to make. I have long, with pleasure and pride, co-operated 
in the public service with the Senator from Massachusetts ; and I 
have found him faithful, enlightened, and patriotic. I have not a par^ 
tide of doubt as to the pure and elevated motives which actuate him. 
Under these circumstances, it gives me deep and lasting regret to find 
myself compelled to differ from him as to a measure involving vital 
interests, and perhaps the safety of the Union. On the other hand, 
I derive great consolation from finding myself on this occasion, in the 
midst of friends with whom I have long acted, in peace and in war, 
and especially with the honorable Senator from Maine, (Mr. Holmes) 
with whom I had the happiness to unite in a memorable instance. It 
was in this very chamber, that Senator presiding in the committee 
of the Senate, and I in committee of twenty-four of the House of 
Representatives, on a Sabbath day, that the terms were adjusted, by 
which the compromise was effected of the Missouri question. Then 
the dark clouds that hung over our beloi^^d country were dispersed ; 
and now the thunders from others not less threatening, and which 
have been longer accumulating, will, I hope, roll over us harmleia 
and without injury. 

The senator firom Massachusetts objects to the bill under consider- 
etion on various grounds. He argues that it imposes unjustifiable 
restraints on the power of future legislation ; that it abandons the 
protective policy^ and that the details of the bill are practically de- 


fective. He does not object to the gradual, but very inconsiderable, 
reduction of duties which is made prior to 1842. To that he could 
not object, because it is a species of prospective provision, as he ad- 
mits, in conformity with numerous precedents on our statute book. 
He does not object bo much to the state of the proposed law prior to 
1842, during a period of nine years ; but throwing himself forward to 
the termination of that period, he contends that Congress wiU then 
find itself under inconvenient shackles, imposed by our indiscreti<Mi. 
In the first place I would remark, that the bill contains no obligatory 
pledges ; it coulj^ make none ; none are attempted. The power over 
the subject is in the constitution ; put there by those who formed it, 
and liable to be taken out only by an amendment of the instrument. 
The next Congress, and every succeeding Congress, will undoubtedly 
have the power to repeal the law whenever they may think proper. 
Whether they will exercise it or not, will depend upon a sound dis- 
cretion, applied to the state of the whole country, and estimatii^ 
Cuirly the consequences of the repeal, both upon the general harmony 
and the common interests. Then the bill is founded in a spirit of 
compromise. Now, in all compromises there must be mutual conces- 
sions. The friends of free trade insist that duties should be laid in 
reference to revenue alone. The friends of American industry say, 
that another, if no| paramount object in laying them, should be to 
diminish the consumption of foreign, and increase that of domestic 
products. On this point the parties divide, and between these two 
opposite opinions, a reconciliation is to be effected, if it can be accom- 
plished. The bill assumes as a basis, adequate protection for nine 
years, and less beyond that term. The friends of protection say to 
their opponents, we are willing to take a lease of nine years with the 
long chapter of accidents beyond that period including the chance of 
war, the restoration of concord, and along with it, a conviction coRk- 
mon to all, of the utility of protection ; and in consideration of it, if, 
in 1842, none of these contingencies shall have been realized, we artf 
willing to submit as long as Congress may think proper, to a maxim* 
nm rate of twenty per cent., with the power of discrimination below 
it, cash duties, home valuations, and a liberal list of free articles, for 
the benefit of the manufacturing interest, To these conditions the 
opponents of protection are ready to accede. The measure is what it 
professes to be, a compromise ; but it imposes, and could impose no 
restriction upon the will or power of a future Congress. Doubtteas 
great reepect will be paid, as it ought to be paid, to the aerions 

09 inTRomyciira the compiiomisb bill. 1M 

dkion of the country that has prompted the passage of this hill. Any 
future Congress that might disturb this adjustment, would act under 
a high responsibility, but it would be entirely within its competency 
to repeal, if it thought proper, the whole bill. It is &r from the ob- 
ject of those who support this bill, to abandon or surrender the policy 
ci protecting American industry. Its protection or encouragement 
may be accomplished in various ways. 1st. By- bounties, as far as 
they are within the constitutional power of Congress to ofier them. 
2d. By prohibitions, totally excluding the foreign rival article. 3d. 
By high duties, without regard to the aggregate am^fSt of revenue 
which they produce. 4th. By discriminating duties so adjusted as to 
limit the revenue to the economical wants of governn;ent. And 5thly, 
By the admission of the raw material, and articles essential to manu- 
fitctures, free of duty. To which may be added, cash duties, home 
valuations, and the regulation of auctions. A perfect system of pro- 
tection would comprehend most if not all these modes of afibrding it. 
There might be at this time a prohibition of certain articles, (ardent 
spirits and coarse cottons, for example,)r to public advantage. If 
there were not inveterate prejudices and conflicting opinions prevail- 
ing, (and what statesman can totally disregard impediments ?) such 
a compound system might be established. 

Now, Mr. President, before the assertion is made that the bill sur 
renders the protective policy, gentlemen should understand perfectly 
what it does not as well as what it does propose. It impairs no 
power of Congress over the whole subject ; it contains no promise or 
I^edge whatever, express or implied, as to bounties, prohibitions, or 
auctions ; it does not touch the power of Congress in regard to them, 
and Congress is perfectly free to exercise that power at any time ; it 
expressly recognizes discriminating duties within a prescribed limit ; 
it provides for cash duties and home valuations ; and it secures a free 
list, embracing numerous articles, some of high importance to the 
manu&cturing arts. Of all the modes of protection which I have 
enumerated, it affects only the third ; that is to say, the imposition of 
high duties, producing a revenue beyond the wants of government. 
The senator fix)m Massachusetts contends that the policy of protec- 
tion was settled in 1816, and that it has ever since been maintained. 
Sir, it was settled long before 1816. It is coeval with the present 
oonstitotion, and it will continue under some of its various aspects, 
doriog the existence of the goTerament, No nation can exist— no 


nation perhaps eyer existed, without protection in some form, and to 
some extent, being applied to its own industry. The direct and ne- 
cessary consequence of abandoning the protection of its own indostcy, 
would be to subject it to the restrictions and prohibitions of foreign 
powers ; and no nation, for any length of time, can endure an alien 
legislation in which it has no will. The discontents which prevail, 
aifd the safety of the republic, may require the modification of a spe- 
cific mode of protection, but it must be preserved in some other mora 
acceptable shape. 

All that was settled in 1816, in 1824, and in 1828, was that pPO> 
tection should be afforded by high duties^ mihout regard to the amtnmit 
of the revenue which they might yield. During that whole period, we 
had a public debt which absorbed all the surpluses beyond the ordi- 
nary wants of government. Between 1816 and 1824, the revenoe 
was liable to the great fluctuation^, vibrating between the extremes 
of about nineteen and thirty-six millions of dollars. If there were 
more revenue, more debt was paid ; if less, a smaller amount wai 
reimbursed. Such was sometimes the deficiency of the revenue that 
it became necessary to the ordinary expenses of government, to trench 
upon the ten millions annually set apart as a sinking fund, to extin- 
guish the public debt. If the public debt remained undischarged, or 
we had any other practical mode of appropriating the surplus revenue, 
the form of protection, by high duties, might be continued without 
public detriment. It is the payment of the public debt, then, and the 
arrest of internal improvements by the exercise of the veto, that un^ 
settle that specific form of protection. Nobody supposes, or proposee 
that we should continue to levy by means of high duties, a large an- 
nual surplus, of which no practical use can be made, for the sake of 
the incidental protection which they afford. The Secretary of the 
Treasury estimates that surplus on the existing scale of duties, and 
with the other sources of revenue, at six millions annually. An an* 
Dual accumulation at that rate, would, in a few years, bring into the 
treasury the whole currency of the country, to lie there inactive and 

This view of the condition of the country has impressed every pub- 
lic man with the necessity of some modification of the principles of 
protection, so far as it depends upon high duties. The senator from 
Massachusetts feels it ; and hence, in the resolutions which he 8irf»- 


mitted, he proposes to redoce the duties, so as to limit the amount of 
the revenue to the wants of the government. With him revenue is 
the principalj-protection the subordinate object. If protection cannot 
be enjoyed aftep such a reduction of duties as he thinks ought to be 
made, it is not to be extended. He says, specific duties and the pow- 
er of discrimination, are preserved by his resolutions. So they may 
be under the operation of the bill. The only difTerence between the 
two schemes is, that the bill in the maximum which it provides, sug- 
gests a certain limit, while his resolutions lay down none. Below 
that maximum the principle of descrimination and specific duties may 
be applied. The senator from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Dallas,) who, 
equally with the senator from Massachusetts, is opposed to this bill, 
would have agreed to the bill if it had fixed thirty instead of twenty 
per centum ; and he would have dispensed with home valuation, and 
come down to the revenue standard in five or six years. Now, Mr. 
President, 1 prefer, and 1 think the manufacturing interest will prefer, 
nine years of adequate protection, home valuations, and twenty per 
centum to the plan of the senator from Pennsylvania. 

Mr. President, I want to be perfectly underftood as to the motives 
which have prompted me to offer this measure. I repeat what I said 
mn the introduction of it, that they are, first, to preserve the manufac- 
taring interest, and secondly, to quiet the country. 1 believe the 
American system to be in the greatest danger ; and I believe it can 
be placed on a better and safer foundation at this session than at the 
Bert. I heard with surprise, my friend from Massachusetts say, that 
DOihing had occurred within the last six months to increase its hazard, 
1 entreat him to review that opinion. Is it correct. Is the issue of 
■umerous elections, including that of the highest officer of the gov- 
ernment nothing ? Is the explicit recommendation of that officer, in 
bm message, at^the opening of the session, sustained, as he is, by a 
recent triumphant election, nothing ? Is his declaration in his procla- 
■lalion, that the burdens of the South ought to be relieved, nothing ? 
Is the introduction of a bill into the House of Representatives, during 
this session, sanctioned by the head of the treasury and the adminis- 
tjstion, prostrating the greater part of the manufactures of the country, 
ttotbing ? Are the incretsing discontents, nothing ? Is the tendency 
«f recent events to unite the whole South, nothing ? What have we 
sot witnessed in this dwnber ? Friends of the administratwn, bunt* 
lag nU tbs tiss which seemri indiffobiUy to untie them to its chie^ 


and, with few exceptions south of the Potomac, opposing, and vehe- 
mently opposing, a favorite measure of that administration, which 
three short months ago they contributed to establish ! ^et us not de- 
ceive ourselves. ISow is the time to adjust the question in a manner 
satisfactory to both parties. Put it off until the next session, and the 
alternative may, and probably then would be a speedy and ruinous 
reduction of the tariff, or a civil war witii the entire South. 

It is well known, that the majority of the dominant party is adverse 
to die tariff. There are many honorable exceptions, the senator from 
New Jersey, (Mr. Dickerson,) among thein. But for the exertions 
of the other party, the tariff would have been long since sacrificed 
Now let us look at the composition of the two branches of Congress 
at the next session. In this body we lose three friends of the protec- 
tive policy, without being sure of gaining one. Here, judging from 
present appearances, we shall at the next session be in the minority. 
In the House it is notorious that there is a considerable accession to 
the number of the dominant party. How then, I ask, is the system 
to be sustained against numbers, against the whole weight of the ad- 
ministration, against the united South, and against the increased pen- 
ding danger of civil war ? There is, indeed, one contingency that 
might save it, but that is too uncertain to rely upon. A certain class 
of northern politicians, professing friendship to the tariff, have been 
charged with being secretly inimic&l to it, for political purposes. 
They may change their ground, and come out open and undisguised 
supporters of the system. They may even find in the measure which 
I have brought forward, a motive for their conversion. Sir, I shall 
rejoice in it, from whatever cause it may proceed. And, if they can 
give greater strength and durability to the system, and at the same 
time quiet the discontents of its opponents, I shall rejoice still morp. 
They shall not find me disposed to abandon it, because it has drawn 
succour from an unexpected quarter. No, Mr. President, it is not 
destruction, but preservation of the system at which we aim. If dan- 
gers now assail it, we have not created them. I have sustained i^ 
upon the strongest and clearest convictions of its expediency. They 
are entirely unaltered. Had others, who avow attachment to it, sup- 
ported it with equal zeal - and straight-forwardness, it would be now 
free from embarrassment ; but with them it has been a secondary in- 
tentt. I utter no complaints ; I make no reproaches. I wish aafy 
.lodafand myalf now, at hefcto&m, againat nnjoii aswolta. I b$w 



been represented as the father of this system, and I am charged with 
aa unnatural abandonment of my own offspring. I have never arro- 
gated to myself any such intimate relation to it. I have, indeed, 
cherished it with parental fondness, and my affection is undiminished, 
but in what condition do I find this child ? It is in the hands of the 
Philistines, who would strangle it. I fly to its rescue, to snatch it 
from their custody, and to place it on a bed of security and repose for 
nine years, where it may grow and strengthen, and become accepta- 
ble to the whole people. I behold a torch about being applied to a 
favorite edifice, and 1 would save it if possible before it is wrapt in 
flames, or at least preserve the precious furniture which it contains. 
1 wish to see the tariff separated from the politics of the country, 
that business men may go to work in security, with some prospect of 
stability in our laws, and without everything being staked on the is- 
sue of elections as it were on the hazards of the die. 

And the other leading object which has prompted the introduction 
of this measure, the tranquilizing oi the country is no less important. 
All wise human legislation must consult in some degree the passions 
and prejudices, and feelings, as well as the interests of the people. It 
would be vain and foolish to proceed at all times, and under all cir- 
cumstances, upon the notion of absolute certainty in any system, or 
infallibility in any dogma, and to push these out without regard to 
any consequences. With us, who entertain the opinion that Congress 
is constitutionally invested with power to protect domestic industry, 
it is a question of mere expediency as to the form, the degree, and 
the time that the protection shall be afforded. In weighing all the 
considerations which should control and regulate the exercise of thai 
power, we ought not to overlook what is due to those who honestly 
entertain opposite opinions to large masses of the community, and to 
deep, long cherished and growing prejudices. Perceiving, ourselves, 
no constitutional impediment, we have less difficulty in accommoda- 
ting ourselves to the sense of the people of the United States upon 
this interesting subject, I do believe that a majority of them is in 
£ivor of this policy ; but I am induced to believe this almost against 
evidence. Two States in New England, which have been in favor 
«f the system, have recently come out against it. Other States of 
the noxlh and east have shown a remarkable indifference to its preser- 
▼mtion. If, indeed, they have wished to preserve it, they have ney- 
ertheless placed the powers of government in hands which ordinary 


information must have assured them ^were rather a hazardous deposi- 
tory. With us in the west, although we are not without some direct, 
, and considerable indirect interest in the system, we have supported it 
more upon national than sectional grounds. 

Meantime the opposition of a large and respectable section of the 
Union, stimulated by political success, has increased, and is increas- 
ing. Discontents are multiplying and assuming new-and dangerous 
aspects. They have been cherished by the course and hopes inspired 
during this administration, which, at the very moment that it threatens 
and recommends the use of the power of the Union, proclaims aloud 
the injustice of the system which it would enforce. These discontents 
are not limited to those who maintain the extravagant theory of nul- 
lification ; they are not confined to one State ; they are coextensh'e 
with the entire South, and extend even to northern States. It has 
been intimated by the senator from Massachusetts, that, if we legis- 
late at this session on the tariff, we Would seem to legislate under the 
influence of a panic. I believe, Mr. President j I am not nwre sensi- 
ble to danger of any kind, than my fellow-men are generally. It per- 
haps requires as much moral courage to legislate under the imputa- 
tion of a panic, as to refrain from it lest such nn imputation should be 
made. But he who regards the present question as being limited to 
South Carolina alone, takes a view of it much too contracted. 
There is a sympathy of feeling and interest throughout the whole 
South. Other southern States mav differ from that as to the reme- 
dy to be now used, but all agree (great as in my humble judgment 
is their error,) in the substantial justice of the cause. Can there 
be a doubt that those who think in common will sooner or later act 
in concert ? Events are on the wing, and hastening this co-operation. 
Since the commencement of this session, the most powerful soathem 
member of the Union has taken a measure which cannot fail to lead 
to important consequences. , She has deputed one of her most distin- 
guished citizens to request a suspension of measures of resistance. No 
attentive observer can doubt that the suspension will be made. Well, 
sir, suppose it takes place, and Congress should fail at the next ses- 
sion to afford the redress which will be solicited, what course would 
every principle of honor, and every consideration of the interests of 
Virginia, as she understands them, exact from her ? Would she not 
make common cause with South Carolina.^ — and if she did, would 


Bot the entire Soath eventually become parties to the contest ? The 
test of the Union might put down the South, and reduce it to submis- 
sion ; but, to say nothing of the uncertainty and hazards of all war, 
is that a desirable state of things ? Ought it not to be avoided if it 
can be honorably prevented ? I am not one of those who think that 
we must rely exclusively upon moral power, and never resort to 
physical force. 1 know too well the frailties and follies of man, in 
his collective as well as individual character, to reject in all possible 
cases, the employment of force ; but I do think that when resorted to, 
especially, among the members of a confederacy, it should manifestly 
appear to be the only remaining appeal. 

But suppose the present Congress terminates without any adjust* 
ment of the tariff, let us see in what condition its friends will find 
themselves at the next session. South Carolina will have postponed 
the execution of the law passed to carry into eflect her ordinance 
until the end of that session. All will be quiet in the south for the 
present. The President, in his opening message, will urge that jus- 
tice, as he terms it, be done to the south, and that the burdens im<* 
posed upon it by the tariff be removed. The whole weight of the ad* 
ministration, the united south, and majorities of the dominant ptrtf 
in both branches of Congress, will be found in active^ co-operation.. 
Will the gentleman from Massachusetts tell me how we are to save 
the tariff against this united and irresistible force ? They will accuse 
us of indifference to the preservation of the Union, and of being will* 
iog to expose the country to the dangers of civil war. The fact of 
South Carolina postponing her ordinance, at the instance of Virginia, 
and once more appealing to the justice of Congress, will be pressed 
with great emphasis and effect. It does appear to me impossible that 
we can prevent a most injurious modification of the tariff at the next 
session, and that this is the favorable moment for an equitable arrange- 
ment of it. I have been subjected to animadversion for the admission of 
the fttct, that, at the next session,our opponents will be stronger, and the 
friends of the American System weaker than they are in this Congress. 
Bat, is it not so ? And is it not the duty of every man who aspirei 
td be a statesman to look at naked facts as they really are ? Must ha 
•ttjqpress them } Ought he, like children, to throw the counterpani 
over his eyes, and persuade himself that he is secure from danger ? 
Are not our opponents as well informed as we are about their own 

•mBgCnf . 



If we adjourn, without any pennaneDt tettlement of the tarifl^ m 
what paiDful suspense and terrible uncertainty shall we not leave the 
manufacturers and business men of the country ? All eyes will be 
turned, with trembling and fear, to the next session. Operations wiH 
be circumscribed, and new enterprises checked, or, if otherwise, ruui 
and bankruptcy may be the consequence. I believe, sir, this meaa* 
lire, which offers a reasonable guarantee for permanence and stability, 
will be hailed by practical men with pleasure. The political maDifr- 
bcturers may be against it, but it will command the approbation of a 
large majority of the business manufacturers of the country 

But the objections of -the honorable Senator from Massacha- 
settsare principally directed to the peiiod beyond 1842. During 
the intermediate time, there is every reason to hope and believe that 
the bill secures adequate protection. All my information assures me 
of this ; and it is demonstrated by the fact, that, if the measure of 
protection, secured prior to the 31st December, 1841, were permar 
nent, or if the bill were even silent beyond that period, it would coiii-> 
mand the cordial and unanimous concurrence of the friends of tiio 
policy. What then divides, what alarms us .^ It is what may po^ 
Mbf be the state of things in the year one thousand eight hundred 
and forty-two^ or subsequently ! Now, sir, even if that should bo 
as bad as the m^ist vivid imagination or the most eloquent tongno 
could depict it, if we have intermediate safety and security, it does 
not seem to me wise to rush upon certain and present evils, becauao 
of those which, admitting their possibility, are very remote and con- 
tingent. What ! shall we not extinguish the flame which is bnnt» 
ing through the roof that covers us, because, at some future and dis- 
tant day, we may be again threatened with conflagration ? 

I do not admit that this bill abandons, or fails by its provisions to 
secure reasonable protection beyond 1842. I cannot know, 1 
tend not to know, what will then be the actual condition of thisi 
try, and of the manufacturing arts, and their relative conditicm to the 
rest of the world. I would as soon confide in the forecast of the hon* 
orable Senator from Massachusetts, as in that of any other man in 
this Senate, or in this country ; but he, nor any one else, can tell 
what that condition will then be. The degree of protection whick 
will be required for domestic industry beyond 1842, depends upon 
the reduction of wages, the accumulation of capital, the improyemiKt 


m skin, the perfection of inachineiy, and the cheapening of the price^ 
at home, of essential artfcles, such as fuel, iron, &c. I do not think 
that the honorable Senator can throw himself forward to 1S42, and 
tell us what, in all these particulars, will be the state of this country, 
and its relative state Uf other countries. We know that, in all human 
probability, pur numbers will be increased by an addition of one-third, 
at least, to their present amount, and that may materially reduce 
wages. We have reason to believe that our capital will be augment- 
ed, our skill improved ; and we know that great progress has been 
made, and is making, in machinery. There is a constant tendency 
to decrease in the price of iron and coal. The opening of new mines 
and new channels of communication, must continue to lower it. The 
successful introduction of the process of coaking will have great efifect 
The price of these articles, one of the most opulent and intelligent 
manufacturing houses in this country assures me, is a principal cause 
of the present necessity of protection to the cotton interest ; and that 
house is strongly inclined to think that 20 per cent, with the other 
advantages secured in this bill, may do beyond 1842 Then, sir, 
what effect may not convulsions and revolutions in Europe, if any 
should arise, produce ? I am fiu' from desiring them, that our coun- 
try may profit by their occurrence. Her greatness and glory rest, I 
hope, upon a more solid and more generous basis. But we cannot 
•hut our eyes to the fact, that our greatest manufacturing, as well as 
commercial competitor, is undergoing a momentous political experi- 
ment, the issue of which is far from being absolutely certain. Who 
can raise the veil of the succeeding nine years, and show what, at 
their termination, will be the degree of competition which Great 
Britain can exercise towards us in the manufecturing arts ? 

Suppose, in the progress of gradual descent towards the revenae 
siaodard, for which this bill provides, it should, some years hence, 
become evident that further protection, beyond 1843, than that which 
it contemplates, may be necessary, can it be doubted that, in some 
ibnn or other, it will be applied ? Our misfortune has been, and yet 
IB, that the public mind has been constantly kept in a state of feverish 
excitement in respect to this system of policy. Conventions, elec- 
tions, Congress, the public press, have been for years all acting upon 
the tariff, and the tariff acting upon them all. Prejudices have been 
excited, passions kindled, and mutual irritations carried to the h\^ 
«il9flAofefltiH(nr«lk>D, miMiQehthBl good fbeli^gi bavetoena)i|f 

108 apiBCHii or hbnry clat. 

most extinguished, and the voice of reason and experience silenced^ 
among the members of the confederacy. Let us separate the tariff 
from the agitating politics of the country, place it upon a stable and 
firm foundation, and allow our enterprising countrymen to demon- 
strate to the whole Union, by their skilful and successful labors, the 
inappreciable value of the arts. If they can have, what they have 
never yet enjoyed, some years of repose and tianquillity, they will 
make, silently, more converts to the policy, than would be made 
during a long period of anxious struggle and boisterous contention. 
Above all, I count upon the good effects resulting from a restoration 
of the harmony of this divided people, upon their good sense and their 
love of justice. Who can doubt, that when passions have subsided, 
and reason has resumed her empire, that there will be a dispoaitioa 
throughout the whole Union to render ample justice to all its parts ? 
Who will believe that any section of this great confederacy would 
look with indifference to the prostration of the interests of another 
section, by distant and selfish foreign nations, regardless alike of the 
welfare of us all ? No, sir ; I have no fears beyond 1842. The peo- 
ple of the United States are brethren, made to lovcf and respect eaeh 
other. Momentary causes may seem to alienate them, but, like 
fiimily differences, they will terminate in a closer and more aflfectioB* 
ate union than ever. And how much more estimable will be a ayn» 
tern of protection, based on common conviction and common consent, 
and planted in the bosoms of all, than one wrenched by power fironi 
reluctant and protesting weakness ? 

That such a system will be adopted, if it should be necessary fiir 
the period of time subsequent to 1842, 1 will not doubt. But, in the 
scheme which I originally proposed, I did not rely exclusively, great 
as is, upon the operation of fraternal feelings, the retnm 
of reason, and a sense of justice. The scheme contained an appeal te 
the interests of the South. According to it, unmanufectured cotton 
was to be a free article after 1842. Gentlemen from that quarter 
have digain and again asserted that they were indifierent to the do^ 
of three cents per pound on cotton, and that they feared no foreign 
competition. I have thought otherwise ; but I was willing, hy wq^ 
of experiment, to take them at their word ; not that I was oppoeed 
Id the protection of cotton, but believing that a few cargoes of for- 
eign cotton introduced into our nortbem ports, free of du^, iroold 
hasten our flontheni friends to oome hoe and ask that proteetioB fbf 


their great staple, which is wanted in other sections for their interestf. 
That feature in the scheme was stricken out in the select committee, 
bat not by the consent of my firiencl from Delaware (Mr. Clayton) or 
Bi3rMelf. Still, afteT 1842, the south may want pnitection for sugati 
for tobacco, for Virginia coal, perhaps for cotton and other articles, 
whilst other quarters may need it for wool, woollens, iron and cotton 
fabrics ; and these mutual wants, if they should exist, will lead, I hope. 
Id some amicable adjustment of a tariff for that distant period, 8ati»> 
iactory to all. The theory of protection supposes, too, that, after a 
certain time, the protected arts will have acquired such strength and 
portion as will enable them subsequently, unaided, to stand up 
against foreign competition. If, as I have no doubt, this should prove 
to be correct, it will, on the arrival of 1842, encourage all parts of 
the Union to consent to the continuance of longer protection to the 
articles which may then require it. 

The bill before us strongly recommends itself by its equity and inH 
partiality. It favors no one interest, and no one State, by an unjuil 
sacrifice of others. It deals equally by all. Its basis is the act of 
Jaly last. That act was passed after careful and thorough investi* 
gation, and long deliberation, continued through several months. Al* 
though it may not have been perfect in its adjustment of the proper 
measure of protection to each article which was supposed to merit it, 
it is not likely that, even with the same length of time before us, we 
coald make one more perfect. Assuming the justness of that act, the 
bill preserves the respective propositions for which the act provides, 
and subjects them all to the same equal but moderate reduction, 
spread over the long space of nine years. The Senator from Massa- 
chusetts contends that a great part of the value of all protection is 
gireo up by dispensing with specific duties and the principle of dis- 
crimination. But much the most valuable articles of our domestic 
manufacturec (cottoa and woollens, for exam[^e,) have never enjoy- 
ed the advantage of specific duties. They have always been liable 
to ad valorem duties, with a very limited application of the minimum 
principle. The bill does not, however, even after 1842, surrender 
either mode of laying duties. Discriminations are expressly recog- 
nised below the maximum, and specific duties may also be imposed, 
provided they do not exceed it. 

The boDonble Seiiatiir also contends that the bill is imperfiact, and 

170 iPEBcuBs OP anrBT cult. 

ihftt the exectttioB of it will be impracticable. He asks, how is the 
excess above 20 per cent, to be ascertained on coarse and printsd 
cottons, liable to minimums of 30 and 35 cents, and subject to a duty 
of 25 pbr cent, ad valorem ; and how is it to be estimated in the cat» 
of specific duties ? Sir, it is very probable that the bill is not perfect, 
but I do not believe that there is anything impracticable in its execD- 
tion. Much will, however, depepd upon the head of the treasury 
department. In the instance of the cotton minimums, the statute 
having, by way of exception to the general ad valorem rule, declared, 
in certain cases, how the value shall be estimated, that statutory 
value ought to govern ; and consequently the 20 per cent, should be 
exclusively deducted from the 25 per cent, being the rate of duties 
to which cottons generally are liable ; and the biennial tenths should 
be subtracted from the excess of five per cent. With regard to spe- 
cific duties, it will, perhaps, be competent to the Secretary of the 
Treasury, in the execution of the law, for the sake of certainty, to 
adopt some average value, founded upon importations of a previous 
year. But if the value of each cargo, and every part of it, is to be 
ascertained, it would be no more than what now is the operation in 
the case of woollens, silks, cottons above 30 and 35 cents, and a v^ 
riety of other ai tides : and consequently there would be no more im-' 
practicability in the law. 

To all defects, however, real or imaginary, which may be supposed 
will arise in the execution of the principle of the bill, I oppose one 
conclusive, and, I hope, satisfactory answer. Congress will be in 
session one whole month before the commencement of the law ; aod 
if, in the meantime, omissions calling for further legislation shall be 
discovered, there will be more time then than we have now to sup- 
ply them. Let us, on this occasion of compromise, pursue the exam- 
ple of our fathers, who, under the influence of the same spirit, in the 
adoption of the constitution of the United States, determined to ratify 
it, and go for amendments afterwards. 

To the argument of the Senator from Massachusetts, that this in- 
terest, and that, and the other, cannot be sustained under the protec- 
tion beyond 1842, 1 repeat the answer, that no one can now tell whet 
may then be necessary. That period will provide for itself. But I 
was surprised to hear my friend singling out iron as an article that 
would be most injuriously affected by the operation of this bill. If I 


am Dot greatly mistakeD in my recollection, he opposed and Toted 
against the act of 1824, because of the high duty imposed on iron. 
But for that duty, (and perhaps the duty on hemp,) which he tlieii 
considered threw an unreasonable burden upon the navigation of the 
country, he would have supported that act. Of all the articles to 
which protecting duties are applied, iron, and the manufactures of 
iron, enjoy the highest protection. During the term of nine years, 
the deductions from the duty are not sgch as seriously to impair those 
great interests, unless all my information deceives me ; and beyond 
that period the remedy has been already indicated. Let me suppose 
that the anticipations which 1 form upon the restoration of concord 
and confidence suall be all falsified ; that neither the sense of frater- 
nal afiection, nor common justice, nor even common interests, will 
lead to an amicable adjustment of the tariff beyond 1842. Let me 
suppose tliat period has arrived, and that the provisions of the bill 
shall be interpreted as an obligatory pledge upon the Congress of 
that day ; and let me suppose, also, that a greater amount of proteo* 
tion than the bill provides is absolutely necessaiy to some interests, 
what is to be done ? Regaided as a pledge, it does not bind Congresi 
for ever to adhere to the specific rate of duty contained in the bill 
The most, in that view, that it exacts, is to make a foir experiment. 
If, afler such experiment, it should be demonstrated that, under such 
an arrangement of the tariff, the interests of large portions of the 
Union would be sacrificed, and they exposed to ruin, Congress will 
be competent to apply some remedy that will be effectual ; and I hope 
and believe that, in such a contingency, some will be devised that 
may preserve the harmony and perpetuate the blessings of the Union. 

It has been alledged that there will be an augmentation, instead of 
a diminution of revenue, under the operation of this bill. I feel quite 
confident of the reverse ; but it is sufficient to say that both contin- 
gencies are carefully provided for in the bill, without aiiecting the pro- 
tected articles. *« 

The gentleman from Massachuetts dislikes the measure, because it 
commands the concurrence of those who have been hitherto opposed^ 
Sd regard to the tariff; and is approved by the gentleman from South 
Carolina, (Mr. Calhoun) as well as by myself. Why, sir, the gen- 
tleman has told us that he is not opposed to any compromise. Will 
he be pleased to say how any compromise oan be e&oted, withoat • 

ITS wbbcbh or murRT clat. 

coDCurrence between those who had been previously diridedi md 
tekmg some medium between the two extremes ? The wider the di- 
Tision may have been, so much the better for the compromise, which 
-ought to be judged of by its nature and by its terms, and not solely 
by those who happen to vote for it. It is an adjustment to which 
both the great interests in this country may accede without either b^ 
ing dishonored. The triumph of neither is complete. Eachy for the 
sake of peace, harmony, and junion, makes some concessions. The 
south has contended that every vestige of protection should be eradi- 
cated from the statute book, and the revenue standard forthwith 
adopted. In assenting to this bill, it waives that pretension — ^yields 
to reasonable protection for nine years ; and consents, in consideniF 
tion of the maximum of twenty per cent, to be subsequently applied^ 
to discriminations below it, cash duties, home valuations, and a long 
list of free articles. The north and west have contended for the prac- 
tical application of the principle of protection, regulated by no other 
limit than the necessary wants of the country. If they accede to thb 
adjustment, they agree, in consideration of the stability and certainty 
which nine years' duration of a favorite system of policy afibrds, and 
of the other advantages which have been enumerated, to come down 
in 1S42 to a limit not exceeding twenty per cent. Both parties, aid- 
mated by a desire to avert the evils which might flow from carrying 
oat into all their consequences the cherished system of either, have 
met upon common ground, made mutual and friendly concessions^ 
and, I trust, and sincerely believe, that neither will have, hereafter, 
occasion to regret, as neither can justly rei»'oach the other with wbi^ 
may be now done. 

This, or some other measure of conciliation,' is now more than ever 
eeoessary, since the passage, through the Senate, of the enforcing biD. 
To that bill, if I had been present, on the final vote, I should have 
given my assent, although with great reluctance. I believe this gor* 
emment not only possess^ of the constitutional power, but to be 
bound by every consideration, to maintain the authority of the laws. 
But I deeply regretted the necessity which seemed to me to require 
the passage of such a bill. And I was far from being without serioiw 
apprehensions as to the consequences to which it might lead. I ielt 
no new-bom zeal in favor of the present administration, of which I 
BOW think as I have always thought. I could not vote against the 
measure i 1 wouU not qpeak in its behalf. I thought it most proper 


nr svPvomT or the. ooMPMnrai act. 198 

IB me to leave to the friencls of the administration and to others, who 
might feel themselrea particularly called upon, to defend and sustain 
• strong measure of the administration. With respect to the series 
of acts to which the executive has resorted, in relation to our south- 
em disturbance, this is tiot a fit occasion to enter upon a full consid- 
eration of them ; but I will briefly say, that, although the proclama- 
tion is a paper of uncommon ability and eloquence, doing great credit, 
as a composition, to him who prepared it, and to him who signed it^ 
I think it contains some ultra doctrines, which no party in this coun- 
try had ventured to assert. With these arc mixed up many sound 
principles and just views of our political systems. If it is to be judged 
by its effects upon those to whom it was more immediately addressed, 
it must be admitted to have been ill-timed and unfortunate. Instead 
of allaying the excitement which prevailed,^ it increased the exaspe- 
ration in the infected district, and affoided new and unnecessary causes 
of discontent and dissatisfaction in the south generally. The mes- 
sage, subsequently transmitted to Congress, communicating the pro- 
ceedings of South Carolina, and calling for countervailing enactments, 
was characterized with more prudence and moderation. And, if thii 
unhappy contest is to continue, I sincerely hope that the future con- 
duct of the administration may be governed by wise and cautious 
eouDsels, and a parental forbearance. But when the highest degree 
of animosity exists; when both parties, however unequal, have ar- 
nyed themselves for the conflict, who can tell when, by the indis- 
cretion of subordinates, or other unforseen causes, the bloody strug- 
gle may commence ? In the midst of magazines, who knows when 
the fatal spark may produce a terrible explosion ? And the battle 
once begun, where is its limit ? What latitude will circumscribe its 
TBgb ? Who is to command our armies ? When, and where, and 
how is the war to cease f In what condition will the peace leave 
the American System, the American Union, and, what is more than 
all, American liberty ? I cannot profess to have a confidence, which 
I have not, in this administration, but if I had all confidence in it, I 
should still wish to pause, and, if possible, by any honorable adjust- 
ment, to prevent awful consequences, the extent of which no hunum 
wisdom can foresee. 

It appears to me, then, Mr. President, that we ought not to con- 
tent ouradves with passing the enforcing bill only. Both that and 
the bill of peace aeem to me to he required for t* e food of our coun- 


174 fmcHst OF rutbt olat. 

tiy^ The first will satisfy all who love order and law, and disaj^prore 
the inadmissible doctrine of nullification. The last will soothe thoae 
who love peace and concord, harmony and union. One demonstrate 
the power and the disposition to vindicate the authority and suprema- 
cy of the laws of the Union ; the other offers that which, if it be ae- 
oepted in the fraternal spirit in which it is tendered, will supersede 
the necessity of the employment of all force. 

There are some who say, let the tariff go down ; let our manu&o- 
tnres be prostrated, if such be the pleasure, at another session, of thoee 
to whose hands the government of this country is confided : let banker 
niptcy and ruin be spread over the land : and let resistance to the 
laws, at all hazards, be subdued. Sir, they take counsel fi-om their 
passions. They anticipate a terrible reaction firom the downfall of 
the tariff, which would ultimately re*establish it upon a firmer basis 
than ever. £>ut it is these very agitations, these mutual irritations 
between brethren of the same family, it is the individual distress and 
general ruin that would necessarily follow the overthrow of the tariff, 
that ought, if possible, to be prevented. Besides, are we certain of 
this reaction ? Have we not been disappointed in it as to other meas- 
ures heretofore ? But suppose, after a long and embittered struggle, 
it should come, in what relative condition would it find the parts of 
this confederacy ? In what state our ruined manufactures ? When 
they should be laid low, who, amidst the fragments of the general 
wreck, scattered over the face of the land, would have courage to en- 
gage in fresh enterprises, under a new pledge of the violated faith of 
the government ? If we adjourn, without passing this bill, having 
entrusted the executive with vast powers to maintain the laws, should 
he be able by the next session to put down all opposition to them, 
will he not, as a necessary consequence of success, have more power 
than ever to put down the tariff also ? Has he not said that the south 
IS oppressed, and its burdens ought to be relieved ? And will he not 
feel himself bound, after he shall have triumphed, if triumph he may 
in a civil war, to appease the discontents of the south by a modificnp 
tion of the tariff, in conformity with its wishes and demands ? No, 
sir ; no, sir ; let us save the country from the most dreadful of all 
calamities, and let us save its industry, too, from threatened destruc- 
tion. Statesmen should regulate their conduct and adapt their meai- 
nres to the exigencies of the times in which they live. They pannot, 
I, transcend the limita of the constitutional rule ; but with rd» 

0« niTB0D9CIIIO TBI OMPBOilltt ACT. 175 

ipect to those systems of policy which fall within its scope, they should 
arrange them according to the interests, the wants, and the prejudices 
of the people. Two great dangers threaten the public safety. The 
true patriot will not stop to inquire how they have been brought 
about, but will fly to the deliverance of his country. The di^rence 
between the friends and the foes of the compromise, under considerar 
tion, is, that they would, in the enforcing act, send forth alone a flam- 
ing sword. We would send out that also, but along with it the olive 
branch, as a messenger of peace. They cry out, the law ! the law I 
the law ! Power ! power ! power ! We, too, reverence the law, and 
bow to the supremacy of its obligation ; but we are in favor of the 
law executed in mildness, and of power tempered with mercy. Theyi 
as we think, would hazard a civil commotion, beginning in South 
Carolina and extending, God only knows where. While we would 
vindicate the federal government, we are for peace, if possible, Union 
and liberty. We want no war, above all, no civil war, no family 
strife. We want to see no sacked cities, no desolated fields, no smok- 
ing ruins, no streams of American blood shed by American arms ! 

I have been accused of ambition in presenting this measure. Am- 
bition ! inordinate ambition ! If I had thought of myself only, I should 
have never brough it forward. I know well the perils to which I 
expose myself; the risk of alienating faithful and valued friends, with 
but little prospect of making new ones, if any new ones could com- 
pensate for the loss of those whom we have long tried and loved ; 
and the honest misconceptions both of friends and foes. Ambition ! 
If I had listened to its soft and seducing whispers ; if I had yielded 
myself to the dictates of a cold, calculating, and prudential policy, I 
would have stood still and unmoved. I might even have silently 
gazed on the raging storm, enjoyed its loudest thunders, and left those 
who are charged with the care of the vessel of State, to conduct it as 
they could. I have been heretofore often unjustly accused of ambi- 
tion. Low, grovelling souls, who are utterly incapable of elevating 
themselves to the higher and nobler duties of pure patriotism — beings 
who, for ever keeping their own selfish aims in view, decide all pub- 
lic measures by their presumed influence on their aggrandizement, 
judge me by the venal rule which they prescribe to th<imselves. I 
have given to the winds those false accusations, as I consign that 
which now impeaches my motives. I have no desire for office, not 
•fen the highest. The most exalted is but a prison, in which the 

in WMC H M OF HKirmr OLAT. 

oieareerated incDinbent daily receives his cold, heartless yisitants, 

marks his weary hours, and is cut off from the practical enjoyment of 
■11 the hlesaings of genuine freedom. I am no candidate for any of- 
fice in the gift of the people of these States, united or separated ; I 
never wish, never expect to he. Pass this hill, tranquilize the coim- 
try, restore confidence and affection in the Union, and I am willing to 
go home to Ashland, and renounce public service forever. I should 
there find, in its groves, under its shades, on its lawns, amidst my 
flocks and herds, in the bosom of my family, sincerity and truth, 
attachment and fidelity, and gratitude, which I have not always 

found in the walks of public life Yes, I have ambition, but it is 

the ambition of being the humble instrument, in the hands of Provi- 
dence, to reconcile a divided people, once more to revive concord 
and harmony in a distracted land — the pleasing ambition of contem- 
plating the glorious spectacle of a free, united, prosperous, and 
fraternal pe^v^U^ ' 


Ill THE Sbnatb of the Uhited Stateb, Decbkbeii 26y 1833. 

(Hie war of General Jacxiok upon the United States Bank haTin^ been p roe» 
Aited so far as to secure the ultimate downfall of the institution— a renewal of its 
charter having been prevented by the Executive Veto — the House of Representa- 
tives, in the spring of 18S3, resolveil that th^ Deposites of the Public Monejrs in the 
United States Bank were safe, and (impliedly) that they ought to be continued. In 
the face of this, General JACstoir, on the 18th of September, read a paper to his 
Cabinet, avowing his determination to procure the Removal of the Deposites. On 
the 24lh he removed Mr. Buanb from the office of Secretary of the Treasory, and 
appointed Roocn B. Tamw (before Attorney General) in his stead. Mr. Tahxv 
immediately removed the Deposites. Upon the assemblinf of Gongiess the follow- 
ing December, the propriety of this important and novel step came natundly imdar 
dbcussion. Mr. Clat submitted the following resolutions : 

Rnohftd, That by dlnnissin^ the late Secretary of the Treasory beeanse he wonld 
■ot. contrary to his sense of his ovm duty, remove the money of the United States 
in opposite with the Bank of the United States and its branches, in conformity with 
the President's opinion: and by appointing his successor to effect such removal, 
which has been acne, the President has assumed the exercise of a power over the 
Treasury of the United States not granted to him by the constitution and lavrs, and 
dangerous to the liberties of the people. 

Radvtil, That the reasons ansigned by the Secretarr of the Treasunr for the re- 
moval of the money of the United States, deposited in the Bank of the United States 
and its branches, communicated to Congress on the 3d of December, 1883, are 
■■nsirirfartory ana insufficient.] 

We are in the midst of a revolation, hitherto bloodless, but rajHdly 
tending towards a total change of the pure republican character of the 
^Tenunenty and to the concentration of all power in the hands of one 
man. The powers of Congress are paralyzed, except when exerted 
in oonfonbity with his will, by frequent and an extraordinory exer^ 
eise of the executive reto, not anticipated by the founders of our con- 
•titutiony and not practised by any of the predecessors of the present 
tfhief magistimte. And, to cramp them still more, a new expedieal 
is springing into use, of withholding altogether bills which haye to» 
eeived the sanction ai both Houses of Congress^ thereby euttii^ eff 

178 •PncHBt or hkhbt clat. 

aO opportunity of passing them, even if, after their return, the mem- 
bers should be unanimous in their favor. The constitutional parti- 
cipation of the Senate in the appointing power is virtually abolished 
by the constant use of the power of removal from office, without any 
known cause, and by the appointment of the same individual to the 
same office, afler his rejection by the Senate. How often have we, 
Senators, felt that the check of the Senate, instead of being, as the 
constitution intended, a salutary control, was an idle ceremony ? How 
often, when acting on the case of the nominated successor, have we 
felt the injustice of the removal ? How often have we said to each 
other, well, what can we do ; the office cannot remain vacant, with- 
out prejudice to the public interest, and, if we reject the propofed 
aobstitute, we cannot restore the displaced, and, perhaps, some more 
unworthy man may be nominated ? 

The judiciary has not been exempt from the prevailing rage for 
innovation. Decisions of the tribunals, deliberately pronounced, 
have been contemptuously disregarded. And the sanctity of nu- 
merous treaties openly violated. Our Indian relations, coeval with 
the existence of the government, and recognised and established by 
numerous laws and treaties, have been subverted, the rights of the 
nelpless and unfortunate aborigines trampled in the dust, and they 
brought under subjection to unknown laws, in which they have no 
voice, promulgated in an unknown language. The most extensive 
and most valuable public domain that ever fell to the lot of one na- 
tion, is threatened with a total sacrifice. The general currency of 
the country — the life-blood of all its business — is in the most inuni- 
nent dangei^of universal disorder and confusion. The power of inter- 
nal improvement lies crushed beneath the veto. The system of pro- 
tection of American industry was snatched from impending destruc- 
tion, at the last session ; but we are now coolly told by the Secretary 
of the Treasury, without a blush, '^ that it is understood to be con- 
ctded on all hands ^ that the tariff for protection merely is to be finally 
abandoned." By the 36 of March, 1837, if the progress of innova- 
tion continues, there will be scarcely a vestige remaining of the goT- 
eroment and its policy, as they existed prior to the 3d of March, 
1829. In a term of eight years, a little more than equal to thll 
which was required to establish our liberties, the government will 
have been transformed into an elective monarchy — the worst of all 
ftraa of government. 


Sach is a melancholy but &itbful picture of the present condition 
of oar public affiiirs. It is not sketched or exhibited to excite, here 
or elsewhere, irntaled feeling. 1 have no such purpose. 1 would, 
on the contrary, implore the Senate and the people to discard all pas* 
sion and prejudice, and to look calmly, but resolutely j upon the ac- 
tual state of the constitution and the country. Although I bring into 
the Senate the udme unabated spirit, and the same firm determination 
which have ever guided me in the support of civil liberty, and the 
defence of our constitution, I contemplate the prospect before us with 
feelings of deep humiliation and profound mortification. 

It is not among the least unfortunate symptoms of the times, that 
a large portion of the good and enlightened men of the Union, 
of all parties, are yielding to sentiments of despondency. There is, 
unhappily, a feeling of distrust and insecurity pervading the commu- 
nity. Many of our best citizens entertain serious apprehensions that 
our Union and our ^institutions are destined to a speedy overthrow. 
Sir, I trust that the hopes and confidence of the country will revive. 
There is much occasion for manly independence and patriotic ▼igOTi 
but none for despair. Thank God, we are yet free ; and, if we pat 
on the chains which are forging for us, it will be because wedeserre 
to wear them. We should never despair of the republic. If our 
ancestors had been capable of surrendering themselves to such igno- 
ble sentimens, our independence and our liberties would never have 
been achieved. The winter of 1776-7 was one of the gloomiest pe- 
riods of the revolution ; but on this day^ fifly-seven years ago, the 
&ther of his country achieved a glorious victory, which diffused joy 
and gladness and animation throughout the States. Let us cherish 
the hope that, since he has gone from among us, Providence, in the 
dispensation of his mercies, has near at hand in reserve for us, though 
jet unseen by us, some sure and happy deliverence from all impend- 
ing dangers. 

.When we assembled here last year, we were full of dreadful fore- 
bodings. On the one hand we were menaced with a civil war, which, 
lighting up in a single State, might spread its flames throughout one 
of the largest sections of the Union. On the other, a cherished sys- 
tem of policy, essential to the successful prosecution of the industry 
of our countrymeu, was exposed to imminent danger of immediali 
destruction. Meaiw werehsiipljippUadby C!oiigi«M 

IW traiciiii or HxirBT clat. 


etlainities. The country reconciled, and our Union once more be- 
oftine a band of friends and brothers. And I shall be greatly disap- 
pointed, if we do not find those who were denounced as being un* 
firiendly to the continuance of our confederacy, among the foremost to 
fly to its preservation, and to resist all executive encroachment. 

Mr. President, when Congress adjourned, at the termination of 
the last session, there was one remnant x>f its powers, that over the 
purse, left untouched. The two most important powers of civil gor^ 
ernment are, those of the swoid and the purse. The first, with soma 
restriction, is confided by the constitution to the executive, and the 
last to the legislative department. If they are separate, and exer- 
cised by different responsible departments, civil liberty is safe ; but 
if they are united in the hands of the same individual, it is gone. 
That clear-sighted and sagacious revolutionary orator and patriot, 
(Patrick Henry) justly said, in the Virginia Convention, in reply to 
one of his opponents : 


Let bim candidly tell me where aod when did freedom eziM, when the 
Snd parse were ^ven up from the people 1 Unlen a mirdcle in human atTairs in* 
ferposed, no nation ever retained its liberty after the lose of the eword and the puise. 
Can you prove by any argumentative deduction, that it is possihlie to be' safe wtlkoat 
•ne of them 1 IT you give them up you are gone." 

Up to the period of the termination of the last session of Congress 
the exclusive constitutional power of Congress over the Treasury of 
the United States bad never been contested.* Among its earliest acts 
was one to establish the treasury department, which provided for the 
appointment of a treasurer, who was required to give bond and secu- 
rity in a very large amount, *^ to receive and keep the moneys of the 
United States, and to disburse the same upon warrants drawn by thfc 
Secretary of the Treasury, countersigned by the Comptroller, record- 
ed by the Register, and not othermsey Prior to the establishment 
of the present Bank of the United States, no treasury or place had 
been provided and designated by law for the safe-keeping of the ptib- 
lie moneys, but the treasurer was left to his own discretion and re* 
sponsibility. When the existing Bank was established, it was pro- 
vided that the public moneys should be deposited with it, and cOnad* 
quently that Bank became the Treasury of the United States. For 
whatever place is designate by law for the keeping of the poblkl 
Mooqr oC the Uoited Slates, mder the eare of the treasurer of tfw 


(Jiiited States, is for the time being the treasttry. Its safety was 
drawn in question by the chief magistrate, and an agent was ap- 
pointed a little more than a year ago, to investigate its ability. He 
reported to the executive that it was perfectly safe. His apprehen 
sions of its solidity were communicated by the President to Congresfi 
and a committee was appointed to examine the subject. They, also, 
reported in favor of its security. And, finally, amon^ the last acts 
of the House of Representatives, prior to the close of the last session, 
was the adoption of a resolution, manifesting its entire confidence in 
the ability and solidity of the bank. ^ 

Afler all these testimonies to the perfect safety of the public 
moneys, in the place appointe^d by Congress, who could have sup- 
posed that the place would have been changed ? Who could have 
imagined that, within sixty days of the meeting of Congress, and, as 
it were, in utter contempt of its authority, the change should have 
been ordered ? Who would have dreamed that the treasurer should 
have thrown away the single key to the treasury, over which Con- 
gress held ample control, and accepted in lieu of it some dozens of 
keys, over which neither Congress nor he has any adequate control ? 
Tet, sir, all this has been done, and it is now our solemn duty to 
inquire — 1st, By whose authority it has been ordered ? and 2d, 
Whether the order has been given in conformity with the constitution 
md laws of the United States } 

I agree, sir, and I am happy whenever I can agree with the Presi- 
dent, as to the immense importance of these quctitions. He says, in 
a paper which I hold in my hand, that he looks upon the pending 
question as involving higher considerations than the " mere transfer 
of a smn of money from one bank to another. Its decision may afTect 
the character of our government for ac<*s to come." And, with him, 
I view it as of transcendent imj)ortance both in its consequences and 
the great principles which the question involves. In the view which 
I have taken of this subject, 1 hold the bank as nothing, as perfectly 
insignificant, faithful as it has been in the performance of all its duties, 
efficient as it has proved in regulating the currency, than which there 
is none in all Christendom so sound, and deep as is the interest of the 
country in the establishment and continuance of a sound currency, 
md the avoidance of all those evils which result from a defective or 
VMetUed oorrency. All these I regard as questions of no importance, 



in comparison with the principles involved in this executive innova- 
tion. It involves the assumption of power by the executive, and the 
taking away a power from Congress which it was never before doubted 
to possess — the power over the public purse. Entertaining these 
views, I shall not, to-day, at least, examine the reasons assigned by 
the President, or by the Secretary of the Treasury ; for if the Prc^ 
dent had no power to perform the act, no reasons, however cogent or 
strong, which he can assign as urging him to the accomplishment of 
his purpose, no reasons can sanctify an unconstitutional and illegal act 

The first question, sir, which I intimated it to be my purpose to 
examine, was, by whose direction was this change of the depoaites 

Now, sir, is there any man who hears me, who requires proof on 
this point ? Is there an intelligent man in the whole country who 
does not know who it was that decided on the removal of the da* 
posites ? Is it not of universal notoriety ? Does any man doubt that 
it was the act of the President ? That it was done by his authority 
and at his command ? The President, on this subject, has bin. self 
furnished evidence which is perfectly conclusive, in the paper which 
he has read to his cabinet ; for, although he has denied to the Senate 
an official copy of that paper, it is universally admitted that he has 
given it to the world as containing the reasons which influenced him 
to this act. As a part of the people, if not in our senatorial character, 
we have a right to avail ourselves of that paper, and of all which it 
contains. Is it not peifectly conclusive as to the authority by which 
the deposites have been removed ? I admit that it is an unprece* 
dented and most extraordinary paper. The constitution of the United 
States admits of a call, from the chief magistrate, on the heads of 
departments, for their opinions in writing. 

It appears, indeed, that this power which the constitution confers 
on the President, had been exercised, and that the cabinet were divi- 
ded, two and two, and one, who was ready to go on either side, being 
a little indifferent how this great constitutional power was settled by 
the President. The President was not satisfied with calling on hi» 
cabinet for their opinions, in the customary and constitutional form ; 
bat he prepares a paper of his own, and, instead of receiving reasons 
ftoQi them« reads to them, and thus indoctrinates them according to 



Mb own views. Thb, airy is the first time in the history of our conn- 
try, when a paper has been thus read, and thus published. The pro- 
ceeding is entirely without precedent. Those who now exercise 
power consider all precedents wrong. They hold precedents in con* 
tempt : and, casting them aside, have commenced a new era in ad- 
ministration. But while they thus hold all precedents in contempt, 
disregarding all, no matter how long established, no matter to what 
departments of the government they may have given sanction, they 
are always disposed to shield themselves behind a precedent, when- 
ever they can find one to subserve their purpose. 

But the question is^-who gave the order for the removal of the 
deposites ? By whose act were they removed from the Bank of the 
United States, where they were required by the law to be placed, 
and placed in banks which the law never designated ? I tell the gen- 
tlemen who are opposed to me, that I am not to be answered by the 
exhibition of an order signed by R. Taney, or any one else. I want 
to know, not the deik who makes the writing, but the individual who 
dictates — not the hangman who executes the culprit, but the tribunal 
which orders the execution. I want the original authority, that I 
may know by whose order, on whose authority the public deposites 
were removed, and I again ask — is there a member of this Senate, is 
there an intelligent man in the whole country, who doubts on this 
point ? Hear what the President himself says, in his manifesto, read 
to his Cabinet : 

** The President deemB it HIS duty, to commniacate in this manner to his eabi- 
net tfcc JhuU condntumB or tns oWs mutd, and the reasons on which they are fonnd- 
^d," Ace. 

At the conclusion of this paper what does he say ? 

" TTie President af^ain repeats that he begs his cabinet to consider the proposied 
measaic as ms owv, in the auigport of which be shall require no one of them to make 
a sacriftce of opinion or principle. Its wBBPoiriniiLrrT hai becii isiumcD, after the 
moat mature reflection, as necessary to preserve the morals of ihe peowe, the free- 
dom of the press, and the purity of the elective franchise, without which all wiU 
vnite in sayias mat the blood and treasure expended by our (brefathers in the eataiK 
lishment of our happy system of govenunent will have beei vain and fruitlesa. Un- 
der these oonvietions, he feels that a measure so important to the Amencan peool^ 
eaanot be oommeneed too sooii ; and HE titertfore iwfn« the fnt day of Ortobtr 
mat as a period proper for the change of the deposites, or sooner, provided the neces- 
sary airangemeats with ths State Banks can be made.'* 

Sir, is there a Senator here who will tell me that this removal was 
not made l){^ fite Preaident ? I know, indeed, that there are in this 


docatnent many of those most mild, most gracious, most coodeBcend- 
ing expressions, with which power well knows how to clothe its man- 
dates. The President coaxes, he soothes the Secretary in the most 
bland and conciliating language : 

'* In the remarks he has made on this all important question, he trmtM dis Seere- 
tary of the Treastiry will see only the frank uiid respectful declarations of the opin- 
tons which the iVeiiidriii has formed on a m'^nsure of great nstiona! interest, deei4y 
aiTecting the eh inicter an 1 useiulii^83of his uiiministration ; and not a tpkii cf dic- 
tation, which th^ President woull be (i»carffi4 to avoid, aa ready to resist. Happi 
will he be, if iii<.' laets now di»cloB«?d produce unifoimity of opinion and unity of 
action among the mtmhcru of the admmistrution." 

Sir, how kind ! how gentle ! How very gracior.s must this have 
sounded in the gratified ear of the Secretary of the Treasury ! Sir, it 
reminds me of an historical anecdote related of one of the most re- 
markable characters which our species has ever produced. While 
Oliver Cromwell was contending for the mastery of Great Britain, or 
Ireland, (I do not now remember which,) he besieged a certain Catho- 
lic town. The place made a stout resistance ; but at length the town 
being- likely to be taken, the poor Catholics proposed terms of capitu- 
lation, stipulating therein for the toleration of their religion. The 
paper containing the terms was brought to Oliver, who, putting on 
his spectacles to read it, cried out, " Oh, granted, granted ; certain- 
ly" — he, however, added — " but if one of them shall dare to be found 
attending mass, he shall be hanged" — (under what section is not men- 
tioned ; whether under a second, or any other section, of any particu- 
lar law, we arc not told.) 

Thus, sir, the Secretary was told by the President that he had not 
the slightest wish to dictate — oh, no : nothing is farther from the Presi- 
dent's intention : but, sir, what was he told in the sequel ? "If you 
do not comply with my wishes — if you do not effect the removal of 
these deposites within the period 1 assign you, you must quit your 
office." And what, sir, was the effect .? This document bears date 
on the 18th of September. In the official paper, published at the seat 
of government, and through which it is understood that the govern- 
ment makes known its wishes and purposes to the people of the 
United States, we were told, under date of the 20th September, 1833, 
two days only after this cabinet paper was read, as follows : 

" Wc are aMthorized to ^ntc^'^Uuthonztd ; this is the word which gave credit 
to this aoM inc.aiiofi]--" We »re authoriz'^d to state that the deposites of the pqhUc 
money will be changed from the Bank of the United States to Che SCate BiiuA, aa 


■ooD u neeeflnry anan^pments can be made for that purpose, and that it is believed 
they can be completed in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, in time 
Co make the change 6y thejirti of October, and perkapt sooner, i( circumstances should 
render an earlier action necessary on the part of the government." * 

Tes, sir, od the 18th of September this measuni was decided on ; 
and on the 20th, it is announced to the people, (hat the depositet 
would be removed by the first of October, or sooner, if practicable ! 
Mr. Duane was continued in office till the 23d, on which day he was 
dismissed : and between the 23d and the d^th, on which latter day 
the mere clerical act of signing the order for removal was performed, 
Mr. Taney, by whom it was done, was appointed Secretary of the 
Treasury, having conformed to the will of the President, against his 
own duty, which Mr. Duane would not do. Yes, sir, on the 20th 
went forth this proclamation, by authority, of the removal of the 
deposites, although Mr. Duane remained in office till the 2dd. On 
this point we have conclusive proof in a letter of the President to that 
gentleman, dated on the 2dd, which letter, after all the gracious, 
firiendly and conciliating lai^age of the cabinet paper, concludes in 
these terms : 

** I fee! constrained to notify tou, that yow fdrtber s e r vices as Seeretaiy of tbe 
Treasury are no longer required." 

Such, Mr. President, is the testimony on the one side to prove the 
troth of the proposition, that the removal of the deposites firom the 
Bank of the United States was a measure determined on by the Pre- 
sident himself— determined on while the latter Secretary of the Trea^ 
sury was still in ofiice, and against the will of the Secretary ; although 
Mr. Taney may have put his signature to the order on the 26th — a 
mere ministerial act, done in conformity with the previous decision 
of the President, that the removal should take place on or before the 
fint of October. 

I now call the attention (^ the Senate to testimony of the other 
party : I mean Mr. Duane. After giving a history of the circum- 
stances which accompanied his appointment to office, and what pass- 
ed antecedent to his removal, he proceeds to say : 

" Thus was I thrust into office— thus was I dirutt from office—not because I had 
neglected any duty— not because I had differed with him about the Bank of the 
United States— but because I relhsed, without further inquiry by Congrees, to remove 
the depontes.** 

' OiBlefltinioBybeiiiorevdiBplatetoeftabliahthepropofite^ 


.adyanced? And is it possible, after the testimony of the President 
on one side, and of his Secretary on the other, that the former had 
decided that the deposites should be removed, and had removed the 
Secretary because he would not do it, that any man can doubt that 
.the removal was the President's own act? that it was done in ac- 
cordance with his command ? 

And now, sir, havii^ seen that the removal was made by the com- 
mand and authority of the 'President, I shall proceed to inquire 
whether it was done in conformity with the constitution and laws of 
of the United Stotes. 

I do not purpose at this time to go into the reasons alleged by the 
President or his Secretary^ except so &r as those reasons contain an 
attempt to show that he possessed the requisite authority. Because 
if the President of the United States had no power to do this thing — 
if the constitution and laws instead of authorizing it, required him to 
keep his hands off the treasury, it is useless to inquire into any reasons 
he may give for exercising a power which he did not possess. Sir, 
what power has the President of the United States over the treasury ! 
Is it in the charter establishing the Bank ? The clause of the char- 
ter relating to the public deposites declares, 

" That the deposites of the money of the United States, in places in which the 
Bank and branches thereof may be established, shall be made in said bank ,or 
branches thereof, unless the Secretary of the treasury shall at any time otherwise 
order and direct ; in which case the Secretary of the Treasury snail immediately 
lav bol'ore Congress, if in session, and if not, immediately after the commencemeul 
ef the next session, the reasons of such order or direction.** 

This is in strict consonance with the act creating the treasury de- 
partment in 1789. The Secretary of the Treasury is by that act 
constituted the agent of Congress ; he is required to report to Con- 
gress annually the state of the finances, and his plans respecting them ; 
and if Congress in either of its branches shall require it, he is to re- 
port at any time on any particular branch of the fiscal concerns of 
the country. He is the agent of Congress to watch over the safety 
of the national deposites ; and if, from any peculiar circumstances, 
the removal of them shall be required, he is to report the feet — to 
whom ? to the President ? No, sir — ^he must report it to Congress, 
together with his reasons therefor. By the charter of the Bank, the 
President of the United States is clothed with two powers respecting 
% and two onij« By oneof itsdauav ht it authoiiaed to nooiinate, 


and by and with the consent of ther Senate, to appoint the goyern" 
ment directors, and to remove them : by the other clause he is em- 
powered to issue a scire facicu when he shall apprehend that the 
charter of the institution has been violated. These, I say, are the 
only powers given him by the charter, all others are denied to him, 
and are given to others. The Bank is not bound to report the state 
of its Bt&xrs to him, but to the Secretary of the Treasury ; and it is 
thus to report whenever he shall call upon it for information ; but 
when it becomes necessary to go farther, a committee of Congress is 
authorized to examine the books of the Bank and look into the whole 
state of its affairs, and to re[K)rt, not to the President, but to Congress 
who appointed them. The President as I have said, is restricted to 
the two powers of appointing directors, and issuing a scire faciat* 

And has the President any power over the treasury by the consti- 
tution ? None, sir — none. The constitution requires that no money 
shall be drawn from the treasury except by appropriation, thus placing 
it entirely under the control of Congress. But the President himself 
says : '' upon him has been devolved, by the constitution, and the 
lufifrages of the American people, the duty of superintending the ope- 
ration of the executive departments of the government, and seeing 
that the laws are faithfully executed. ^^ Sir, the President in another 
part of this same paper, refers to the same suffrages of the American 
people, as the source of some other and new powers over and above 
those in the constitution, or at least as expressive of their approba- 
tion of the exercise of them. Sir, I differ from the President on this 
point ; and though it does not belong exactly in this place in the ar- 
gument, I will add a remark or two on this idea. His re-election re- 
siilted from his presumed merits generally, and the confidence and 
attachment of the people ; and from the un worthiness of his compet- 
itor ; nor was it intended thereby to express their approbation of all 
the opinions he was known to hold. Sir, it cannot be believed that 
the great State of Pennsylvania, for Instance, which has so justly been 
denominated the key stone of our federal arch, in voting again and 
again for the present Chief Magistrate, meant by that act to reverse 
her own opinions on the subject of domestic industry. Sir, the truth 
is, that the re-election of the President proves as little an approbation 
by the people of all the opinions he may hold, even if he had ever 
uQequi vocally expressed what those opinions were, (a thing which 
he nefv^y so &r as my knowledge extends, has yet done) as it would 


prove that if the President had a carbuncle or the king's evil, they 
meant by re-electing him, to approve of his carbuncle. 

But the President says, that the duty '^ has been devolved upon 
him," to remove the deposites, ^^ by the Constitution and the suffrages 
of the American people." Sir, does he mean to say that these suf- 
frages created of themselves a new source of power ? That he deri- 
ved an authority from them which he did not hold as from any other 
souQce } If he means that theif suffrages made him the President of 
the United States, and that, as President, Jie may exercise every 
power pertaining to that office under the constitution and the laws^ 
there is none who controvert it ; but then there could be no need 
to add the suffrages to the constitution. But his language is, '^ the 
suffrages of the American people and the constitution." Sir, I deny 
it. There is not a syllable in the constitution which imposes any such 
duty upon him. There is nothing of any such thing ; no color to the 
idea. It is true, that by law, all the departments, with the exceptioB 
of the treasury, are placed under the general care of the President. 
He says this is done by the constitution. The laws, however, have 
appointed but three executive departments ; and it is true that the 
secretaries are often required by law to act in certain cases according 
to the directions of the President. So far ^ it is admitted that they 
have been, by the law, (not by the constitution,) placed under the 
direction of the President. Yet, even as to the State departmenty 
there are duties devolving upon the Secretary over which the Presi- 
dent has no control ; and for the non-performance of which that ofB* 
cer is responsible, not to the President, but to the legislative tribunals 
or to the courts of justice. This is no new opinion. The supreme 
court, in the case of Marbury and Madison, expressed it in the fol- 
lowing terms : 

'* By the constitution of the United States, the President is invested with certaia 
important political powen,in the exercise of which, he is to use his own discretioB* 
and is accountable only to his country in his political character, and to his own con- 
science. To aid him in the performance of these duties, he i^i authorized to appoint 
certain officer?, who act by his authority, and in conformity to his orders. 

** In such cases, their acts are his acts ; and whatever opinion may be entertained 
of the manner in which executive discretion may be used, still there exists, and can 
exist, no power to control that discretion. The subjects are political. They respect 
the nation, not individual rigbts^nd being entrupted (o the executive, the deciaioa 
of the executive is conchisive. The application of this remark will be perceived hf 
adverting to the act of Congress for establishing the department of foreign affkiit. 
This officer, as his duties were prescribed by that act, is to conform precisely to the 
will of the President. He is the mere organ by whom that will is communicated 
The acts of such an officer, as an officer, can never be examined by the courts. 


" Bot when the legiiriatiire proceeds to imjKJse on that oiBeer other duties; when 
he is directed peremptorily to perform certam actn, (that ia, when he is not placed 
nnder the direction of the President,) when the rights of individuals are dependent 
<m the performance o( those acts, he is so far the qficer of the law.; is amenable to 
Ai laws for his conduct ; and cannot at his discretion sport away the vested rights of 

** The conchision from this reasoning is, that where the heads of departments are 
the poUtical or confidential agents of the eieoutive, merely to execute the will of 
the President, or rather to act in cases in which the executive possesses a constitn* 
tional Of le^al discretion^ nothing can be more perfectly clear than that their aeU 
are only politically ezamiooble. But where a specific duty is assigned by law, and 
individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty, it seems ecpiaHy clear 
that the individual who considem nimself iojiued, has a right to resort to the lam 
of his country for a remedy." 

Though the Preoident is mistaken in his assertioni that the consti- 
tution devolves upon the President the superintendence of the departs 
ments, there is one clause of that instrument which he has very cor- 
rectly quoted, and which makes it his duty to ^' see that the laws are 
fiuthfully executed," as it is mine now to examine what authority he 
obtains by this clause in the case before us. Under it, the most enor- 
mous pretensions have been set up for the President. 

It has been contended, that if a law shall pass which the President 
does not conceive to be in conftmnity with the constitution, he is not 
bound to execute it : and if a treaty shall have been made, which, in 
hb opinion has been unconstitutional in its stipulations, he is not 
bound to enforce them. And it necessarily follows, that, if the courts 
of justice shall give a decision, which he shall in like manner deem 
Rifiiognant to the constitution, he is not expected or bound to execute 
that law. Sir, let us look a little into this principle, and trace it oat 
inlo some of its consequences. 

One of the most unportant acts performed at the departments is, to 
settle those yery large accounts which individuals have with the 
go>Teniment ; accounts amounting to millions of dollars ; to settle 
them, an auditor and a comptroller have been appointed by law, 
whose official acts may afiect, to the extent of hundreds of thousands 
of dollars, the property of individual contractors. If the pretensions 
of the President are well founded, his power goes further than he 
has exerted it. He may go into the office of the auditor, of the office 
of the comptroller, and may say to him. Sir, Mr. A. B. has an account 
under settlement in this office, one item of which objected to by you, 
I consider to be in accordance with the constitution ; pass that ac- 
count and send it to the auditor : and he may then go to the auditor 


and hold similar language. If the clause of the constitution is to be 
expounded, as is contended for, it amounts to a complete absorption 
of all the powers of government in the person of the executive. Sir, 
when a doctrine like this shall be admitted as orthodox, when it shall 
be acquiesced in by the people of this country, our government will 
have become a simple machine enough. The will of the President 
will be the whole of it. There will be but one bed, and that will be 
the bed of Procrustes ; but one will, the will of the President. All 
the departments, and all subordinate functionaries of government, 
great or small, must submit to that will ; and if they do not, then the 
President will have failed to <^ see that the laws are fiuthfiilly execu- 

Sir, such an extravagant and enormous pretension as this must be 
set alongside of its exploded compeer, the pretension that Congrem 
has the power of passing any and all laws which it may suppose 
conducive to " th6 general welfare." 

Let me, in a few words, present to the Senate what are my own 
views as to the structure of this government. I hold that no pow- 
ers can legitimately he exercised under it but such as are expressly 
delegated, and those which are necessary to carry these into e£&ct. 
Sir, the executive power as existing in this government, is not ta be 
traced to the notions of Montesquieu, or of any other writer of that 
class, in the abstract nature of the executive power. Neither is the 
legislative nor the judicial power to be decided by any such refierenoe. 
These several powers with us, whatever they may be elsewhere, are 
just what the constitution has made them, and nothing more. And 
as to the general clauses in which reference is made to either, they 
are to be controlled and interpreted by those where these several 
powers are specially delegated, otherwise the executive will become 
a great vortex that mustend in swallowing up all the rest. Nor will 
the judicial power be any longer restrained by the restraining clauses 
in the constitution, which relate to its exercise. What then, it will 
be asked, does this clause, that the President shall see that the laws 
are faithfully executed, mean ? Sirs, it means nothing more nor less 
tittn this, that if resistance is made to the laws, he shall take care 
that resistance shall cease. Congress by the 1st article of the 8th 
section of the constitution b required to provide for calling out the 
militia to execute the laws, ia case of resistance. Sir, it might as 


well be contended under that clause, tbat Congrem hare the power 
)of determining what are, and what are not the laws of the land, 
tyongress has the power of calling out the military ; well sir, what » 
the President, by the constitution ? He is commander of the aimy 
and navy of the United States, and of the militia when called out 
into actual service- When, then, we are here told tbat he is clothed 
with the whole physical power of the nation, and when we are af- 
terwards told, that he must take care tbat the laws are faithfully ex- 
ecuted, is it possible that any man can be so lost to the lovo of liber- 
ty, as not to admit that this goes no farther than to remove any re- 
.sistance which may be made to the execution of the laws? We 
have established a system in which power has been carefully divided 
among different departments of the government. And we have been 
told a thousand times, that this division is indispensable as a safe- 
guard to civil liberty. We have designated the departments, and 
have established in each, officers to examine the power belonging to 
each. The President, it is true, presides over the whole ; his eye 
surveys the wh<^e extent of the system in all its movements. But 
has he power to enter into the courts, for example, and tell them 
what is to be done ? Or may he come here, and tell us the same ? 
Or when we have made a law, can he withhold the power necessary 
to its practical effect ? He moves, it is true, in a high, a glorious 
aphere. It is his to watch over the whole with a paternal eye ; and, 
when any one wheel of the vast machine is for a time interrupted 
by the occurrence of invasion or rebellion, it is his care to propel its 
movements, and to furnish it with the requisite means of performing 
its appropriate duty in its own place. 

That this is the true interpretation of the constitutional clause to 
which I have alluded, is inferred from the total silence of all contem- 
poraneous expositions of that instrument on the subject. I have my- 
self (and when it was not in my power personally, have caused 
others to aid me,) made researches into the numbers of the Federal- 
ist ; the debates in the Virginia convention, and in the conventions 
of other States, as well as all other sources of information to which I 
could obtain access, and I have not, in a solitary instance, found the 
slightest color for the claims set up in these most extraordinary times 
for the President, that he has authority to afford or withhold at pleas- 
ure the means of enforcing the laws, and to superintend and control 
an. officer charged with a sp^fic duty, made by the law excluaively 


his. But, sir, I liave found some authorities which strongly militate 
against any such claim. If the doctrine be indeed true, then it is 
moat evident that there is no longer any control over our affairs than 
that exerted by the President. If it be true that when a duty is fay 
law specifically assigned to a particular officer, the President may go 
into his office and control him in the manner of performing it, then is 
it most manifest that all barriers for the safety of the treasury are 
gone. Sir, it is that union of the purse and the sword, in the band 
of one man, which constitutes the best definition of tyranny which 
our language can give. 

The charter of the Bank of the United States requires that the 
public deposites be made in its vaults. It also gives the Secretaiy 
of the Treasury power to remove them — and why ? The Seci^etary 
18 at the head of the finances of the government Weekly report are 
made by the bank to him. He is to report to Congress annually ; 
and to either House whenever he shall be called upon. He is the 
sentinel of Congress — the agent of Congress — the representative of 
Congress. Congress has prescribed and has defined his duties. He 
is required to report to them, not to the President. He is put there 
by us as our representative : he is required to remove the deposites 
when they shall be in danger, and we not in session : but when he 
does this, he is required to report to Congress the fact, with his rea- 
sons for it. Now, sir, if, when an officer of government is thus spe- 
cifically assigned his duty, if he is to report his official acts on his 
responsibility to Congress, if in a case where no ppwer whatever is 
given to the President, the President may go and say to that officer^ 
^* go and do as I bid you, or you shall be removed from office" — ^let 
me ask whether the danger apprehended by that eloquent man has 
not already been realized ? 

But, sir, let me suppose that I am mistaken in my construction of 
the constitation ; and let me suppose that the President has, as is con- 
tended, power to see every particular law carried into efiect ; what, 
then, was it his duty to do in the present case under the clause thus 
interpreted ? The law authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to 
remove the deposites on his responsibility to Congress. Now, if the 
President has power to see this, like other laws, faithfully executed, 
then surely the law exacted of him that he should see that the Sec- 
retary was allowed to exercise his firee, unbiassed, oncontrolled ju4g 


ment in remoyiDg or not removing them. That was the execution 
of the law. Congress had not said that the iSecretary of War, or the 
Secretary of State^ might remove the public deposites from the trea- 

The President had no right to go to the Secretary of War and ask 
him what the Secretary of the Treasury ought to do. He might as 
well have consulted the Secretary of the Treasury about a contem- 
plated movement of the army, as to ask the Secretary of War about 
the disposition of the public moneys. It was not to the President, 
and all his secretaries combined, that the power was given to alter 
the disposition of the deposites in the bank. It was to the Secretaiy 
alone, exclusive of the President and all the other officers of govern- 
ment. And according to gentlemcn*s own showing, by their con- 
struction of the clause, the Secretary ought to have been left to his 
own unbiassed determination, uncontrolled by the President or any 
body else. 

I would thank the Secretary of the Senate to get me the sedition 
law. It is not very certain how soon we may be called to act upon it. 

Now, sir, let us trace some of the other sources of the exercise of 
this power, or motives for it, or by whatever other name they are to 
be called. He says to Mr. Duane : 

^''The President repeats that he begs the cabinet to consider the propoeed meamirt 
u his own, in the support of which he shall require no one of them to make a sac* 
rifice of oi>inion or principle. It^ responsibility has been a^umed, after the moit 
mature dofibi.'rafion and rellection, aa neces»iry to preserve the norals of the people, 
tJie fteedum of the press, and the purity of the elective franchise.*' 

The morals of the people ! What part of the constitution has given 
to the President any power over " the morals of the people ?" None. 
It does not give such power even over religion, the presiding and 
genial influence over every true system of morals. No, sir, it gives 
him no such power. 

And what is the next step ? To*day he claims a power as neces- 
sary to ther morals of the people ; to*marrow he will claim another, 
MB Still more indispensable to our n lis;ion. And the President might 
in thiii case as well have said that he went into the office of the Sec- 
retory of the TVeasury, and controlled his free exercise of his authority 


as Secretary, because it was necessary to preserve <^ the religion of 
the people !" I ask for the authoiity. Will any onie of those gen- 
tlemen here, who consider themselves as the vindicators of the execu- 
tive, point me to any clause of the constitution which gives to the 
present President of the United States any power to preserve " the 
morals of the people ?" 

But ^^ the freedom of the press," it seems, was another motive. 
Sir, I am not surprised that the present Secretary of the Treasury 
should £bel a desire to revive this power over the press. He, I think, 
was a member of that party which passed the sedition law, under 
precisely the same pretext. I recollect it was said, that this Bank, 
this monster of tyranny, was taking into its pay a countless number 
of papers, and by this means was destroying the fair fame of the Pre-' 
sident and his Secretary, and all that sort of thing. Sir, it is some* 
times useful to refer back to those old things — to the notions and the 
motives which induced men in former times to do certain acts which 
may not be altogether unlike some others in our own time. 

The famous sedition act was passed, sir, in 1789 ; and it contained| 
among others, the following provision : 

" Sec. 2. That if any peieon shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or 
pracore to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall, knowingly and wiU- 
iBgly, assist or aid in writing, printing, utterfng or publishing, any fake, scandalous 
and malicious, writing or wntings, agaimit the government of the United States or 
either House of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United 
States, with intent to defame the said government, or either House of the said Con- 
gren, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or 
diinnate ; or to excite Rgainst them, or either of them, the hatred of the good 
people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States; or to 
excite any unlawful combinations therem, for oppoffing or resisting any law of the 
United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done m pursuaneo 
of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United 
States ; or to resist, oppose or defeat, any such law or act ; or to aid, encourage or 
abet, any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people, 
or^vemment. then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the 
United States having jurisaiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding 
two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years." 

We have now, sir, in the reasons for the removal of the govern- 
ment deposites, the same motives avowed and acted upon. The 
abuse of the government, bringing it into disrepute, using contemptu- 
ous language to persons high in authority, constituted the motivei 
for passing the sedition law : and what have we now but a repetition 
of the same complaints of abuses, disrespect, &c. As it is now, so il 
was then : for, says the next section of the same sedition act : 


" That if any penon shall bejproteeuted under this act for the writing or publuh- 
tng any libel aforesaid, it shaU be lawful for the d(*fendant, upon the trial of the 
cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in the 
publication charged as a libel. Aud the jnnr who shall try the cause, shall have a 
right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other 

It is only for the sake of the trtUhj said they who £ayored the pas- 
sage of that law — for the sake of justice ; as it is now said that it 
was necessary to remove the deposites in order to preserve the purity 
of the press. That's all, sir. But there is one part of this assump- 
tion of power by the President much more tyrannical than that act. 
Under that law, the offending party was to have a trial by jury ; the 
benefit of witnesses and of counsel ; and the rig]^t to have the truth 
of his alledged libels examined. But what is the case now under 
consideration } Why, sir, the President takes the whole matter in 
his own hands ; he is at once the judge, the jury, and the executioner 
of the sentence, and utterly deprives the accused party of the oppor- 
tunity of showing that the imputed libel is no libel at all, but founded 
in the clearest truth. 

But ^^ the purity of the elective franchise," also, the President has 
very much at heart. And here, again, I ask what part of the consti- 
tution gives him any power over that <^ franchise ?" Look, sir, at 
the nature of the exercise of this power ! If it was really neces- 
sary that steps should be taken to preserve the purity of the press or 
the freedom of elections, what ought the President to have done ? 
Taken the matter into his own hands } No, sir ; it was his duty to 
recommend to Congress the passage of laws for the purpose, under 
suitable sanctions ; laws which the courts of the United States could 
execute. We could not have been worse off under such laws, (how- 
ever exceptionable they might be,) than we are now. We could 
then, sir, have reviewed the laws, and seen whether Congress or the 
President had properly any power over this matter ; or whether the 
article of the constitution which forbids that the press shall be touched, 
and declares that religion shall be sacred from all the powers of legis- 
lation, applied in the case or not. This the President has underta- 
ken to do of himself, without the shadow of authority, either in the 
constitution or the laws. 

Suppose, sir, that this contumacious institution, which committed 
the great sin, in 1829, of not appointing a new President to a certain 
one of its branched — suppoge that the bank should go on and 


eate itself against the calamnies poured out upon it — ^that it should 
continue to stand upon its defence, how inefficient will have been the 
. exercise of power by the President ! How inadequate to the end he 
had in view, of preserving the press firom being made use of to de- 
fend the bank ! Why, sir, if we had had the power, and the Presi- 
dent had come to us, we could have laid Mr. Nicholas Biddle by the 
heels, if he should have undertaken to publish another report of gen- 
eral Smith or Mr. Dufiio, or another speech of the eloquent gen- 
tleman near mc, (Mr. Webster) or any other such Vihth^ tending to 
bring the President or his administration into disrepute. But the 
President of the United States, who thought he had the bank in his 
power ; who thought he could stop it ; who was induced to believe, 
by that " influence behind the throne, greater than itself," that he 
could break down the bank at a word, has only shown his want of 
power over the press by his attempt to exercise it in the manner he 
has done. The bank has avowed and openly declared its purpose to 
defend itself on all suitable occasions. And, what is still more pro- 
voking, instead of being a bankrupt, as was expected, with its doors 
closed, and its vaults inaccessible, it has now, it seems, got more 
money than it knows what to do with ; and this greatest of misere 
and hoarders cruelly refuses to let out a dollar of its ten millions of 
specie to relieve the sufferings of the banks to which the government 
deposites have been transferred. 

Sir, the President of the United States had nothing to do with the 
morals of the community. No, sir ; for the preservation of our mor- 
als we are responsible to God, and I trust that that responsibility will 
ever remain to Him and His mercy alone. Neither had the Presi- 
dent anything to do with the freedom of the press. The power over 
it is denied, even to Congress, by the people. It was said, by one of 
those few able men and bright luminaries whom Providence has yet 
•pared to us, in answer to complaints by a foreign minister, against 
the freedom with which the American press treated certain French 
functionaries, that the press was one of those concerns which admit- 
ted of no regulation by the government ; that its abuses must be tol- 
erated, lest its freedom should be abridged. Such, sir, is the freedom 
of the press, as recognized by our coui^titution, and so it has been re^ 
•pected ever since the repeal of the obnoxious act which I have al- 
ready quoted^ until the detestable principles of that law have been 


reasserted by the President in his assumption of a power, in nowise 
belonging to his office, of preserving the purity of the press. 

Such, sir, are the powers on which the President relies to justify 
his seizure of the Treasury of the United States. I have examined 
them one by one ; and ihcy all fail, utterly fail, to bear out the act. 
We are irresistibly brought to the conclusion, that the removal of the 
public money from the Bank of the United States has been effected 
by the displacement from the head of the treasury department «f one 
who would not remove them, and putting in his stead another person 
who would ; and, secondly, that the President has no co\or of au- 
thority in the constitution or the laws for the act which he baa under* 
taken to perform. 

Let us now, for a few moments examine the consequences which 
may ensue from the exercise of this enormous power. If the Preat- 
dent has authority, in a case in which the law has assigned a speci- 
fic duty exclusively to a designated officer, to control the exercile of 
his discretion by that officer, be has a right to interfere in every other 
case, and remove every one from office who hesitates to do his bid- 
ding, against his judgment of his own duty. This, surely, is a logi- 
cal deduction not to be resisted. Well, then, how stands the matter? 
Recapitulating the provisions of the law prescribing how money 
should be drawn from the treasury and the deduction above stated, 
what is to prevent the President from going to the Comptroller and 
if he will not countersign a warrant which he has found an accom- 
modating Secretary to sign, turning him out for another ; then going 
to the Register, and doing the same ; and then to the Treasurer, 
and commanding him to pay over the money expressed in the war- 
rant, or subject himself to expulsion. 

Where is the security against such conduct on the part of the Pre- 
sident ? Where the boundary to this tremendous authority which he 
has undertaken to exercise ? Sir, every barrier around the treasury 
is broken down. From the moment that the President said, << I make 
this measure my own. I take upon myself the responsibility,"— 
from that moment the public treasury might as well have been at the 
Hermitage as at this place. Sir, the measure adopted by the Presi- 
dent is without precedent — in our day at best. There is indeed, a 
precedent <m leoord, bat you must go down to the Christian era tat 



ftk It will be recollected, by tbose wbo are conversant with ancietti 
history, that after Pompey was compelled to retire to Brundasiuniiy 
Csesar, who had been anxious to give him battle, returned to Rome, 
^^ haying reduced Italy (says the historian) in sixty da}'s, (the exact 
period sir, between the removal of the deposites, and the meeting of 
Congress, without the usual allowance of three day's grace,) — with- 
out bloodshed.'' The historian goes on '^ Finding the city in a more 
settled condition than he expected, and many Senators there he ad- 
dressed them in a mild and gracious manner — (as the President ad- 
dressed his late Secretary of the Treasury,) and desired them to send 
deputies to Pompey with an officer of honorable terms of peace. As 
MetelluB, the Tribune apfiosed his taking money out of the pablie 
treasury, and cited some laws against it — (such, sir, I suppose, «i I 
have endeavored to cite on this occasion) — Coesar said, ^^Arms and 
laws do not flourish together. If you are not pleased with what I am 
about, you have only to withdraw — (leave the office, Mr. Duane I) 
— War, indeed, will not tolerate much liberty of speech. When 1 
say this, I am renouncing my own right ; for you find all those whom 
I have found exciting a spirit of faction against me, are at my dispo- 
sal." Haying said this, he approached the doors of the treasury, 
and as the Keys were not produced, he sent for workmen to break 
them open. Metellus again opposed him, and gained credit with 
some for his firmness ; but Cceser with an elevated voice threatened 
to put him to death, if he gave him any farther trouble. ^'And you 
know very well, young man," said he, ^< that this is harder for me 
to say than to do." Metellus, terrified by the measure, retired, and 
Gesar was afterward, easily and readily supplied with every thing 
necessary for the war. 

And where now, sir, is the public treasury ? Who can tell ? It if 
certainly without a local habitation, if it be not without a nn^ie. 
And where is the 'money of the people of the United States ? Floats 
ing about in treasury draughtoer t^liecks to the amount of millioDa, 
fftaced in the hands )Df lettering banlcs, to enable them to pay'U^ir 
own debts, instead of being appropriated to the service of the peoplel 
/These checks are scattered. te the %ii^4^ the treasurer of the Ui^^ 
Wfllates, who ia required by law to let out money from the treaau^ 
«Mr, on wmanta signed 4^ the Secretary of the treaanry, countei 


(Bfr. Clat here reforred to aconespondence, which he quoted, between the tre«- 
wntr and the ofBcera of the bank, complaining of these checks drawn without pro- 
per notice, &c., in which the treasarer sayi they were only issued to be used in cer- 
tain contingencies, &c.] 

Thus, sir, the people's money is put into a bank here, and the bank 
there, in regard to the solvency of which we know nothing, and it is 
placed there to be used in the event of certain contingencies— contin*- 
gencies of which neither the Treasurer nor the Secretary have ye^ 
deigned to furnish us any account. 

Where was the oath of office of the treasurer when he Tenture4 
thus to sport with the people's money ? Where was the constitution, 
which forbids money to be drawn from the treasury without appro- 
priation by law ? Where was the treasurer's bond when he thus cast 
about the people's money ? Sir, his bond is forfeited. I do not pre- 
tend to any great knowledge of the law, but give me an intelligent 
and unpacked jury, and I undertake to prove to him that he has for- 
feited the penalty of his bond. 

Mr. President, the people of the United States are indebted to tho 
President for the boldness of this movement ; and as one among the 
liumhlest of them, i profess my obligations to him. He has told the 
Senate, in his message refusing an official copy of his cabinet paper, 
that it has been published for the information of the people. As a 
part of the people, the Senate, if not in their official character, hare 
a right to its use. In that extraordinary paper he has proclaimed 
that the measure is hi$ own ; and that he has taken upon himself the 
responsibility o^it. In plain English, he has proclaimed an open^ 
palpable, and daring usurpation I 

For more than fifteen years, Mr. President, I have been struggling 
to avoid the present state of things. I thought I perceived in some 
|Nrooaedings, daring the conduct of the Seminole war, a spirit of de- 
fiance to the constitution and to all law. With what sincerity and 
frath — with what earnestness and devotion to civil liberty, I have 
tttniggled, the Searcher of ail human hearts best knows. With what 
fMtnne, the bleeding constitution of my country now fatally attests. 

I hare nevertheless, pe r s e vered ; and under every discouragement^ 
4«iBgth»riMft tiiM tli«» I apacrt tii-iMiHUt in tke pnblie couneilai 


I will peraeyere. And if a bountiful Providence would allow an un- 
worthy sinner to approach the throne of grace, I would beseech him, 
as the greatest favor he could grant to me here below, to spare me 
until I live to behold the people rising in their majesty, with a peace- 
ful and constitutional exercise of their power, to expel the Grotha 
from Home ; to rescue the public treasury from pillage, to preserve 
the constitution of the United States ; to uphold the Union agaimit 
the danger of the concentration and consolidation of all power in the 
hands of the executive ; and to sustain the liberties of the people of 
this country against the imminent perils to which they now stand 

[Here Mr. Clat, who was onderstood to have ^one through the firrt put of hit 
ipeech only, gave way, and Mr. Ewing of Ohio moved that the further cooaLden- 
tion of the subject be postponed until Monday next ; which was ordered accordingly. 
And then the Senate adjourned to that day. December 80, Mr. Cult resamed hk 

Before I proceed to a consideration of the report of the Secretiij 
of the Treasury, and the second resolution, I wish to anticipate and 
answer an objection, which may be made to the adoption of the first 
It may be urged that the Senate, being in a certain contingency, ft 
court of impeachment ought not to pi^ejudge a question which iimaj 
be called upon to decide judicially. But by the constitution the Se> 
nate has three characters, legislative, executive, and judicial. Its 
ordinary, and by far its most important character, is that of its being 
a component part of the legislative department. Only three or fioiir 
case^, since the establishment of the government, (that is, during a 
period of near half a century,) have occurred, in which it was nece^^ 
sary that the Senate should act as a judicial tribunal, the least im* 
portant of all its characters. Now it would be moat strange if, when 
its constitutional powers were assailed, it could not assert and yiadi- 
cate them, because, by possibility, it might be required to act as a 
court of justice. The first resolution asserts only, that the Presidoil 
has assumed the exercise of a power over the public treasury not 
granted by the constitution and laws. It is silent as to motive ; and 
without the quo animo — the deliberate purpose of usurpatioii-*-4hs 
President would not be liable to impeachment. But if a coDcarifnei 
of all the elements be necessary to make out a charge of wilful Yiola- 
tion of the constitution, does any one believe that the President will 
BOW be impeached ? And shall we silently sit by and see omndwm 


stripped of one of the most essential of our legislative powers, and the 
exercise of it assumed by the president, to which it is not delegated, 
without eiTort to maintain it, because, against all human probability 
he may be hereafler impeached ? 

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury, in the first paragraph, 
commences with a misstatement of the fact. He says, ^* / haw direct' 
ecT' that the deposites of the money of the United States shall not be 
made in the Bank of the United States. If this assertion is regarded 
in any other than a mere formal sense, it is not true. The Secretary 
may have been the instrument, the clerk the automaton, in whose 
name the order was issued ; but the measure was that of the Presi- 
dent, by whose authority or command the order was given ; and of 
this we have the highest and most authentic evidence. The Presi- 
dent has told the world that the measure was his own, and that he 
look it upon his own responsibility. And he has exonerated his cabi- 
net from all responsibility about it. The Secretary ought to have 
frankly disclosed all the circumstances of the case, and told the truth, 
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If he had done so, he 
would have informed Congress that the removal had been decided by 
the President on the 18th of September last ; that it had been an- 
nounced to the public on the 20th ; and that Mr. Duane remained in 
office until the 23d. He would have informed Congress that this 
important measure was decided before he entered into his new office, 
and was the cause of his appointment. Yes, sir, the present Secretary 
stood by, a witness to the struggle in the mind of his predecessor, 
between his attachment to the President and his duty to the country ; 
saw him dismissed from office, because he would not violate his con- 
scientious obligations, and came into his place, to do what he could 
not honorably, and would not perform. A son of one of the fa- 
thers of democracy, by an administration professing to be democrat- 
ic, was expelled from office, and his place supplied by a gentleman 
who, throughout his whole career, has been uniformly opposed to de- 
mocracy ! A gentleman who, at another epoch of the republic, when 
it was threatened with civil war, and a di isolation of the Union, 
voted, (although a resident of a slave State) in the legislature of 
Maryland, against the admission of Missouri into the union with- 
out a restriction incompatible with her rights as a member of the con- 
federacy. Mr. Duane was dismissed because the solemn convictions 
of his duty would not allow him to conform to the President's will ; 

tOtt tPBKRBt or HEirmr olat. 

becaoae his logic did not bring his mind to the same conclusion wMt 
those of the logic of a venerable old gentleman, inhabiting a white 
house not distant from the capital ; because his watch [Here Mr. 
Clay held up his own,] did not keep time with that of the PreaideiiC 
He was dismissed under that detestable system of proscription for 
ppinion's sake, which has finally dared to intrude itself inU> the hilb 
of Congress — a system under which three unoffending clerks, the &- 
Ihers of families, the husbands of wives, dependent on them for sop- 
port, without the slightest imputation of delinquency, have been re-^ 
cently unceremoniously discharged, and driven out to beggary, by a 
man, himself the substitute of a meritorious officer, who has not beea 
in this city a period equal to one monthly revolution of the moon I 
1 tell our Secretary, (said Mr. Clay, raising his voice,) that, if he 
touch a single hair of the head of any one of the clerks of the Se- 
nate, (I am sure he is not disposed to do it,) on account of his opiiH 
ions, political or religious, if no other member of the Senate doei it, 
1 will instantly submit a resolution for his own dismission. 

The Secretary ought to have communicated all these things ; he 
oc^ht to have stated that the cabinet was divided two and two, and 
one of the members equally divided with himself on the question^ 
willing to be put into cither scale. He ought to have given a foil 
account of this, the most important act of executive authority since 
the origin of the government ; he should have stated with what 
unsullied honor his predecessor retired from office, and on what de- 
grading conditions he accepted his vacant place. When a moment- 
ous proceeding like this, varying the constitutional distribution of 
the powers of the legislative and executive departments, was resolved 
on ; the ministers against whose advice it was determined, shoold 
have resigned their stations. No ministers of any monarch in En- 
rope, under similar circumstances, would have retained the seals of 
office. And if, as nobody doubts, there is a cabal behind the curtain, 
without character and without responsibility, feeding the passions, 

• The foUowiDg 18 the proceeding to which Mr. Olat referred : 

Resolved, by the General Assembly of Maryland, That the Senators and ]tq>r»- 
sentatives from this State in Congrera, be requested to use their utmost endeavors ia 
the admiasion of the State of Missouri into the Union, to prevent the prohibition of 
davery from being required of that State as a condition of its admisaion." 

It passed, January, 1S20, in the affirmative. Among the names of thoae in tka 
■Qgative, it that of Mr. Tiney. 

<MI TQ9,Bm^V4L OV THE DSTOtlTBt. 908 

symnlatiiig the prejudicei^ftDd moukUi^ the actions of the iocmnbeBt 
of the presidential office, it was an additional reason for their retig- 
BStions. There is not a Maitre d'hotel in Christendom, who, if the 
scullions were put into command in the parlor and dining room^ 
would not scorn to hold his place, and fling it up in disgust with in^ 
dignant pride ! 

I shall examine the rejxirt before us, Srst, As to the power of the 
Secretary over the deposites ; second, His reasons for the exercise 
of it ; and third, The ofianner of its exercise. 

. I* The Secretary asserts that the power of removal is exclu$welff 
reserved to him ; that it is absoiuie and uncandiiianai^Bo far as the 
interests of the Bank are concerned ; that it is not restri^lfid to any 
particular contingencies ; that the reservation of the power to the 
Secretary of the Treasury exclusively, is a part of the compact ; that 
he may exercise it, if the public convenience or interest would in any 
degree be promoted ; that this exclusive power, thus reserved, is so 
absolute, that the Secretary is not restrained by the considerations 
that the public deposites in the Bank are perfectly safe ; that* the 
Bank promptly meets all demands upon it ; and that it faithfully per- 
tbrms all its duties ; and that the power of Congress, on the contrary, 
is so totally excluded, that it could not, without a breach of the com* 
pact, order the deposites to be changed, even if Congress were satis- 
fied that they were not safe, or should be convinced that the interests 

of the people of the United States imperiously demanded the re- 

Such is the statement which this unassuming Secretary makes of 
his own authority. He expands his own power to the most extrava- 
gant dimensions ; and he undertakes to circumscribe that of Congress 
in the narrowest and most restricted limits ! Who would have expect- 
ed that, after having so confidently maintained for himself such abso- 
lute, exclusive, unqualified and uncontrollable power, he would have 
let in any body else to share with him its exercise ? Yet he says, 
^^ as the Secretary of the treasury presides over one of the executive 
departments of the government, and his power over this subject forms 
a part of the executive duties of his office, the manner in which it is 
«xerci.<ted must be subject to the supervision of the officer, "(meaning 
die Pxesidenti whose official name his modesty would not allow him 


tO'proDoance) <^ to whom the eonstitation has confided the whole ex- 
ecutive power, and has required to take care that the laws be fitith- 
fblly executed.'* If the clause in the compact exclusively vests the 
power of removal in the Secretary of the treasury, what has the Pre- 
sident to do with it ? What part of the charter conveys to him anj 
power ? If, as the Secretary contends, the clause of removal, bein^^ 
part of the compact, restricts its exercise to the Secretary, to the en- 
tire exclusion of Congress, how does it embrace the President ? espe- 
cially since both the President and Secretary conceive that "the 
power over the place of deposite for the public money, would seem 
properly to belong to the legislative department of the government ?•* 
If the Secretary be correct in asserting that ihe power of removal is 
confined to the Secretary of the treasury, then Mr. Doane, while in 
office, possessed it ; and his dismission, because he would not exer- 
cise a power which belonged to him exclusively, was itself a violm- 
tioD of the charter. 

But by what authority does the Secretary assert that the treasury 
department is oneof the executive departments of the government ? He 
has none in the act which creates the department ; he has none in the 
constitution. The treasury department is placed by law on a difierent 
footing from all the other departments, which are, in the acts creating' 
them, denominated executive, and placed under the direction of the 
President. The treasury department, on the contrary, is organized 
on totally different principles. Except the appointment of the officers, 
with the co-operation of the Senate, and the power which is exer- 
cised of removing them, the President has neither by the constitution 
nor the law creating the department, anything to do with it. The 
Secretary's reports and responsibility are directly to Congress. The 
whole scheme of the department is one of checks, each officer acting 
as a control upon his associates. The Secretary is required by the 
Uw to report, not to the President, but directly to Congress. Either 
House may require any report from him, or command his personal 
attendance before it. It is not, therefore, true that the treasury is one 
of the executive departments, subject to the supervision of the Presi- 
dent. And the inference dravm firom that erroneous assumption en* 
tirely fails. The Secretary appears to have no precise ideas either 
of the constitution or duties of the department over which he pre- 
sides. He says : 


" The trrasary depurtmeot being iotniated with the idministmtion of the finanoei 
of the country, it was always the duty of the Seartary, in the absence of any legift- 
hxvwt provision on the ftabject. to take care that the public money was depoaitea m 
aafe keeping, in the hands of faithful agents,'* &c. 

The premises of the Secretary are only partially correct, and the 
conclusion is directly repugnant to law*. It never was the duty of the 
Secretary to take care that the public money was deposited in safe 
keeping, in the hands of faithful agents, &c. That duty is expressly, 
by the act organizing the department, assigned to the Treasurer of the 
United States, who is placed under oath, and under bond, with a 
large penalty, not to issue a dollar out of the public treasury, but in 
virtue of warrants granted in pursuance of acts of appropriation, ^' and 
not otherwise." When the Secretary treats of the power of the Pre^r 
ident, he puts on corsets and prostrates himself before the executive, 
in the most graceful, courteous and lady-like form ; but when ho 
treats of that of Congress, and of the treasurer, he swells and expands 
himself, and flirts about, with all the airs of high authority. 

But I cannot assent to the Secretary's interpretation of his power 
of removal, contained in the charter. Congress has not given up ita 
control over the treasury, or the public deposites, to either the Sec- 
retary or the Executive. Congress could not have done so without 
a treacherous renunciation of its constitutional powers, and a faithless 
abandonment of its duties. And now let us see what is the true state 
of the matter. Congress has reserved to itself, exclusively, the right 
to judge of the reasons for removal of the deposites, by requiring the 
report of them to be made to it ; and, consequently, the power to 
ratify or invalidate the act. The Secretary of the Treasury is the 
fiscal sentinel of Congress, to whom the bank makes weekly reports, 
and who is presumed constantly to be well acquainted with its actual 
condition. He may, consequently, discover the urgent necessity of 
prompt action, to save the public treasure, before it is known to Con- 
gress, and when it is not in session. But he is immediately to report 
— to whom } To the executive ? No, to Congress. For what pur- 
pose } That Congress may sanction or disprove the act. 

The power of removal is a reservation for the benefit of the people, 
not of the bank. It may be waived. Congress, being a legislative 
party to the compact, did not thereby deprive itself of ordinary powers 
of legislation. It cannot, withoat a breach of the national faith, r&- 

W0$ tviBcan of HtmT olat. 


peal privileges or stipulatiomi intended for the benefit of the bank. 
Sut it may repeal, modify or waive the exercise altc^ether, of those 
parts of the charter which were intended exclusively for Uie public. 
Could not Congress lepeal altogether the clause of removal ? Siiob 
a repeal would not injure, but^dd to the security of the bank. Could 
not Congress modify the clause, by revoking the agency of the Sec- 
retary of the Treasury, and substituting that of the Treasurer, or any 
other officer of government ? Could not Congress, at any time dur^ 
ing the twenty years duration of the charter, abolish the office alto- 
gether of Secretary of the Treasury, and assign all his present duties 
to some newly constituted department ? The right and the security 
of the bank do not consist in the form of the agency, nor in the name 
of the agent, but in this : that, whatever may be its form or his de- 
nomination, the removal shall only be made upon urgent and satis- 
factory reasons. The power of supplemental legislation was exer- 
cised by Congress both under the new and old bank. Three yean 
after the establishment of the existing bank, an act passed, better to 
regulate the election of directors, and to punish any one who should 
Attempt, by bribes, or presents in any form, to influence the operation 
of the institution. 

The denial of the Secretary, to Congress, of the power to remove 
(he deposites, under any circumstances, is most extraordinary. Why, 
sir, suppose a corrupt collusion between the Secretary and the bank 
to divide the spoils of the treasury .' Suppose a total nonfulfillment 
of all the stipulations on the part of the bank ? Is Congress to re- 
main bound and tied, whilst the bank should be free from all the obli- 
gations of the charter ? The obligation of one party, to observe fidth 
fully his stipulations, in a contract, rests upon the corresponding obli- 
gation of the other party to observe his stipulations- If one party ip 
released, both are free. If one party fail to comply with his contract, 
that releases the other. This is the fundamental principle of all con- 
tracts, applicable to treaties, charters, and private agreements. If it 
were a mere private agreement, and one party who had bound him- 
self to deposite, from time to time, his money with the other, to be 
redrawn at his pleasure, saw that it was wa.sting and squandered 
away, he would have a clear right to discontinue the deposites. It 
is true that a party has no right to excuse himself from the fulfillment 
of his contract, by imputing a breach to the other which has never 
been made. And it is fortunate for the peace and justice of socie^, 


thftt neither party to any contract, whether public or private, can da* 
eide conclusively the question of fulfillment hy the other, but muat 
always act under subjection to the ultimate decision, in case of con- 
troversy, of an impartial arbiter, provided in the judicial tribunals of 
civilized communities. 


As to the absolute, unconditional and exclusive power which the Sec* 
letary claims to be vested in himself, it is in direct hostility with the 
principles of our government, and adverse to the genius of all free 
institutions. The Secretary was made, by the charter, the mere rep» 
resentative or agent of Congress. Its temporary substitute, acting in 
fubordination to it, and bound, whenever he did act, to report to his 
principal his reasons, that they might be judged of and sanctioned, or 
overruled. Is it not absurd to say that the agent can possess more 
power than the principal ? The power of revocation is incident to 
all agency, unless, in expreits terms, by the instrument creating it, 
a different provision is made. The powers, whether of the principal 
9r the agent, in relation to any contract, roust be expounded by the 
principles which govern all contracts. It is true that the language 
gf the clause of removal, in the charter, is general, but it is not there- 
fore to be torn from the context. It is a part onLy of an entire com- 
pact, and is so to be interpreted in connexion with every part and with 
the whole. Upon surveying the entire compact, we perceive that 
the hank has come under various duties to the public ; has underta- 
Isen to perform important financial operations for the government ; 
and has paid a bonus into the public treasury of a million and a half 
of dollars. We perceive that, in consideration of the assumption of 
these heavy engagements, and the payment of that large sum of money 
on the part of the bank, the public has stipulated that the public de- 
positee shall remain with the bank, during the continuation of the 
charter, and that its notes shall be received by the government, in 
payment of all debts, dues and taxes. Except the corporate charac- 
ter conferred, there is none but those two stipulations of any great 
importance to the bank. £ach of the two parties to the compact 
must stand bound to the performance of his engagements, whilst the 
other is honestly and faithfully fulfilling Ms. It is not to be conceiv- 
ed, in the ibmiation of the compact, that either party could have an- 
ticipated that, whilst be was fiurlyand honestly executing every obli- 
gation which he had contracted, the other party might arbitrarily or 
capricioosly exonerate himself from the discharge of his obligatione. 


Suppose, when citizens of the United States were invited bj the gor* 
ernroent to subscribe to the stock of this bank, that they had been 
told that, although the bank performs all its covenants with perfect 
fidelity, the Secretary of the Treasury may, arbitrarily or capricioaa- 
ly, upon his speculative notions of any degree of public interest or 
convenience to be advanced, withdraw the public deposites, would 
they have ever subscribed ? Would they have been guilty of the foflj 
of binding themselves to the perfoimance of burdensome duties, whilst 
the government was led at liberty to violate at pleasure that stipula- 
tion of the compact which by far was the most essential to them ? 

On this part of the subject, I conclude, that Congress has not parted 
from, but retains, its leeitimate power over the deposites ; that it 
might modify or repeal altogether the clause of removal in the char- 
ter ; that a breach of material stipulations on the part of the bank 
would authorize Congress to change the place of the depositee ; that 
a corrupt collusion, to defraud the public, between the bank and a 
Secretary of the Treasury, would be a clear justification to Congreaa 
to direct a transfer of the public deposites ; that the Secretary of the 
Treasury is the mere agent of Congress, in respect to the deposites, 
acting in subordination to his principal ; that it results from the na- 
ture of all agency that it may be revoked, unless otherwise expressly 
provided ; and, finally, that the principal, and much less the agent, 
of one party cannot justly or lawfully violate the compact, or any of 
its essential provisions, whilst the other party is in the progressive 
and faithful performance of all his engagements. 

If I am right in this view of the subject, there is an end of the 
gument. There was perfect equality and reciprocity between the 
two parties to the compact. Neither could exonerate himself fitrni 
the performance of his obligations, while the other was honestly pro- 
ceeding fairly to fulfil all his engagements. But the Secretary of the 
Treasury concedes that the public deposites were perfectly safe in the 
hands of the bank ; that the bank promptly met every demand upon 
it ; and that it faithfully performed all its duties. By these concee- 
sions, he surrenders the whole argument, admits the complete o^Ui- 
gation of the public to perform its part of the compact, and demon- 
strates that no reasons, however plausible or strong, can justify 
open breach of a solemn national compact. 


2. But he has brought forward various reasons to palliate or justify 
his violation of the national faith ; and it is now my purpose to pro- 
ceed, in the second place, to examine and consider them. Before I 
proceed to do this, 1 hope to be allowed again to call tlie attention of 
the Senate io the nature of the office of Secretary of the Treasury. 
It is altogether financial and administrative. His duties relate to the 
finances, their condition and improvement, and to them exclusively. 
The act creating the treasury department, and defining the duties of 
the Secretary, demonstrates this. He has no legislative powers ; and 
Congress neither has nor could delegate any to him. His powers, 
wherever given, and in whatever language expressed, must be inter* 
preted by his defined dutiesi Neither is the treasury department an 
executive department. It was expressly created not to be an execa* 
tive department. It is administrative, but not executive- His rela- 
tions are positive and direct to Congress, by the act of his creation, 
and not to the President. Whenever he is put under the direction 
of the President, (as he is by various subsequent acts, especially ihxmt 
relating to the public loans,) it is done by express provision of law, 
and for specified purposes. 

With this key to the nature of the office and the duties of the offi- 
cer, I will oow briefly examine the various reasons which he assigns 
for the removal of the public deposites. The firet is the near approach 
of the expiration of the charter. But the charter had yet to run about 
two and a half of the twenty years to which it was limited. During 
the whole term the public deposites were to continue to be made with 
the bank* It was clearly foreseen, at the commencement of the term, 
as now, that it would expire, and yet Congress did not then, and has 
never since, thought proper to provide for the withdrawal of the de- 
posites prior to the expiration of the charter. Whence does the Sec- 
retary derive an authority to do what Congress had never done ? 
Whence his power to abridge in efiect the period of the charter, and 
to limit it to seventeen and a half years, instead of twenty ? Was 
the urgency for the removal of the deposites so great that he could 
not wait sixty days, until the assembling of Congress ? He admits 
that they were perfectly safe in the bank ; that it promptly met every 
demand upon it ; and that it faithfully performed all its duties. Why 
not, then, wait the arrival of Congress ? The last time the House 
of Representatives hod spoken, among the very last acts of the laii 
•epotf, that Hoiise had deebnd itafiill coofidflnce in the safety of 

310 mtcHBt or Hiirmr glat. 

the depofitea. Why not wait until it could review the subject, 
ell the new Ught which the Secretary could throw upon it, and agaiB 
proclaim its opinion ? He comes into office on the 23d of Septerobefi 
1833, and, in three days, with intuitive celerity, he comprehends the 
whole of the operations of the complex department of the treasuiy, 
perceives that the government, from its origin, had been in uniform 
error, and denounces the opinions of all his predecessors ! And, has- 
tening to rectify universal wrong, in defiance and in contempt of the 
resolution of the House, he signs an order for the removal of the da 
posites ! It was of no consequence to him, whether places of safety^ 
in substitution of the Bank of the United States, could be obtained or 
not ; without making the essential precautionary arrangements, he 
oonunands the removal almost instantly to be made. 

Why, sir, if the Secretary were right in contending that he alone 
could order the removal, even he admits that Congress has power to 
provide for the security of the public money, in the new places to 
which it might be transferred. If he did not deign to consult the rep- 
resentatives of the people as to the propriety of tiie first step, did not 
a decent respect to their authority and judgment exact from him a 
delay, for the brief term of sixty days, that they might consider what 
was fitting to be done ? The truth is, that the Secretary, by law, 
has DoUiing to do with the care and safle-keeping of the public money. 
As has been already shown, that duty is specifically assigned by law 
to the treasurer of the United States. And, in assuming upon hin^ 
self the authority to provide other depositories than the fiank of the 
United States, he alike trampled upon the duties of the treasurer, and 
what was due to Congress. Can any one doubt the motive of this 
precipitancy ? Does anybody doubt that it was to preclude the so* 
tion of Congress, or to bring it under the influence of the execativo 
Veto ^ Let the two Houses, or either of them, perform their duty to 
the country, and we shall hereafter see whether, in that respect, aft 
least, Mr. Secretary will not fiiil to consummate his purpose. 

3. The next reason assigned for this ofiensive proceeding, is tho 
re-efeetion of the present chief magistrate. The Secretary says : 

'U have alwsfa Teinirded tbe result of the last eI«!ctton of Prefideat of the Uoiieil 
States M the dedantion of a m^ority of the people, that the charter ought not to be 
^nmBmtA.** • • • •• Ii« volutttary appficatioii to Congress for the renewal of 
l^ofeaiter four years before it ezpimd, and upon the eve of the eleetioa of Pi * ' 
«to«rtisMitf as «K Mit Si brinsiaK fbmaid that qoMioa Ibr iaeidt^ 

ON "Vai milOYAL or THK OSPOtlTM. SU 

■I the then approaching elcctkm. It was accordingly «igued on both sides befort 
the tribunal of the people, and their verdict pronounced against the bank,'*&c. 

What has the Secretary to do irith elections ? Do they belong to 
the financial concerns of his department ? Why this constant refer- 
ence to the result of the last presidential election ? Ought not the 
President to be content ^ith the triumphant issue of it ? Did he 
want still more vetoes ? The winners ought to forbear making any 
complaints, and be satisfied, whatever the losers may be. After an 
election w fairly terminated, I have always thought that the best way 
was to forget all the incidents of the preceding canvass, and espe- 
cially the manner in which votes had been cast. If one has been sac- 
eessfuU that ought to be sufficient for him ; if defeated, regrets are 
unavailing. Our fellow citizens have a right freely to exercise their 
elective franchise as they please, and no one, certainly no candidate« 
has any right to complain about it. 

But the argument of the Secretary is, that the question of the bank 
was fully submitted to the people, by the consent of all parties, fully 
discussed before them, and their verdict pronounced against the insti- 
tution, in the re-election of the President. His statement of the can 
requires that we should examine carefully the various messages of 
the President to ascertain whether the bank question was fairly and 
frankly (to use a favorite expression of the President) submitted by 
him to the people of the United States. In his message of 1829, the 
President says : 

'* The charter of the Bank of the United States expires in 1836, and its stockhold- 
en wlU most probably apply for a renewsl of their privileges- In order to ayoid the 
evils resulting from frtcijrUancy in a measare involvins, such important principles, 
■mi nch deep pecnniary intere fCp, 1 feel that I cannot, in justice to iht wartin in- 
terested, too soon present it, to the deliberate consideration of the legislalare aa^ 
the people." 

The charter had then upwards of six years to ran. Upon this 
solemn invitation of the chief magistrate, two years afterwards, the 
bank came forward with an application for renewal. Then it was 
discovered that the application was premature. And the bank was 
denounced Cor accepting the very invitation which had been formally 
given. The President proceeds : 


** Bodi the eoDstitntionatitjr and the expedienej of the bank are wel q pesli oaij , 
kff m 9arg$ jmtkm ^^mftUmt elHwtM,^ 

I'.-i. ■■. a . . ■•'I • m ■'■■'■■ 

S12 flPUCHIg or HUTRT ^AT. 

This message was a non-committal. The President does not an* 
nounce clearly his own opinion, hut states that of a large pgrtion of 
awr fellow ciiisens* Now we all know that a large and highly respec- 
table number of the people of the United States have always enter- 
tained an opinion adverse to the bank on both grounds. The Presi- 
dent oontinues : 

'* if such an institution is deemed essential to the fiscal operations of the got' 
ernment, I submit to the wisdom of the legUlanire whether a national on^, foanded 
upon the credit of the goverrnnent, and its lesources, might not be devised." 

Here, again, the President, so far firom expressing an explicit opiiH 
ion against all national banks, makes a hypothetical admission of tfan 
utility of a bank, and distinctly intimates the practicability of deviaiiig 
one on the basis of the credit and resources of the government. 

In his message of 1830, speaking of the bank, the President says : 

"Nothing has occurred to lessen, in any degree, the dangers which manpef mtr 
citizena apprvhend from that iimritution, as atyrtunt on^nized. In the spint of iso- 

E9vement and compromise, which distinguishes oor countnr and its institaUouL it 
comes u« to inquire whi.'th>*r it be not po»ibU to secure toe advantages afiforaed 
bj tho present bank through the agency of a Bank of the United States, so in«>difled 
in its principles and structure, as to obviate conbtitutional and other objections.** 

Here, again, the President recites the apprehensions of '< many of 
oar citizens,^' rather than avows his own opinion. He admits indeed 
<^ the advantages afforded by the present bank,'' but suggests an in- 
quiry whether it be possible (of course doubting) to secure them by 
a bank differently constructed. And towards the conclusion of that 
part of the message, his language fully justifies the implication, that 
it was not to the bank itself, but to ^^ its present form,'' that he ol>- 

The message of 1S31, when treating of the bank, was very brief 
The President says : 

'* Entertaining the opinions heretofore expressed in relation to the Bank of Ae 
United States, tu at pretent or^iuzetf"— [non-committal once more x and what Aft 
meanji, Mr. President, nobody better knows than you and I]—*' I felt it my dnty, a 
my former messages, /ranjlrfy todiadote them.** 

Erank disclosures ! Now, sir, I recollect perfectly well the impre^ 
tioins made on my mind, and on those of other Senators with whom 
I eonversed, iamiediately after that message was read. We thought 


find said to each other^ the President has left a door open to pass out. 
It is not the hank ; it is not any Bank of the United States to which 
he 18 opposed, but it is to the particular organization of the existing 
bank. And we all concluded that, if amendments could bo made to 
the charter satisfactory to the President, he would approve a bill fof 
its renewal. 

We come now to the famous message of July, 1832, negativing the 
bill to recharter the bank. Here, it might be expected, we shall cer- 
tainly find clear opinions, unequivocally expressed. The President 
cannot elude the question. He must now be perfectly frank. We 
shall presently see. He says ; 

*' A Bank of the United States is, in manf respects, convenient to the govenm^nt, 
and uis^ful to ihe p oule. Enteriaining this opinion, and deeply im{>res8cd with tb« 
belief that some of the powers and privileges po8(»ei»ed by the existing bank> arft 
unauthorized by the constitution," cV^. ♦ • • »* f felt it my duly, at an early 
period of my administration, to call the attention of Congress to the practicability 
of ori^nisinsr an inUitution, combining uU its advantages, and obviatmg these od^ 
jections. I sincerrly regret, that in the act before me I can perceive none of thou 
modi/irations^" &r. ♦ ♦ * ** That a Bank of the United States, competeat 
to all the du(iet> which may be required by the government, might be so organized 
as not to infringe on our own delegated powers, or the reserved rights of the States, 
I do not entertain a doubt Had the Kxccutive been called on to TuniiBh the prqfut 
qf such an imtitution, the duty would have been cheerfully performed." 

The message is principally employed in discussing the objections 
which the President entertained to the particular provisions of the 
charter, and not to the bank itself ; such as the right of foreigners to 
hold stock in it ; its exemption from State taxation ; its capacity to 
hold real estate, &c. &c. Does the President, even in this message, 
Irray himself in opposition to any Bank of the United States ? Doei 
he even oppose himself to the existing bank under every organiza- 
tion of which it is susceptible ? On the contrary, does he not declare 
that he does not entertain a doubt that a bank may be constitutionally 
organized ? Does he not even rebuke Congress for not calling on 
him to furnish a project of a bank, which he would have cheerfully 
supplied ? Is it not fairly deducible, from the message, that the 
charter of the present bank might have been so amended as to have 
secured the President's approbatton to the institution ? So for waa 
the message from being decisive against all Banks of the United 
States, or against the existing bank, under any modification, the 
President expressly declares that the question was adjourned. He 
•ays : 

/ •O 


** A general diccunioo will now take place, eliciting new light, and aetdiognir 

£»rtant principles ; and a new Congrefp, elected in (he mid&t oi 6uch discu^ion, and 
miahing an equal representation of the people, according to the last ceiraaa, «il 
bear to the Capitol the verdict of public opinion, and I doubt not bring thia impoff* 
tant question to a satisfactory result." 

This review of the yarious messages of the President, conclunTa* 
Ij evinces that they were far from expressing, frankly and deciaivdj) 
any opinions of the chief magistrate, except that he was opposed to 
the amendments of the chaiter contained in the bill submitted to him 
for its renewal, and that he required further amendments. It demoii* 
ttrates that he entertained no doubt that it was practicable and deair* 
Me to establish a Bank of the United States ; it justified the hope 
that he might be ultimately reconciljsd to the continuation of tte 
present Bank, with suitable modifications ; and it expressly pr»- 
claimed that the whole subject was adjourned to the new Congrets, 
to be assembled under the last census. If the parts of the messagei 
which I have cited, or other expressions, in the same document, be 
doubtful, or susceptible of a different interpretation, the review it 
sufficient for my purpose ; which is, to refute the argument so confi- 
dently advanced, that the President's opinion, in opposition to the 
present or any other Bank of the United States, was frankly and 
fairly stated to the people, prior to the late election, was fully under- 
stood and finally decided by them. 

Accordingly, in the canvass, which ensued, it was boldly asserted 
oy the partisans of the President that he was not opposed to a Bank 
of the United States, nor to the existing Bank with proper amend* 
ments. They maintained, at least wherever those friendly to a Nn^ 
iional Bank, were in the majority, that the re-election would be fol- 
lowed by a recharler of the Bank, with proper amendments. They 
dwelt, it is true, with great earnestness, upon his objections to the 
pernicious influence of foreigners in holding stock in it ; but they 
nevertheless contended that these objections would be cured, if he 
was re-elected, and the Bank sustained. I appeal to the whole Senate, 
to my colleagues, to the people of Kentucky, and especially to the 
citizens of the city of Louisville, for the correctness of this statement 

After all this, was it anticipated by the people of the United States 
that, in the re-election of the President, they were deciding aeainsi 
an institution of such vital importance ? Could they have imagined 
that| after an express adjournment of the whole matter to a 


CoDgresa, by tbe President himself, he Avould have prejudged the 
action of this new Congress, and pronounced that a question, express- 
ly by hiniself referred to its authority, was previously settled by the 
people ? He claimed no such result in his message, immediately af- 
ter |he re-election ; although in it he denounced the Bank as an un- 
safe depository of the public money, and invited Congress to investi- 
gate its condition. The President, then, and the Secretary of the 
Treasury, are without all color of justification for their assertioDSy 
that the question of bank or no bank was fully and fairly submitted 
to the people, and a decision pronounced against it by them. 

Sir, I am surprised and alarmed at the new source of executive 
power, which is found in the lesult of a presidential election. I had 
supposed that the constitution and the laws were the sole source of 
executive authority ; that the constitution could only be amended in 
the mode which it has itself prescribed ; that the issue of a presiden- 
tial election, was merely to place the chief magistrate in the post as- 
signed to hi^ ; and that he had neither more nor less power, in con- 
sequence of the election, than the constitution defines and delegates. 
But it seems that if, prior to an election, certain opinions, no matter 
bow ambiguously put forth by a candidate, are known to the people, 
these loose opinions, in virtue of the election, incorporate themselves 
with the constitution, and afterwards are to be regarded and ex- 
pounded as psrts of the instrument. 

4. The public money ought not, the Secretary thinks, to remain in 
the Bank until the last moment of the existence of the charter. But 
that was not the question which he had to decide on the 26th Sep- 
tember last. Thp real question then was, could he not wait sixty 
days for the meeting of Congress ? There were many last moments, 
near two years and a half, between the 26th of September and the 
day of the expiration of the charter. But why not let the public 
money remain in the Bank until the last day of the charter ? It is a 
part of the charter that it shall so remain ; and Congress having so 
ordered it, the Secretary ought to have acquiesced in the will of Con- 
gress, unless the exigency had arisen on which alone it was supposed 
his power over the deposites would be exercised. The Secretary is 
greatly mistaken, in believing that the Bank will be less secure in 
the last hoars of its existence than previously. It will then be col- 
lecting its resources, with a view to the immediate payment of its 


notes, and the ultimate division among the stockholders of their capi 
tal ; and at no period of its existence will it be so strong and ahle to 
pay all demands upon it. As to the depreciation in the value of ite 
notes in the interior, at that time, why, sir, is the Secretary possess- 
ed of the least knowledge of the course of the trade of the interior^ 
and especially of the western States ? If he had any, he could not 
have made such a suggestion. When the Bank itself is not diawing, 
its notes form the best medium of remittance from the interior to the 
Atlantic capitals. They are sought after by merchants and traders 
with avidity,' are never below par, and in the absence of Bank drafts 
may command a premium. This will continue to be the case as long 
as the charter endures, and especially daring the last moments of its 
existence, when its ability will be unquestionable, Philadelphia be- 
ing the place of the redemption ; whilst the notes themselves wUl 
be received in all the large cities in payment of duties. 

The Secretary asserts that " it is tcell understood that the superior 
credit heretofore enjoyed by the Notes of the Bank <ff the United 
States, was not founded on any particular confidence in its manage- 
ment or solidity. It was occasioned altogether by the agreement on 
behalf of the public, in the act of incorporation, to receive them in 
all payments to the United States." — I have rarely seen any state 
paper characterised by so little gravity, dignity and circumspection, 
as the report displays. The Secretary is perfectly reckless in his as- 
sertions of matters of fact, and culpably loose in his reasoning. Can 
he believe the assertion which he has made r Can he believe for ex- 
ample, that if the Notes of the Bank of the Metropolis were made 
receivable in all payments to the government, they would ever ac- 
quire, at home and abroad, the credit and confidence which are at- 
tached to those of the Bank of the United States ? If he had stated 
that the faculty mentioned, was one of the elements of the gremt 
credit of those notes, the statement would have been true ; but who 
can agree with him, that it is the sole cause .> The credit of the 
Bank of the United States results from the large amount of its capi- 
tal ; from the great ability and integrity with which it has been ad> 
ministered ; from the participation of the government in its affairs; 
from Its advantageous location; from its being the place of deposite 
of the public moneys, and its Notes being receivable in all payments 
to the government ; and from its being emphatically 'fA« Bank of ike 


United Staies. This latter circumstance arranges it with the Bank 
«f England) Fhrnce, Amsterdam, Genoa, &c. 

6. The expansion and contraction of the acc3mmodations of the 
bcuak to its individual customers, are held up by the Secretary, in bold 
relief, as evidences of misconduct, vrhich justified his virithdrawal of 
the deposites. He represents the bank as endeavoring to operate on 
the public, by alternate bribery and oppression, with the same object 
in both eases, of influencing the election, or the administration of the 
President. Why this perpetual reference of all the operations of the 
institution to the executive ? Why does the executive think of uo- 
thing but itself? It is 1 ! It is I ! It b I, that is meant, appears to be 
the constant exclamation. Christianity and charity enjoin us never 
to ascribe a bad motive if we can suppose a good one. The bank is 
a moneyed corporation, whose profits result from its business ; if that 
be extensive, it makes better ; if limited, less profit. Its interest is 
to make the greatest amount of dividends which it can safely. And 
all its actions may be more certainly asciibed to that than any other 
principle. The administration must have a poor opinion of the vu>> 
tue and intelligence of the people of the United States, if it supposes 
that their judgments are to be warped and their opinions controlled 
by any scale of gradua^d bank acconunodations. The bank moat 
have a still poorer conception of its duty to the stockholder, if it were 
to regulate its issues by ihe uncertain and speculative standard of po- 
litical efi*ect, rather than a positive arithmetical rule for the computa- 
tion of interest. 

Ab to the alleged extension of the business of the bank, it has been 
again and again satisfactorily accounted for by the payment of the 
public debt, and the withdrawal from Europe of considerable sums, 
which threw into its vaults a large amount of funds, which, to be 
productive, must be employed ; and, as the commercial wants pro- 
ceeding from extraordinary activity of business, created great demands 
about the same period for bank acconunodations, the institution nat- 
urally enlarged its transactions. It would have been treacherous to 
the best interests of its constituents if it had not done so. The re- 
cent contraction of its business is the result of an obvious cause. 
Notwithstanding the confidence in it, manifested by one of the last 
acts of the last House of Representatives, Congress had scarcely left 
the dblnot befine metsorea were put in operation to circuoivent its 

918 kncscBSS or hkitbt clat. 

wrthority. Denunciations and threats were put forth against it* Rii* 
mora stamped with but too much authority, were circulated, of tbe 
intention of the executive to disregard the admonition of the House of 
Representatiyes. An agent was sent out — and then $uch an agemi — 
to sound the local institutions as to the terms on which they would 
receive the deposites. Was the bank; who could not be ignorant of 
all this, to sit carelessly by, without taking any precautionary dmi^ 
sores ? The prudent mariner, when he sees the coming storm, forb 
his sails, and prepares for all its rage. The bank knew that the ex* 
ecutive was in open hostility to it, and that it had nothing to expect 
from its forbearance. It had numerous points to defend, tbestrengtk 
or weakness of all of which was well known from its weekly retuma 
to the Secretary, and it could not possibly know at which the fint 
mortal stroke would be aimed. If, on the twentieth of September 
last, instead of the manifesto of the President against the hank, he 
had officially announced that he did not mean to make war upon the 
bank, and intended to allow the public deposites to remain until the 
pleasure of Congress was expressed, public confidence wodd bare 
been assured and unshakea, the business of the country continued in 
quiet and prosperity, and the numerous bankruptcies in our commer- 
cial cities averted. The wisdom of human actions is better knowB 
in their results than at their inception. That of the bank b manifeal 
from all that has happened, and especially from its actual ofttditkm 
of perfect security. 

7. The Secretary complains of misconduct of the bank in deleg^ 
ling to the committee of exchange the transaction of important bu8i« 
ness, and in that committee being appointed by the President and not 
the board, by which the government directora have been excluded. 
The directors who compose the board meet only periodically* Dri- 
ving no compensation frt>m their places, which the charter indeed 
prohibits them from receiving, it cannot be expected that they should 
be constantly in session. They must, necessarily, therefore, devolve 
a great part of the business of the bank in its details, upon the offi- 
cers and servants of the corporation. It is sufficient, if the boaid 
controls, governs, and directs the whole machine. The most impoi^ 
tant operation of a bank is that of paying out its cash, and that the 
cashier or teller, and not the board performs. As to committeee of 
exchange, the board, not being always in session, it is evident that 
the convenience of the public requires that there should be aome att- 



tbority at the bank daily, to paM daily upoD bills, either in the sale 
or purchase, as the wants of the cmmnunity require. Every bank, I 
bdieve, that does business to any extent, has a committee of exchange 
similar to that of the Bank of the United States. In regard to the 
mode of appointment by the President of the board, it is in conform- 
ity with the invariable usage of the House of Representatives, with 
the practice of the Senate for several years, and until altered at the 
commencement of this session, with the usage in a great variety, it 
not all of the State legislatures, and with that which prevails in our 
popular assemblies. I'he president, speaker, chairman, moderator, 
almost uniformly appoints committees. That none of the government 
directors have been on the committee of exchange, has proceeded, it 
is to be presumed, from their not being entitled, from their skill and 
experience, and standing in society* to be put there. The govern* 
ment directors stand upon the same equal footing with those appoint- 
ed by the stockholders. When appointed they are thrown into the 
mass, and must take their fair chances with their colleagues. If the 
President of the United States will nominate men of high character 
and credit, of known experience and knowledge in business, they will 
no doubt be placed in corresponding stations. If he appoints diflerent 
men he cannot expect it. Banks are exactly the places where cur- 
rency and value are well understood and duly estimated. A piece of 
coin, having even the stamp of the government, will not pass unless 
the metal is pure. 

8. The French bill forms another topic of great complaint with the 
Secretary. The state of the case is that the government sold to the 
bank a bill on that of France for $900,000, which the bank sold in 
London, whence it was sent by the purchaser to Paris to receive the 
amount. When the bank purchased the bill, it paid the amount to 
the government, or which is the same thing, passed it to the credit of 
the treasury, to be used on demand. The bill was protested in Paris, 
and the agents of the bank, to avoid its being liable to damages, took 
up the bill on account of the bank. The bill being dishonored, the 
" bank comes back on the drawer, and demands the customary dama- 
ges due according to the course of all such transactions. The com-* 
plaint of the Secretary is, that the bank took up the bill to save its 
own credit, and that it did not do it on account of the government ; 
in other words, that the bank did not advance at Parb $900,000 to 
the government on account of a bill which it had already paid every 


dollar at Philadelphia. Why, Sir, has the Secretary read the charier r 
If he has, he must have knowD that the bank could not have ad^ 
taaced the $900,000 for the government at Paris, without subjediiig 
itself to a penalty of three times the amount (2,700,000.) The 18lh 
•ec4ion of the charter b express and positive : 

** That if the said corporation filiall advance or lend any sum of money for the tMt 
I or on account of the government of the United States, to au amount exceeding five 

hundred thousand dollars, all pentons concerned in making such unlawful ■dvanees 
or loan, shall forfeit treble the amount, one fifth to the informer,*' &c. 

9. The last reason which I shall notice of the Secretary is, that 
this ambitious corporation aspires to possess political power. ThoM 
in the actual possession of power, especially when they have grossly 
abused it, are perpetually dreading its loss. The miser does not cling 
to his treasure with a more death-like grasp. Their suspicions are 
always active and on the alert. In every form they behold a rival, 
and every breeze comes chdrged with alarm and dread. A thousand 
spectres glide before their affrighted imaginations, and they see, in 
every attempt to enlighten those who have placed them in office, a 
sinister design to snatch from them their authority. On what other 
principles can we account for the extravagant charges brought for- 
ward by the Secretary against the bank ? More groundU»ss and reck- 
less assertions than those which he has allowed himself to emhody id 
his report, never were presented to a deceived, insulted, and outraged 
people. Suffer me, sir, to groupe some of them. He asserts, " that 
there is sufficient evidence to prove that the bank has used its means 
to obtain political power ;" that, in the Presidential election, ^' the 
bank took an open and direct interest, demonstrating that it was using 
its money for the purpose of obtaining a hold upon the people of this 
country ;'' that it '< entered the political arena ;'' that it circulated 
publications containing ^' attacks on the officers of government ;'' that 
" it is now openly in the field as a political partisan ;" that there 
are " positive proof s'^^ of the efforts of the bank to obtaiji power. And, 
finally, he concludes, as a demonstrated proposition : 

•• Fouthly, That there is snfflcient evidence to show that the bank has been and 
iCill is seeking to obtain political power, aud has used its money for the purpose «l 
influencing the election of *he public servants.*' 

After all this, who can doubt that this ambitious corporation m a 
candidate for the next Presidency ? Or, if it can moderate its lofty 
pretensions, that it means at least to go for the oflSce of Secretaiy oC 


tin Treasury, upon the next remoyal ? But sir, where are the proofr 
of these political designs ? Can anything be more reckless than these 
confident assertions of the Secretary ? Let us have the proofs : I call 
for the proofs. The bank has been the constant object for years of 
vituperation and calumny. It has been assailed in every form of bit^ 
temeso and malignity.- Its operations have been misrepresented ; its 
credit and the public confidence in its integrity and solidity attempted 
to be destroyed ; and the character of its officers assailed. Ui^er 
these circumstances, it has dared to defend itself. It has circulated 
public documents, speeches of nofembers of Congress, reports made by 
chairmen of committees, friends of the adnunistration, and other pa^ 
pers. And, as it vras necessary to make the defence commensurate 
with the duration and the extensive theatre of the attack, it has been 
compelled to incur a heavy expense to save itself fit>m threatened 
destruction It has openly avowed, and yet avows, its right and 
purpose to defend itself. All this was known to the last Congress. 
Not a solitary material fact has been since disclosed. And when be- 
fore, in a country where the press is free, was it deemed criminal for 
any body to defend itself? Who invested the Secretary of the Trear 
mry with power to interpose himself between the people, and light 
and intelligence ? Who gave him the right to dictate what informa- 
tion should be communicated to the people and by whom ? Whence 
does he derive his jurisdiction ?. Who made him censor of the public 
press.' From what new sedition law does he deduce his authority ? 
b the superintendence of the American press a part of the financial 
duty of a Secretary of the Treasury ? Why did he not lay the whole 
case before Congress, and invite the revival of the old sedition law ? 
Why anticipate the arrival of their session ? Why usurp the authority 
of the only department of government competent to apply a remedy, 
if there be any power to abridge the freedom of the press ? If the 
Secretary wishes to purify the press, he has a most Herculean duty 
before him. And when he sallies out on his Quixotic ^pedition, 
he had better begin with the Augean stable, the press nearest to him, 
organ, as most needing purification. 

I have done with the Secretary's reasons. They have been weighed 
and found wanting. There was not only no financial motive for his- 
acting— the sole motive which he could officially entertain — but 
every financial consideration forbade him to act. I proceed now, ia 

ttt mtCBMM or BBVBT GLAT. 

the ihird and last place, to examioe the manner in which he has 
ercised his power over the deposites. 

3. The whole people of the United States derive an interest finom 
the public deposites in the Bank of the United States, as a stockholdeTf 
in that institution. The bank is enabled, through its branches, to 
throw capital into those parts of the Union where it is most needed. 
Thus it distributes and equalizes the advantages accruing from tba 
collection of a large public revenue, and the consequent public do^ 
posites. Thus it neutralizes the injustice which would otherwise 
flow from the people of tl^s west and the interior, paying their fall 
proportion of the public burdens, without deriving any corresponding 
benefit from the circulation and deposites of the public revenue. The 
use of the capital of the bank has been signally beneficial to the West. 
We there want capital, domestic, foreign — any capital that we caa 
honestly get. We want it to stimulate enterprise, to give activity t» 
business, and to develope the vast resources which the bounty of Na- 
ture has concentrated in that region. But, by the Secretary's finstt- 
cisl arrangements, the twenty-five or thirty millions of the puUie 
revenue collected firom all the people of the United States (including 
those of the west) will be retained in a few Atlantic ports. Each 
port will engross the public noK>neys there collected. And, as that of 
New York collects about one-half of the public revenue, all the pe<H 
pie of the United States will be laid under contribution, not for the 
sake of the people of the city of New York, but of two or three banks 
in that city, in which the people of the United States, collectively, 
have not a particle of interest ; banks, the stock in which is or may 
be held by foreigners. 

Three months have elapsed, and the Secretary has not yet fbmd 
places of deposite for the public moneys, as substitutes for the Bank 
of the United States. He tells us, in his report of yesterday, that the 
bsnk at Charleston, to which he applied to receive them, declined 
the custody, and that he has yet found no other bank willing to assume 
it. But he states that the public interest does not in consequence 
safier. No I What is done with the public moneys constantly le- 
oeiving in the important port of Charleston, the largest port (New 
Orleans excepted) from the Potomac to the gulf of Mexico ? Whsl 
with the revenue bonds ? It appears that he has not yet received ths 
charters firom all the banks selected as places of deposite. Can any- 


Uiing be more improvident thin that the Secretary should undertake 
to contract with banks, without knowing their power and capacity to 
contract by their charters. That he should venture to deposite the 
people's money in banks, without a full knowledge of everything le- 
apecting their actual condition ? But he has found some banks will- 
ii^^ to receive the public deposites, and he has entered into contracts 
with them. And the very first step he has taken has been in direct 
violation of an express and positive statute of the United States. By 
the act of the 1st of May, 1820, sixth section, it is enacted : 

'* That DO contract shall hereafter be made by the Secretary of State, or of tht 
Tftoiwry^ or ot the department of war, or of the navy, except under a law aathorix- 
ing the same, or nnder an appropriation ade()iiaie to its fulflUment ; and excepting, 
alio, contracts for the subsi-ience and cloihinK of the army or navy, and contmcts 
ky the quarter maater's department, which may be mode by the Secretaries oi thoM 

Now, sir, what law authorized these contracts with the local banks, 
made by the Secretary o/jhe Treasury 1 The argument, if 1 under- 
stand the argument intended to be employed on the other side, is this : 
that, by the bank charter, the Secretary is authorized to remove the 
public deposites, and that includes the power in question ? But the 
act establishing the treasury department confides, expressly, the safe- 
keeping of the public moneys of the United States to the Treasurer 
of the United States, and not to the Secretary; and the Treasurer, 
not the Secretary, gives a bond for the fidelity with which he shall 
keep them. The moment therefore, that they are withdrawn from 
the Bank of the United States^ they are placed, by law, under the 
charge and responsibility of the Treasurer and his bond, and not of 
the Secretary, who has given no bond. But let us trace this argu- 
ment a little further. The power to remove the dcposites, says the 
Secretary frmn a given place, implies the power to designate the 
place to which they shall be removed. And this implied power to 
designate the place to which they shall be removed, impKes the power 
to the Secretary of the Treasury to contract with the new banks of 
deposite. And, on this third link, in the chain of implications, a 
fourth is constructed, to dispense with the express duties of the Trea- 
iurer of tne United Slates, defined in a positive statute ; and yei a 
/^hj to repeal a positive statute of Congress, passed four years after 
the passage of the law containing the present source of this most ex- 
traordinary chain of implications. The exceptions in the act of 182(\ 
prove the inflexibility of the rule which it prescribes. Annual appro- 
priations are made for the clothing and lobsistence of the army 


and navy. These appropiiations might have heen rapposed to be iih 
duded in a power to contract for those articles, notwithstanding the 
prohibitory clause in that act. But Congress thought otherwise, and 
therefore expressly provided for the exceptions- It must be admit- 
ted that our clerk (as the late Governor Robinson, of Louisiana, one 
of the purest republicans I have ever known, used to call a Secretary 
of the Treasury,) tramples with very little ceremony upon the duties 
of the Treasurer, and the acts of the Congress of the United States, 
when they come in his way. 

These contracts, therefore, between the Secretary of the Treasmj 
and the local banks are mere nullities, and absolutely void, enforces* 
ble in no court of justice whatever, for two causes — 1st. Because they 
are made in violation of the act of the 1st of May, 1820 ; and 2d. 
Because the Treasurer, and not the Secretary of the Treasury, alone 
had, if any federal officer possessed, the power to contract with the 
local banks. And here again we perceive the necessity there wm 
for avoiding the precipitancy with which the executive acted, and fior 
awaiting the meeting of Congress. Congress could have deliberately 
reviewed the previous legislation, decided upon the expediency of a 
transfer of the public deposites, and if deemed proper, could haTe 
passed the new laws adapted to the new condition of the treasury. 
It could' have decided whether the local banks should pay any bonoSi 
or pay any interest, or diffuse the public deposites throughout the 
United States, so as to secure among all their parts equality of bene- 
fits as well as of burdens, and provided for ample guaranties for the 
safety of the public moneys in their new depositories. 

But let us now inquire whether the Secretary of the Treasury has 
exercised his usurped authority, in the formation of these contractti 
with prudence anu discretion. Having substituted himself to Con- 
gress and to the Treasurer of the United States, he ought at least to 
show that, in the stipulations of the contracts themselves, he has 
guarded the public moneys and provided for the public interests. I 
will examine the contract with the Girard Bank of Philadelphia, 
which is presented as a specimen of the contracts with the Atlantic 
banks. The first stipulation limits the duty of the local banks to 
receive in deposite, on account of the United States, only the notes 
of banks convertible into coin, ^^ in its immediate vicinity," or which 
it is, ^^for the time being, in the habit o( receiving." Under 


stipulation, the Girard Bank, for example, will not be bound to re- 
ceive the notes of the Louisville Bank, although that also be one^f 
the deposite banks, nor the notes of any other bank, not in its inline* 
diate vicinity. As to the provision that it will receive the notes of 
banks which, for the time being, it is in the habit of receiving, it is 
absurd to put such a stipulation in a contract, because by the power 
retained to change the habit, for the time being, it is an absolute nul- 
lity. Now, sir, how does this compare with the charter and Bank of 
the United States ? The bank receives everywhere, and credits the 
government with the notes, whether issued by the branches or the 
principal bank. The amount of all these notes is everywhere availa- 
ble to the government. But the government may be overflowing in 
distant bank notes when they are not wanted, and a bankrupt, at the 
places of expenditure, under this singular arrangement. 

With respect to the transfer of moneys from place to place, the 
local banks require in this contract that it shall not take place but upon 
reasonable notice. And what reasonable is, has been lefl totally uq- 
deiined, and of course open to future contest. When hereafter a 
transfer is ordered, and the bank is unable to make it, there is noth- 
ing to do but to alledge the unreasonableness of the notice. The 
local bank agrees to render to the government all the services 
now performed by the Bank of the United States, subject, how- 
ler, to the restriction that they are required " in the vicinity*' of the 
local bank. But the Bank of the United States is under no such re- 
strictions ; its services are coextensive with the United States and 
their territories. 

The local banks agree to submit their books and accounts to the 
Secretary of the Treasury, or to any agent to be appointed by him, 
but to be paid by the local banks pro rata, as far as such examination 
is admissible tcithout a violation of their respective charters ; and how 
far that may be the Secretary cannot tell, because he has not yet 
seen all the charters. He is, however, to appoint the agents of ex- 
amination, and to fix the salaries which the local banks are to pay. 
And where does the Secretary find the authority to create ofRcers and 
fix their salaries, without the authority of Congress ? 

But the most improvident, unprecedented and extraordinary pro- 
▼isbn in the contract a that which relates to the security. Wheii| 


and not until, the dcposites in the local bank shall exceed one-half 
of^he capital stock actually paid in, collateral security, salisf ctory to 
the Secretary of the Treasury, is to be given for the safety of the d^ 
posites. VVhy, sir, a freshman, a schoolboy, would not have thus 
dealt with his father^s guardian's money. Instead of the securi^ 
preceding f it is io follow the depositc of the people's money ! That 
is, the local bank gets an amount of their money, equal to one-half 
its capital, and then it condescends to give security ! Does not the 
Secretary know, that, when he goes for the security, the money maj 
be gone, and that he. may be entirely unable to get the one or the 
other ? We have a law, if I mistake not, which forbids the advanoa 
of any public money, even to a disbursing agent of the governmenl, 
without previous security. Yet, in violation of the spirit of that law, 
or, at least, of all common sense and common prudence, the Secro- 
tary disperses upwards of twenty-five millions of public revenue amoag 
a countless number of unknown banks, and stipulates that, when tfaa 
amount of the deposite exceeds one-half of their respective capital^ 
security is to be given ! 

The best stipulation in the whole contract is the last, which 
aenres to the Secretary of the treasury the power of discharging th 
local banks from the service of the United States whenevex he pleaaea \ 
and the sooner he exercises it, and restores the public depositea la 
the place of acknowledged safety, from which they have been raahlj 
taken, the better for all parties concerned. 

Let us look into the condition of one of these local banks, the 
est to us, and that with respect to which we have the best informa- 
tion. The banks of this district (and among them that of the Me* 
tropolis) are required to make annual reports of, their condition oa 
the first day of January. The latest official return from the Metrop- 
olis bank is of the first of January, 1S32. Why it did not make ona 
on the first of last January, along with the other banks, I know not 
In point of fact, I am informed, it made none. Here is its account of 
January, 1832, and I think you will agree that it is a Flemish one. 
On the debit side stand capital paid in $500,000. Due to the baaksi 
$20,911 10; individuals on deposite $74,977 42; dividend and ex- 
penses$17,591 77 ; and surplus $8,131 02 ; making an aggregate of 
$684,496 31. On the credit side there are bills and notes discouat- 
ed) and stock (what sort }) bearing interest, $626,01 1 90 ; real eatate, 



4|18,404 86 ; notes of other banks on hand, and checks on do., $28, 
213 SO ; specie — ^now Mr. President, how much do yoo imagine? 
Recollect, that this is the bank selected at the seat of government, 
where there is necessarily concentrated a vast amount of public mo* 
ney, employed in the expenditure of government. Recollect that, by 
another executive edict, all public officers, charged with the disburse* 
ment of the public money here, are required to make their deposites 
with this Metropolis ; and how much specie do you suppose it had 
at the date of its last official return.^ $10,974 76. Due from other 
banks, $5,890 99 ; making in the aggregate on the credit side, $684, 
496 31. Upon looking into the items, and casting them up, you will 
find that this Metropolis bank, on the first day of January, 1832, was 
liable to an immediate call for $176,335 29, and that the amount 
which it had on hand ready to meet that call, was $40,079 55. And 
this is one of the banks selected at the seat of the general government, 
for the deposite of the public moneys of the United States. A bank 
with a capital of thirty-millicms of dollars, and upwards of ten milU 
MDs of specie on hand has been put aside, and a bank with a capital 
of half a million, and a little more than ten thousand dollars in specie 
€10 hand, has been substituted in its place ! How that half million 
has been raised — ^whether in part or in the whole, by the neutralizing 
operation of giving stock notes in exchange for certilBcates of stock, 
^bes not appear. 

The design of the whole scheme of this treasury arrangement seema 
Id have been, to Lave united in one common league a number of local 
hutks, dispersed throughout the Union, and subject to one central 
will, with a right of scrutiny instituted by the agents of that will. It 
is a bad imitation of the New York project of a safety fund. This 
confederation of banks will probably be combined in sympathy as wdl 
as interest, and will be always ready to fly to the succor of the 
source of their nourishment. As to their supplying a common cur- 
rency, in place of that of the bank of the United States, the plan is 
totally destitute of the essential requisite. They are not required to 
credit each other's paper, unless it be issued in the ^^ immediate viei* 

We have seen what is in this contract. Now let us see what m 
moi there. It contains no stipulation for the preservation of the pub* 
Ue morab.; none for the freedom of deetions ; none for the purity of 


the press. All these great interests, afler all that has been said agmintt 
the Bank of the United States, are lefl to shift and take care of them- 
selves as they can. We have already seen the President of a bank 
in a neighboring city, rushing impetuously to the defence of the Se- 
cretary of the treasury against an editorial article in a newspaper, 
although the '< venom of the shaft was quite equal to the vigor of the 
bow." Was he rebuked by the Secretary of the treasury ? Was the 
bank dUcharged from the public service ? Or, are mor als, the prem, 
and elections, in no danger of contamination, when a host of banks 
become literary champions on the side of power and the officers of 
government ? Is the pali-iotism of the Secretary only alarmed when 
the infallibility of high authority is questioned ? Will the Statee 
silently acquiesce, and see the federal authority insinuating itself into 
banks of their creation, and subject to their exclusive control ? 

We have, Mr. President, a most wonderful financier at the head of 
.lur treasury department. He sits quietly by in the cabinet, and wit- 
nesses the contest between his colleague and the President ; sees the 
conflict in the mind of that colleague between his personal attach- 
ment to the President on the one hand, and his solemn duty to the 
public on the other. Beholds the triumph of conscientious obligation ; 
contemplates the noble spectacle of an honest man, preferring to snr* 
render an exalted office with all its honors and emoluments, rather 
than betray the interests of the people. Sees the contemptuous and 
insulting expulsion of that colleague from office ; and then coolly en- 
ters the vacated place, without the slightest sympathy or the small- 
est emotion. He was installed on the 23d of September, and by the 
26th, the brief period of three days, he discovers that the government 
of the United States had been wrong from its origin ; that every one 
of his predecessors from Hamilton down including Gallatin (who, 
whatever I said of him on a former occasion, and that I do not mean 
to retract, possessed more practical knowledge of currency, banks, 
and: finance, than any man I have ever met in the public councils,) 
Dallas, and Crawford had been mistaken about both the expediency 
and constitutionality of the baik, that every chief magistrate, prior to 
him whose patronage he enjoyed, had been wrong ; that the supreme 
court of the United States, and the i)eople of the United States, dur- 
ing the thirty-seven years that they had acquiesced in or recognised 
the usefulness of -a bank, were all wrong. And opposing his single 
opinion to their united judgments, he dismisses the bank, scatters the 


public money, and underUkes to regulate and purify the public mo- 
rab, the public press, and popular elections. 

If we examine the operations of this modem Turgot, in their finan- 
cial bearing merely, we shall find still less for approbation. 

1. He withdraws the public moneys, where, by his own deliberate 
adn^ission, they were perfectly safe, with a bank of thirty-five mill- 
ions of capital, and ten millions of specie, and places them at great 
hazard with banks of comparatively small capital, and but little spe- 
cie, of which the Metropolis bank is an example. 

2. He withdraws them from a bank created by, and oyer which 
the federal government had ample control, and puts them in other 
banks, created by different governments, and over which it has no 

3. He wiU^raws them from a bank in which the American peo- 
ple as a stocxholder, were drawing their fair proportion of interest 
accruing on loans, of which those deposites formed the basis, and puts 
them where the people of the United States draw no interest. 

4. From a bank which has paid a bonus of a million and a half, 
which the people of the United States may be now liable to refund, 
and puts them in banks which have paid to the American people no 

5. Depreciates the Talue of stock in a bank, where the general 
government holds seven millions, and advances that of banks in whose 
stock it does not hold a doUan^ and whose aggregate capital does 
not probably much exceed that very seven millions. And, finally, 

6. He dismisses a bank whose paper circulates, in the greatest 
credit tfanragfaout the Union and in foreign countries, and engages in 
tfie public service banks whose paper has but a limited and local cir- 
culation in their ^' immediate yicinities.'^ 

These are immediate and inevitable results. How much that largt 
and long-atanding item of unavailable funds, annually reported to 


230 spiechu of hbnrt clat. 

CoDgreM, will be swelled and extended, remains to be developed by 

And now, Mr. President, what, under all these circumstances, is it 
our duty to do ? Is there a senator, who can hesitate to affirm, in 
the language of the resolution, that the President has assumed a dan- 
gerous power over the treasury of the United States not granted to 
him by the constitution and the laws ; and that the reasons assigned 
for the act, by the Secretary of the treasury, are insufficient and un- 
satisfactory ? 

The eyes and the hopes of the American people are anxiously 
turned to Congress. They feel that they have been deceived and in- 
sulted ; their confidence abused ; their interests betrayed ; and their 
liberties in danger. They see a rapid and alarming concentration of 
all power in one man^s hands. They see that, by the exercise of the 
positive authority of the executive, and his negative power exerted 
over Congress, the will of one man alone prevails, and governs the 
Republic. The question is no longer what laws will Congress pass, 
but what will the executive not veto ? The President, and not Codp 
gress, is addressed for legislative action. We have seen a corpora- 
tion, charged with the execution of a great national work, dismiss an 
experienced, feithful and zealous President, afterwards testify to his 
ability by a voluntary resolution, and rewaid his extraordinary servi- 
ces by a large gratuity, and appoint in his place an executive favor- 
ite, totally inexperienced and incompetent, to propitiate the Presi- 
dent. We behold the usual incidents of approaching tyranny. The 
land is filled with spies and informers ; and detraction and denuncia- 
tion are the orders of the day. People, especially official incumbents 
in this place, no longer dare speak in the fearless tones of manly firee- 
men, but in the cautious whispers of trembling slaves. The premoni- 
tory symptoms of despotism are upon us ; and if Congress do not ap- 
ply an instantaneous and effective remedy, the fatal collapse will soon 
come on, and we shall die — ignobly die ! base, mean, and abject slayet 
—the scorn and contempt of mankind — ^unpitied, unwept, unmoomed ! 


In thk Ssnate or tub United States^ Maach 7, 1834. 

{Od preeenting certain memoriak preying for relief from the effects of the Removal 
of the Depoaite8» Mr. Clay said—] 

I have been requested by the committee from Philadelphia, charg- 
ed with presenting the memorial to Congress, to say a few words on 
the subject ; and although after the ample and very satis&ctory ex- 
position which it has received from the Senator fix>m Massachusetts, 
further observations are entirely unnecessary, I cannot deny myself 
the gratification of complying with a request, proceeding from a 
source so highly worthy of reqpectfiil consideration. 

And what is the remedy to be provided for this most unhappy state 
of the country ? I have conversed freely with the members of the 
Philadelphia committee. They are real, practical, working-men ; 
intelligent, well acquainted with the general condition, and with the 
sufferings of their particular community. No one, who has not a 
heart of steel, can listen to them, without feeling the deepest sym- 
pathy for the privations and sufierings unnecessarily brought upon 
the laboring classes. Both the committee and the memoritd declare 
that their reliance is, exclusively, on the legislative branch of the 
government. Mr. President, it is with subdued feelings of the pro- 
foundoit humility and mortification, that I am compelled to say that, 
constituted as Congress now is, no relief will be afforded by it, unless 
its members shall be enlightened and instructed by the people them- 
selves. A large portion of the body, whatever may be their private 
judgment upon the course of the President, believe it to be their- 
duty, at all events safest for themselves, to sustain him without re- 
gfard to the consequences of his measures upon the public interests. 
And nothing but clear, decided an4 unequivocal demonstrations of 


the popular disapprobation of what has been done^ will divert theni 
from their present purpose. 

But there is another quarter which possesses sufficient power a&d 
influence to relieve the public distresses. In twenty-four hours, the 
executive branch could adc^t a measure which would a£R>rd an efll* 
cacious and substantial remedy, and re-establish confidence. And 
those who, in this chamber, support the administration, could not 
render a better service than to repair to the executive mansion, and, 
placing before the chief magistrate the naked and undisguised truths 
prevail upon him to retrace his steps and abandon his fatal experi- 
ment. No one, sir, can perform that duty with more propriety thaD 
yourself. You can, if yc u will, induce him to change his course. 
To you, then, sir, in no unfriendly spirit, but with feelings softened 
and subdued by the deep distress which pervades every class of our 
countrymen, I make the appeal. By your official and personal relap> 
tionswith the President, you maintain with him an intercourse which 
I neither enjoy nor covet. Go to him and tell him, without exagge* 
ration, but in the language of truth and sincerity, the actual condi* 
tion of his bleeding country. Tell him it is nearly ruined and utt- 
done by the measures which he has been induced to put in operation. 
Tell him that hi$ experiment is operating on the nation like the phi- 
losopher's experiment upon a convulsed animal, in an exhausted re- 
ceiver, and that it must expire in agony, if he does not pause, give it 
free and sound circulation, and suffer the energies of the people to 
be revived and restored. Tell him that, in a single city, more than 
sixty bankruptcies, involving a loss of upwards of fifteen millions of 
dollars, have occurred. Tell him of the alarming decline in the 
value of all property, of the depreciation of all the products of in- 
dustry, of {he stagnation in every branch of business, md of the dose 
of numerous manufacturing establishments, which, a few short 
months ago, were in active and flourishing operation. Depict to him^ 
if you can find language to portray, the heart-rending wretchedncvs 
of thousands of the working classes cast out of employment. Tell 
him of the tears of helpless widows, no longer able fo earn their 
bread, and of unclad and unfed orphans who have been driven, by Yob 
policy, out of the busy pursuits in which but yesterday they were 
gaining an honest livelihood. Say to him that if firmness be honor* 
able, when guided by truth and justice, it is intimately allied (• 
another quAlity, of the moil pernicious tendem^, in the proeecotUNi 


of an erroneous system. Tell him how much more true glory is to 
be won by retracing false steps, than by blindly rushing on until his 
country is overwhelmed in bankruptcy and ruin. Tell him of the 
ardent attachment, the unbounded devotion, the enthusiastic grati- 
tude towards him, so often signally manifested by the American peo- 
ple, and that they deserve at his hands better treatment. Tell him 
to guard himself against the possibility of an odious comparison with 
that worst of the Roman emperors, who, contemplating with indl&r- 
ence the conflagration of the mistress of the world, regaled himself 
during the terriffic scene in the throng of his dancing courtiers. If 
you desire to secure for yourself the reputation of a public benefactor) 
describe to him truly the universal distress already produced, and the 
certain ruin which must ensue from perseverance in his measures. 
Tell him that he has been abused, deceived, betrayed, by the wicked 
counsels of unprincipled men around him. Inform him that all ef- 
forts in Congress to alleviate or terminate the public distress are par- 
alyzed and likely to prove totally unavailing, from his influence upon 
a large portion of the members, who are unwilling to withdraw their 
support, or to take a course repugnant to his wishes and feelings. 
Tell him that, in his bosom alone, under actual circumstances, does 
the power abide to relieve the country ; and that, unless he opens it 
to conviction, and corrects the errors of his administration, no human 
imagination can conceive, and no human tongue can express, the 
awful consequences which may follow. Intreat him to pause, and 
to reflect that there is a point beyond which human endurance can- 
ngt go ; and let him not drive this brave, generous, and patriotic peo- 
ple to madness and despair. 

Mr. President, unafiectedly indisposed, and unwilling as I am to 
trespass upon the Senate, I could not decline complying with a re- 
quest addressed to me by a respectable portion of my fellow citizens, 
part of the bone and sinew of the American public. Like the Sena- 
tor from Massachusetts, who has been entrusted with the presenta- 
tion of their petition to the Senate, I found them plain, judicious, 
sensible men, clearly understanding th^ own interests, and, with 
the rest of the community, writhing under the operation of the mea- 
sures of the execBtive. If I have deviated from the beaten track of 
debate in the Senate, my apology must be found in the anxious solici- 
tude which I feel for the condition of the country. And, sir, if I 
shall have been soocessful in touching your heart, and exciting in 700 


a glow of patriotism, I shall be most happy. You can prerail upon 
the President to abandon his ruinous course ; and, if you will exert 
the influence which you possess, you will command the thanks and 
the plaudits of a grateful people. 

/ .{ 


In ths Senate of the United States, March 14, 1834. 

I AM charged with the pleasing duty of presenting to the Senate 
the proceedings of a public meeting of the people, and two memori- 
als, subscribed by large numbers of my fellow citizens^ in respect to 
the exciting state of public afiairs. 

The first I would offer are the resolutions of the young men of 
Troy, assembled upon a call of upwards of seven hundred of their 
number. I have recently visited that interesting city. It is one of 
the most beautiful of a succession of fine cities and villages that de- 
corate the borders of one of the noblest rivers of our country. In 
spite of the shade cast upon it by its ancient and venerable sister and 
neighbor, it has sprung up with astonishing rapidity. When I saw it 
last fall, I never beheld a more respectable, active, enterprizing and 
intelligent business community. Every branch of employment was 
flourishing. Every heart beat high in satisfaction with present en- 
joyment, and hopes from the prospect of future success. How sadly 
has the scene changed ! How terribly have all their anticipations of 
continued and increasing prosperity been dashed and disappointed by 
the folly and wickedness of misguided rulers ! 

The young men advert to this change, in their resolutions, and to 
its true cause. They denounce all experiments upon their happiness. 
They call for the safer councils which prevailed under the auspices 
of Washington and Madison, both of whom gave their approbation to 
charters of a Bank of the United States. 

But, what gives to these resolutions peculiar interest, in my esti^ 
mation, is, that they exhibit a tone of feeling which rises far aboya 
any loss of property, however great, any distress from the stagnation 
of business, however intense. They manifest a deep and patriotic 


sensibility to executive usurpations, and to the consequent danger to 
civil liberty. They solemnly protest against the union of the purse 
and the sword in the hands of one man. They would not have con- 
sented to such a union in the person of the father of his country, 
much less will they in that of any living man. They feel that, when 
liberty is safe, the loss of fortune and property is comparatively no- 
thing ; but that when liberty is sacrificed, existence has lost all its 

The next document which I have to offer is a memorial, signed by 
near nine hundred mechanics of the city of Troy. Several of them 
are personally known to me. And judging from what I know, see 
and hear, 1 believed there is not any where a more skilful, indos* 
trious and respectable body of mechanics than in Troy. They bear 
testimony to the prevalence of distress, trace it to the legal acts €)i 
the executive branch of the government in the removal of the public 
deposites ; ask their restoration, and the recharter of the Bank of 
the United States. And the committee, in their letter addressed to 
me, say : << We are, what we profess to be, working men, dependent 
upon our labor for our daily bread, confine our attention to our seve- 
ral vocations, and trust in God and the continental Congress for such 
protection as will enable us to operate successfully." ' 

The first mentioned depository of their confidence will not deceive 
them. But I lament to say that the experience, during this sessioii| 
does not authorize us to anticipate that co-operation in another quar- 
ter which is indispensable to the restoration of the constitution and 
laws, and the recovery of the public purse. 

The last memorial I would present, has been transmitted to me 
by the Secretaries to a meeting stated to be the largest ever held in 
the county of Schenectady, in New York. It is signed by about 
eight hundred persons. In a few instances, owing to the subscrip- 
tions having been obtained by different individuals, the same name 
occurs twice. The memorialists bring their testimony to the exis- 
tence of distress, aud the disorders of the currency, and invoke the 
application of the only known, tried and certain remedy, the estab- 
lishment of a National Bank. 


And now, Mr. President I will avail myself of the occasion to fiy 


a few words on the subject matter of these proceedmgs and memori- 
ak) and on the state of the country as we found it at the commence- 
ment of the session, and its present state. 

When we met, we found the executive in the fuH possession of 
the public treasury. All its barriers had been broken down, and in 
place of the control of the law was substituted the uncontrolled will 
of the chief magistrate. I say uncontrolled : for it is idle to pretend 
that the executive has not unrestrained access to the public treasury, 
when every officer connected with it is bound to obey his paratnoont 
will. It ts not the form of keeping the account ; it is not the place 
alone where the public money is kept ^ but it is the power, the au- 
thority , the responsibility of independent officers, checking and check- 
ed by each other, t^^at constitute the public security for the safety of 
the public treasure. This no longer exists, is gone, is annihilated. 

The Secretary sent us in a report containing the reasons (if they 
can be dignified with that appellation) for the executive seizure of 
the public purse. Resolutions were promptly offered in this body, 
denouncing the procedure as unconstitutional and dangerous to liber- 
ty, and declaring the total insufficiency of the reasons. Near three 
months were consumed in the discussion of them. In the early part 
of this protracted debate, the supporters of distress, pronounced it a 
panic got up for dramatic effect, and affirmed that the country was 
enjoying great prosperity. Instances occurred of members asserting 
that the places of their own residence was in the full enjoyment of 
enviable and unexampled prosperity, who, in the progress of the de- 
bate, were compelled reluctantly to own their mistake, and to admit 
the existence of deep and intense distress. Memorial after memorial 
poured in, committee after committee repaired to the capitol to re- 
present the sufferings of the people, until incredulity itself stood re- 
buked and abashed. Then it was the Bank that had inflicted the 
calamity upon the country — ^that Bank which was to be brought un- 
der the feet of the President, should proceed forthwith to wind up 
its affitirs. 

And, during tfi6 debate, it was again and again pronounced by the 
partisans of the executive, that the sole question involved in the 
resolutionB was bank or no bank. It was in vain that we protested, 
a^livtndy protested, that that was not the question ; and that tha 


true question was of immensely higher import ; that it comprehended 
the inviolability of the constitution, the supremacy of the laws, aiid 
the union of the purse and the sword in the hands of one man. In 
vain did members repeatedly rise in their places, and proclaim their 
intention to vote for the restoration of the deposites, and their settled 
determination to vote against the recharter of the Bank, and againat 
the charter of any Bank. Gentlemen persisted in asserting the iden- 
tity of the bank question, and that contained in the resolutions ; and 
thousands of the people of the country are, to this moment, deluded 
by the erroneous belief in that identity. 

Mr. President, the arts of power and its minions are the same in 
all countries and in all ages. It marks a victim ; denounces it ; and 
excites the public odium and the public hatred, to conceal its own 
abuses and encroachments. It avails itself of the prejudice, and the 
passions of the people, silently and secretly, to forge chains to en- 
slave the people. 

Well, sir, during the continuance of the debate, we have been told 
over and over again, that, let the question of the deposites be settled, 
let Congress pass upon the report of the Secretary, and the activity 
of business and the prosperity of the country will again speedily re- 
vive. The Senate has passed upon the resolutions, and has done its 
duty to the country, to the constitution, and to its conscience. 

And the report of the Secretary has been also passed upon in the 
other house ; but how passed upon ? The official relations which 
exist between the two houses, and the expediency of preserving good 
feelings and harmony between them, forbid my saying all that I feel 
on this momentous subject. But I must say, that the House, by the 
constitution, is deemed the especial guardian of the rights and inte- 
rests of the people ; and, above all, the guardiaik of the people's mo- 
ney in the public treasury. The House has given the question of the 
sufficiency of the Secretary's reasons the go-by, evaded it, shunned 
it, or rather merged it, in the previous question. The House oi Re* 
presentatives have not ventured to approve the Secretary's reasons. 
It cannot approve them ; but, avoiding the true and original question, 
has gone off upon a subordinate and collateral point. It has indirect- 
ly sanctioned the executive usurpation. It has virtually abandoned 
its constitutional care alid control over the public treasury. It haa 


•ufrendered the keys, or rather permits the executive to retain their 
custody $ and thus acquiesces in that conjunction of the sword and 
the puise of the nation, which all experience has evinced, and all 
patriots have helievedi to be fatal to the continuance of public liberty. 

Such has been the extraordinary disposition of this great question. 
Has the promised relief come ? In one short week, after the house 
pronounced its singular decision, three Banks in this District of Co- 
lumbia have stopped parent and exploded. In one of them the 
goyernment has, we understand, sustained a loss of thirty thousand 
dollars. And in another, almost within a stone's throw of the capi- 
tol, that navy pension fund, created for our infirm and disabled, but 
gallant tars, which ought to be held sacred, has experienced an ab- 
straction of $20,000 ! Such is the realization of the prediction of 
relief made by the supporters of the executive. 

And what is the actual state of the public treasury ? The Presi- 
dent, not satisfied with the seizure of it, more than two months be- 
fore the commencement of the session, appointed a second Secretaiy 
of the treasury since the adjournment of the last Congress. We are 
now in the fifth month of the session ; and in defiance of the sense 
of the country, and in contempt of the participation of the Senate in 
the appointing power, the President has not yet deigned to submit 
the nomination of his Secretary to the consideration of the Senate. 
Sir, I have not looked into the record, but, from the habitual prac- 
tice of every previous President, firom the deference and respect which 
they all maintained towards a co-ordinate branch of the government, 
I venture to say that a parallel case is not to be found. 

Mr. President, it is a question of the highest importance what is 
to be the issue, what the remedy of the existing evils. We should 
deal with the people openly, frankly, sincerely. The Senate stands 
ready .to do whatever is incumbent upon it ; but unless the majority 
in the House will relent , unless it will take heed of and profit by 
recent events, there is no hope ioa^ the nation from the joint action of 
the two Houses of Congress at this session. Still, I would say to 
my countrymen, do not despair. You are a young, brave, intelligent 
and as yet a firee people. A complete remedy for all that you suffer, 
and all that you dread, is in your own hands. And the events, to 
which I have just alluded, demonstrate that those of us have not 


been deceived who have always relied upon the Tirtue, the capacity, 
and the intelligence of the people. 

I congratulate you, Mr. President, and I hope you will receive the 
congratulation with the same heartfelt cordiality with which I tender 
it, upon the issue of the late election in the city of New York. I 
hope it will excite a patriotic glow in your bosom. I congratulate 
the Senate, the country, the city of New York, the friends of liberty 
every where. It was a great victory, k must be so regarded in 
every aspect. From a majority of more than six thousand, which 
the dominant party boasted a few months ago, if it retain any, it is a 
meagre and spurious majority of less than two hundred. And the 
whigs contended with such odds against them. A triple alliance of 
atate placemen, corporation placemen and federal placemen, amoant- 
ing to about thirty-five hundred, and deriving, in the form of salarieBi 
compensations and allowances, ordinary and extra, from tho public 
chests, the enormous sum, annually, of near one million of dollars. 
Marshalled, drilled, disciplined, comtnanded. The struggle was tre- 
mendous ; but what can Withstand the irresistible power of the vota- 
ries of truth, liberty, and their country ? It was an immortal tiiumph 
— a triumph of the constitution and the laws over usurpation here, 
and over clubs and bludgeons and violence there. 

Gro on, noble city ? Go on, patriotic whigs ! follow up your gjio* 
rious commencement ; persevere, and pause not until you have re- 
generated and disenthralled your splendid city, and placed it at the 
head of American cities devoted to civil liberty, as it now stands pre- 
eminently the first as the commercial emporium of our commoB 
country ! Merchants, mechanics, traders, laborers, never cease to 
recollect that, without freedom, you can have no sure commerce or 
business ; and that without law you have no security for personal 
liberty, property, or even existence ! Countrymen of Tone, of Em* 
met, of Macneven, and of Sampson, if any of you have been dec^v- 
ed, and seduced into the support of a cause dangerous to Amepcan 
liberty, hasten to review and correct your course ! Do not forget 
that you abandoned the green fields of your native island to esci^ 
what you believed the tyranny of a British king ! Do not, I adjure 
you, lend yourselves, in this land of your asylum, this last retreat of 
the freedom of man, to the establishment here, for you, and for na all, 
of that despotism which you had proudly hoped had been left behind 


joU| in Europe, forever ! There it iniiehy I would fain belieTe, in 
the coDititutioDBl forms of goverainent. But at last it is its parental 
and beneficent operation that must fix its character. A government 
may in form be free, in practice tyrannical ; as it may in form be des- 
potic, and in practice liberal and free. 

It was a brilliant and signal triumph of the whigs. And they have 
assumed for themselves, and bestowed on their opponents, a demon- 
stration which, according to all the analogy of history, is strictly cor^ 
rect. It deserves to be extended throughout the whole country. 
What was the origin, among our British ancestors, of those appella- 
tions ? The tories were the supporters of executive power, of royal 
prerogative, of the maxim that the king could do d/o wrong, of the 
detestable doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance. Th^ 
whigs were the champions of liberty, the friends of the people, and 
the defenders of the power of their representatives in the House of 

During our revolutionary war, the tories took sides with executi?e 
power and prerogative, and with the king, against liberty and inde- 
pendence. And the whigs, true to their principles, contended against 
royal executive power, and for freedom and independence. 

And what is the present but the same contest in another form ? 
The partisans of the present executive sustain his power in the most 
boundless extent. Xhey claim for him all executive authority. 
They make his sole will the governing power. Every officer con- 
cerned in the administmtion, from the highest to the lowest, is to 
conlbhn to his mandates. Even the public treasury, hitherto regard- 
ed as sacred, and beyond his reach, is placed by them under his oi- 
tire direction and control. The whigs of the present day are oppos- 
ing executive encroachment, and a most alarming extension of ex- 
ecutive power and prerogative. They are ferreting out the abuses 
and corruptions of an administration, under a chief magistrate who is 
endeavoring to concentrate in his own person the whole powers of 
government They are contending for the rights of the people, for 
civil liberty, for free institations, for the soprenmcy of the constitu- 
tion and the laws. The contest is an arduous one ; but, although 
the straggle may be yet awhile prolonged, by the blessing of Ood 
aad the qpirilMf ow aaeeitofBY tha iMae caoBDi be doob^ 


The Senate stands in the breach, ready to defend the constitntioii, 
and to relieve the distresses of the*people. Bat, without the cod- 
corience of another branch of Congress, which ought to be the first 
to jieid it, the Senate alone can send forth no act of legislation. Un 
aided, it can do no positive good ; but it has vast {Nreventive power. 
It may avert and arrest evil, if it cannot rebuke usurpation. Sena* 
tors, let us remain steadily by the constitution and the country, in 
this most portentous crisis ; let us oppose, to all encroachments and 
to all corruption, a manly, resolute and uncompromising resistance , 
let us adopt two rules from which we will never deviate, in deliber* 
ating upon all nominations. In the first place, to preserve untarnish- 
ed and unsuspected the purity of Congress, let us negative the nomi* 
nations of every member for any office, high or low, foreign or do- 
mestic, until the authority of the constitution and laws is fully re- 
stored. I know not that there is any member of either house capable 
of being influenced by the prospect of advancement or promotion , I 
would be the last to make such an insinuation ; but suspicion is 
abroad, and it is best, in these times of trouble and revolution, to de- 
fend the integrity of the body against all possible imputations. For 
one, whatever others may do, I here deliberately avow my settled 
determination, whilst I retain a seat in this chamber, to act in con- 
formity to that rule. In pursuing it, we but act in consonance with 
a principle proclaimed by the present chief magistrate himself when 
out of power ! But, alas ! how little has he respected it in power .' 
How little has he, in office, conformed to any of the principles which 
he announced when out of office ! 

And, in the next place, let us approve of the original nomination 
of no notorious brawling partisan and electionterer ; but, especially, 
of tne reappointment of no officer presented to us, who shall have 
prostituted the influence of his office to partisan and electioneering 
purposes. Every incumbent has a clear right to exercise the elee* 
tive franchise. I would be the last to controvert or deny it. But he 
has no right to employ the inflnence of his office, to exercise an agen- 
cy which he holds in trust for the people, to promote his own selfish 
or party purposes. Here, also, we have the authority of the present 
chief magistrate for this rule ; and the authority of Mr. Jefllerson. 
The Senator from Tennesee (Mr. Grundy) merits lasting praiae for 
his open and manly condemnation of these practices oi official incmn* 
bents. He was right, when he declared his suspicioii and distmat of 




the purity of the motives of any officer whom he saw busily interfer- 
iog in the elections of the people. 

Senators ! we have a highly responsible and arduous position ; but 
the people ate with us, and the path of duty lies clearly marked be- 
fore us. Let us be firm, persevering and unmoved. Let us perform 
our duty in a manner worthy of our ancestors — ^worthy of American 
Senators — ^worthy of the dignity of the sovereign States that we re- 
present — above all, worthy of the name of American freemen ! Let 
us '< pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor," to rescue 
our beloved country from all impending dangers. And, amidst the 
genera] gloom and darkness which prevail, let us <pntinue to present 
one unextinguished light, steadily burning, in the cause of the people, 
ef the constitution, and of dvil liberty. 



Iv THE Senate of the United States, January 14, 1835. 

[General Jackson haying in a Special Message recommended the adoption of ex* 
treme measarea, or the conferring on the Executive of power to adopt such mea*. 
ores against France, in case her government did not promptly comply wkh her Miii> 
istry's stipulation to pay us 25,000,000 francs in satisfaction of our claims, Mr. 
Clat, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, reported the followiag resobi* 

Badved, That it is inexpedient, at this time, to pass an}r law vesting in the .. .««^ 
dent anthority for making reprisals upon Frenen property, in the contingencv of pio- 
viaion not bemg made for paying to the United States tne indemnity Btipuibtea by 
the treaty of 1831, during the present session of the French Chambeis. 

The question being on agreeing to this resolution, Mr. Clay said :] 

It is not my purpose, at the present stage of consideration of Htm 
resolution, and I hope it will not be necessary at any stage, to say 
much with the view of enforcing the arguments in its fevor, which 
are contained in the report of the committee. In the present posture 
of our relations with France, the course which has appeared to me 
and to the committee most expedient being to await the issue of those 
deliberations in the French Chambers which may even at this mo- 
ment be going on, it would not be proper to enter at large, at the 
present time, into all the particulars touched upon \m the report. On 
all questions connected with the foreign affairs of the country, difi^ 
ences of opinion will arise, which will finally terminate in whateTer 
way the opinion of the people of this country may so tend as to in- 
fluence their representatives. But, whenever the course of things 
shall be such that a rupture shall unfortunately take place between 
this country and any foreign country, (whether France or any other) 
I take this opportunity of saying that, from that moment, whateTer 
of energy or ability, whatever of influence I may possess in my coun- 
try, shall be devoted to the carrying on that war with the utnost 
vigor which the arms and resources of the United States can give -to 

09 001 RXLAtlOirS WITH nAllCE. 245 

it. I will not anticipate* howeyer, tiich a state of things — nay, I 
feel yery confident that snch a rupture will not occur between the 
United States and France. 

With respect to the justice of our claim upon France for payment 
of the indemnity stipulated by the treaty, the report of the committee 
is in entire concurrence with the executive. The opinion of the com- 
mittee is that the claims stipulated to be paid are founded in 
justice ; that we must pursue them ; that we must finally obtain sat- 
isfaction for them, and, to do so, must, if necessary, employ such 
means as the law of nations justifies and the constitution has placed 
within our power. On these points there is no diversity of sentiment 
between the committee and the President ; there could be no diver- 
sity between either the committee or the President and any American 

In all that the President has said of the obligation of the French 
government to make the stipulated provision for the claims,' the com- 
mittee entirely concur. If the President, in his message, after making 
his statement of the case, had sto^d there, and abstained from the 
recommendation of any specific measure, there could not have been 
possibly any diversity of opinion on the subject between him and any 
portion of the country. But when he declares the confidence which 
he entertains in the French government ; when he expresses his con- 
viction that the executive branch of that government is honest and 
aincere in its professions, and recites the promise by it of a renewed 
efibrt to obtain the passage of a bill of appropriation by the French 
Chambers, it did appear to the committee inconsistent with these pro- 
fessions of confidence, that they should be accompanied by the recom- 
mendation of a measure which could only be authorized by the con- 
viction that no confidence, or, at least, not entire confidence, could be 
placed in the declaration and professions of the French government. 
Confidence and distrust are unnatural allies. If we profess confidence 
anywhere, especially if that confidence be but for a limited period, it 
should be unaccompanied with any indication whatever of distrust-^ 
* confidence fiill, free, frank. But to say, as the President, through 
our minister, has said, that he will await the issue of the deliberations 
of the Chambers, confiding in the sincerity of the king, and this, too, 
after hearing of the rejection of the first bill of appropriation by the 
Chamben, and now, at the very moment when the Chaittbm are 


about deliberating on the subject, to throw out in a message to Cod* 
gress what the President himself considered might possibly be riewed 
as a menace, appeared to the committee, with all due deference to the 
executive, and to tbe high and patriotic purposes which may be sap- 
posed to have induced the recommendation, to be inconsistent to such 
a degree as not to be seconded by the action of Congress. It alaoap- 
peared to the committee, after the distinct recommendation by tbe 
President on this subject, that there should be some expression of the 
sense of Congress in regard to it. Such an expression is proposed bj 
the resolution now under consideration. 

In speculating upon probabilities in regard to the course of the 
French government, in reference to the treaty, four contingenciefl 
might be supposed to arise : First, that the French government may 
have made the appropriation to carry the treaty into effect before the 
reception of the President's message : Secondly, the Chambers may 
make the appropriation after the reception of the President's message, 
and notwithstanding the reconunendation on this subject contained in 
it : Thirdly, the Chambers may, in consequence of that recommen- 
dation, hearing of it before they shi^ have acted finally on the sub* 
ject, refuse to make any appropriation until what they may consider 
a menace shall have been explained or withdrawn : Or, fourthly, they 
may, either on that ground, or on the ground of dissatisfaction with 
the provisions of the treaty, refuse to pass the bill of appropriation. 
Now, in any of these contingencies, after what has passed, an expres- 
sion of the sense of Congress on the subject appears to me indispen- 
sable, either to the passage of the bill, or the subsequent payment of 
the money, if passed. 

Suppose the bill to have passed before the reception of the 
and the money to be in the French treasury, it would throw upon 
the king a high responsibility to pay the money, unless the recom- 
mendation of the message shpuld be explained or done away; or at 
any rate unless a new motive to the execution of the treaty should be 
furnished in the fact that the two Houses of Congress, having consid* 
ered the subject, had deemed it inexpedient to act until the French 
Chambers should have had an opportunity to be heaid from. In the 
second contingency, that of the passage of a bill of appropriation after 
receiving the message, a vote of Congress, as proposed, would be 
soothing to the pride of France, and calculated to continue that good 


mderatanding which it must be the sincere desire of every citizen of 
the United States to cultivate with that country. If the Chambers 
diall have passed the bill, they will see that though the President of 
the'Utiited States, in the prosecution of a just claim, and in the spirit 
of sustaining the rights of the United States, had been induced to 
recommend the measure of reprisals, yet that a confidence was enter* 
tained in both branches of (Congress that there would be a compliance, 
on the part of the French government, with the pledges it had given 
&c. In that contingency, the expression of such a sentiment by Con- 
gress could not but have a happy effect. In the other contingency 
supposed, also, it is indispensable that some such measure should be 
adopted. Suppose the bill of appropriation to be rejected, or its pas- 
sage to be suspended, until the Chambers ascertain whether the 
recommendation by the President is to be carried out by the passage 
of a law by Congress, a resolution like this will furnish the evidence 
desired of the disposition of Congress. 

If, indeed, upon the reception of the President's message the Cham 
hers shall have refused to make the appropriation, they will have put 
themselves in the wrong by not attending to the distribution of the 
powers of this government, and informing themselves whether those 
branches which alone can give efiect to the President's recommenda- 
tion, would respond to it. But, if they take the other course sug- 
gested, that of suspending action on the bill until they ascertain 
whether the legislative department of the government coincides with 
the executive in the contingent measure recommended, they will 
then find thatthe President's recommendation — the expression of the 
opinion of one high in authority, indeed, having a strong hold on the 
aflfections and confidence of the people, wielding the executive power 
of the nation — but still an inchoate act, having no effect whatever 
without the legislative action — had not been responded to by Con- 
gress, &c. Thus under all contingencies happening on the other side 
of the water, and adapted to any one of those contingencies, the pas- 
sage of this resolution can do no mischief in any event, but is eminently 
calculated to prevent mischief, and to secure the very object which 
the President doubtless proposed to accomplish by his reconmiendation. 

I will not now consume any more time of the House by further re- 
marks, but will resume my seat with the intimation of my willingness 
to modify the resolution in any manner, not changing its result, 


may be calculated to secure, what on such an occasion would be 
highly desirable, the unanimous vote of the Senate in its &Yor. I 
belieye it, however, all essential that tiiere should be a declaration 
that Congress do not think it expedient, in the present state of the 
relations between the United States and France, to pass any law 
whatever concerning them. 

[After brief remarks by seTeral other memben, the letolntion was stightlj ommL- 
fied and passed by a unanimoas vote.] 



Ih thk Ssnatb of the United Status Fxbbuart 14, 1836. 

[The fiat for the Removal of the Cherokeesfrom their territory withu the Uuted 
States haying gone forth, Mr. Clat presented to the Senate the memorial of tlioie 
Indians, and accompanied it by the following Speech. 

I HOLD in my handg^aiid beg leave to present to the Senate certaMi 
resolutions and a memorial to the Senate and House <^ Representa- 
tives of (he United States, of a Council met at Running Waters, con- 
flisting of a portion of the Cherokee Indians. The Cherokees have a 
country —if, indeed, it can be any longer called their country — ^whioh 
is comprised within the limits of Greorgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and 
South Carolina. They have a population which is variously estima- 
ted, but which, according to the best information which I possess, 
amounts to about fifteen thousand souls. Of this population, a por- 
tion, believed to be much the greater part, amounting, as is estimated 
to between nine and ten thousand souls, reside within the limits of 
the State of Georgia. The Senate is well aware, that for several 
years past it had been the policy of the general government to trans- 
fer the Indians to the west of the Mississippi river, and that a portion 
of the Cherokees have already availed themselves of this policy of 
the government, and emigrated beyond the Mississippi. Oi those 
who remain, a portion — a respectable, but also an inconsiderable por- 
tion — are desirous to emigrate to the west, and a much larger portion 
desire to remain on their lands, and lay their bones where rest those 
of their ancestors. The papers which I now present emanate from 
the minor portion of the Cherokees ; from those who are in favor of 
emigration. They present a case which appeals strongly to the sym- 
pathies of Congress. They say that it is impossible fi>r them to con- 
tinue to live under laws which they do not understand, passed by 
authority in which they have no share, promulgated in latiguage of 
which nothing is known to the greater portion of them, and estab- 
fisiuBg ndee for their goveninent entirely nnadapted to their natwe, 


education and habits. They say that destruction is hanging over 
them if they remain ; that, their right of self-goyemment being de- 
stroyed, though they are sensible of all the privations, and hardships, 
and sufferings of banishment from their native homes, they prefer 
exile with liberty, to residence in their homes with slavery. They 
implore, therefore, the intervention of the general government to 
provide for their removal west of the Mississippi, and to establiah 
guaranties never hereafter to be violated, of the possession of tlie 
lands to be acquired by them west of the Mississippi, and of the per* 
petual right of self-government. This is the object of the resolutions 
and petition which I am about to ofier to the Senate. 

But I have thought that this occasion was one which called upon 
me to express the opinions and sentiments which I hold in relation to 
this entire subject, as respects not only the emigrating Indians, but 
those also who are desirous to remain at home ; in short, to express 
in concise terms, my views of the relations between the Indian tribes 
and the people of the United States, the rights of both parties, and 
the duties of this government in regard to them. 

The rights of the Indians are to be ascertained, in the first place, 
by the solemn stipulations of numerous treaties made with them fay 
the United States. It is not my purpose to call the attention of the 
Senate to all the treaties which have been made with Indian tribes 
bearing on this particular topic : but I feel constrained to ask the at- 
tention of the Senate to some portions of those treaties which have 
been made with the Cherokees, and to the memorable treaty of 
Greenville, which has terminated the war that previously thereto, 
for many years, raged between the United States and the northwest- 
em Indian tribes. I find, upon consulting the collection of Indian 
treaties in my hand, that within the last half century, fourteen dittisr- 
ent treaties have been concluded with the Cherokees, the first of 
which bore date in the year 1775, and some one or more of which 
have been concluded under every administration of the general 
government, from the beginning of it to the present time, except the 
present administration, and that which immediately preceded it. The 
Jreaty of Hopewell, the first in the series was concluded in 1775 ; in 
the third article of which << the said Indians for themselves, and their 
respective tribes and towns, do acknowledge all the Cherokees to be 
under the protection of the United States of America, iimdcfm^ other 


Mevereign whaitoever.^^ The fifth article of the tame treaty proridea 

*' If any citizen of the United States, or other person, not being an Indian, shall 
attempt to settle on any of the lands westw ard or sonthward of the said boandury^ 
which are hereby allotted to the Indians for their hunting grounds, or, having al- 
ready settled, and will not remove from the same within six months after the ratifi- 
cation of this treaty snch peison riiall forfeit the protection of the United States, and 
the Indians may punish him or not, as thev please : provided nevertheless, that thif 
article shall not extend to the people settled between the fork of French, Broad, aai 
Holston riveis," Sec 

The next treaty in the series, which was concluded after the esta- 
blishment of the government of the United States, under the auspicea 
of the father of his country, was in the year 179 1, on the banks of 
the Holston, and contams the following provision : 

*' Art. 7. The United States solemnly guarantee to the Cherokee nation all their 
lands not hereby ceded." 

This is not an ordinary assurance of protection, to., but a iokwm 
guaranty of the rights of the Cherokees to the lands in questioD. 
The next treaty to which I will call the attention of the Senate, was 
concluded in 1794, also, under the auspices of General Washington, 
and declares as follows : 

*' The understracd llpnr}r Knox, Secretary for (he department of war, being au- 
thorized thereto by the President of the United States, in behalf of the said Unittd 
States, and the undersigned chiefs and warrio's, in their own names, and in behalf 
of the whole Cherokee nation, are desirous of re-establishing peace and friendship 
between the said parties in a permanent maimer, do hereby declare that the said 
treaty of Holston i^. to all intents and purposes, in full force and binding upon the 
said parties, as well in respect to boundaries therein mentioned, as in all other re* 
^»ects whatever." 

This treaty, it is seen, rtnewi the solemn guarantee contained in 
the preceeding treaty, and declares it to be binding and obligatory 
apon the parties in all respects whatever. 

Again : in another treaty, concluded in 1798, under the second 
Chief Magistrate of the United States, we find the following stipula- 
tions: ^^ 

" Alt. 1. The treaties sabnsting between the present contracting parties are ao« 
knowledged to be of full and operating force ; together with the construction and 
■sage voder their respective articles, and so to eoatinne." 

*' Art. S. The limits and boundaries of the Cherokee nation, as stipulated and 
narked by the existing treaties between the parties shall be and remain the same, 
where not altered by the present treaty." 

There were other provisions, in other tieatieai to which, if I did*- 


BOi intend to take up as little time as possible of the Senate, I might 
advantageously call their attention. 1 will, however, pass on to one 
of the last treaties with the Cberokees, which was concluded in the 
year 1817. That treaty recognized the difference existing between 
the two portions of the Cberokees, one of which was desirous to re- 
main at home and prosecute the good work of civilization, in which 
they had made some progress, and the other portion was desirous to 
go beyond the Mississippi. In that treaty, the fifth article, afiei 
several other stipulations, concludes as follows : 

"And it is fnitheT stipulated, that the treaties heretofore between the Cherokee 
nsnob aad the United Htates are to continue in fuU foree with both parts of the na- 
tion, and both parts thereof entitled to all the privileges and immunities which the 
old nation enjoyed under the aforesaid treaties ; the United States reserrinc the 
right of establishing laciories, a military poet, and roads within the boundaries u»ove 

And to this treaty, thus emphatically renewing the recognition of 
the rights of the Indians, is signed the name as one of the Commis* 
noners of the United States who negotiated it, of the present CSiief 
Magistrate of the United States. 

These were the stipulations in treaties with the Cherokee nation, 
to which I thought proper to call the attention of the Senate. I 
will now turn to the treaty of Greenville, concluded about forty yean 
ago, recognizing some general principles applicable to this subject. 
The fiflh article of that treaty reads as follows : 

*• To prevent any misunderrtanding about the Indian lands relinquished by the 
United States in the fourth article, it is now explicitiv declared, that the meanii^ 
of that relinquishment is this : the Indian tribes who nave a right to those lands are 
quietly to e^joy them, hunting, planting, and dwelling thereon so ]onfi^ as ihey please, 
witbont any molestation from the United States ; but when these tribes, or any of 
them, shall be disposed to sell their lands, or any part of them, they are to be aold 
only to the United States ; and, until such sale, tne United States will protect all the 
said Indian tribes in the quiet enjoyment of their lands against all citizens of the 
United States, and against all other white persons who intrude upon the same. And 
the said Indian tribes again acknowledge themselves to be under the protection of 
the said United Statesy and no other power whatever." 

Such, sir, are the rights of the Indian tribes. And what are thoee 
rights ? They are, that the Indians shall live under their own cus- 
toms and laws ; that they shall live upon their own lands, huDting) 
planting and dwelling thereon so long as they please, without inter- 
ruption or molestation of any sort from the white people of the UnitodI 
States, acknowledging themselves under the protection of the United 
States, and of no other' power whatever ; that when they no longer 


w»h to keep the land*, they shall aell them only to the United Statae, 
whose goyernment thoa aecures to iteelf the pre-emptive right of por- 
chaae in them. These rights, so secured by succesaiye treaties and 
gnamnties, have also been recognixed| on several occasionS| by the 
highest judicial tribunals. 

Udr. Gi^T here qnoted from an opiBioii o^ the Supreme Court a pfiagr dedans 
that the Indians are acknowledged to hare an unquestionable and heretofore na- 
questioned right to their land, nntil it ahaU be extinguished by Toluntarj ceanon to 
this government.] 

But it is not at home alone that the rights of the Indians within 
the limits of the United States have been recognised. Not only has 
the Executive, the Congress of the United States, and the Supreme 
Court, recognised these rights, but in one of the most important 
epochs of this government, and on one oi the most solemn occasions 
in our intercourse with foreign powers, these rights of the Indian 
tribes have been acknowledged. You, sir, will understand me at 
once to refer to the negotiation between the government of Great 
Britain and that of the United States, which had lor its object the 
termination of the late war between the two countries. Sir, it must 
be within your recollection, and that of every member of the Senate, 
that the hinge upon which that negotiation turned — ^the ground upon 
which it was for a long time apprehended that the conference be 
tween the commissioners would terminate in a rupture of the nego- 
tiation between the two countries — ^was, the claim brought forward 
on that memorable occasion by Great Britain in behalf of the Indians 
within the limits of the United States. It will be recollected that 
she advanced, as a principle from which she would not recede, as a 
ttna ^a acm, again and again, during the progress of the negotiati<Mi, 
that the Indians as her allies, should be included in the treaty of peace 
which the negotiators were about forming ; that they should have a 
permanent boundary assigned them, and that neither Great Britain 
nor the United States should be at liberty to purchase their lands. 

Such were the pretensions urged on that occasion, which the com« 
missioners of the United States felt it to be their imperative duty 
to resist. To establish, as the boimdary, the line of the treaty of 
Greenville, as proposed, which would have excluded from the 
benefit of American laws and privileges a population of ixyt less than 
a hundrM thousand of the inhabitanti of Ohio, American dtixens. 

354 'flPKBOHn or hutbt olat. 

titled to the protection of the govermnenty was a proposition which 
the American negotiators could not for a moment entertain : thejr 
would not even refer it to their government, though assured that it 
would there meet the same unanimous rejection that it did firom them. 
But it became a matter of some importance that a satisfactory assur- 
ance should be given to Great Britain that the war, which we were 
about to brin^ to a conclusion with her, should close also with her 
allies : and what was that assurance ? I will not trouble the Senate 
with tracing the whole account of that negotiation, but I beg leacve 
to call your attention to one of the passages of it. You will find, on 
examining the history of the negotiation, that the demand brought 
forward by the British government, through their minister, on this 
occasion, was the subject of several argumentative papers. Towanb 
the close of this correspondence, reviewing the course pursued towards 
the Aborigines by the several European powers which had planted 
colonies in America, comparing it with that of the United States, and 
contrasting the lenity, kindness and forbearance of the United States, 
with the rigor and severity of other powers, the American negotiaton 
expressed themselves as follows : 

'* From the rigor of this syttem^ howeyer, as practiied by Great Britain, and all tkf 
other Eoropean powers in America, the humane and li{>eral policy of the United 
Slates has yoluntarily relaxed. A celebrated writer on the law o( nations, to whoae 
authority British jurists have taken iwrticular satisfaction in appealing, after stating, 
in the most explicit inanner, the le^Htimacy of colonial settlements in America,^to 
the exclusion of all rights of uncivilized Indian tribes, has taken occasion to praiie 
the first settlers of New England, and of the fonndcr of Pennsylvania, in haviqf 
parchased of the Indians the lands they resolved to cultivate, notwithstanding their 
being furnished with a charter from their sovereign. It is this example which the 
United States, since they became by their independence the sovereigns of the terri- 
tory, have adopted and organized inio a political $yttem. Under that sytttm the bi- 
dians residing m the United States are so far independent that thty live under Clecr 
mim cuttomsj and mot under the lavM tyfthe United Statee: that their rights^ upon the 
lands where they inhabit or hunt are eecured to them by botmdarie$ defined in amiea- 
Ue treaties between the United States and themselves ; and that wheneTrr tluwe 
boundaries are varied, it is also by amicable and voluntary treaties, by which they 
receive from the United States ample compensation for every right tney hav« to iba 
tends ceded by them/* &c. 

The correspondence was farther continued ; and finally the com- 
missioners on the part of Great Britain proposed an article to which 
the American commissioners assented, the basis of which is a decla- 
ration of what is the state of the law between the Indian tribes and 
the people of the United States. They then proposed a further arti- 
cle, which declared that the United States should endeavor to restore 
peace to the Indians who had acted on the side of Great Britain, to- 
gether with all the rights, possessions, privileges and immunities which 


they po89essed prior to the year 1811, that ia, antecedent to the 
between England and the United States ; in consideration that Great 
Britain would terminate the war so far as respected the Indians who 
had been allies of the United States, and restore to them all the righto, 
privil^es, possessions and immunities which these also had eiijoyed 
previously to the same period. Mr. President, I here state my solemn 
belief that, if the American commissioners had not declared the laws 
between the Indians and the people of this country, and the rights of 
the Indians to be such as they are stated to be in the extracts 1 have 
read to the Senate ; if they had then stated that any one State of this 
Union who happened to have Indians residing within its limits, pot- 
sesspd the right of extending over them the laws of such State, and 
of taking their lands when and how it pleased, that the effect wouU 
have been a prolongation of the war. I again declare my most solemn 
belief, that Great Britain, who assented with great reluctance to this 
mutual stipulation with respect to the Indians, never would have done 
it at all, but under a conviction of the correspondence of those prin- 
ciples of Indian international law, (if I may use such a phrase) with 
those which the United States government had respected ever since 
the period of our independence. 

Sir, if I am rjght in this, let me ask whether in adopting the new 
code which now prevails, and by which the rights of the Indians 
have been trampled on, and the most solemn obligations of treaties 
have been disregarded, we are not chargeable with having induced 
that power to conclude a peace with us by suggestions utterly un- 
founded and erroneous ? 

f ^ 

^. Most of the treaties between the Cherokee nation of Indians and 
the United States have been submitted to the Senate for ratification, 
aad the Senate have acted upon them in conformity with their con- 
stitutional power. Besides the action of the Senate, as a legislative 
body, in the enactment of laws in conformity with their stipulations, 
regulating the intercourse of our citizens with that nation, it has acted 
ia its separate character, and confirmed the treaties themselves by the 
constitutional majority of two-thirds of its members. Thus have 
those treaties been sanctioned by the government of the United States 
and by every branch of this government ; by the Senate, the Execu- 
tive, and the Supreme Court ; both at home and abroad. But not 
only have the rights of the Cherokees received all these recognitioM , 


theyhftTB been, by implication, recognized by the Stste of Georgia 
itielf, in the act of 1802, in which she stipulated that the goyemment 
of the United States, and not the State of Georgia, should extingnLA 
tbe Indian title to the land within her limits ; and the general govern- 
ment has been, from time to time, urged by Georgia to comply 
its engagements, from that period until the adoption of the late 
policy upon this subject. 

Having thus, Mr. President, stated, as I hope, with clearness, the 
RIGHTS of the Indian tribes, as recognised by the most solemn MtB 
that can be entered into by any goyemment, let me in the next plaoe 
inquire into the nature of the injuries which have been inflicted upon 
them ; in other words, into the present condition of the Cherokeea,to 
whom protection has been assured as well by solemn treaties aa by 
the laws and guaranties of the United States government 

And here let me be permitted to say, that I go into this subject 
with feelings which no language at my command will enable me ad- 
equately to express. I assure the Senate, and in an especial manner 
do I assure the honorable senators from Greorgia, that my wish and 
purpose kB any other than to excite the slightest possible irritation on 
ttie part of any human being. Far from it. I am actuated only by 
feelings of grief, feelings of sorrow, and of profound regret, irresistibly 
called forth by a contemplation of the miserable condition to which 
these unfortunate people have been reduced by acts of legislation 
proceeding from one of the States of this confederacy. I again assure 
the honorable senators from Georgia, that, if it has become my pain- 
fril duty to comment upon some of these acts, I do it not with any 
desire to place them, or the State they represent, in an invidious po- 
sition ; but because Georgia was, I believe, the first in the career, 
the object of which seems to be the utter annihilation of every Indiu 
right, and because she has certainly, in the promotion of it, far ont* 
stripped every other State in the Union. 

I have not before me the various acts of the State in reference to 
the Indians within her bounds ; and it is possible I may be under 
some mistake in reference to them ; and if I am, no one will co r rec t 
the error more readily or with greater pleasure. 

If, however, I had all those laws in my hands, I should not mw 


sttempt to read them. Instead of this, it will be sufficient for me to 
state the effects which have been produced by them upon the condi- 
tion of the Cherokee Indians residing in that State. And here follows 
a list of what has been done by her legislature. Her first act was to 
abolish the goyernment of these Cherokees. No human community 
can exist without a goyernment of some kind ; and the Cherokees, 
imitating our example, and haying learned from us something of the 
principles of a free constitution, established for themselyes a goyern- 
ment somewhat resembling our own. It is quite immaterial to us 
what its form was. They always had had some goyernment among 
them ; and we guarantied to them the right of Hying under their own 
laws and customs, unmolested by any one ; insomuch that our own 
citizens were outlawed, should they presume to interfere with them. 
What particular regulations they adopted in the management of their 
humble and limited concerns is a matter with which we haye no 
concern. Howeyer, the yery first act of the Greorgia legislature was 
to abolish all goyemments of eyery sort among these people, and to 
extend the laws and goyernment of the State of Greorgia oyer them. 
The next step was to divide their territory into counties ; the next, 
to sunrey the Cherdcee lands ; and the last, to distribute this land 
among the citizens of C^rgia by lottery, giving to eyery head of a 
fiunily one ticket, and the prize in land that should be drawn against 
it. To be sure there were many reservations for the heads of Indian * 
fiunilies ; and of how much did gentlemen suppose ? — ^f one hundred 
and sixty acres only, and thb to include their improvements. But 
eyen to this limited possession the poor Indian was to have no fee 
simple title : he was to hold as a mere occupant at the will of the 
State of Georgia for just as long or as short a time as she might think 
proper. The laws at the same time gaye him no one particular right 
whatever. He could not become a member of the State legislature, 
nor could he hold any office under State authority, nor could he vote 
as an elector. He possessed not one single right of a freeman. No, 
not even the poor privilege of testifying to his wrongs in the charac- 
ter of a witness in the courts of Georgia, or in any matter of contro- 
ycrsy wh*tsoeyer. - f. 

These, Mr. President are the acts of the legislature of the State of 
Georgia, in relation to the Indians. They were not all passed at one 
session ; they were enacted, time afler time, as the State advanced 
fdrther und fbrther in her steps to the acquisitioQ of the Indian C9«n- 



tiy, and the destruction and annihilation of all Indian rights, nntil,lrf 
a recent act of the same body, the courts of the State itself are occla- 
ded against the Indian sufferer, and he is actually denied an appeal 
even to foreign tribunals, in the erection and in the laws of which lie 
had no roice, there to complain of his wrongs. If he enters the hall 
of Greorgia's justice, it is upon a surrender at the thteshold of all hia 
rights* The history of this last law to which I have alluded, is this. 
When the previous law of the State, dividing the Indian lands by 
lottery was passed, some Indians made an appeal to one of the judges 
of the State, and applied for an injunction against the proceeding ; 
and such was the undeniable justice of their plea, that the judge found 
himself unable to refuse it, and he granted the injunction sought It 
was the injunction which led to the passage of this act : to some of — ; 
the provisions of which I now invite the attention of the Senate. \ 
And first, to the title of the act : "^ 

** A bill to amend an act entitled an act more effectaally to protride forthe goven- 
ment and protection of the Cherokee Indians residing within the limits of Georgia : 
and to prescribe the bounds of their occupant claims : and also to authorise gmaip 
to uane for lots drawn in the late land and gold lotteries." 

Ah, sir, it was the pursuit of gold which led the Spanish invader 
to desolate the fair fields of Mexico and Peru — *^ and to provide for 
the appointment of an agent to carry certain parts thereof into exe- 
cution ; and to fix the salary of such agent, and to punish those per* 
sons who may deter Indians from enrolling for emigration, passed 2(Hh 
December, 1833." Well, sir, this bill goes on to provide, 

" That it shall be the dnty of the agent or agents a^*pointed by his excellency Ike 
OoTemor, under the authority of this or the act of which it is amendatoiy, to report 
to him the number, district, and section of all lots of land subject to be grantedTby 
the provisions of said act, which he may be required to do by the drawer, or his 
agent, or the person claiming the same; and it shall be the duty of his excellency 
the Governor, upon the appUcation of the drawer of any of the aforesaid lota, his or 
her special agents, or the person to whom the drawer may have bona-fide conveyed 
the same, his agent or assigns, to issue a grant therefor ; and it shall be the duty of 
the said agent or agents, upon the productions of the grant so issued as aforesaid Iw 
toe grantor, his or her agent, or the person, or his or hor agent to whom the said land 
so granted as aforesaid may have been bona-fide conveyM, to deliver possession q( 
said granted lot to the said grantee, or person entitled to the possession of the same 
under the provisions of this act, or the act of which this is amendatory, and his ex- 
cellency the Governor is hereby authorized upon satisfactory evidence that the said 
agent is impeded or resisted in delivering such possession, by a force which he can- 
not overcome, to order out a sufficient force to carry the power of said agent or 
agents fully into etfect, and to pay the expenses of the same out of the contingent 
fund : provided nothing in this art shall be so construed as to require the interfereaoe 
of the said agent lietween two or more individuals claiming possession, by virtue of 
titles derived from a grant from the State to any lot.' 

Thus after the State of Georgia had diitiboted the lands of the 

OUR TRXATimrT OP Tin CBimOKBlt. 950 


ladiaDs bj lottery, and the drawers of prizes were authorised to re- 
eeiye grants of the land drawn, and with these grants in their hand 
were authorized to demand of the agent of the State, appointed for 
the purpose, to be pat in possesciion of the soil thus obtained ; and if 
any resistance to their entry should be made — and who was to make 
it but a poor Indian ? — the Governor was empowered to turn out the 
military force of the State, and enable the agent to take possession by 
force, without trial, without judgment, and without investigation. 

But, should there be two claimants of the prize, should two of the 
ticket holders dispute their claim to the same lot, then no military 
force was to be used. It was only when the resistance was by an 
Indian — it was only when Indian rights should come into coUisioi 
with the alledged rights of the l^tate of Georgia, that the strong hand 
of military power was instantly to interpose. ^ 

The next section of the act is in these words : 

And be it fojiher enacted by the authority aforfsaid. That if any penon dims- 
led of a lot of land under this act, or the act of which it is amvndatory. Bhallgo 
befofe a justice of the peace or of the inferior court, and make affidavit tnat he or 
•be was not liable to be dispossessed under or bv any of the provisions of this or the 
aJbresatd act, and file said affidavit in the clerk^s office of ine superior court of the 
ooonty in which said land shall lie, such peivon upon giving bond and security in the 
clerk's office for the costs to accrue on the trial, shall be permitted within ten days 
from such diflXMsessing to enter an appeal to said superior court, and at said court 
^ judge shall cause an issue to be made up between the appellant and the person to 
whom possession of said land was delivered by either or sud agents, which said 
lane shall be in the following form.** 

[Mr. Cuthbert, of Georgia, here interposed : and having obtained Mr. Clat*s 
ooasentto explain, stated that he had unfortunately not been in the Senate when 
ths honorable Senator commenced his speech ; but had learned that it was in m^ 
portof a memorial from certain Cherokee Indians in the State of Georgia, who de- 
aired to emigrate. He must be permitted to say, that the current of the honorable 
Senator's remarks did not suit remarkably well the subject of such a memorial. A 
■leaBorinl of a different kind had been presented, and which the Committee on In- 
Saik Affairs had before it, to which the Senator's remarks would better apply. The 
present diacuiBion was wholly unexpected, and it seemed to him not in consasteney 
widi the ofaieetof the memorial he had presented.] 

I am tmly sorry the honorable gentleman was absent when I com- 
menced speaking. I delayed presenting the memorial because I ob- 
serred that neither of the Senators from Georgia were in their seats, 
until the hour when they might be expected to be present, and when 
one of them (Mr. King) had actuaUy taken his seat. If thehonora 


ble Senator had been preaent lie would hare heard me say that I 
thought the preaentation of the memorial a fit occasion to express mj 
oentiments, not only touching the rights of these individual petition- 
ersi but on the rights of all the Indian tribes, and their relations to 
this goyernment. And if he will have but a little patience he will 
find that it is my intention to present propositions which go to era- 
brace both resolutions. 

And here, Mr. President, let me pause and invite the attention of 
the Senate to the provision in the act of G^rgia which I was leading 
—-that is, that he may have the privilege of an appeal to a tribund 
of justice, by forms and by a bond with the nature and force of which 
ha is unacquainted ; and that then he may have — ^what besides ? I 
invoke the attention of the Senate to this part of the law. What, I 
ask, does it secure to the Indian ? His rights ? The rights recog- 
nized by treaties ? The rights guarantied to him by the most solenm 
acts which human governments can perform ? No. It allows him 
to come into the courts of the State, and there to enjoy the benefit 
of the summary proceeding called in the act ^^ an appeal I" — ^but 
which can never be continued beyond a second term ; and when lie 
comes there, what then ? 'He shall be permitted to come into court 
and enter an appeal, which shall be in the following form : 

" A. B., who was dispotBessed of a lot of land by an agent of the State of Geoiaia* 
comes into court, and admitting the right of the State of Georgia to pass the law 
under which agent acted, avers that he was not liable to be dispossestu^d of said land, 
by or under any one of the provisions of the act of the General Aesembly of Georgia, 
passed 20th December. 1838, ' more effectually to provide for the protection of the 
Cherokee Indians resiaing within the limits of'^ Georgia, and to prescribe the bounds 
of their occupant claims, and also to authorize grants to issue for lots drawn in the 
lud and gola lotteries in certain cases, and to provide for the appointment of aa 
■gent to carry certain parts thereof into execution, and fix the salaiy of such agent, 
and to punish those persons who may deter Indians from enrolling for emigration/ 
or the act amendatory thereof, passed at the session of the legislature of 1S34 : *it 
which issue the person to whom possession of said land was delivered shall join : 
and which issue shall constitute tne entire pleadings between the parties ; nor shall 
the court allow any matter other than is contained m said iesue to be placed upon 
the record or files of said court ; and said cause shall be tried at the first term ofthe 
oonrt, unless good cause i^all be shown for a continuance, and the same party rhaO 
not be permitted to continue said cause more than once, except for nnavoidabis 
providential cause : nor shall said court at the instance of eirher party pass anr order 
or grant any injunction to stay said cause, nor permit to be engrafted on said canas 
any other proceedings whatever.' '* 

At the same time we find, by another enactment, the jtidges of the 
courts of Georgia are restrained from granting injunctions, so that the 
only form in which the Indian can come before them is m the form 
of an appeal ; and in this, the very first step is an absolute renuncia- 


titfn of the rights he holds hy treaty, and the unqualified admisakm 
of the rights of his antagonist, as conferred hy the laws of Georgia ; 
and the court is expressly prohibited from putting any thing else upon 
^e record. Why ? Do we not all know the reason ? If the poor 
Indian was allowed to put in a plea stating his rights, and the court 
should then decide against him, the cause would go upon an appeal 
to the supreme court ; the decision could be re-examined, could be 
annulled, and the authority of treaties vindicated.' But, to prevent 
this, to make it impossible, he is compelled, on entering the court, to 
renounce his Indian rights, and the court is forbidden to put anything 
on record which can bring up a decbion upon them. 

Mr. President, I have already stated that, in the obaervations I have 
made, I am actuated by no other than such as ought to be in the 
breast of every honest man, the feelings of common justice. I would 
say nothing, I would whisper nothing, I would insinuate nothing, I 
would think nothing, which can, in the remotest degree, cause irrita- 
tion in the mind of any one, of any Senator here, of any State in this 
Union, I have too much respect for every member of the confederacy. 
1 feel nothing but grief for the wretched condition of these most un- 
fortunate people, and every emotion of my bosom dissuades me from 
the use of epithets that might raise emotions which should draw the 
attention of the Senate from the justice of their claims. I forbear to 
apply to this law any epithet of any kind. Sir, no epithet is needed. 
The features of the law itself ; its warrant for the interposition of 
military power, when no trial and no judgment has been allowed ; its 
'denial of any appeal, unless the unhappy Indian shall first renounce 
ftis own rights, and admit the rights of his opponent — features such 
as these are enough to show what the true character of the act is, 
and supersede the necessity of all epithets, were 1 even capable of ^ 
'applying them. 

' The Senate will thus perceive .that the whole power of the State 
*of Georgia, military as well as civil, has been made to bear upon these 
Indians, without their having any voice in forming, judging upon, or 
executing the laws under which he is placed, and without even the 
poor privilege of establishing the injury he may have suflere by In- 
dian evidence : nay, worse still, not even by the evidence of a white 
man ! Because the renunciation of his rights precludes all evidence, 
irhite or black, eivilixed or savage. There then he lies, with his 



pn^perty, his rights, and every privilege vrhich makes human 
tence desirable, at the mercy of the State of Georgia ; a State, in 
whose government or laws he has no voice. Sir, it is impossible fior 
the most active imagination to conceive a condition of human socie^ 
more perfectly wretched. Shall I be told that the condition of the 
African slave is worse ? No, sir ; no, sir. It is not worse. The m- 
terest of the master makes it at once his duty and his inclination to 
provide for the comfort and the health of his slave : for without these 
he would be unprofitable. Both pride and interest render the master 
prompt in vindicating the rights of his slave, and protecting him from 
the oppression of others, and the laws secure to him the amplest 
m^ans to do so. But who, what human being, stands in the relatioa 
of master or any other relation, which makes him interested in the 
preservation and protection of the poor Indian thus degraded and mis- 
erable ? Thrust out from human society, without the sympathies of 
any, and placed without the pale of common justice, who is there Ip 
protect him, or to defend his rights ^ ( 

Such, Mr. President, is the present condition of these Cherokee 
memorialists, whose case it is my duty to submit to the consideration 
of the Senate. There remains but one more inquiry before I con- 
clude. Is there any remedy within. the scope of the powers of the 
federal government as given by the constitution } If we are withool 
the power, if we have no constitutional authority, then we are also 
without responsibility. Our regrets inky be excited, our sympathies 
may be moved, our humanity may be shocked, our hearts may be 
grieved, but if our hands are tied, we can only unite with all the good, 
the Christian, the benevolent portion of the human family, in deplor- 
ing what we cannot prevent. 

But, sir, we are not thus powerless. I stated to the Senate, whes 
I began, that there are two classes of, the Cherokees ; one of these 
classes desire to emigrate, and it was their petition I presented this 
morning, and M-ith respect to these, our powers are ample to afibcd 
them the most liberal and effectual relief. They wish to go beyond 
the Mississippi, and to be guarantied in the possession of the country 
which may be there assigned to them. As the Congress of the United 
States have full powers over the territories, we may give them aB 
the guaranty which Congress can express for the undisturbed poe* 
session of their lands. With respect to their case there can be jm> 
question as to our powers. 


And then, as to those i?ho desire to remain on this side the river, 
1 ask again, are we powerless ? Can we afibrd them no redress ? 
Must we sit still and see the injury they suffer, and extend no hand 
to relieve them ? It were strange indeed, were such the case. Why 
have we guarantied to them the enjoyment of their own laws ? 
Why have we pledged to them protection? Why have we as- 
signed them limits of territory? Why have we declared that 
they shall enjoy their homes in peace, without molestation from any r 
If the United States government has contracted these Serious ohliga- 
lions, it ought, bef6re the Indians were reduced hy our assurances to 
rely upon our engagement, to have explained to them its want of 
authority to make the contract. Before we pretend to Great Britftin, 
to Europe, to the civilized world, that such were the rights we would 
secure to the Indians, we ought to have examined the extent and the 
grounds of our own rights to do so. But is such, indeed, our situa- 
tion ? No, sir. Georgia has shut her courts against these Indians. 
What is the remedy ? To open ours. Have we not the right ? 
What says the constitution ? 

" The JTidicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity, arisinf iiii<ler 
this constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made or which shall 
be made under their aathority.*' 

But here is a case of conflict between the rights of the proprie- 
ton and the local laws ; and here is the very case which the consti- 
tntion contemplated, when it declared that the power of the federal 
judiciary should extend to all cases under the authority of the United 
States. Therefore it is fully within the competence of Congress, un- 
der the provisions of the constitution, to provide the manper hi which 
the Cherokees may have their rights decided, because a grant of the 
' means is included in the grant of jurisdiction. It is competent, then, 
Ibr Congress to decide whether the Cherokees have a right to come 
into a court of justice and to make an appeal to the highest authority 
to sbstain the solemn treaties under which their rights have been 
guarantied, and in the sacred character of which they have reposed 
their confidence. And if Congress possesses the power to extend 
feUef to the Indians, are they not bound by the most sacred of human 
considerations, the obligations of treaties, the protection assured them, 
by every Christian tie, every benevolent feeling, every humane im- 
pulse of the human heart, to extend it ? If they were to fail to do 
ttita, and there is, aa teasoci aad rerelation declares there ia,a tribaml 


of eternal justice to which all human power is amenahle, bow could 
thex, if they refused to perform their duties to this injuied and op- 
pressed, though civilized race, expect to escape the visitations of that 
Divine vengeance which none will be permitted- to avoid who have 
committed wrong, or done injustice to others ? ^^ 

At this moment, when the United States are urging on thegoveni- 
ment X)f France the fulfillment of the obligations of the treaty con- 
cluded with that country, to the execution of which it is contended 
that France has plighted her sacred faith, what strength, what an ir- 
resistible force would be given to our plea, if we could say to Framoe 
that, in all instances, we had completely fulfilled all our engagenoeuti, 
and that we had adhered faithfully to every obligation which we had. 
contracted, no matter whether it was entered into with a powerful or 
a weak people ; if we could say to her that we had complied with 
all our engagements to others, that we now came before her, alw^fs 
acting right as we had done, to induce her also to fulfil her obliga- 
tions with us. How shall we stand in the eyes of France and of the 
civilized world, if, in spite of the most solemn treaties, which have 
existed for half a century, and have been recognized in every form, 
and by every branch of the government, how shall we be justified if 
we suffer these treaties to be trampled under foot, and the rights 
which they were given to secure trodden in the dust ? How would 
Great Britain, after the solemn understanding entered into with her 
at Ghent, feel after such a breach of faith ? And how could I, as t 
commissioner on the negotiation of that treaty, hold up my head be- 
fore Great Britain, after being thus made an instrument of fraud and 
deception, §» I assuredly shall be, if the rights of the Indians are to be 
thus violated, and the treaties, by which they were secured, violated? 
How could 1 hold up my head, after such a violation of rights, aad 
say that I am proud of my country, of which we must all wish to be 
proud ? 

, For myself, I rejoice that 1 have been spared, and allowed a suita- 
ble opportunity to present my views and opinions on this great ai- 
tional subject, so interesting to the national character of the countiy 
fi^r justice and equity. I rejoice that the voice which, without chaige 
of presumption or arrogance, 1 may say, has ever been raised in defence 
of the oppressed of the human species, has been Iwjard in defence of this 
most oppressed of all. To me, in that awful hour of death, to whieh 



«n must come, and which, with respect to myself, cannot be very fiur 
distant, it will be a source of the highest consolation that an oppor- 
tunity has been found by me, on the floor of the Senate, in the dis- 
charge of my official duty, to pronounce my views on a course of 
policy marked by such wrongs as are calculated to arrest the atten- 
tion of every one, and that I have raised my humble voice, and pro- 
nounced niy solemn protest against such wrongs. / 

I will no longer detain the Senate, but will submit the following 
propositions i 

Rnaived, That the Committee on the JadiettTy be directed to iaqnire into the 
expediency ot making further proviBion, hy law. to enable Indian nations, or tri^e% 
to whose use and occu^ncy lands are secured oy treaties concluded between tbeA 
and the United States, m conformity with the constitution of the United States. 

Radvedt That the Committee on Indian Afiaiis be directed to inquire into tli» 
etpediency of making further proTision, by law, for setting apart a district of coaa- 
trf west of the Mississippi riTer, for rach of the Cherokee nation as may be disrasd 
to emigrate and to occupy the same, and for securing in perpetuity the peacefoi and 
ondiiCaibed enjoyment tnereof to the emignnts and their d««cendaBts. 


In th£ Senate or the United States, Febrvart 11, 1835. 

[A bill making appropriations for the completion of certain portions of the 
beiland Road, and their surrender thereupon to the States, having been reported 
diwiuaed by several senatoTS, in favor of and adverse to the Internal Impiov 
policy, Mr. Cz^y ^poke in substance as follows :] 

I WOULD Dot say a word now but for the introduction in this dit> 
evasion of collateral matters not immediately connected with it. I 
DMan to vote for the appropriation contained in the bill, and I shall 
do so with pleasure, because, under all the circumstances of the case^ 
I feel myself called upon by a sense of imperative necessity to ykiii 
my assent to the appropriation. The road will be abandoned, and all 
the expenditures which have heretofore been made upon it, will be 
entirely thrown away, unless we now succeed in obtaining an appro- 
priation to put the road in a state of repair. Now, 1 do not concur 
with the gentleman (Mr. Swing) that Ohio can as a matter of strict 
right demand of the government to keep this road in repair. And 
why so } Because, by the teems of the compact, under the operation 
of which the road was made, there was a restricted and defined fWnd set 
apart in order to accomplish that object. And that fund measures the 
obligation of the government. It has been, however, long since ex- 
hausted. There is no obligation then on the part of the government 
to keep the road in repair. But I am free to admit, that considera- 
tions of policy will prompt it to adopt that course, in order that an 
opportunity shall be presented to the States to take it into their own 

The honorable senator from Pennsylvania felicitated himself on 
having, at a very early epoch, discovered the unconstitutionality of the 
general government erecting toll gates upon this road, and he voted 
against the first measure to carry that object into execution. I must 
say, that for myself, I think the general government have a right to 


adopt that course which it deems necessary for the preservation of 
a«oad which is made under its own authority. And as a legiti- 
mate consequence from the power of making a road, is derived the 
power of making an improvement on it. That is established ; and 
on that point I am sure the honorable gentleman does not differ from 
those who were in favor of establishing toll-gates at the period to 
which I have alluded. I would repeat, that if the power to make a 
road be conceded, it follows, as a legitimate consequence from that 
power, that the general government has a right to preserve it. And| 
if the right to do so, there is no mode of preservation more fitting and 
suitable than that which results from a moderate toll for keeping up 
the road, and thug continuing it for all time to come. 

The opinion held by the honorable senator at the period to which 
I have adverted, was not the general opinion. He will well remem- 
ber that the power which I contended did exist, was sustained in the 
other branch of the legislature by large majorities. And in that Sen* 
ate, if I am not mistaken, there were but nine dissentients from the 
existence of it. If my recollection deceives me not, I had the pleas- 
ure of concurring with the distinguished individual who now presides 
over the deliberations of this body. I think that he, (the Vice Presi- 
dent) in common with the majority of the Senate and House of Rep- 
resentatives, coincided in the belief, that a road, constructed under 
the orders of the general government, ought to be preserved by the 
authority which brought it into being. Now that is my opinion still. 
1 am not one of those who, on this or any other great national sub- 
ject, have changed my opinion in consequence of being wrought upon 
by various conflicting circumstances. 

With regard to the general power of making internal improve- 
ments, as far as it exists in the opinions I have frequently expressed 
in both houses, my opinion is still unaltered. But with respect to 
the expediency of exercising that power, at any period, it must de- 
pend upon the circumstances of the times. And in my opinion jlhe 
power is to be found in the constitution. This belief I have always 
entertained, and it remains unshaken. I cannot coincide in the opin- 
ion expressed by the honorable senator from Pennsylvania and the 
honorable senator from Massachusetts, in regard to the disposition 
that is to be mode of this road. 

208 fPKKCHBI or tttXTRY CLAT. 

What, I would ask, has been stated on all hands ? That the Cum- 
berland road is a great national object in which all the people of the 
United States are interested and concerned ; that we are interested m 
our corporate capacity, on account of the stake we posses in the pub- 
lic domain, and that we are consequently benefited by that road; 
that the people of the west are interested in it as a common thorough- 
fiffe to all places from one side of the country to the other. 

I say that the principle is fundamentally wrong ; I protest against 
il^ — have done so from the first, and do so again now. It is a 'great 
national object, and we might as well give the care of the mint to 
Pennsylvania ; the protection of the breakwater, or of the public yes 
sels in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, to the respective le- 
gislatures of the States in which that property was situated, as give 
the care of a great national road in which the people of the United 
States were concerned, to the care of a few States which were ac- 
knowledged to have no particular interest in it — States having so 
little interest in that great work that they would not repair it wheo 
oflered to their hands. 

But I shall vote for this appropriation ; I am compelled to vote fer 
it by the force of circumstances over which I have no control. I have 
seen, in reference to internal improvements, and other measures of a 
national character, not individuals merely, but whole masses— entire 
communities — prostrating their own settled opinions, to which they 
have conformed for half a century, wheel to the right or to the left — 
march this way or that, according as they see high authority for it. 
And I see that there is no way of preserving this great object, which 
affords such vast facilities to the western States, no other mode of 
preserving it, but by a reluctant acquiescence in a course of policy, 
which all at least, have not contributed to produce, but which is 
formed to operate on the country, and from which there is no appeal. 

In conclusion, I again reiterate, that I shall vote for the appropria- 
tion in this bill, although very reluctantly, and with the protest that 
the road in question, being the common property of the whole natiooi 
and under the guardianship of the general government, should not be 
treacherously parted from by it and put into the hands of the local 
governments, who feel no interest in the matter. 


In the Skhati of th£ United States, February 18| 1835. ' 

^A bill to define and fix the tenure of office, by limiting the Pre«dent*e power !• 
xeniove subordinate officera to cases in which reasons shall be firen by him, and 
pieacribing the mode of its exercise, having been submitted to the Senate, Bfr. Guiy, 
vpoo the qnestiott of its passage, addressed the Senate an follows tl 

I THINK it extremely fortunate that this subject of executiye patroA- 
age came up, at this session, unencumbered by any collateral qoei- 
tion. At the last session we had the removal of the deposites, the 
treasury report sustaining it, and the protest of the President against 
the resolution of the Senate. The bank mingled itself in all our dif* 
oossions, and the partisans of executive power availed themselves of 
the prejudices which had been artfully excited against that institutioiii 
to deceive and blind the people as to the enormity of executive pre- 
tensions. The bank has been doomed to destruction, and no one now 
thinks the recharter of it practicable, or ought to be attempted. I 
fear that the people will have just and severe cause to regret its de« 
struction. The administration of it was uncommonly able ; and one 
is at a loss which roost to admirci the imperturbable temper <Hr the 
wisdom of its enlightened ptesident. No country can possibly pos- 
sess a better general currency than it supplied. The injurious conse- 
quences of the sacrifice of this valuable institution wUl soon be felt. 
l]^re being no longer any sentinel at the head of our banking estab- 
lishments, to warn them, by its information and operations, of ^h 
pioaching danger, the local institutions, already multiplied to an alarm- 
ing extent, and almost daily multiplying, in seasons <^ prosperity, will 
make free and unrestrained emissions. All the channels of circular 
tion will become gorged. Property will rise extravagantly high, and, 
constantly looking up, the temptation to purchase will be irresistible. 
Inordinate speculation will ensue, debts will be fireely contracted, and 
If hen the season of adversity comes, as come it must, the banks, aet- 
ing without concert and^ withcNU guldey obeying the law ci self-piee- 


eryation, will a]l at the same time call in their issues ; the yast nim- 
ber will exaggerate the alarm, and general distress, wide-spread niia, 
and an explosion of the whole banking system, or the establishmenl 
of a new Bank of the United States, will be the ultimate effects. 

We can now deliberately contemplate the vast expansion of execu- 
tive power, under the present administration, free from embarraM- 
ment. And is there any real lover of civil liberty who can behold h 
without great and just alarm ? Take the doctrines of the Protest 
and the Secretary's ^port together, and, instead of having a balanced 
gpvemment with three co-ordinate departments, we have but oii» 
power in the State. According to those papers all the oiBcers coih* 
oerned in the administration of the laws are bound to obey the Presi- 
dent. His will controls every branch of the administration. No 
matter that the law may have assigned to other officers of thegovem- 
ment specifically defined duties , no matter that the theory of the con 
atitution and the law supposes them bound to the discharge of those 
duties according to their own judgment, and under their own respon- 
sibility, and liable to impeachment for malfeasance ; the will of the 
President, even in opposition to their own deliberate sense of their 
obligations, is to prevail, and expulsion from office is the penalty of- 
disobedience ! It has not, indeed, in terms, been claimed, but it is a 
legitimate consequence from the doctrine asserted, that all the decis- 
ions of the judicial tribunals, not conformable with the President^ 
opinion, must be inoperative, since the officers charged with their 
execution are no more exempt from the pretended obligation to chey 
his orders than any other officer of the administration. 

The basis of this overshadowing superstructure of executive power 
is, the power of dismission, which is one of the objects of the bill ao- 
der consideration somewhat to regulate, but which it is contended bj 
the supporters of executive authority is uncontrolable. The practi- 
cal exercise of this power, during the administration, has reduced the 
salutary co-operation of the Senate, as approved by the constitution, 
in all appointments, to an idle form. Of what avail is it that the 
Senate shall have passed upon a nomination, if the President, at any 
time thereafter, even the next day, whether the Senate be in sessioo 
or in vacation, without any known cause, may dismiss the incumbent? 
Let us examine the nature of this power. It is exercised in the re* 
of the executive mansion, perhaps upon secret information. 


The accused officer b not present, nor beard, nor confronted with tha 
witnesses agaiosL biin, aod the President is judge, jurot, and exeeu* 
tiooer. No reasons ore assigned for the dismission, and the public ia 
left to conjecture the cause. Is not a power so exercised essentially 
a despotic power ? It is adverse to the genius of all free governments, 
the foundation of which is responsibility. Keapunsibilily is the vital 
principle of civil liberty, as irresponsibility is the vital principle of 
despotism. Free gOTerninent can no more exi^t without this princi 
pie than aoinial life can be sustained without the presence of the at- 
mosphere. But is not the Fiesident absolutely irresponsible in thm 
fxercr jQ of this power ? How can be be reached } By impeachmeat ? 
It is a mockery. 

It baa been truly said Ibat the office was not made for the incnn^ 
bent. Nor was it made (or the incumbent of another office. In both 
and in all cases public ollices are created for the public ; and the peo- 
ple hav« a right to know why and wherefore one of their servant* 
dismisses another. The abuses which have flowed and w likely to 
flow from this power, if unchecked, are indescribable. How olten 
have all of us witnessed the expulsion of the most &ithful officen, 
of the highest character, and of the most undoubted probity, for no 
other imaginable reason, tban difference in political sentiments ? It 
begins in politics and may end in religion. If a President should be 
inclined to fanaticism, and the power should not be regulated, what 
it to prevent the dismission of every officer who does not belong to 
hia sect, or persuasion } He mny, perhaps truly, say, if he does not 
dismiss bim, that he has not his contidence. It was the cant lan- 
gua^ of Cromwell and bis associates, when nbnuxious individuals - 
were b or propoaeU for office, that they could not confide in ihem- 
Tbe tendency of this power is to revive the dark ages of feudalism, 
and to render every officer a feudatory. The bravest man in office) 
whose employment and bread depend upon the will of the President, 
will quail under th*' influence of the power of dismission. If opposed 
in sentiments to the administration, he will begin by silence, and 
finally will be goaded into partisanship. 

The Senator from New York, (Mr. Wright) in analyzing the liit 
of one hundred thousand who arc reported by the comniiliee of pn- 
tronage to draw money from the public treasury, contends that a large 
DOrtioa of them cooaiati of the umyi the nevy, and revolutionary pe»* 


itonen ; and, paying a just compliment to their gallantry and patri- 
otism, asks, if they \irill allow themselves to be instrumental in the 
destruction of the liberties of their country ? It is very remarkable 
that hitherto the power of dismission has not been applied to the 
army and nayy, to which, from the nature of the service, it would 
seem to be more necessary than to those in civil places. But accu- 
mulation and concentration are the nature of all power, and especially 
of executive power. And it cannot be doubted that, if the power of 
dismission, as now exercised, in regard to civil officers, is sanctioned 
tad sustained by the people, it will, in the end, be extended to the 
aitny and navy. When so extended, it will produce its usual effect 
of subserviency, or if the present army and navy should be too stem 
and upright to be moulded according to the pleasure of the executiTe, 
ire are to recollect that the individuals who compose them are not to 
lire always, and may be succeeded by those who will be more pliant 
and yielding. But I would ask the Senator what has been the efkdt 
of this tremendous power of dismission upon the classes of officers to 
which it has been applied ? Upon the post-office, the land-office, and 
die custom-house ? They constitute so many corps d^armee^ ready 
to further, on all occasions, the executive views and wishes. Thej 
ttke the lead in primary assemblies whenever it is deemed expedieilt 
fo applaud or sound the praises of the administration, or to carry oot 
its purposes in relation to the succession. We are assured that a lai^ 
majority of the recent convention at Columbus, in Ohio, to nominate 
the President's successor, were office-holders. And do you imagine 
that ihey would nominate any other than the President's known 6^ 

The power of removal, as now exercised, is nowhere in the consti- 
tution expressly recognized. The only mode of displacing a publk^ 
officer for which it does provide, is by impeachment. But it has been 
afgued on this occasion, that it is a sovereign power, an inherent 
l^wer, and an executive power ; and, therefore, that it belongs to the 
President. Neither the premises nor the conclusion can be sustained. 
If they could be, the people of the United States have all along to- 
tally misconceived the nature of their government, and the character 
of the office of their supreme magistrate. Sovereign power is an- 
pfeme power ; and in no instance whatever is there any supreme 
power vested in the President. Whatever sovereign power is, if there 
be any, conveyed by the constitution of the United States, is vested 

ON APPonrniKiin akd bkmotal*. 973 

■V Congreu, or iu the President ud Senate. - The power to declare 
waf, to la; taxes, to coin money, is vested in Congress ; and the 
treaty making power in the President and Senate. 'I'he post-manter 
general has the power to dinnias his deputies. Is that a sovereign 
power, or has he any ? 

Inherent pow<!r ! That is a new principle to enlarge the powers 
of the giineral govemment. Hitherto it has been supposed that there 
are no powers poasened by the goverament of the United Slates, or 
any branch of it, but such as are granted by the constitution ; and in 
order to ascertain what has been granted, that it was necessary to 
show the grant, or to establish that the power claimed was necessary 
and proper to execute some granted power. In other words, that 
there are no powers but those which are expressed or incidental. But 
it seems that a great mistake has existed. The partisans of the exe- 
cutive have discovered a third and more fruiirul source of power. 
Inherent power ! Whence is it derived .' The constitution created the 
office of President, and made it just what it is. It had no power prior 
to its existence. It can hare none but those which are conferrtid 
upon it by the instrument which created it, or laws passed in pursi^ 
■pee of that instrument. Do gentlemen mean, hy inht^rent power| 
iuch power as is exercised by the monarchs or chief magistrate! of 
other countries ? If that be their meaning, they should avow it. 

It has been argned that the power of removal from office is an ex* 
eeutive power ; that all executive power is vested in the President ; 
and that he is to see that the laws are faithfully executed, which, it 
ia contended he cannot do, unless at hia pleasure he may dismiss any 
aubordinate officer. . 

The mere act of dismission or removal may be of an executive 
nature, but the judgment or sentence which precedes it is a function 
of a judicial and not executive nature. Impeachments which, as haa 
been already observed, are the only mode of removal from office ex- 
pressly provided for in the constitution, are to be tried by the Senate, 
acting as a judicial (ribunal. In England, and in all other States, 
Ihey are tried by judicial tribunnls In aoveral of the Slal<^s removal 
from office sometimes is eOecuKl by the legislative authority, as in the 
case of judges on the concurrence of two-thirds uf the members. The 
■dministi^ioD of the lawa of tlte MTeral States proceeds r^uUijIf 


without the exercise on the part of the governors of any power simi- 
lar to that which is claimed for the President. In Kentucky, and in 
other States, the governor has no power to remove sheriffs, coUecton 
of the revenue, clerks of courts, or any one officer employed in ad- 
ministration ; and yet the governor, like the President, is coostito- 
tionally enjoined to see that the laws are faithfully executed. 

The clause relied upon to prove that all executive power is vested 
in the President, is the first section of the second article. Ob exam- 
ining the constitution, we 6nd that, according to its anangement, it 
treats first of the legislative power, then of the executive, and lastly, 
of the judicial power. In each instance it provides how those pow- 
ers shall be respectively vested. The legislative power is confided to 
a Congress, and the constitution then directs how the members of thia 
body shall be chosen, and after having constituted the body enuma- 
rates and carefully specifies its powers. And the same course is ob- 
served both with the executive and the judiciary. In neither casBi 
does the preliminary clause convey any power ; but the powers of the 
several departments are to be sought for in the subsequent provisions. 
The legislative powers granted by the constitution are to be yestedi 
how ? In a Congress. What powers ? Those which are ennmerated. 
The executive power is to be vested, how ? In a council, or in sev- 
eral ? No, in a President of the United States of America. What 
executive power } That which is possessed by any chief magistrate 
in any country, or that which speculative writers attribute to the 
executive head ? No such thing. That power, and that only, which 
the constitution subsequently assigns to the chief nuigistrate. 

The President is enjoined by the constitution to take care that the 
laws be faithfully executed. Under this injunction, the power of 
dismission is claimed for him ; and it is contended that if those 
charged with the execution of the laws attempt to execute them in a 
sense different from that entertained by the President, he may prevent 
ii or withhold his co-operation. It would follow, that if the judiciary 
give to the law an interpretation variant from that of the President, 
he would not be bound to afford means which might become neces- 
sary to execute their decision. If these pretensions are well found- 
ed, it is manifest that the President, by means of the veto, in arresting 
the passage of laws which he disapproves, and the power of expound- 
ing those which are passed, according to hb own sense of themi will 


beeome possessed of all the practical authority of the whole govem- 
Bent. If the judiciary decide a law contrary to the President's opin- 
iOD of its meaning, he may command the marshal not to execute the 
decision, and urge his constitutional obligation to take care that the 
laws be faithfully executed. It will be recollected perhaps, by the 
Senate, that during the discussions on the deposite question, I pre- 
dicted that the day would arrive when • President, disposed to en- 
large his powers, would appeal to his official oath as a source of 
power. In that oath he undertakes that he will '' to tlie best of his 
ability preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United 
States." The fulfilment of the prediction quickly followed : and 
during the same session, in the protest of the President, we find him 
referring to this oath as a source of power and duty. Now, if the 
President, in virtue of his oath, may interpose and prevent anything 
from being done confrary to the constitution, as he understands it , 
and may in virtue of the injunction to take care that the -laws be 
faithfully executed, prevent the enforcement of any law contrary to 
the sense in which he understands it, I would ask what powers re- 
main to any other branch of the government ? Are they not all sab- 
■tantially absorbed in the WILL of one man. 

The President's oath obliges him to do no more than every member of 
Congress is also bound by official oath to do ; that is, to support the 
oonstitution of the United States in tbeir respective spheres of action 
Ib the discharge of the duties specifically assigned to him by the con- 
stitution and laws, he is for ever to keep in view the constitution ; 
and this every member of Congress is equally bound to do, in the 
passage of laws. To step out of his sphere ; to trench upon other 
departments of the government, under the notion that they are about 
to violate the constitution, would be to set a most pernicious nnd dan- 
gerous example of violation of the constitution. Suppose Congress, 
by two-thirds of each branch, pass a law contrary to the veto of the 
President, and to his opinion of the constitution, is ho afterwards at 
liberty to prevent its execution ? The injunction, to which I have 
adverted, common both to the Federal ftnd most of the State ConsU- 
tations, imposes only upon the chief magistrate the duty o*" executing 
those laws with the execution of which he is specially charged ; 
of supplying, when necessary, the means with which he is entrusted 
to enable others to execute those laws, the enforcement of which is 
oonfided to them ; and to commantcate to Congress infractions of die 


laws, that the guilty may be brought to punishment, or the defects of 
legislation remedied. The most important branch of the govemmeftt 
to the rights of the people, as regards the mere execution of the laws, 
is the judiciary ; and yet they hold their offices by a tenure beyiN|4 
the reach of the President. Far from impairing the efficacy of aagr 
powers with which he is invested, this permanent character in tlie 
judicial office is supposed to gire stability and independence to tile 
administration of justice. 

The power of removal from office not being one of those poweis 
which are expressly granted and enumerated in the constitution, «id 
having, I hope, successfully shown that it is not essentially of an 
executive nature, the question arises to what department of the gov- 
ernment does it belong, in regard to all offices created by law, or whose 
tenure is not defined in the constitution ? There is much force in the 
argumej^t which attaches the power of dismission to the President 
and Senate conjointly, as the appointing power. But I think wj 
must look for it to a broader and higher source — the legislative de- 
partment. The duty of appointment may be performed under a law 
which enacts the mode of dismission. This is the case in the post- 
office department, the post-master general being invested with both 
the power of appointment and of dismission. But they are not neces- 
sarily allied, and the law may separate them ; and assign to one funs- 
tionary. the right to appoint, and to a diferent one the right to dis- 
miss. Examples of such a separation may be found in the State gov- 

It is the legislative authority which creates the office, defines its 
duties, and may prescribe its duration. I speak, of course, of offiess 
not created by the constitution, but the law. The office, comii^ into 
existence by the will of Congress, the same will may provide how, 
and in what manner, the office and the officer shall both cease to 
exist. It may direct the conditions on which he shall hold the offise, 
and when and how he shall be dismissed. Suppose the constitutios 
had omitted to prescribe the tenure of the judicial oath, could not 
Congress do it ? But the constitution has not fixed the tenure of sngr 
subordinate offices, and therefore Congress may supply the omission. 
It would be unreasonable to contend that, although Congress, in p«- 
iuit of the public good, brings the office and the officer into being, and 
aligns their purposes, yet the President has a control over the offi- 


eer which Congress cannot reach or regulate ; and this control in 
virtue of some vague and undefined implied executive power which 
the friends of executive supremacy are totally unable to attach to any 
specific clause in the constitution. 

It has been contended, with great ability, that under the clause of 
the constitution which declares that Congress shall have power '^ to 
make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into 
execution the foregoing powers, and all others vested by this const!* 
tution in the government of the United States, or in any deparlntent 
or officer thereof j^^ Congress is the sole depository of implied powers^ 
and that no other department or officer of the government possesses 
any. If this argument be correct, there is an end of the controversy. 
But if the power of dismission be incident to the legislative authority, 
Congress has the clear right to regulate it. And if it belong to any 
other department of the government, under the cited clause. Congress 
has the power to legislate upon the subject, and may regulate it, al* 
though it cannot divest the department altogether of the right. 

Hitherto I have considered the question upon the ground of the 
constitution, unafiected by precedent. We have in vain called upon 
our opponents to meet us upon that ground ; and to point out the 
clause of the constitution which by express gmnt,-or necessary im- 
plication, subjects the will of the whole official corps to the pleasure 
of the President, to be dismissed whenever he thinks proper, without 
any reasons publicly assigned or avowed for the dismission, and which 
excludes Congress firom all authority to legislate against the tremen- 
dous consequences of such a vast power. No such clause has been 
f hown ; nor can it be, for the best of all reasons, because it does not 
exist. Instead of bringing forward any such satisfactory evidence, 
gentlemen entrench themselves behind the precedent which was es- 
tablished in 1789, when the first Congress recognized the power of 
dismission in the President ; that is, they rely upon the opinion of tha 
first Congress as to what the constitution meant as conclusive of what 

The precedent of 1789 was established in the House of Represen- 
Istives against the opinion of a large and able minority, and in the 
Senate by the casting rote of the Vice President, Mr. John Adams* 
It is hnposriUe to read llie debate irhich it ooeasioiied without being; 


278 spSECHjU OP H^RT CXJL7. 

impressed with the conviction that the just confidence reposed in the 
father of his country, then at the head of the government, had great, 
if not decisive influence in establishing it. It has never, prior to the 
commencement of the present administration, been submitted to the 
process of review. It has not been reconsidered, because under the 
mild administrations of the predecessors of the President, it was not 
abused, but jgenerallj applied to cases to which the power was justly 

tMr. Clav here proceeded to recite from a memorandmn, the number of offieen 
removed under the different Presidents, from Washington domii $ but the reporter 
not having access to the memorandum, was unable to note the precise numberiuder 
each, and can only state, generally, that it was Inconsdcrable under all the ■dminjn* 
trations prior to the present, but under that of General Ja4uon the number of le- 
movals amounted to more than two thousand— of which five or six hundred were 

Precedents deliberately establishejl by wise men are entitled to 
great weight. They are the evidence of truth, h\ii only evidence. If 
the same rule of interpretation has been settled, by concurrent deci- 
sions, at different and distant periods, and by opposite dominant par- 
ties, it ought to be deemed binding, and not disturbed. But a solitary 
precedent, established, as this was, by an equal vote of one branch, 
and a powerful minority in the other, under the influence of a confi- 
dence never misplaced in an illustrious individual, and which has 
never been re-examined, cannot be conclusive. 

The first inquiry which suggests itself upon such a precedent as 
this. is, brought forward by the friends of the administration, is, what 
right have they to the benefit of any precedent } The coarse of 'this 
administration has been marked by an utter and contemptuous disre- 
gard of all that has been previously done. Disdaining to move on in the 
beaten road carefully constructed by preceding administrations, and, 
trampling upon every thing, it has seemed resolved to trace out fiv 
itself a new line of march. Then let us inquire how thb administra*. 
tion and its partisans dispose of precedents drawn from the same 
source, the first Congress under the present constitution. If a 
precedent of that Congress be suflicient authority to sustain an exe- 
cutive power, other precedents established by it, in support of legis- 
lative powers, must possess a like force. But do they admit tbist 
principle of equality ? No such thing ; they reject the precedents of 
the Congress of: 1780 sustaining the power of Congressy and cliBg.W 


that only which expands the executiye authority. They go for pre- 
rogative, and they go against the rights of the people. 

It was in the. first Congress that assembled in 1789, that the bank 
of the United States was established, the power to adopt a protective 
tariff was maintained, and the right was recognized to authorize in* 
temal improvements. And these several powers do not rest on the 
basis of a single precedent. They have been again and again affirm- 
ed and reaffirmed by various Congresses, at difierent and distant pe- 
riods, under the administration of every dominant party ; and in re- 
gard to the bank, it has been sanctioned by every branch of the gov- 
ernment, and by the people. Yet the same gentlemen who console 
themselves with the precedent of 17S9 in behalf of the executive 
prerogative, reject as unconstitutional all these legislative powonu 

No one can carefully examine the debate in the House of Repre- 
sentatives in 1789, without being struck with the superiority of the 
argument on the side of the minority, and the unsatisfactory nature 
of that of the majority. How various are the sources whence the 
power is derived ! Scarcely any two of the majority agree in their 
deduction of it. Never have I seen, from the pen or tongue of Mr. 
Madison, one of the majority, any thing so little persuteive or con- 
vincing. He assumes that all executive power is vested in the Presi- 
dent. • He does not qualify it ; he does not limit it to that executive 
power which the constitution grants. He does not discriminate be- 
tween executive power assigned by the constitution, and executive* 
power enacted by law. He asks, if the Senate had not been associa- 
ted with the President in the appointing power, whether the Preaident 
in virtue of his executive power, would not have had the right to 
make all qipomtments } I think not ; clearly not. It would have ' 
been a most sweeping and far-fetched implication. In the silence of 
the constitution, it would have devolved upon Congress to provide by 
laiw for the mode of appointing to office ; and that in virtue of the 
clause, to which I have already adverted, giving to Congress power ■■ 
tp pass all laws necessary and proper to carry on the government. 
^e says, *•*' the. danger then merely consists in this : the President can 
4isplace from office a man whose merits require that he should be 
c^tinued in it. What will be the motives which the President can 
ftel for such an abuseof his power? What motives ! The pure heart 

280 tPsscBit or rxsrt clat. 

could conceive none ; but let him ask General Jackson, and he wOI 
tell him of motives enough. He will tell him that he wishes hb ad- 
ministration to be a unit ; that he desires only one will to prevail in 
the executive branch of government ; that he cannot confide ip men 
who opposed his election ; that he wants places to reward those wha 
supported it ; that the spoils belong to the victor ; and be is anxious 
to create a great power in the State, animated by one spirit, governed 
by one will, and ever ready to second and sustain his administratioii 
in all its acts and measures ; and to give its undivided forc« to the 
appointment of the successor whom he may prefer. And what, Mr. 
President, do you suppose are the securities against the abuse of this 
power, on which Mr. Madison relied ? '' In the first place," he says, 
^ He will be impeachable by this House before the Senate for such 
an act of mal-admtnistration," &c. Impeachment ! It is not a scare- 
crow. Impeach the President for dismissing a receiver or register of 
the land office, or a collector of the customs ! But who is to impeach 
him ? The House of Representatives. Now suppose a majority of 
that House should consist of members who approve the principle that 
the spoils belong to the victors ; and suppose a great number of them 
are themselves desirous to obtain some of these spoils, and can only 
be gratified by displacing men from office whose merits require that 
they should be continued, what chance do you think there would be 
to prevail upon such a House to impeach the President ? And if it 
were possible that he should, under such circumstances , be impeach- 
ed, what prospect do you believe would exist of his conviction by 
two-thirds of the Senate, comprising also members not particularly 
averse to lucrative offices, and where the spoils doctrine, long prac- 
tised in New York, was first boldly advanced in Congress ? 

The next security was, that the President, after displacing die 
meritorious officer, could not appoint another person without the con- 
currence of the Senate. If Mr. Madison had shown how, by any 
action of the Senate, the meritorious officer could be replaced, 
there would have been some security. But the President has dis- 
missed him ; his office is vacant ; the public service requires it to be 
filled, and the President nominates a successor. In considering this 
nomination, the President's partisans have contended that the Senate 
is not at liberty to inquire how the vacancy was produced, but islimi** 
ted to the single consideration of the fitness of the person nominated 
Bat soppose tke Senate were to reject himythat wo«Jd only leare tbs 


cm Amiiimntm Ain> kchovau. 981 

office stQ vacant, aod wodM not reinstate the removed officer. The 
President would have nadifficuUy in nominating another, and another, 
VBtil Uie patience of the Senate being completely exhausted, they 
finally confirm the appointment. What I have supposed is not theory, 
but BcWally matter of fact. How o(len, within a few years past, 
have the Senate disapproved of removals from office, which they have 
been subsequeDlly called apon to concur in filling ? How often, 
wearied in rejecting, have they approved of persons for office whom 
they never would have appointed ! How often have metntfera ap- 
proved of bad appointments, fearing worse if they were rejected? If, 
the powers of the Senate were ekercised by one man, he might op- 
pose, in the matt« of appoiatmenls, a more successful resistance to 
executive abuses. He might take the ground that, in cases of improper 
removal, be would persevere in the rejection of every person nomi- 
Dated, until the meritorious officer was reinstated. But the Senate 
DOW consists of forty-eight members, nearly equally divided, one por- 
tion of which is ready to approve of all nominations, and of the other, 
■omemembersconceivethattheyought not to incur the responsibility 
of hazarding the continued vacancy of a necessary office, because the 
President may have abused his powers. There is, then, no security, 
not the slightest practical security, against abuses of the power of re- 
moval in the concurrence of the Senate in appointment to office. 

During the debate in ITSd, Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, called 
fer the clause of the constitution granting the power. He said : 

"WesiedcrUringB rower inlhePrrmdentwbich mavhcrfufterbe gmrlTabni- 
•d; foiwp «re not alwajv lo expect acfairf mBSiEime in wIidiii luch enllrFeciiiflflCBea 
on be placed oa the prrnent. Perhaps gcnClemen are ao much dsMled wiih Ihe 
if4<Ddor of the Thtue*«rthepmenIPreMdent, as nol lo be able lo see into Aitarin." 

• » • • " Wc ought to coniemplale this powei in Ihe handa of »a 
anbitiom man viho might apply it lo dangerana parpoaes. If we give this power 
to the Prendent, he may from caprice remove the moat wonby men rriim offlcci 
hii will and pleasure will be the allfthl tenure hy which the ofSce la te be held, aod 
of conBrquence ]>od irnder (he offlcer the mere ataM dependent, the ablMl ivn a( 
■ peiKin who majr be diipgsed to •bae the confidence hi* rellow ciiiiess hav* 
placed in him." 

Mr. Huntington said: 

e Aim power, whiidi Oot 

Mr. Geny, afterwards the republican Vice Prendent of tho TTnitcd 
Statei, coDteaded, 


" That we are making these officers the mere creatures of the President ; thtjr 
dare not exercise the privilege of their creation, if the President shall order them lo 
forbear ; because he holds their thread of life. His power will be sovereign over 
them, and will soon swallow up the small security we have in the Senate's concnr- 
rsnce to the appointment ; ana we shall shortly need no other than the anthonQr 
of the supreme executive officer to nominate, appoint, continue or remove.** 

Was not that prophecy ; and do we not feel and know that it is 
prophecy fulfilled ? , 

There were other members who saw clearly into the fatnre, and 
predicted, with admirable forecast, what would be the practical ope- 
ration of this power. But there was one eminently gifted in thitf 
particular. It seems to have been specially reseryed for a Jackson 
to foretell what a Jackson might do. Speaking of some future Pres* 
ident, Mr. Jackson — I believe of Georgia — ^that was his name. What 
a coincidence ! 

'* If he wants to establish an aibitrary authority, and finds the secretary of finance 
(B(r. Duane) not inclined to second his endeavors, he has nothing more to do than 
to remove him, and get one appointed (Mr. Taney) of principles more congenial to 
his own. Then, says he, 1 have got the army, let me have but the money, and I 
wiU establish my throne upon the ruins of your visionary republic. Black, indeed, 
is the heart of that man who even suspects him CWASHiiroTOir) to be capable of 

In the early stages, and during a considerable portion of the de- 
bate, the prevailing opinion seemed to be not that the President was 
invested by the constitution with the power, but that it should be 
conferred upon him by act of Congress. In the progress of it the 
idea was suddenly sfarted that the President possessed the power 
from the constitution, and the first opinion was abandoned. It was 
finally resolved to shape the acts, on the passage of which the ques- 
tion arose, so as to recognize the existence <^ the power of removal 
in the President. 

Such is the solitary precedent on which the contemners of all pre- 
cedents rely for sustaining this tremendous power in one man ! A 
precedent established against the weight of argument, by a House of 
Representatives greatly divided, in a Senate equally divided, under 
the influence of a reverential attachment to the father of his countiy, 
upon the condition that, if the power were applied as we know it has 
been in hundreds of instances recently applied, the President himself 
would be justly liable to impeachment and removal firom ofiice^ and 

ON APpAiimaafTs akd rimotals. S88 

which, until this administration, has never, since its adoption, been 
thoroughly examined or considered. A power, the abuses of which, 
as developed under this administration, if they be not checked and 
corrected, must inevitably tend to subvert the constitution, and over- 
throw public liberty. A standing army has been in all free countries, 
a just object of jealousy and suspicion. But is not a corps of one 
hundred thousand dependents upon government, actuated by one spirit, 
obeying one will, and aiming at one end, more dangerous and formid- 
able than a standing army ? The standing army is separated from 
the mass of society, stationed in barracks or military quarters, and 
operates by physical force. The official corps is distributed and ram- 
ified throughout the whole country, dwelling in every city, village, 
and hamlet, having daily intercourse with society, and operates on 
public opinion. A brave people, not yet degenerated, and devoted to 
l^rty, may successfully defend themselves against a military force. 
Bqt if the official corps is aided by the executive, by the post-office 
department, and by a large portion of the public press, its power is 
invincible. That the operation of the principle which subjects to 
the will of one man the tenure of all offices, which he may vacate at 
pleasure, without assigm'ng any cause, must be to render them sub- 
servient to his purposes, a knowledge of human nature, and the short 
experience which we have had, clearly demonstrate 

It may be asked why has this precedent of 1789 not been reviewed ? 
Does not the long acquiescence in it prove its propriety ? It has not 
been re-examined for several reasons. In the first place, all feel and 
own the necessity of some more summary and less expensive and less 
dilatory mode of dismissing ddinquents firom subordinate offices than 
that of impeachment, which, strictly speaking, was perhaps the only 
one in the contemplation of the firamers of the constitution ; certainly 
it is the only one for which it expressly provides. Then, under all 
the predecessors of the President, the power was mildly and benefi- 
cially exercised, having been always, or with very few exceptions, 
applied to actual delinquents. Notwithstanding all that has been 
said about the number of removals which were made during Mr. Jef- 
ferson's administration, they were, in &ct, comparatively few. And 
yet he came into power as the head of a great party, which for years 
had been systematically excluded from the executive patronage ; a 
plea which cannot be urged in excuse for the present chief magistrate 
It was reserved for him to act on the bold and daring principle of 



dismissing from office those who had opposed his election ; of db-> 
missing from office for mere difference of opinion ! 

But it will he argued that if the summary process of dismission hk 
expedient in some cases,. why take it away altogether? The hill 
under consideration does not disturb the power. By the usage of 
the government, not 1 think by the constitution, the President prac-' 
tically possesses the power to dismiss those who are unworthy of 
holding these offices. By no practice or usage, but that which he 
himself has created, has he the power to dismiss meritorious officers 
only because they diflfer from him in politics. The principal object 
of the bill is to require the President, in cases of dismission, to com- 
municate the reasons which have induced him to dismiss the officer y 
in other words, to make an arbitrary and despotic power a responsi- 
ble power. It is not to be supposed that, if the President 'is boui^ 
publicly to state his reasons, that he would act from passion or ^a* 
price, or without any reason. He would be ashamed to ayow that he 
discharged the officer because he opposed his election. And yet thif 
milQ regulation of the power is opposed by the friends of the ndmin<« 
istration ! They think it unreasonable that the President should state 
his reasons. If he has none, perhaps it is. 

But, Mr. President, although the bill is, I think, right in principle, 
it does not seem to me to go far enough. It makes no provision for 
the insufficiency of the reasons of thg President, by restoring or dol- 
ing justice to the injured officer. It will be some, but not sufficient 
restraint against abuses. I have, therefore, prepared an amendment, 
which I beg leave to offer, but which I will not press against the de^ 
cided wishes of those having the immediate care of the bill. By 
this amendment,* as to all offices created by law, with certain ex- 

* The amendment was in the following words: 

Be it further enacted, That in all instances of appointment to office, by the Pre»- 
dent, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, the power of removal shall 
be eiercised only in concurrence with the Senate ; and when the Senate is not iB 
■easion, the President may suspend any such officer, communicating his reasons for 
the suspension during the first month of its succeeding session, and if the Seoate 
concur with him the officer shall be removed, but if it do not concur with him, tbi 
officer shall be restored to office. 

Mr. CuLY was subsequently induced aot to nige his amendment at this timis 


ofeptionsy the power at pilresent exercised is made a suspensory power. 
The President may, in the vacation of the Senate, suspend the offi- 
cer, and appoint a temporary successor. At the next session of the 
Senate he is to communicate hb reasons : and if they are deemed 
sufficient, the suspension is confirmed, and the Senate will pass upon 
the new officer. If insufficient, the displaced officer is to be restored. 
This amendment is substantially the same proposition as one which 
I submitted to the consideration of the Senate at its last session.— 
Under this suspensory power, the President will be able to discharge 
all defaulters or delinquents ; and it cannot be doubted that the Sen« 
ate will concur in all such dismissions. On the other hand, it will 
insure the integrity and independence of the officer, since he will feel 
that if he honestly and faithfully discharges his official duties, he can* 
not be displaced arbitrarily, or from mere caprice, or because he has 
independently exercised the elective franchise. 

It is contended that the President cannot see that the laws are 
fiuthfully executed, unless he possesses the power of removal. That 
injunction of the constitution imports a mere general superintendence, 
except where he is specially charged with the execution of a law. 
It is not necessary that he should have the power of dismission. It 
will be a sufficient security against the abuses of subordinate officers 
that the eye of the President is upon them, and that he can commu- 
nicate their delinquency. The State Executives do not possess this 
power of dismission. In several, if not all, the States, the Governor 
cannot even dismiss the Secretary of State ; yet we have heard no 
complaints of the inefficiency of State Executives, or of the adminis- 
tration of the laws of the States. The President has no power to dis-* 
miss the judiciary ; and it might be asked, with equal plausibility, 
how he could see that the laws are executed, if the judges will not 
conform to his opinion, and he cannot dismiss them ? 

But it is not necessary to argue the general question, in considering 
either the original bill or the amendment. The former does not touch 
the power of dismission, and the latter only makes it conditional in* 
stead of being absolute. 

It may be said that there are certain great officers, heads of depart- 
ments and foreign ministers, between whom and the president entire 
confidence should existi This is admitted. But surely if the Pren-* 



986 tPxtCHBi OT HnrmT clat. 

dent removes any of them, the people ought to know the cause. The 
amendment, however, does not reach those classes of officers. And 
supposing, as I do, that the legislative authority is competent to regu- 
late the exercise of the power of dismission, there can he no just caose 
to apprehend that it will fail to make such modifications and ezce|>- 
tions as may be called for by the public interest"; especially as what- 
ever bill may be passed must obtain the approbation of the chief 
magistrate. And if it should attempt to impose improper restrictioiis 
upon the executive authority, that would furnish a legitimate occa- 
sion for the exerdse of the veto. In conclusion, I shall most heartilj 
vote for the bill, with or without the amendment which I have pro- 



[Former attempts to procure a Distribution to the several States of the Proceeds 
of the Public Lands having been baffled by Executive inlluence and the ExeeotiTS 
Veto, Mr. Clat, on the day above indicated, introduced the plan anew, advocatinf 
it as follows :] 

Although I find myself borne down by the severest affliction with 
which Providence has ever been pleased to visit me, I have thought 
that ray private griefs ought not longer to prevent me from attempt* 
ing, ill as I feel qualified, to discharge my public duties. And I now 
rise, in pursuance of the notice which has been given, to ask leave to 
introduce a bill to appropriate, for a limited time, the proceeds of the 
sales of the public lands of the United States, and for granting land 
to certain States. 

I feel it incumbent on me to make a brief explanation of the highly 
important measxure which I have now the honor to propose. The 
bill, which I desire to introduce, provides for the distribution of the 
proceeds of the public lands in the years 1833, '34, '35, '36 and '37, 
among the twenty-four States of the Union, and conforms substan* 
tiaUy to that which passed in 1833. It is therefore of a temporary 
character ; but if it shall be found to have a salutary operation, it will 
be in the power of a future Congress to give it an indefinite continu- 
ance, and, if otherwise, it will expire by its own terms. In the event 
of war unfortunately breaking out with any foreign power, the bill is 
to cease, and the fund which it distributes is to be applied to the 
prosecution of the war. The bill directs that ten per cent, of the 
nett proceeds of the public lands, sold within the limits of the seven 
new States, shall be set apart for them, in addition to the five per 
cent, reserved by their several compacts with the United States ; and 
that theresidue of the proceeds, whether firom sales made in the States 
or Territories, shall be divided among the twefity-four States in pro- 


portion to their respectiye federal population. In this respect the hill 
conforms to that which was introduced in 1832. For one I should 
haveheen willing to have allowed the new States twelve and a half 
per cent, hut as that was objected to bj the President, in his yeto 
message, and has been opposed in other quarters, I thought it best to 
restrict the allowance to the more moderate sum. The bill also con- 
tains large and liberal grants of land to several of the new States^ to 
place them upon an equality with others to which the bounty of Con- 
gress has been heretofore extended, and provides that, when other 
States shall be admitted into the Union, they shall receive their share 
of the common fund. 

The nett amount of the sales of the public lands in the year 1833, 
was the sum of $3,967,682 55, in the year 1834, was $4,857,600 69, 
and in the year 1835, according to actual receipts in the three first 
quarters and an estimate of the fourth, is $12,222,121 15 ; making 
an aggregate for the three years of $21,047,404 39. This aggregate 
is what the bill proposes to distribute and pay to the twenty-fbuf 
States on the first dky of may, 1836, upon the principles which I 
have stated. The difierence between the estimate made by the Sec- 
retary of the Treasury and that which I have offered of the product 
of the last quarter of this year, arises from my having taken, as the 
probable sum, one-third of the total amount of the three first quarters, 
and he some other conjectural sum. Deducting from the $21,047,- 
404 39 the fifteen per cent, to which the seven new States, accord- 
ing to the bill, will be first entitled, amounting to $2,612,350 18, 
there will remain for distribution among the twenty-four States of the 
Union the sum of $18,435,054 21. Of this sum the proportion of 
Kentucky will be $960,947 41 ; of Virginia, the sum of $1,581,- 
669 39 ; of North Carolina, $988,632 42 ; and of Pennsylvania, 
$2,083,233 32. The proportion of Indiana, including the fifteen per 
cent, will be $855,588 23 ; of Ohio, $1,677,110 84, and of Missis- 
sippi, $958,945 42. And the proportions of all the twenty-four 
States are indicated in a table which I hold in my hand, prepared at 
my instance in the office of the Secretary of the Senate, and to which 
any Senator may have access.* The grounds on which the extra 

* The following is the table referred to by Mr. Clat : 

Statement showing the dividend of each State (according to the federal popnla- 
lion) of the proceeds of the Pablic Lands, daring the yean I88S-4 tmd *86, after dc 


allowance is made to the new States are, first, their complaint that 
all lands sold by the federal government are five years exempted from 
taxation ; secondly, that it is to be applied in such manner as will 
augment the value of the unsold public lands within them ; and, lastty, 
their recent settlement. 

It may be recollected that a bill passed both Houses of Congress, 
in the session which terminated on the 3d of March, 1833, for the 
distribution of the amount received from the public lands, upon the 
principles of that now offered. The Piesident, in his message at tho 
commencement of the previous session, had specially invited the at« 
tention of Congress to the subject of the public lands ; had adverted 
to their liberation from the pledge for the payment of the public debt ; 
and had intimated his readiness to concur in any disposal of them 
which might appear to Congress most conducive to the quiet, har- 
mony, and general interest of the American people. 

After such a message, the President's disapprobatioQ of the biQ 
could not have been anticipated. It was presented to him on the 2d 
of March, 1833. It was not returned, as the constitution requires, 
but was retained by him after the expiration of his official term, and 

duetinf from the amount 16 per cent, (treviously allowed to the sertB New Statea. 
[Fraotiona of dollars are omxnitted in the following suma.] 

auiia. lalio*. 8uu«. uNtw8tat«a. BoOa^ 

BCaine 389,437 $617,20^ 

New Hampshire, 209,329 416,Sf)2 

Mnssachusetts, 710,408 943,293 

Rhode Wand. 97,194 180,19» 

Connecticut, 297.665 459,906 

Vermont,. 280,657 433,713 

New York, 1,918,553 2,964,834 

NewJenex, 819,922 494,891 

Pennsylvania, 1,348,072 2,083,238 

Delaware, 75,482 116,668 

Maryland, 405,843 087,169 

riiginia, 1,023,50$ l,ftSl,'^ 

North Carolina, 639,747 988,632 

South Carol'ma, 465,025 701,496 

Georgia 429^11 «4,208 

Kentucky 621,832 960,^17 

TenaeaBee, 625,288 968,218 

Ohio 935)S4 1,446,266 280,844 1,877,118 

Louisiana, 171,694 286,8«y 67,681 882388 

Indiana,... 843,031 680,102 825,485 856,688 

lUinoU, 167,147 242,846 483,760 728,808 

Mi»oun, 180,418 201,8ta n4,a»4 OT,* 

Misiviippi, 110,358 170,541 788,408 968,Mi 

Alaltem^.. mfl» 4»m M,8I8 9ir.M« 


iintii the next setiion of Coi^ress, -which had no power to aet upon 
'it. It was understood and believed that, in anticipation of the pas* 
•age of the bill, the President had prepared objections to it, which he 
had intended to return with his negative ; but he did jiot. If the hill 
had been returned, there is reason to believe that it would have been 
passed, notwithstanding those objections. In the House, it had been 
carried by a majority of more than two-thirds. And, in the Senate, 
although there was not the majority on its passage, it was supposed 
that, in consequence of the passage of the compromise bill, some of the 
Senators who had voted against the land bill had changed their views, 
and would have voted for it upon its return, and others had left the 

There are those who believe the bill was unconstitutionally re- 
tained by the President and is now the law of the land. But whether 
it be so or not, the general government holds the public domain in 
trust for the common benefit of all the States ; and it is, therefore, 
competent to provide by law that the trustees shall make distribution 
of the proceeds of the three past years, as well as future years, among 
those entitled to the beneficial interest. The bill makes such a pro- 
vision. And it is very remaricable, that the sum which it proposes to 
distribute is about the gross surplus, or balance, estimated in the 
treasury on the Ist of January, 1836. When the returns of the last 
quarter of the year come in, it will probably be found that the sur- 
plus is larger than the sum which the bill distributes. But if it should 
not be, there will remain the seven millions held in the Bank of the 
United States, applicable, as far as it may be received, to the service 
of the ensuing year. 

It would be premature now to enter into a consideration of the 
probable revenue of future years ; but, at the proper time, I think it 
will not be difficult to show that, exclusive of what may be received 
from the public lands ^ it will be abundantly sufficient for all the eco- 
nomical purposes of government, in a lime of peace. And the bill, 
as I have already stated, provides for seasons of war. I wish to guard 
against all misconception by repeating, what I have heretofore several 
times said, that this bill is not founded upon any notion of a power in 
Congress to lay and collect taxes and distribute the amount ainoi^ 
the several States. I think Congreas possesses no such power, and 
haeno right to exercise it, until some such amendment as that piO'*. 

oil THK LAllfi MSTRIBUTimr. Ml 

pofed by the Senator from Soath Carolina (Mr. Calhoun) shall b^ 
adopted. But the bill rests on the basis of a clear and comprehensive 
grant of power to Congress over the territories and property of the 
United Stat^ in the constitution, and upon express stipulations i% 
the deeds of cession. 

Mr. President, I have ever regarded, with feelings of the profound- 
ett regret, the decision which the President of the United States felt 
himself induced to make on the bill of 1833. If it had been his pleas* 
ure to approve it, the heads of departments would not now be taxing 
their ingenuity to find out useless objects of expenditure, or objects 
which may well be postponed to a more distant day. If the bill had 
passed, about twenty millions of dollars would have been, during the 
last three years, in the hands of the several States, applicable by them 
to the beneficent purposes of internal improvement, education, or 
colonization. What inunense benefits might not have been diffused 
throughout the land by the active employment of that large sum ? 
What new channels of commerce and communication might not have 
been opened? What industry stimulated, what labor rewarded? 
Hcyv many youthful minds might have received the blessings of edu* 
cation and knowledge, and been rescued from ignorance, vice, and 
ruin ? How many descendants of Afi'ica might have been transported 
from a country where they can never enjoy political or social equality, 
to the native land of their fathers, where no impediment exists to their 
attainment of the highest degree of elevation, intellectual, social, and 
political ? Where they might have been successful instruments in 
the hands of Grod, to spread the religion of the Lord, and to lay the 
foundations of civil liberty I 

And, sir, when we institute a comparison between what might have 
been effected, and what has been in fact done, with that large amount 
of national treasure, our sensations of regret, on account of the failure 
of the bill of 1833, are still keener. Instead of its being dedicated to 
the beneficent uses of the whole people, and our entire country, it has 
been an object of scrambling among local corporations, and locked up 
in the vaulis, or loaned out by the directors of a few of them, who 
are not under the slightest responsibility to the government or people 
of the United States. Instead of libend, enlightened, and national 
purposes, it has been partially applied to local, limited, and selfish 
vsea. Applied to increase the semiHumual dividends of fietvorite stock- 


holders in favorite banks ! Twenty millions of tlie national treasure 
are scattered in parcels among petty corporations ; and while they 
are growling over the fragments and greedy for more, the secretaries 
are brooding on schemes for squandering the whole. 

But although we have lost three precious years, the Secretary of 
the Treasury tells us that the principal is yet safe, and much good 
may be still achieved with it. The general government, by an ex- 
traordinary exercise of executive power, no longer affords aid to any 
new works of internal improvement. Although it sprung from the 
Union, and cannot survive the Union, it no longer engages in any 
public improvement to perpetuate the existence of the Union. It k 
but justice to it to acknowledge that, with the co-operation of the 
public spirited State of Maryland, it effected one national road having 
that tendency. But the spirit of improvement pervades the land, in 
every variety of form, active, vigorous, and enterprising, wanting 
pecuniary aid as well as intelligent direction. The States have un- 
dertaken what the general government is prevented from accomplish* 
ing. They are strengthening the Union by various lines of commu- 
nication thrown across and through the mountains. New York has 
completed one great chain: Pennsylvania another, bolder in concep* 
tion and far more arduous in the execution. Virginia has a similar 
work in progress, worthy of all her enterprise and energy. A fourth 
fiurther south, where the parts of the Union are too loosely connected, 
has been projected, and it can certainly be executed with the sup- 
plies which this bill affords, and perhaps not without them. 

This bill passed, and these and other similar undertakings comple* 
ted, we may indulge the patriotic hope that our Union will be bound 
by ties and interests that render it indissoluble. As the general gov- 
ernment withholds all direct agency from these truly national works, 
and from all new objects of internal improvement, ought it not to 
yield to the States, what is their own, the amount received from the 
public lands ? It would thus but execute faithfully a trust expressly 
created by the original deeds of cession, or resulting from the treaties 
of acquisition. With this ample resource, every desirable object of 
improvement, in every part of our extensive country, may, in dde 
time, be accomplished. Placing this exliaustlcss fund in the hands 
of the several members of the confederacy, their common federal 

Oft TBC LAV]> DTBTRfBcrnOll. S93 

fiead roay address them id the glowing language of the British hard, 

'* Bid harbon opt*n, (ipbiic waya extt^ni!, 
Hid t"inj)le.«« worthier ol" the God H>Cf od. 
Hid the broad arch the dangerou^i flood <;ontain. 
The mole projecting, brcdk ihe roaring iiium. 
Lack CO his bounds, that dubjeci coiimunU, 
Aud roll ubedieDt riven through the laud.*' 

The aflkirs of the public lands was forced upon me. In thesessioii 
of 1831-2, a motion from a quarter principally unfriendly to me, was' 
made to refer it to the committee on manufactures, of which I was a 
member. I strt*nuously opposed the reference. I remonstrated, -I- 
protested, 1 entreated, 1 implored. It was in vain that 1 insisted thiP 
the committee on the public lands was the regular standing commit- 
tee to which such reference should be made. It was in vain that I 
contended that the public lands and domestic manufactures were sub- 
jects absolutely incongruous. The unnatural alliance was ordered 
by the vote of a majority of the Senate. I felt that a ])ersonal embar- 
nissment was intended me. I felt that the design was to place in my 
hands a many edged instrument, which I could not touch without 
being wounded. Nevertheless I subdued all my repugnance, and I 
engaged assidulously in the task which had been so unkindly assigned 
me. This, or a similar bill, was the offspring of my deliberations. 
When reported, the report accompanying it was referred by the same 
majority of the Senate to the very committtee on the public land, to 
which I had unsuccessfully sought to have the subject originally as- 
signed, for the avowed purpose of obtaining a counteracting report. 
But in spite of all opposition, it passed the Senate at that session. At 
the next, both Houses of Congress. 

I confess I feel anxious for the fate of this measure, less on account 
of any agency I have had in proposing it, as I hope and believe, than 
from a firm, sincere, and thorough conviction, that no one measure 
ever presented to the councils of the nation was fraught with so much 
unmixed good, and could exert such powerful and enduring influence 
in the preservation of the Union itself, and upon some of its highest 
interests. If I can be instrumental, in any degree, in the adoption of 
it, 1 shall enjoy, in that retirement into which I hope shortly to enter, 
a heart-feeling satisfaction and a lasting consolation. 1 shall cany 
there no regrets, no complaints, no reproaches on my own account 



When I lo6k back upon my humble origin, left an orphan too yomag 
to have been conscious of a father's smiles and caresses, with a wid- 
owed mother, surrounded by a numerous offspring, in the midst of 
pecuniary embarrassments, without a regular education, without for- 
tune, without friends, without patrons, I have reason to be satisfied 
with my public career. I ought to be thankful for the high places 
and honors to which I have been called by the favor and partiality 
of my countrymen, and I am thankful and grateful. And I shall take 
with me the pleasing consciousness that, in whatever station I have 
been placed, I have earnestly and honestly labored to justify their 
confidence by a faithful, fearless, and zealous discharge of my publie 
duties. Pardon these personal allusions . I make the motion of whicb 
mitice has been given. 


In THS Skic ATX OF THK Unitbd States, Januart 16, 1837. 

[The Senate of fhr United States, having, in 18W, resolved, by a decisive rote, 
that the President (Juckson,) in his proceedings in eonnexion with the Removal of 
the Depositos, had auaraed and exercised power cot granted by the Constitatioft 
or the law?, but inconsitnent with them— Mr. Bcntoh immediately gave notice that 
he should move to trjtungt the same from the journal of the Senate. He made hif 
motion accordingly, but it did not prevail nntii thr session of 1886^7, when a strong 
Jackson majority having been aecared, it was nreaed to a successful issue. On this 
oceasiob, Mr. Clay spoke as follows :] 

CoNszDF.RiNo that I was the mover of the resolution of March, 
1834, and the consequent relation in which I stood to the majoritj 
of the Senate by whose vote it was adopted, I feel it to be my duty 
to say something on this expunging resolution, and I always have 
intended to do so when I should bo persuaded that there existed a 
settled purpose of pressing it to a final decision. But it A^-as so taken 
up and put down at the last session — taken up one day, when a 
speech was prepared for delivery, and put down when it was pronoun- 
ced, that I really doubted whether there existted any serious inten- 
tion of ever putting it to the vote. At the very close of the last ses- 
sion, it will be recollected that the resolution came up, and in several 
quarters of the Senate a disposition was maniCpsted to come to a defi- 
nitive decision. On that occasion, I offered to waive my right to 
address the Senate, and silently to vote upon the resolution ; but it 
was again laid upon the table, and laid there forever, as the country 
supposed, and as I believed. It is however now revived ; and sundry 
changes having taken place In the members of this body, it would 
seem that the present design is to bring the resolution to an absolute 

I have not risen to repeat at full length the argument by 
wbich the firiends of the reeolation of March, 1834, sustained it. 
That argument is befiyre tbe world — ^was unanswered at the time* 


and is unanswerable. And I liere, in my place, in the presence of 
my country and my God, ai^er the fullest consideration and delibera- 
tion of which my mind is capable, reassert my solemn conviction of 
the truth of every proposition contained in that resolution. But 
it is not my intention to commit such an infliction upon the Senate as 
that would be, of retracing the whole ground of argument formerly 
occupied, 1 desire to lay before it at this time, a brief and true state 
of the case. Before the fatal step is taken of giving to the expunging 
resolution the sanction of the American Senate, I wish, by presenting 
a faithful outline of the real questions involved in the resolution of 
1834, to make a last, even if it is to be an inefifectual appeal to the 
sober judgments of senators. I b^in by reasserting the truth of thai 

Our British ancestors understood perfectly well the immense im- 
portance of the money power in a representative government. It is 
the great lever by which the crown is touched, and made to conform 
its administration to the interests of the kingdom, and the will of the 
people. Deprive parliament of the power of freely granting of with- 
holding supplies, and surrender to the king the purse of the nation, 
h * instantly becomes an absolute monarch. Whatever may be the 
form of government, elective or hereditary, denK>cratic or despotiC| 
that person who commands the force of the nation, and at the same 
time has uncontrolled possession of the purse of the nation, has abso- 
lute power, whatever may be the official name by which he is * 

Our immediate ancestors, profiting by the lessons on civil liberty, 
which had been taught in the country from which we sprung, endea- 
Tored to encircle around the public purse, in the hands of Congress, 
every possible security against the intrusion of the executive. With 
this view. Congress alone is invested by the Constitution with the 
power to lay and colUct the taxes. When collected, not a cent is to 
be drawn from the public treasury, but in virtue of an act of Congress. 
And among the first acts of this government, was the passage of a 
law establishing the treasury department, for the safe keeping and 
the legal and regular disbursement of the money so collected ■ By 
that act a Secretary of the Treasury is placed at the head of the de- 
partment ; and varying in respect from all the other departments, he 
is to report, not to the President, but directly to Congress, and is lia- 

oil THK EZPUNOrirO RI80LUTI0N. 297 

ble to be called to give informatioB in person before Congress. It is 
impossible to examine dispassionately that act, without coming to the 
conclusion that he is emphatically the agent of Congress in perform- 
ing the duties assigned by the constitution of Congress. The act fur- 
ther provides that a treasurer shall be appointed to receive and keep 
the public money, and none can be drawn from his custody but under 
the authority of a law, and in virtue of a warrant drawn by the sec- 
retary of the trecaury, countersigned by the comptroller, and recorded 
by the register. Only when such a warrant is presented can the 
treasurer lawfully pay one dollar from the public purse. Why wai 
the concurrence of these four officers required in disbursements of the 
public money ? Was it not for greater security ? Was it not intended 
that each, exercisiag a separate and independent will, should be a 
check upon every other ? Was it not the purpose of the law to con- 
sider each of these four oificers, acting in his proper sphere, not as a 
mere automaton, but as an intellectual, intelligent, and responsible 
person, bound to observe the law, and to stop the warrant, or stop 
the money, if the authority of the law were wanting } 

Thus stood the treasury from 1789 to 1816. During that long time 
no President had ever attempted to interfere with the custody of the 
public purse. It remained where the law placed it, undisturbed, and 
every chief magistrate, including the father of his country, respected 
the law. 

In 1^16 an act passed to establish the late Bank of the United 
States for the term of twenty years ; and, by the 16th section of the 
act, it is enacted, 

'* ThRt the d^poditcfl of th*; money of the United States in places in which the 
9aid Bank and the branches thereof may be establiilipd, shall be made in raid Bank 
or branches thereof, nnless ihe &;rretary of the Treasury shall at at any lime other- 
wise order and direct ; in which cam the Secretary of the TreaBnry ehail immedi* 
ately lay before Congreas if in seaaion, and If not. imoiediately after the commoace- 
menc of the next aeraton, the reuona of snch order or direction.** 

Thus it is perfectly manifest, from the express words of thp law, 
that the power to make any order or direction for the removal of the 
public deposites, is confided to the Secretary alone, to the absolute 
exclusion of the President, and all the world besides. And the law, 
proceeding upon the established principle that the Secretary of the 
treasury, in all that concerns the public purse, acts as the direct agent 
of Congreasi requirea, in the event of hi$ ordering or directing a le- 


moTal of the deposites, that he shall immediately lay his 
therefor before whom ? the President ? No : before Congress. 

So stood the public treasury and the public deposites from the yesr 
1816 to September, 1833. In all that period of 'seventeen years, 
running through or into four several administrations of the goTem- 
ment, the law had its uninterrupted operation, no chief magistrate 
having assumed upon himself the power of diverting the public purse 
from its lawful custody, or of substituting his will to that of the offi- 
cer to whose csae it was exclusively entrusted. 

In the session of Congress of 1832—^3, an inquiry had been insti- 
tuted by the House of Representatives into the condition of the Bank 
of the United States. It resulted in a conviction of its entire safety, 
and a declaration by the House, made only a short thne before the 
adjournment of Congress on the fourth of March 1833, that the pub- 
lic deposites were perfectly secure. This declaration was probably 
made in consequence of suspicions then'afioat of a design on the part 
of the executive to remove the deposites. These suspicions were de- 
nied by the press fVicndly to the administration. Nevertheless, the 
members had scarcely reached their respective homes, before meas* 
ores were commenced by the executive to effect a removal of the 
deposites from that very place of safety which it was among the 
last acts of the House to declare existed in the Bank of the United 

In prosecution of this design, Mr. McLain, the Secretary of the 
Treasury, who was decidedly opposed to such a measure, was pro- 
moted to the Departn^ent of State, and Mr. Duane was appointed to 
succeed him. But Mr. Duane was equally convinced with his pre- 
decessor that he was forbidden by every consideration of duty to ex- 
ecute the power with which the law had entrusted the Secretary of 
the Treasury, and refused to remove the deposites ; tehereupon he 
was dismissed from office, a new Secretary of the Treasury was ap- 
pointed, and, in September, 1833, by the command of the President, 
the measuie was finally accomplished. That it was the President^ 
act was never denied, but proclaimed, boasted, defended. It fell 
upon the country like a thunderbolt, agitating the Union from one 
extremity to the other. The stoutest adherents of the administra- 
tion T^ere alaiined , and all thinking men, not blinded by party pre* 


judice, beheld in the act a bold and dangerous exercise of power ; and 
no human sagacity can now foresee the tremendous consequences 
which will ensue. The measure was adopted not long before the 
appro^hing se^ution of Congress; and, as the concurrence of both 
branches might be necessary to compel a restoration of the deposites, 
the object was to take the chance of a possible division between them, 
and thereby defeat the restoration. 

And where did the President find the power for this most extraor- 
dinary act ? 4t has been seen that the constitution, jealous of all 
executive interference with the treasury of the nation, had confined it 
to the exclusivp care of Congress by every precautionary guard, from 
the first imposition of the taxes to the final disbursement of the pub- 
lic money. 

It has been seen that the language of the sixteenth section of the 
law of 181 G, is express and free from all ambiguity; and that the 
Secretary of the Treasury is the sole exclusive depository of the au- 
thority which it confers. 

Those who maintain the power of the President have to support it 
against the positive language of the constitution, against the explicit 
words of the statute, and against the genius and theory of all our 

And how do they surmount these insuperable obstacles ? By a 
series of far-fetched implications, which, if every one of them were 
as true as they are believed to be incorrect or perverted, would stop 
hi short of maintaining the power which was exercised. 

The first of these implied powers is, that of dismissal, which is 
claimed for the President. Of all the questioned powers ever exer- 
cised by the government, this is the most questionable. From the 
first Congress down to the present administration, it had never been 
examined. It was carried then, in the Senate, by the casting vote 
of the Vice President. And those who, at that day argued in behalf 
of the power, contended for it upon conditions which have been ut- 
terly disregarded by the present Chief Magistrate. The power of 
dismissal is no where on the constitution granted, in express terms, 
to the President. It is not a necessary incident to any granted power ; 

. 900 . tPBBCHBS or HBIfRT CLAY. 

and the friends of the power have never been able to agree among 
themselves as to the precise part of the ponstitution from which it 
springs ? 


But) if the power of dismissal was as incontestible as it is justly 

controvertable, we utterly deny the consequences deduced from it. 
The argument is, that the President has, by implication, the power 
of dismissal. Fiom this first implication another is drawn, and that 
is, that the President has the power to control the officer, whom he 
may dismiss, in the discharge of his duties, in all cases whatever ; 
and that this power of control is so comprehensive as to include even 
the case of a specific duty expressly assigned by law to the desigD*- 
ted officer. 

Now, wc deny these results from the dismissing power. That 
power, if it exists, can draw after it only a right of general superin- 
tendence. It cannot authorize the President to substitute his will to 
the will of the officer charged with the performance of official duties. 
Above all, it cannot justify such a substitution in a case where the 
law, as in the present instance, assigns to a designated officer exclu- 
sively the performance of a particular duty, and conunands him to 
report, not to the President, but to Congress, in a case regarding the 
|Hiblic purse of the nation, committed to the exclusive control of 

Such a consequence as tliat which I am contesting would concen- 
trate in the hands of one man the entire executive power of the na- 
tion, uncontrolled and unchecked. 

It would be utterly destructive of all official responsibility. In- 
stead of each officer being responsible, in his own separate sphere, 
for his official acts, he would shelter himself behind the orders of the 
President. And what tribunal, in heaven above or on earth below, 
could render judgment against any officer for an act, however atro- 
cious, performed by the express command of the President, which, 
according to the argument, he was absolutely bound to obey ? 

Whilst all official responsibility would be utterly annihilated in 
subordinated officers, there would be no practical or available respon- 
sihility in the President himself. 

oir THE fvvaatna k»olutioii. < 301 

But the cace baa beea luppoKd, of a necesetty for the remoTal of 
the deposites, and a refusal of the Secretary of the Treoaury to re- 
move them ; and it is triumphaoUy asked if, in such a case, the Pre- 
sident may not remore him^ and command the deed to be done. That 
is an extreme Casey which may be met by another. Suppose the 
President, without any oecessily, orders the removal from a place of 
safety to a place of hazard. If there be danger that a President may 
neglect his duty, there is equal danger that a President may abuse 
his authority. Infallibility is not a human attribute. And there ia 
more security for the pullic in boldiog the Secretary of the Treasury 
to the strict performance of ao ollicial duty specially assigned (o him, 
uoder all his ollicial revpoasibility, than to allow the President to 
wrest the work from bis banda, annihilate his responsibility, and 
stand himself practically irresponsthle. It is far better that millions 
should be lost by the neglect of a Secretary of the Treasury, than to 
establish the monstrous principle that all the checks and balances of 
the executive goirernmeot shall be broken down, the whole power 
absorbed by one man, and his will become the supreme rule. The 
argument which I am combating places the whole treasuiy of the 
nation at the mercy of the executive. It is io vain to talk of appro- 
priations by law, and the fonnalitieB of warrants upon the treasuiy. 
Assuming the argument to be cOnect, what is to prevent the execu- 
tion of an order from the President to the Secretary of the Treasury 
to issue a warrant, without the sanction of a previous legal appro- 
priation, to the Comptroller to countersign it, to the Register to re- 
gister it, and to the Treasurer to pay it ? What becomes of that 
quadruple security which the precaution i^ the law provided i In- 
stead of four substantive and independent wills, acting under leffi 
obligations, all are merged in the executive. 

But there was in point ot fkct, no cause, none whatever for tbe 
measure. Every fiscal consideration, (and no other had the Secr»- 
tary or the President a right to entertain,) required the deposiles to 
be left undisturbed in the place of perfect safety where by law they 
were. We told you so at the tinoe. We asserted that the charges 
of insecurity and insolvency of the bank were without the slightest 
foundation. And time, that great arbiter of human controversies, 
has confirmed all that we said. The Bank, from documents submiU 
ted to C^gress by the Secretary of tbe Treasury at the present ae^ 
non, appears to be able not only to return evny dollar of the stook 


held in its capital by the public, but an addition of eleren per oent. 
beyond it. 

Those who defend the executive act, have to maintain not only 
that the President may assume upon himself the discharge of a du^ 
especially assigned to the Secretary of the Treasury, but that he may 
remove that officer, arbitrarily, and without any cause, because he 
refused to remove the public deposites without cause. 

My mind conducts me to a totally difierent conclusion. I think, I 
solemnly believe, that the President ^' assumed upon himself authority 
and power not conferred by the constitution and laws, but in derogar 
tion of both,'* in the language of the resolution. I believed then m 
the truth of the resolution ; and I now in my place, and under all 
my responsibility, re^avQW my unshaken conviction of it. 

But it has been contended on this occasion, as it was in the debata 
which preceded the adoption of the resolution of 1834, that the 
Senate has no right to express the truth on any question which by 
possibility, may become a subject of impeachment. It is manifest, 
that if it may, there is no more usual or appropriate form in which it 
may be done than that of resolutions, joint or separate, orders, or 
bills. In no other mode can the collective sense of the body be ex- 
pressed. But Senators maintain that no matter what may be the 
executive encroachment upon the joint powers of the two Houses, or 
the separate authority of the Senate, it is bound to stand mute, and 
not breathe one word of complaint or remonstrance. According to 
the argument, the greater the violation of the constitution or the law, 
the greater the incompetency of the Senate to express any opinion 
upon it ! Further, that this incompetency is not confined to the acts 
of the President only, but extends to those of every officer who is 
liable to impeachment under the constitution. Is this possible .' Can 
it be true ? Contrary to all the laws of nature, is the Senate the 
only being which has no power of self-preservation — no right tocom^ 
plain or to remonstrate against attacks upon its very existence ? 

The argument is, that the Senate, being the constitutional tribunal 
to try all impeachments, is thereby precluded from the exercise of 
the right to express any opinion upon any official malfeasance, except 
when acting in its judicial character. 

oil rux £ZPV1K»I1I0 BEtOLUnON. 30S 

If this disqualification exist, it applies to all impeachable officersi 
and ought to have protected the late Postmaster General against the 
resolution, unanimously adopted by the Senate, declaring that he had 
borrowed money contrary to law. And it would disable the Senate 
from considering that treasury order, which has formed such a prom* 
ihent subject of its deliberations during the present session. 

And how do Senators maintain this obligation of the Senate to 
remain silent and behold itself stript, one by one, of all constitutional 
powers, without resistance, and without murmur ? Is it imposed by 
the language of the constitution ? Has any part of that instrument 
been pointed to which expressly enjoins it ? No, no, not a syllable. 
But it is attempted to be deduced by another far-fetched implication. 
Because the Senate is the body which is to try impeachments, there- 
fore it is wferrtd the Senate can express no opinion on any matter 
which may ferm the subject of impeachment. The constitution does 
not say sb. That is undeniable : but Senators think so. 

The Senate acts in three characters, legislative, executive and ju- 
dicial ; and their importance is in the order enumerated. By far the 
most important of the three is its legislative. In that, almost every 
day that it has been in session from 1789 to the present time, some 
legislative business has been transacted ; whilst in its judicial cha- 
racter, it has not sat more than three or four times in that whole 

Why should the judicial function limit and restrain the legislative 
function of the Senate more than the legislative should the judicial .' 
If the degree of imp6rtance of the two should decide which ou^^ht to 
impose tlie restraint, in cases of conflict between them, none can 
doubt which it should be. 

But if the argument is sound, how is it possible for the Senate to 
perform its legislative duties ? An act in violation of the constitu- 
tion or laws is committed by the President or a subordinate execu- 
tive officer, and it becomes necessary to correct it by the passage of a 
law. The very act of the President in question was under a law to 
which the Senate had given its concurrence. According to the argu- 
ment, the correcting law cannot originate in the Senate, because it 
would have to pass in judgment upon that act. Nay, more, it can- 


.not originate in the House and be sent to the Senate, for the sanae 
reason of incompetency in the Senate to pass upon it. . Suppose the 
bill contained a preamble reciting the unconstitutional or illegal act, 
to which the legislative corrective is applied, according to the argv- 
iiK^nt, the Senate must not think of passing it. Pushed to its legiti- 
male consequence, the argument requires the House of Representa* 
tives itself cautiously to abstain from the expression of any opinion 
upon an executive act, except when it is acting as the grand inquest 
of the nation, and considering articles of impeachment. 

Assuming that the argument is well founded, the Senate is equally 
restrained from expressing any opinion which would imply the inno- 
cence or the guilt of an impeachable officer, unless it be maintained 
thai it is lawful to express praise and approbation, but not censure or 
difference of opinion. Instances have occurred in our past history, 
(the case of the British minister, Jackson, was a memorable one,) 
and many others may arise in our future progress, when in reference 
to foreign powers, it may be important for Congress to approve what 
has been done by the executive, to present a firm and united front, 
and to pledge the country to stand by and support him. May it not 
do that ? If tlie Senate dare not entertain and express any opinion 
upon an executive measure, how do those who support this expunging 
resolution justify the acquittal of the President which it proclaims? 

No Senator believed in 1834 that, whether the President merited 
impeachment or not, he ever would be impeached. In point of fact 
he has not been, and wo have every reason to suppose that he never 
will be impeached. Was the majority of the Senate, in a case where 
it believed the constitution and laws to have been violated, and the 
liberties of the people to be endangered to remain silent, and to re- 
frain from proclaiming the truth, because, against all human proba- 
bility, the President might be impeached by a majority of his political 
friends in the House of Representatives } 

If an impeachment had been actually voted by the House of Repre- 
sentatives, there is nothing in the constitution which enjoins silence 
on the part of the Senate. Jn such a case, it would have been a 
matter of propriety for the consideration of each Senator to avoid the 
expression of any opinion on a matter upon which, as a sworn judge, 
he would be called to act 


Hitherto I have considered the question on the supposition, that 

ti:e resolution of March, 1834, implied such guilt in the President, 
that he would have been liable to conviction on a trial by impeach- 
ment before the Senate of the United States. But the resolution, in 
fact, imported no such guilt. It simply afllrmed, that he had '^ as- 
sumed upon himself, authority and power not conferred by the con- 
stitution and laws, but in derogation of both." It imputed no crim- 
inal motives. It did not proft^ss to penetrate into the heart of the 
President. According to the phra:>eology of the resolution, the ex- 
ceptionable act might have been performed with the purest and most 
patriotic intention. The resolution neither affirmed^ his innocence, 
nor pronounced his guilt. It amounts then, say his friends on this 
floor, to nothing. Not so. If the constitution be trampled upon, 
and the laws be violated, the injury may be equally great, whether it 
has been done with good or bad intentions. There may be a differ- 
ence to the officer, none to the country. The country, as all expe- 
rience demonstrates, has most reason to apprehend those encroach- 
ments which take place on plausible pretexts, and with good in- 

I put it, Mr. President, to the calm and deliberate consideration of 
the majority of the Senate, are you ready to pronounce, in the face 
of this en]igtened community, for all time to come, and whoever may 
happen to be the President, that the Senate dare not, in language the 
most inoflfensive and respectful, remonstrate against any executive 
usurpation, whatever may be its degree or danger ? 

For one, I will not, I cannot. I believe the resolution of March, 
18'i4, to have been true ; and that it was competent to the Senate to 
proclaim the truth. And I solemly believe that the Senate would 
have been culpably neglectful of its duty to itself, to the constitution, 
and to the country, if it had not announced the truth. 

But let me suppose that in all this I am mistaken ; that the act of 
the President, to which exception was made, was in conformity with 
the spirit of our free institutions, and the language of our constitution 
and laws ; and that, whether it was or not, the Senate of 1834 had 
no authority to pass judgment upon it ; what right has the Senate of 
1837, a component part of another Congress, to pronounce judgment 
upoD its predecessor ? How can you who. venture to in^pote to tbxm 


who have gone before you an unconstitutional proceeding, escape m 
similar imputation? What part of the constitution comrnonicatetf 
to you any authority to assign and try your predecessors ? In what 
article is contained your power to expunge what they have done ? 
And may not the precedent lead to a perpetual code of defacement 
and restoration of the transactions of the Senate as consigned to the 
public records ? 

Are you not only destitute of all authority, but positively forbidden 
to do what the ^xpunging resolution proposes ? The injunction of 
the constitution to keep a journal of our proceedings is clear, express 
and emphatic. It is free from ambiguity : no sophistry can pervert 
the explicit language of the instrument ; no nrtful device can elude 
the force of the obligation which it imposes. If it were possible to 
make more manifest the duty which it requires to be performed, that 
was done by the able and eloquent speeches, at the last session, of 
the Senators from Virginia and Louisiana, (Messrs. Leigh and Porter) 
and at this of my collengue. I shall not repeat the argument. But 
1 would ask, if there were no constitutional requirement to keep m 
journal, what constitutional right has the Senate of this Congress to 
pass in judgment upon the Senate of another Congress, and to expunge 
from its journal a deliberate act there recorded ? Can an unconsti- 
tutional act of that Senate, supposing it to be so, justify you in per- 
forming another unconstitutional act } 

But, in lieu of any a^ment upon the point from me, I beg leave 
to cite for the consideration of the Senate two precedents : one drawn 
from the reign of the most despotic monarch in modern Europe, under 
the most despotic minister that ever bore sway over any people : and 
the other from the purest fountain of democracy in this country. I 
quote from the interesting life of the Cardinal Richelieu, written by 
that most admirable and popular author, Mr. James. The Duke of 
Orleans, the brother of Louis XIII. had been goaded into rebellion by 
the wary Richelieu. The king issued a decree declaring all the sup- 
porters of the duke guilty of high treason, and a copy of it was des- 
patched to the Parliament at Paris, with an order to register it at 
once. The parliament demurred, and proceeded to what was called 
an arret de partage. 

** SidieKea, however, eoald bew no eoatridictia& in the eovne which be bad leii 


dowB for himeelf ;'* [how strong a TMemfolanee does that feature of h'w character 
hear to one of an ilhistrious individoal whom I wil! not further describe !] '* and 
llurrviog back to Paris wiih the king, he sent, in the monarch's name, a command 
imr the members of the Parliament to present themselves at the Liouvre in a body 
and en foot. He was obeyed immediately ; and the king KCeiving them with great 
hanghimesfi, the keeper of the seals made them a speech, in which he declared that 
they had no authority todelibcrnte upon affairs of state : that the business of private 
individuals they might discuss, but ttiat the will of the monarch in other matters 
they were alone called upon to register. The king then tort with hit own hand$ the 
page of tht TcgUter on irhirh the arret de portage had been in$rribed, and jnmitked 
witn iuspenrionfrom their funrtion* wonalof the member$ ef the varioiu courti com- 
poking the Parliament cfParia.^' 


How repeated acts of the exercise of arbitrary power are likely to 
subdue the spirit of liberty , and to render callous the public sensibility, 
and the fate wliich awaits us, if we had not been recently unhappily 
taught in this country, we may learn from the same author. 

*• The finances of the Stale were exhausted, new impositions were devised, snd 
a vnmber of new ollices created and sold. Against the last named abuse the Puv 
Hament ventured to remonstmte : but the government of the Cardinal had for its 
flfst principle dei<poti$>m, and the refractory megibtrrs were punished, some with 
exile, some with suspension of their functions. AH were forced to comply with his 
win, and the Parliament, unable to resist, yielded, step by step, to his exactions.** 

The other precedent is suspended by the archives of the democ- 
nfey of Pennsylvania, in 1816, when it was genuine and unmixed with 
any other ingredient. 

The provisions of the constitution of the United States and of Penn* 
•yWania, in regard to the obligation to keep a journal, are subataD* 
tially the same. That of the United States requires that, 

** Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time md^ 
iiih the same, except such parts as may in their judgment re<)uire secrecy : and the 
ymm and nays of the membere of either House on any question shall, at the desirs 
if cme-fifth of the members present; be entered on the journal." 

And that of Pennsylvania b ; 

'* Elach House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish them weekly 
aseept such oarts as require secrecy, and the yeas and najrs of the memben*, on any 
fieation shall, at the desire of any two of them, be entered on the journals.'* 

Whatever inviolability, therefore, is attached to a journal, kept in 
conformity with the one constitution, must be equally stamped on that 
kept under the other. On the 10th of February, 1S16, in the House 
of Representatives of Pennsylvania, ^< the speaker informed the House 
dbal a constitutional question being involved in a decision by him yea- 


terJay, on a motion to expunge certain proceedings from the joornaly 
he was desirous of having the opinion of the House on that decision, 
viz.: that a majority can expunge from the journal any proceedings 
in which the yeas and nay$ have not bet-n caVedy Whereupon Mr. 
Ilolgate and Mr Smith appealed from said decision ; and on the ques- 
tion, Is the speaker right in his decision ? the members present 
voted as follows : yeas three, nays seventy-eight. Among the latter 
are to be found the two Senators now representing in this body the 
State of Pennsylvania. On the same day a motion was made by one 
of them ^Mr. Buchanan) and Mr. Kelly, and read as follows : 

•• Resolved, That in the oninion of this House no part of the journals of the 
House cun be expunged even by uDttnmiouji consent." 

The Senate observes that the question arose in a case where there 
were but four members out of eighty-two who thought it was compe- 
tent to the House to expungi^ it. Had the yeas and nays been called 
and recorded, as they were on the resolution of March, 1834, there 
would not have been a solitary vote in the House of Representatives 
of Pennsylvania in support of the power of expunging. And if you 
can expunge the resolution, why may you not expunge also the re* 
corded yeas and nays attached to it } 

But if the matter of expunction be contrary to the truth of the 
case, reproachful for its base subserviency, derogatory from the jnsl 
and necessary powers of the Senate, and repugnant to the constitu- 
tion of the United States, the manner in which it is proposed to ac- 
complish this dark deed, is also highly exceptionable. The expung- 
ing resolution, which is to blot out or enshroud the four or five lines 
in which the resolution of 1834 stands recorded, or rather the recitals 
by which it is preceded, are spun out into a thread .of enormous length. 
It runs, whereas, and whereas, and whereas, and whereas, &c., into t 
formidable array of nine several whereases. One who should have 
the courage to begin to read them, unaware of what was to be theii 
termination, would think that at the end of such a tremendous dis- 
play he must find the very devil. It is like a kite or a comet, except 
that the order of nature is inverted, and the tail, instead of being be- 
hind, is before the body to which it is appended. 

I shall not trespass on the Senate by inquiring into the truth of all 
the assertions offset and of principle, contained in these recitals. Tt 

ov i«K EXPvmHiro BBtoLunoir. SCM- 

fPtmld not be diffienlt to expose them all, and to show that not ono' 
of them has more than a colorable fouifdation. It is asserted by one^ 
of them that the President was pot upon his trial and condemned| 
miheard, by the Senate, in 1834. Was that true ? Was it a trial ?' 
Can the majonty now as^rt, npcAi their oaths, and in their coii-' 
sciences, that there was any trial or condemnation ? During the' 
warmth of debate, senators might endeavor to persuade themselvei 
and the public that the proceeding of 1834 was, in its effects and 
consequences, a trial, and would be a condemnation of the President ; 
but now, after the lapse of near three years, when the excitement 
arising from an animated discussion has passed away, it is marvelous 
that any one should be prepared to assert that an expression of tho 
opinion of the Senate upon the character of an executive act was an' 
amignment, trial and conviction of the President of the Uoited' 

Another fact, asserted in one of those recitals, is, that the resolih* 
tion of 1834, in either of the forms in which it was originally pre- 
sented, or subsequently modified prior to the final shape which !t- 
assumed when adopted, would have been rejected by a majority of' 
the Senate. What evidence is there in support of this assertion ?' 
Hone. It is, I verily believe, directly contrary to the fact. In either 
of the modifications of the resolution, I have not a doubt, that it 
would have passed ! They weve all made in that spirit of accommo^ 
dation by which the mover of the resolution has ever regulated Ut* 
conduct as a member of a deliberative body. In not one single in-' 
stance did he understand from any senator at whose request he made 
the modification, that, without it, he would vote against theresolotion. 
How, then, can even the senators, who were of the minority of 
]€34, undertake to make the assertion in question ? How can the 
riew senators, who have come here ^ince, pledge themselves to the 
(act asserted, in the recital of which they could not have had any 
connusance ? But all the members of the majority — the veterans and 
the raw recrmts — the six years men and six weeks men — are requir- 
ed to Concur in this most unfounded assertion, as I believe it to be. 
I submit it to one of the latter (Ibokihg toward Mr. Dana, frolfl 
Maine, here by a temporary appointment firom the executive,) whe- 
ther, instead of inundating the Senate with a torrent of fulsome and' 
revolting adulation poured on the President, it would not be wiser atjd' 
more patriotic to illustrate the brief period of his senatorial existence 



bif some great me&Aure, fraught with general benefit to the wbob 
Union ? Or, if he will not er cannot elevale himself to a view of 
the interest of ihe entire country, whether he had not better dedicata 
hit time to an investigation into the causes of an alien juiisdictMMl 
being still exercised over a large part of the territory of the Slalt 
which he represents ? And why the American carrying trade to ihm 
British coloneis, in which his state was so deeply interested, has becft 
lost by a most improvident and bungling arrangement ? 

Mr. President, what patriotic purpose is to be accomplished by this 
expunging resolution ! What new honor or fresh laureb will it wui 
(or our common country ? Is the power of the Senate so vast thai 
it ought to be circumscribed, and that of the President so restricted|t 
that it ought to be extended ? What power has the Senate ? NoM 
aeperately. It can only act jointly with the other House, or jointljr 
with the executive. And although the theory of the constitution 
•apposes, when consulted by him, it may freely give an affinnathrt 
or negative response according to the practice, as it now. exists, it bat 
lost the faculty of pronouncing the negative monosyllable. When 
the Senate expresses its deliberate judgment, in the form of resolu* 
tion, that resolution has no compulsory force, but appeals only to the 
dispassionate intelligence, tlie calm reason, and the sobeT judgment 
of the community. The Senate has no army, no navy, no patronagOi 
no lucrative, offices, nor glittering honors to bestow. Around at 
there is no swarm of greedy expectants^, rendering us homage, anUcH 
pating our wishes, and ready to execute our commands. 

How is it with the President? Is he powerless. He is felt {rom 
one extremity to the other of this vast republic. By means of prin* 
ciples which he has introduced, and innovations which he has mada 
in our institutions, alas ! too much countenanced by Congress and a 
eon6ding people, he exercises uncontrolled the power of the State. 
In one hand he holds the purse, and in the other brandishes the 
•word of the country. Myriads of dependents and partizans, scat* 
tered over the land, are ever ready to sing hosannas to him, and to 
laud to the skies whatever he does. He has swept over the govern- 
ment, during the last eight years, like a tropical tornado. Eveiy 
department exhibits traces of the ravages of the storm. Take, « 
one example, the Bank of the United States. No institution cooU 


have been more popular with the people, with Congress, and with 
State Legislatures. None ever better fulfilled the great purposes of 
its establishment. But it unfortunately incurred the displeasure o{ 
Uie President ; he spoke, and the Bank lies prostrate. And those 
who were loudest in its praise are now loudest in its condemnatioa* 
What object of his ambition is unsatisfied ? When disabled from age 
any longer to hold the sceptre of ppwer, he denignates his successofi 
and transmits it to his favorite. What more does he want. Must 
we blot, deface and mutilate the records of the country to punish 
the presumptuousness of expressing an opinion contrary to his own. 

What patriotic purprse is to be accomplished by this expunging 
resolution ? Can you make that not to be which has been ? Can 
you eradicate from memory and from history the fact, that in March, 
1834, f majority of the Senate of the United States passed the reso- 
lution which excites your enmity ? Is it your vain and wicked object 
to arrogate to youselves that power of annihilating the past which 
has been denied to Omnipotence itself? Do you intend to thrust yout 
hands into our hearts, and to pluck out the deeply rooted conviction! 
which are there ? or is it your design merely to stigmatize us ? Yoq 
cannot stigmatize US. 

** NeVr yet did Imubc dishonor blur our name." 

Standing securely upon our conscious rectitude, and bearing aloft 
ihe shield of the constitution of our country, your puny eficirts are 
fanpotent, and we defy ail your power. Put the majority of 1834 in 
oae seale, and that by which this expunging resolution b to be car* 
ried in the other, and let truth and justice, in, heaven above and on 
tjie earth below, and liberty and patriotism decide the preponderance. 

What patriotic purpose is to be accomplished by this expunging ? 
b it to oppeaee the wrath, and to heal the wounded pi ide of the Chief 
Magistrate ? If he be really the hero that his friends represent him, 
be must despise all mean condescension, all grovelling sycophancy, 
all self-degradation, and self-abasement. He would reject with scorn 
and contempt, as unworthy of his fame, your black scratches, and 
your baby lines in the fair records of his country. Black tines ! 
Black lines ? Sir, 1 hope the Secretary of the Senate will preserve 
the pen with which he may inscribe them, and present it to that Sen- 
ator of the minority whom he nwy select, as a proud trophy, to be 

81d fFBGcms OF hsurt glat. 

transmitted to his descendants. And hereafter, when we shall lam 
ibe forms of our free institutions, all that now remain to tm^someib- 
Inre American monarch, in gratitude to those hy whose means he bat 
been enabled, upon the ruins of civil liberty, to erect a throne, and to 
commemorate especially this expunging i^esolutton, may institute m 
new order of knighthood, and confer on it the appropriate name of tba 
knight of the black lines. 

But why should I detain the Senate or needlessly waste my breath 
in fruitless exertions. The decree has gone forth. It is one of m^ 
gency, too. The deed is to be done — that foul deed, like the blood- 
stained hands of the guilty Macbeth, all ocean's waters will never 
wash out. Proceed, then, to the noble work which lies before you, 
and like other skilful executioners^ do it quickly. And when yOia 
have perpetrated it, go home to the people, and tell them whs^ glori^ 
ens honors you have achieved for our common country. Tell them 
that you have extinguished one of the brightest and purest lights thit 
ever burnt at the altar of civil liberty. Tell them that you have 
silenced one of the noblest batteries that ever thundered in defence 
of the constitution, and bravely spiked the cannon. Tell them thtt, 
henceforward, no matter what daring or outrageous act any Presid^nC 
may perform, you have forever hermetically sealed the mouth of the 
Senate. Tell them that he may fearlessly assume what power he 
please»— snatch from its lawful custody the public purse, command a 
military detachment to enter the halls of the capitol, overawe Co»- 
gresS) trample down the constitution, and raze every bulwark dhv^ 
dom ; but that the Senate must stand mute, in silent submissioii^ and 
not dare to raise its opposing voice. That it must wait until a Hooaa 
of Representatives, humbled and subdued like itself, and a roajoti|y 
of it composed of the partisans of the President, shall prefer articles 
of impeachment. Tell them finally, that you have restored the glo- 
rious doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance, and, if the 
people do not pour out their indignation and imprecations, I hare jal 
to learn the character of American freemen. 


Iv TUK Senate of the United States, September 25 1837. 

[The SutQ Bank Deposite wyUtm of kef ping and disbuTBioff the Public Montjt 
having ezploded on t|ie genera] suapeiiBion of Specie Payments by the Banki 
Ihroughont the Coontry in May, 1887, leaving the government nearly deatitnte «f 
pecuniary means or financial machinery, Mr. Vau Bomur (then newly inaugurated 
as President) promptly summoned the new Congress to m^et in Washington on the 
fint Monday of September of that year. Although the Elections alier the suspen- 
tlon went h^vtly against htm, yet the previous choice of members from one half 
*iie States, indudng New York, Pennsylvania, Viiginia, and Ohio, had secured to 
. his Administration a decided preponderance in each House. Congress assembled on 
the 4th, and the Preadent in his message submitted the fiscal plan known as idle 
tvoBPEimtirT TniAiunv or Sub-Treasury, for the collection, safe keeping, and Sb- 
«ltaneroeBt of the Public Moneys entirely ' divorced* from Banks. A bill embodyiag 
this proposition having been reported to the Senate, from its Committe on Finaaoe 
by Mr. Wrioht of New York, upon its consideration >&. Clat addressed the Ses- 
ate as follows :] 

Fesltno an anxfoas derire to see some efl^taal plan presented to 
correct the disorders in the cnrrency, and to restore the prosperity of 
the conntry, I have avoided precipitating myself into the debate now 
in progress, that I may attentively examine every remedy that 
may be proposed, and impartially weigh every consideration ui^ged 
in its support. No period has ever existed in this coontry, in whldi 
the future was covered by a darker, denser, or more impenetrable 
g^oom. None, in which the duty was more imperative to discard aO 
passion and prejudice, all party ties, and previous bias, and look ex* 
dnsively to the good of our afflicted country. In one respect, and I 
think it a fbrtimate one — our present difficulties are distinguishabte 
ftom former domestic trouble, and that is their universality. They 
sore felt it is true, in difierent degrees, but they reach every sectioai, 
every State, every interest, almost every man in the Union. AU 
ftel, see, hear, know their existence. As they do not turay, like o«r 
tinner divisions, one portion of the confederacy against another, it is 
U be hoped that commoti snftriqgs may lead to oommott sympstidiiaa 


wad common counsels, and that we shall, at no distant day, be able to 
see a clear way of deli verc nee. If the present state of the countiy 
•were produced by the fault of the people ; if it proceeded from their 
wasteful extravagance, and their indulgence of a reckless spirit of 
ruinous speculation ; if public measures had no agency whatever m 
bringing it about, it would nevertheless be the duty of government to 
exert all its energies and to employ all its legitimate powers to deviao 
aB efficacious remedy. But if our present deplorable conditioo hat 
sprung from our rulers ; if it is to be clearly traced to their acta and 
operations, that duty becomes infinitely more obligatory ; and gov 
ernment would be faithless to the highest and most solemn of hunuui 
!trusts should It neglect to perform it. And is it not too true that tho 
evils which surround us are to be ascribed to those who have had 
the conduct of our public afiiEurs ? 

In glancing at the past, nothing can be further from my intentkA 
than to excite angry feelings, or to find grounds of reproach. U 
ifould be far more congenial to my wishes that, on this occasion wo 
should forget all former unhappy divisions and animosities. But ia 
order to discover how to get out of our difficulties, we must anrrrtaia 
if we can how we got into them. 

Prior to that series of unfortunate measures which had for its ob- 
ject the overthrow of the £ank of the United States, and the discontinu- 
ance of its fiscal agency for the government, no people upon earth evar 
enjoyed a better currency, or had exchanges better regulated than the 
people of the United States. Our monetary system appeared to have 
attained as great perfection as anything human can possibly reach. 
The combination of United States and local Banks preseuted a true 
Una^e of our system of general and State governments, and worked 
quite as well. !Not only within the country had we a local and gco- 
eral currency perfectly sound, but in whatever quarter of the globe 
American commerce had penetrated, there also did the bills of the 
United States Bank command unbounded credit and confidence. Nov 
we are in danger of having fixed upon us, indefinitely as to time, ths(t 
medium, an irredeemable paper currency, which, by the universal 
consent of the commercial world, is regarded as the worst. How 
has this reverse come upon us ? Can it be doubted that it is the !»> 
ault of those measures to which 1 have adverted ? When, at the veiy 
moment of adopting them^ the very consequences which bave faa^ 

Oir TBS tVB-TBBAtnBT. S16 

jpened were foretold at ineTitable, ii it necessafy to look elsewhere 
fer their cause ? Never waa prediction more distinctly made ; neTer 
#as fulfilment more literal and exact. 

Let us suppose that those measures had not been adopted ; that 
die Bank of the United States had heen rechartered ; that the public 
deposites had remained undisturbed ; and that the treasury order had 
sever issued : is there not every reason to believe that we should be 
sow in the enjoyment of a sound currency ; that the public deposites 
would be now safe and forthcoming, and that the suspension of specie 
payments in May last would not have happened ? 

The President's message asserts that the suspension has poceeded 
from over-action, over*trading, the indulgence of a spirit of speculation 
produced by bank and other facilities. I think this is a view of the 
case entirely too superficial. It would be quite as correct and just, 
10 the instance of a homicide perpetrated by the discharge of a gun, to 
•liege that the leaden ball, and not the man who levelled the piece, 
was responsible for the murder. The true inquiry is, how came that 
excessive over-trading and those extensive bank facilities which the 
■aossage describes ? Were they not the necessary and immediate 
consequences of the overthrow of the Bank, and the removal from its 
custody of the public deposites } And is not this proven by the vast 
flftultiplicalion of banks, the increase of the line of their discounts and 
accommodations, prompted and stimulated by Secretary Taney, and 
the great augmentation of their circulation which ensued ? 

What occurred in the State of Kentucky in consequence of the veto 
of the recharter of the Bank of the United States illustrates its efiects 
tfuroughout the Union. That State had suflered greatly by banks. It 
was generally opposed to the re-esfablishment of them. It had found 
the notes of the Bank of the United States answering all the purposes 
of a sound currency at home and abroad, and it was perfectly con- 
tented with them. At the period of the veto, it had but a single 
bank of limited capital and circulation. After it, the State, reluctant 
to engage in the banking system, and atill cherishing hopes of the 
creation of a new Bank of the United States, encouraged by the sup- 
porters of the late President^ hesitated about the incorporation of new 
tadiks. But at length, despairing of the establishment of a Bank of 
tm United Statea, and fiodbg- itself expoeed to a currency in beak 


jUptes from adjacent States, it proceeded to establish banks of its owi; 
9X4 since the veto, since 1S33, has incorporated for that single Stmfei 
bank capital to the amount of ten millions of dollars — a sum eqiif) It 
the capital of the first Bank of the United States created for the whoU 

Thai the local banks, to which the deposites were transferred fion 
tibe Bank of the United States, were urged and stimulated freelj to 
discount upon them, we have record evidence from the treasoiy dfr- 

The message, to reconcile us to our misfortunes, and to exonerala 
(be measures of our own government from all blame in producing the 
present state of things, refers to the condition of Europe, and 
^ly to that of Great Britain. It allcdges that, 


In both countriet we hart witnessed the same redundancy oi paper ^ 
•iher facilities of credit : the snme Sfiirit of iH>ccnlation ; the tame partial 
t^e aame dilficuUiesandTevcwes; and, at length, nearly the aame oven 

The very clear and able argument of the Senator from Geoq^ 
(Mr. King) relieves me fiom the nt^cessity of saying much upon this 
part of the subject. It appears that during the period referred to fay 
the message of 1833-4-5, there was, in finct, no augmentation, or • 
Tery trifling augmentation, of the circulation of the country, and tlMl 
the message has totally misconceived the actual state of things a 
Great Britain. According to the publications to which 1 have had 
access, the Bank of England in fact diminished its circulation, com- 
p^ing the first with the last of that period, about two and a half 
Billions sterling ; and although the joint-stock and private banks in* 
pleased theirs, the amount of increase was neutralized by the amooal 
gf diminution 

If the state of things were really identical, or similar, in the tWQ 
countries, it would be fitir to trace it to similarity of causes. But is 
tbat the case } In Great Britain a sound currency was presenred hf 
ft recharter of the Bank of England about the same time that the r^ 
charter of the Bank of the United States was agitated here. In thi 
United States we have not preserved a sound currency, in const* 
quence of the veto. If Great Britain were near the same catastrapha 
(Iba su^iensiun of specie payments) wbioh occomd liere,sbe iift?«i» 


tfialess ucaped it; and this di6fereiice in tke condition of the two 
countries makes all the diflference in the world. Great Britain has 
recovered from whatever mercantile diatreases she experienced ; we 
have not ; and when shall we ? All is bright^ and cheerfol, and en- 
couraging in the prospects which lie before her ; and the reverse is 
our unfortunate situation. 

Great Britain has, in truth, experienced only those temporary 
barrassments which are incident to commercial transactions, conduct- 
ed upon the scale of vast magnitude on which hecs are carried ott- 
Prosperous and adverse times, action and reaction, are the lot of all 
commercial countries. But our distresses sink deeper ; they reach 
the heart, which has ceased to perform its office of circulation in the 
great conceriu of our body politic 

Whatever of embarrassment Europe hasxecently experienced, maf 
be satii>factoriIy explained by its trade and connexions with thi 
United States. The degree of embarrassment has been marked, in 
the commercial countries there, by the degree of their connexion with 
the United States. All, or almost all, the great fiedlures in Europe 
have been of houses engird in the American trade. Great Britaiai 
which, as the message justly observes, m^ntains the closest relationa 
with us, has sufl^red moat, France next, and so on, in the order of 
their greater or less commercial intercourse with us. Most truly 
was it said by the Senator from Greorgia, that the recent embarraas- 
ments of Europe were the embarraagments of a creditor, from whom 
payment was withheld by the debtor, and from whom the preciooa 
metals have been unnecessarily withdrawn by thepdicy of the aame 

Since the intensity of sufl)?iing, and the disastrous state of thioga ia 
this country, have far transcended anything that has occurred in 
Burope, we must look here for some peculiar and more potent causes 
than any which have been in operation there. They are to be fonad 
in that seriea of measures to which I liave already adverted. 

lat. The veto of the Bank. 

2A. The removal of the depoaites, with the uigent injunction of 
fltpwtaiy Taney iwon the banhe to enlaigif their apeommodatioMk 

•18 •rmwcnwB or RS5Bt clat. 

' 3d. The gold bill, and the deoiftDd of gold for the foreign indeamiliei 
4th. The clmnt y execution of the deposite law ; and 

6th. The treasury order of July, 1836. 

[Here Mr. CLAr w^nt into an eztminttioD of thesr mparam to ihow that ths 
iallated cond'uiun oi tlie counUy, the wild qiecnhftiiont, which had ritea to iMv 
height when they began to be checked by the |ire|>anition« ol' the local bank* iieec» 
tarjr to meet tbe depoeite law of Jud«*, 1S6, the final auspension of specie paymeBli^ 
•ad the eomeqaeiit diaorden in the eonmcy, comrnetee, and general buameaa •f 
Ika oouatiy, were all to be traced to the iotloence of the measuieteoumrralcd. Al 
iheae caasca operated immediately, directly, and powerfuUy upon ob, and ibeir 
tffecU were indirectly felt in Europe.] 

The message imputes to the deposite law, an agency in prodociiig 
the existing embarrassments. This is a chai^ frequently made bj 
the friends of the administration against that law. It is true thai 
the Banks having increased their accommodations, in conformity with 
die orders of Secretary Taney, it might not have been convenient to 
recall and pay them over for public use. It is true, also, that the 
manner in which the law was executed by the treasury departmeal^ 
transferring large sums from creditor to debtor portions of the coun- 
try, without regard to the commerce or business of the country migjhl 
have aggravated the inconvenience. But what do those who object 
t6 the law think ought to have been done with the surpluses which 
had accumulated, and were daily augmenting to such an enormous 
amount in the hands of the deposite banks ? Were they to be incor- 
porated with their capital, and remain there for the benefit of the 
stockholders ? Was it not proper and just, that they should be ap- 
plied to the uses of the people from whom they were collected.^ 
And whenever and however taken from the deposite banks, would 
not inconvenience necessarily happen ? 

The message asserts that the Bank of the United States, chartered 
by Pennsylvania, has not been able to save itself or to chtrck other 
institutions, notwithstanding ** the still greater strength it has beei 
■aid to possess under its present charter.'' That Bank is now a mere 
State or local institution. Why is it referred to mote than the Bank 
of Virginia, or any other local institution ? The exalted station 
#hich the President fills forbids the indulgence of the suppositioO| 
diat the aUution has been neade to enable the administration to prafil 

OV THB SU»TRIAflUftT« 810 

4f the prejodices vhich have been excited ngainst it. Wai it the 
Aity of that baok, more than any other State Bank, to check the 
local institutiona ? Waa it not even under 1<*88 obligation to do ao 
than the deposite banka, aelected and fixitered bj the general govem- 

But bow could tlie meaiage venture to asserti that it haa greater 
atrength than the late Bank of the United Stutea poaaeayed ? What- 
ever may be the liberality of the conditiona of its charter, it ia impoa- 
^ble that any aingle State could confer upon it (acuUiea equal to those 
granted to the late Bank of the United States — 6rat, in making it the 
aole depository of the revenue of the United States ; and secondly, in 
iMiking its notes receivable in the payment of all public dues. If a 
•Bank of the United States had existed, it would bare had ample 
aotice of the accumulation of public moneys in the local banics, aiMl, 
bfj timely measures of precaution, it could have prevented the specu- 
lative uses to which they were applied. Such ao inatitution would 
fcave been bound by its relations to the government, to observe its 
appropriations and financial arrangement and wants, and to hold itaelf 
always ready promptly to meet them. It would have drawn together 
gradually, but certainly, the publk; moneys, however dispersed. Re-» 
aponsibility would have been concentrated upon it alone, instead of 
being weakened or lost by diffusion among some eighty or nine^ 
local banks, despersed throughout the country, and acting without 
any effective concert 

A subordinate but not unimportant cause of the evils which al 
present encompass us, has been the course of the late administration 
towards the compromise act. The great principle of that act, in re- 
qpect to our domestic industry, was its stability. It was intended 
aod hoped that, by withdrawing the tariff from their annual discus- 
afetti in Congress, of which it had been the fruitfql topic, our manu- 
fictures would have a certainty, for a long period, as to the measure 
af protection, extended to them by its proviifions, which would com- 
pensate any reduction in the amount contained in prior acts. For a 
year or two after it was adopted, the late admini.Htration manifested 
a dispositkni to respect it, as an arrangement which was to be invio- 
lable. But, for some time past, it haS l>een constantly threatened from 
that quarter, and a settled purpose has been displayed to disregard 
ks conditions. Those who had an agency in bringing it fiMrwvd, ufd 


carrying it through Congress,. bare been held up to animadTenrioB ; 1} 
Jim been declared by memberiy high in the confidence of the adniM- 
•Iralion in both Houses, to possess no obligatory force beyond ani^ 
«dinary act of legislation, and new adjustments of the tariff ha)f% 
been proposed in both Houses, in direct contravention of the' priMS* 
pies of the compromise ; and, at the last session, one of them actii> 
ally passed the Senate, against the most earnest entreaty and 
tftranee. A portion of the Sooth has not united in these attacks 
4ie compromise ; and I take pleasure in saying, that the two Senatan 
Aom South Carolina, especially, have uniformly exhibited a vesoh^ 
iM» to adhere to it with perfect honor and fidelity. 

The efSbct of those constant threats and attacks, coming fit>m thoM 
high in power, has been most injurious. They have shown to Ihii 
aaanufaotoriag interest that no certain reliance was to be placed opoa 
the steadiness of the policy of the government, no matter under whai 
iaiemn circumstances it was adopted. That interest has taken all 
aew enterprises have been arrested, old ones curtailed ; and at 
■Kmient it is the most prostrate of all the interests in the oonnliy. 
One-half in amount, as I have been informed, of the manufiictami 
tfiiougbout the country have actually suspended operations, 
those who have not, chiefly confine themselves to working np 
itock on hand. 

The consequence has been, that we have made too little at home, 
and purebred too much abroad. This has augmented that foreign 
fcbt, the existence of which so powetfully contributed to the sus- 
pension, and yet forms an obstacle to the resumption of specie pcf- 

The Senator from South Carolina (Mr. Calhoun) attributed Ite 
creation of the sivrplos revenue to the tariflT policy, and especially ta 
the acts of 1824 and 1 828. I do not perceive any advantage, on Urn 
present occasion, in reviving or alluding to th6 former diasensioas 
which prevailed on the subject of that policy. They were all settled 
and quieted by the great healing measure (the compromise) to wbieh 
1 have referred. By that act I have been willing and ready to abide. 
And f have desired only that it should be observed and executed imm 
spirit of good faith and fidelity similar to that by which I have 
ter actuated towards it 



The act of 1828 was no mpasure of the friends of the mairafactu* 
ran. Its [Masage was forced by a coalition between their secret and 
open opponents. But the system of protection of American industry 
did not cause the surplus. It proceeded from the extraordinary rules 
of the public lands. The receipts, from all sources other than that 
of the public lands, and expenditures of the years 1833-4-5-6, (dar- 
ing which the surplus was accumulating) both amount to about 
eighty-s^ven millions of dollars ; thus clearly showiag that the cus- 
toms only supplied the necessary means of public disbursement, and 
that it was the public domain that produced the surplus. 

If the land bill had been allowed to go into operation, it would 
hare distributed generally and regularly among the several States 
the proceeds of the public lands, as they would haye been received 
from time to time. They would have returned back in small streams 
similar to those by which they have been collected, animating, and' 
improving, and fhictifying the whole country. There would have 
been no vast surplus to embarrass the government; no removal 
of deposites from the Bank of .the United States to the deposite 
banks, to disturb the business of the country ; no accumulations in 
the deposite banks of immense sums of public money, augmented by 
the circuit it was performing between the land offices and the banks, 
and the banks and the land offices ; no occasion for the Secfetary of 
the Treasury to lash the deposite banks into the grant of inordinate ' 
accommodations ; and possibly there would have been no suspensioc 
of specie payments. But that bill was suppressed by a most extras 
ordinary and dangerous exercise of executive power. 

The cause of our present difficulties may be stated in another wbj. 
During the late administration we have been deprived of the practi- 
cal benefit of a free government ; the forms, it is true, remained and 
were observed, but the essence did not exist. In a free, or self-gov* 
ernmcnt, the collected wisdom, the aggregate wisdom of the whole, or 
at least of a majority, moulds and directs the course of public affairs. 
In a despotbm the will of a single individual governs. In a practi- 
cally free government, the nation controls the chief magistrate ; in 
an arbitrary government, the chief ma^trate control! the nation. 
And has not this been our situation in the period mentioned ? Has 
not one man forced his will on the nation ? Have not all these dis* 
astrous measures — the veto of the bank ; the removal of the dep<^ 



■iies ; the rejection of the land bill^ and the treasury order, whidi 
have Jed to our present unfortunate condition, been adopted, in spile 
of the wishes of the country, and in opposition, probably, to tbom 
of the dominant party itself? 

Our misfortune has not been the want of wisdom, but of finnneM. 
The party in power would not have governed the country very ill^ 
if it had been allowed its own way. Its fatal error has been to lead 
its sanction, and to bestow its subsequent applause and support upos 
executive acts which, in their origin, it previously deprecated or con* 
demned. We have been shocked and grieved to see whole legisl^ 
live bodies and commimities approving and lauding the rejection of 
the very measures which previously they had unanimously recon- 
mended ! To see whole States abandoning their loog-cherisbed poll- 
cy and best interests in subserviency to the executive pleasure ! And 
the numberless examples of individuals who have surrendered their 
independence, must inflict pain in every patriot bosom, A single caM 
forces itself upon my recollection as an illustration, to which 1 do not 
advert from any unkind feelings towards the gentleman to whom I 
refer, between whom and myself civil and courteous relations have 
ever existed. The memorial of the late Bank of the United States, 
praying for a recharter, was placed in his hands, and he presented It 
to the Senate. He carried the recharter through the Senate. The veld 
came ; and, in two or three weeks afterwards, we behold the same Sea* 
ator at the head of an assembly of the people in the state-house yard, ia 
Philadelphia, applauding the veto, and condemning the bank— ^os*- 
demning his own act ! Motives lie beyond the reach of the human eye, 
and it does not belong to me to say what they were which prompted 
this self-casligation, and this praise of the destruction of his owe 
work ; but it is impossible to overlook the fact that this same Sen^ 
tor, in due time, received from the author of the veto the giA of • 
splendid foieign mission ! 

The moral deducible from the past is, that our free institutiong ert 
superior to all others, and can be preserved in their purity and excel- 
lence only upon the stern condition that we shall for ever hold Ibe 
obligations of patriotism paramount to all the ties of party, and to in- 
dividual dictation; and that we shall never openly approve what we 
secretly condemn. 

Id this rapid, and I hope not faligaing review of the causes which 
I Ihiok have brought upon us existing embarrassments, 1 repeat thai 
it has been for no purpose of reproaching or criminating those who 
have haJ the conduct of our public afikirs ; but to discover tha 
means by which the present crisis hss been produced, with a view to 
ascertain, if possible, what (which b by far much more important) 
should be done by Congress to avert its injurious eflects. And thit 
brings me to consider the remedy proposed by the administration. 

The great evil under which the country labors is the suspension of 
the banks to pay specie ; the total derangement in all domestic ex- 
changes ; and the paralysis which has come over the whole busineia 
of the country. In regard to the currency, it is not that a given 
amount of bank notes will not now command as much as the sam^ 
amount of specie would have done prior to the suspension ; but it ia 
the future, the danger of an inconvertible paper money being in- 
definitely or permanently fixed upon the people, that fills them with 
apprehensions. Our great object should be to re-establish a sound cur- 
rency, and thereby to restore the exchanges, and revive the busineif 
of thi country. 

The first impression which the measures brought forward by the 
administration make, is, that they eoosist of temporary expediently 
looking to the supply of the necessities of the treasury ; or, so far aa 
any of them possess a permanent character, its tendency is rathef to 
aggravate than alleviate the suflerings of the people. None of them 
proposes to rectify the disorders in the actual currency of the country ; 
but the people, the States, and their banks, are left to shifl for them- 
selves as they may or can. The administration, after having inter* 
vened between the States and their banks, and taken thtm into their 
federal service, without the consent of the States ; after having pufied 
and praised them ; after having brought them, or contributed to bnng 
them, into their present situation, now suddenly turns its back upoa 
them, leaving them to their fate ! It is not content with that ; it must 
absolutely discredit their issues. And the very people who were told 
by the administration that these banks would supply them with a 
better currency, are now left to Struggle as they can with the very 
currency which the government recommended to thorn, but which it 
now refuses itself to receive ! 

884 ipncHM OT lunrmr c&at. 

The professed object of the tdministration is to establish what it 
Imns the currency of the constitutioa, which it propose to aceom* 
{dish by restricting the federal goTemment, in all receipts and pay* 
ments, to the exclosive use of specie^ and by refusing aii bank paper, 
whether convertible or not. It disclaims all purposes of crippling er 
putting down the banks of the States : but we shall better detenniBa 
the design or the efiect of the measures recommended by conaideriag 
them together, as one system. 

1/ The first is the sub* treasuries, which are to be made the depoai- 
tories of all the specie collected and paid out for the service of llie 
general government, discrediting and relusing all the notes of tlia 
States, although payable and paid in specie. 

2. A bankrupt law for the United States, teyelled at all the Stale 
banks, and authorizing the seizure of the effects of any one cyf then 
that stop payment, and the administration of their effects under lbs 
federal autliority exclusively* 

3. A particular law for the District of Columbia, by which aft tfaa 
corporations and people of the District, under severe pains and penal- 
tiea, are prohibited from circulating, sixty days after the passage of 
therlaw, any paper whatever not convertible into specie on demaad| 
aod are made liable to prosecution by indictment. 

4. And lastly, the bill to suspend the payment of the fourth instal- 
meat to the States, by the provisions of which the deposite banks in* 
debted to the government are placed at the discretion of the Secretsij 
oC the Treasury. 

It is impossible to consider this system without perceiving that it 
if aimed at, and, if carried out, must terminate in, the total subver- 
skm of the State Banks ; and that they will all be placed at the mercy' 
of the federal government. It is in vain to protest that there- existi 
usi^ketign against them. The effect of those measures cannot be m^ 

And why this new experiment or untried expedient ? The people 
of this country are tired of experiments. Ought not the adminisCra* 
tion itself to cease with them ? Ought it not to take warning frooi 


the eveots of recent elections ? Above all, rhonld not the Senate, 
constituted as it now is, be the last body to lend itself to further ez-* 
peiiments upon the business and happiness of this great people ? Ae» 
cording to the latest expression of public opinion in the several Statei, 
the Senate is no longer a true exponent of the will of the States or 
of the people. If it were, there would be thirtj*twoor thirtj-fbur 
wbigs to eighteen or twenty friends of the administration. 

Is it desirable to banish a convertible paper medium, and to substi- 
tute the precious metals as the sole currency to be used in all the 
vast extent of varied business of this entire country ? I think not* 
The quantity of precious metals in the world, looking to our (air dis- 
tributive share of them, is wholly insufficient. A convertible paper 
is a great time-saving and labor-saving instrument, independent of its 
superior advantages in transfers and remittances. A friend no longer 
ago than yesterday, informed me of a single bank whose pajrments 
and receipts in ocTe day amounted to two millions of dollars. Whtt 
time would not have been necessary to count such a vast sum ? The 
payments, in the circle of a year, in the city of New York, wer#» 6§- 
timated several years ago at fifteen hundred millions. How many 
men and how many days would be necessary to count such a sum ? A 
young, growing, and enterprising people, like those of the United 
States, more than any other, need the use of those credits which vre 
Incident to a sound paper system. Credit is the friend of indigent 
merit. Of all nations, Great Britain has most freely used the credit 
system ; and of all, she is the most prosperous. We must cease to 
be a commercial people ; we must separate, divorce ourselves from 
the commercial world, and throw ourselves back for centuries, if we 
restrict our business to the exclusive use of specie. 

It is objected against a convertible paper system, thst it is liable to 
expansions and contractions ; and that the consequence is the rise and 
fall of prices, and sudden fortunes or sudden ruin. But it is the ini- 
portation or exportation of specie, which forms the basis of paper, 
that occasions these fluctuations. If specie alone were the medium 
of circulation, the same importation or exportation of it would make 
it plenty or scarce, and affect prices in the same manner. The nomi- 
nal or apparent prices might vary in figures, but the sensation upon 
the community would be as great in the one case as in the other. 
These alternations do not result, therefore, from the nature of the me- 


diom^ Mrhether that be specie exclusive] j, or paper convertible into i 
cie, but from the operations (^commerce. It is commerce, at last, that 
is chargeable with expansions and contractions ; and against commeioey 
and not its instrument, should opposition be directed, 


1 have heard it urged by the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. 
Calhoun) >¥ith no little surprise, in the course of this debate, that m 
convertible paper would not answer for a currency, but that the true 
.standard of value was to be found in a paper medium not convertible 
into the precious metals. If there be, in regard to currency, one 
truth which the united experience of the whole commercial world 
has established, I had supposed it to be that emissions of paper 
money constituted the very worst of all conceivable sflecies of cur- 
rency. The objections to it are : 1st. That it is impracticable to a»> 
certain, a priori^ what amount can be issued without depreciation; 
and, 2d. That there is no adequate security, and, in the nature of 
things, none can exist, i^ainst excessive issues. * The paper money 
of North Carolina, to which the Senator referred, according to the in- 
(brnuttion which I have received, did depreciate. It was called Proc, 
an abbreviation of the authority under which it was put forth, and it 
took one and a half and sometimes two dollars of Proc. to purchase 
one in specie. But if any one desires to understand perfectly the 
operation of a purely paper currency, let him study the history of the 
bank of the commonwealth of Kentucky. )t was established about 
fifteen or sixteen years ago, with the consent of a majority of the 
people of that State. It is winding up and closin«: it<« career with the 
almost unanimous approbation of the whole people. It had an a(^> 
thority to issue, and did issue, notes to the amount of about two mill* 
ions of dollars. These notes, upon their face, purported an obliga- 
tion of the bank to pay the holder, on demand, the amount in specie; 
but it was well known that they would not be so paid. Ag a secu- 
rity for their ultimate payment, there were : 1st. The notes of indi- 
viduals supposed to be well secured, every note put out by the bank 
being represented by an individual note discounted. 2d. The funds 
of the State in a prior Slate bank, amounting to about half a million 
of dollars. 3d. The proceeds of a large body of waste lands beloi^- 
hig to the State. And 4(h. The annual revenue of the State, and 
public dues, all of which were payable in the notes of the C/oflunoD 
wealth Bank 


Notwithstanding this apparently solid provision for the redemption 
of the notes of the hank, they began to depreciate shortly afler it com- 
menced operation, and in the course of a few months they sunk af 
low as fifty per cent. — two dollars for one specie dollar. They con- 
tinued depreciated for a long time, until after large amounts of them 
were called in and burned. They then rose in value, and now, when 
there is only some fifty or one hundred thousand dollars out, they have 
risen to about par. This is owing to the demand for them, created 
by the wants of the remaining debtors to the bank, and their receiva- 
bility in payment for taxes. The result of the experiment is, that, 
although it is possible to sustain at about par a purely paper medium 
to some amount, if the legislative authority which creates it also cre- 
ate a demand for it, it is impracticable to adjust the proportions of 
supply and demand so as to keep it at par, and that the tendency ij 
always to an excess of issue. The result, with the people of Ken- 
tucky, has been a general conviction of the mischiefs of all issues of 
an irredeemable paper medium. 

Is it practicable for the federal government to put down the State 
banks, and to introduce an exclusive metallic currency ? In the oper- 
ations of this government, we bhould ever bear in mind that political 
power is distributed between it and the States, and that, while our 
duties are few and clearly defined, the mass of legislative au- 
thority abides with the States. Their banks exist without us, inde- 
pendent of us, and in spite of us. We have no constitutional power 
or right to put them down. Why, then, seek their destruction, openly 
or secretly, directly or indirectly, by discrediting their issues, and by 
bankru])t laws, and bills of pains and penalties. What are these 
banks now so descried and denounced ? Intruders, aliens, enemies 
that have found their way into the bosom of our country against our 
will. Reduced to their elements, and the analysis shows that they 
consist: 1st. of stockholders ; 2d. debtors; and 3d. bill-holders and 
other creditors. In «omc one of these three relations, a large majority 
of the people of the United States stand. In making war upon the 
banks, therefore, you wage war upon the people of the United States. 
It is not a mere abstraction that you would kick and cuff, bankrupt 
nnd destroy, but a sensitive, generous, confiding people, who are 
anxif usly turning their eyes towards you, and imploring relief. Every 
blow that you inllict upon the banki, reaches them. Press the banks, 
ud you preM ibem* 


True wisdom, it seems to me, requires that we •houlcl not 0eek 
after if we could discover unattainable abstract perfection ; but ahonld 
look to what is practicable in human affairs, and accommodate our 
l^islation to the irreversible condition of things. Since the States 
and the people have their Banks and will have theqa, and since we 
have no constitutional authority to put them down, our duty is to 
come to their relief when in embarrassment, and to exert all our 
legitimate powers to retain and enable them to perform, in the mofi 
beneficial manner, the purposes of their institution. We should em- 
bank, not destroy, the fertilizing stream which sometimes thfy^^^Bf 
an inundation. 

We are told that it is necessary to separate, divorce tbe govern- 
ment from the banks. Let us not be deluded by sounds. Senaton 
might as well talk of separating the government from the States, or 
from the people, or from the country. We are all — People — States 
— Union — Banks, bound up and interwoven together, united in for- 
tune and destiny, and all, all entitled to the protecting care of a par- 
ental government. You may as well attempt to make the govern- 
ment breathe a different air, drink a different water, be lit and warm- 
ed by a different sun from the people ! A hard money govemmeot 
and a paper money people ! A government, an official corps — ^the 
servants of the people— flittering in gold, and the people themselves, 
their masters, buried in ruin, and surrounded with rags. 

No prudent or practical government, will in its measures run 
counter to the long-settled habits and usages of the people. Religion, 
language, laws, the established currency and business of a wliole 
country, cannot be easily or suddenly uprooted. After the denom- 
ination of our coin was changed to dollars and cents, many years 
elapsed before the old method of keeping accounts, in pounds, shillings 
and pence, was abandoned; and, to this day, there are probably some 
men of the last century who adhere to it. If a fundamental change 
becomes necessary, it should not be sudden, but conducted by slow 
and cautious degrees. The people of the United States have been 
always a paper money people. It was paper money that carried ns 
through the revolution, established our liberties, and made us a free 
and independent people. And, if tbe experience of the revolutiosaiy 
war convinced our ancestors, as we are convinced, of the evils of an 
irredeemable paper medium, it was put aside only to .^fptve plaea la 



that conyertiUe paper which has so power(ulIy contributed to oar 
rapid advancementy prosperity, and greatness. 

The proposed substitute of an exclusive metallic currency , to tha 
mixed medium with which we have been so long familiar, is forbid* 
den by the principles of eternal justice. Assuming the currency of 
the country to consist of two-thirds of paper and one of specie ; and 
assuming, also, that the money of a country,, whatever may be its 
component parts, regulates all values, and expresses the true amount 
which the debtor has to pay to his creditor, the eflfect of tho change 
upon that relation, and upon the property of the country^ would be 
most ruinous. — AH property would be reduced in value to ono-third 
of its present nominal amount, and every debtoi would, in effect, 
have to pay three times as much as he had contracted for. The prea* 
sure of our f ireign debt would be three times as great as it is, whikt 
the six hundred millions, which is about the sum now probably don 
to the Banks from the people, would be multiplied into eighteen hun* 
dred millions. 

But there are some more specific objections to this project of snb> 
treasuries, which deserve to be noticed. The first is, its msecurity. 
The sub-treasurer and his bondsmen constitute the only guamnty for 
the safety of the immense sums of public money which pass through 
his hands. Is this to be compared with that which is possessed 
through the agency of Banlis ? The collector, who is to be sub- 
treasurer, pays the money to the bank, and the bank to the disburs* 
ifig officer. Here are three checks ; you propose to distroy two of 
them \ and that most important of all, the bank, with its machinery 
of president, directors, cashier, teller and cler«s, all of whom are so 
many sentinels. At the very moment, when the Secretary of the 
Treasury tells us how will hit sub-treasury system work, he baa 
communicated to Congress a circular, signed by himself, exhibiting 
his distrust in it, for he directs in that circular that the public mo- 
neys, when they amount to a large sum, shall be specially deposited 
with these very banks which he wonld repudiate. Inthe State of Ken^ 
tocky, (other gentlemen can speak of their respective States) although 
it has existed but about forty-five years, three treasurers, selected by 
the legislature for their established characters of honor and probity, 
proved faithless. And the history of the delinquency of one, is tha 
hiitoiyofalL It coiBnieMedkkanianwcakjMsa> yielding to eajwetl 


•olicitatioM for temporary loans, wiih the most positive assoranoefl 
of a punctual return. Id no instance was there originallj any iDten- 
tion to defraud the public. We should not expose poor human Da- 
tore to such temptations. How easy will it be, as has been done, to 
indemnify the sureties out of the public money, and squander the 

2. Then there is the liability to favoritism. In the receipts, a po- 
litical partisan or friend may be accommodated in the payment of 
duties, in the disbhrsement, in the purchase of bills, in drafts opoa 
oonvenient and favorable offices, and id a thousand ways. 

3. The fearful increase of executive patronage. Hundreds wni 
thousands of new officers are to be created ; for this bill is a mere 
commencement of the system, and all are to be placed under the direet 
control of the President. 

The Senator from South Carolina (Mr. Calhoun) thinks that the 
executive is now weak, and that no danger is to be apprehended from 
its patronage. I wish to God 1 could see the subject in the same 
light that he does. I wish I could feel free from that alarm at ex- 
ecutive encroachments by which he and I were so recently animated. 
Where and how, let me ask, has that power, lately so fearful and 
formidable, suddenly become so weak and harmless ? Where is that 
corps of one hundred thousand office-holders and dependents, whose 
organized strength, directed by the will of a single man, was lately 
held up in such vivid colors and powerful language by a report made 
by the Senator himself? When were they disbanded ? What has 
become of proscription ? Its victims may be exhausted, but the spirit 
and the power which sacrificed them remain unsubdued. What of 
the dismissing power ? What of the veto ? Of that practice of 
withholding bills contrary to the constitution, still more reprehensi- 
ble than the abuses of the veto ? Of treasury orders, put in force 
and maintained in defiance and contempt of the legislative authority ? 
And although last, not least, of that expunging power which degra- 
ded the Senate, and placed it at the feet of the executive ? 

Which of all these numerous powers and pretensions has the pree-' 
ent chief magistrate disavowed ? So far fi'om disclaiming any one 
of them, has he not announced his intention to follow in the veiy 

Oir THS IVl-TMBAf URT. 881 

fboteteps of his predecessor ? And fats he not done it ? Was it againsl 
the person of Andrew Jackson that the Senator from South Carolina^ 
so ably co«operated with us ? No, sir, no, sir, no. It was against 
his usurpations, as we helieved them, ap^ainst his arbitrary admin- 
istration, above all, against that tremendous and frightful augmenta- 
tion of the power of the executive branch of the government, thai 
we patriotically but vainly contended. The person of the chief ma- 
gistrate is changed ; but there stands the executive power, perpetci- 
ated in all its vast magnitude, undiminished, re-asserted, and over- . 
shadowing all the other departments of the govemm«6t. Every 
trophy which the late President won from them, now decorates the 
executive mansion. Every power, which he tore from a bleeding 
constitution, is now in the executive armory, ready, as time and oe- 
casion may prompt the existing incumbent, wherever he may be, to 
be thundered against the liberties of the people. 

Whatever may have been the motives of the course of others, I 
owe it,to myself and to truth to say, that, in deprecating the election 
of Greneral Andrew Jackson to the office of Chief Magistrate, it was 
not from any private considerations, but because I considered it would 
be a great calamity to my country ; and that, in whatever opposition 
I made to the measures of his administration, which more than real* 
ized my very worst apprehensions, I was guided solely by a sense of 
public duty. And I do now declare my solemn and unshaken convic- 
tion, that, until the executive power, as enlarged, extended, and con- 
solidated by him, is reduced within its true constitutional limits, 
there is no permanent security for the liberties and happiness of this 

4. Lastly, pass this hill, and whatever divorce its fiiends may pro- 
fits to be its aim, that perilous union of the purse and the sword, so 
justly dreaded by our British and revolutionary ancestors, beconoes 
absolute and complete. And who can doubt it who knows that over 
the Secretary of the Treasury at Washington, and every sub-treasu- 
rer, the President claims the power to exercise uncontrolled sway- 
to exact implicit obedience to his will ? 

The BMtssage states that, in the process both of collection and dis- ' 
bnrsement of the public revenue, the officers who perform it act under 
Ike execQtive conunaiids ; and it argues that, thereANre, the custody^ 

SM spncBM or hekrt clat. 

flbo of the ireasuiy might as well be confided to the ezecatiTe 
I think the safer condusion is directly opposite. The possessios oC 
10 much power over the national treasure is just cause of regrety tiifl 
furnishes a strong reason for diminishing it^ if possible, but none for 
its increase, none for giving the whole power over the purse to tbi 
Chief Magistrate. 

Hitherto I have considered this scheme of sub-treasuries as if it 
was only what its friends represent it — a system solely for the pur> 
pose of collecting, keeping, and disburseing the public moneyi in 
specie exclusively, without any bank agency whatever. But it is 
manifest that it is destined to become, if it be not designed to be, a 
vast and ramified connexion of government banks, of which the prin- 
cipal will be at Washington, and every sub-treasury will be a branch. 
The Secretary is authorized to draw on the several sub-treasurers in 
payment for all the disbursements of government. No law restricts 
him as to the amount or form of his drafts or checks. He may throw 
them into amounts suited to the purposes of circulation, and give 
them all the appearance and facilities of bank notes. Of all the bmnch- 
ea of this system, that at New York will be the most important, since 
about one half of the duties is collected there. Drafb on New York 
are at par, or command a premium from every point of the Union. It 
is the great money centre of the country. Issued* in convenient sums, 
thej will circulate throughout Uie whole Union as bank notes ; and 
as long as confidence is reposed in them, will be preferred to the 
specie, which their holders have a right to demand. Tbey will sup- 
ply a general currency, fill many of the channels of circulation, be a 
substitute for notes of the Bank of the United States, and supplant to 
a great extent the use of bank notes. The necessities of the people 
will constrain them to use them. In this way they will remain a long 
time IB circulation; and in a few years we shall see an immense portion 
of the whole specie of the country concentrated in the hands of the 
branch bank — that is, the sub-treasurer at New York, and represent^ 
ed by an equal amount of government paper dispersed throughout the 
country. The responsibility of the sub-treasurer will be consequent^ 
greatly increased, and the government will remain bound to guaran- 
tee the redemption of all the drafts, checks, or notes (whatever may 
be their deiK)mination,) emitted upon the faith of the money in his 
custody, and, of course, will be subject to the hazard of the loss ef 
the amount of specie in the hands of the sub-treasurer. If, in tba 

09 TBI SUB-na4MimT* 3tt 

^tmnifiicenieirt of this tyitem, ihie holders of this gorermnent paper 
shall be required to present it for payment in coin, within a specified 
ttme, it will be foand inconvenient or impracticable to enforce the i^ 
strictioni and it will be ultimately abandoned| 

Is the Senate prepared to consent to place not only all the qpeoie 
that may be collected for the rerenue of the country at the will of the 
President, or which is the same thing, in the custody of persons act- 
ing in obedience to his will, but to put him at the head of the mosi 
powerful and influential system of government banks that ever existed. 

It ia said, in the message, that government is not bound to supply 
the country with the exchanges which are necessary to the transac- 
tion of its business. But was that the language held during the pfO» 
gress of the contest with the late Bank of the United States ? Wae 
not the expectation held out to the people that they would be sup* 
plied with a better currency! and with better regulated exchange? 
And did not both the late President and the Secretary of the Treats 
ury dwell, with particular satisfaction, in several messages and reports 
upon the improvement of the currency, the greater amount in ex>* 
change, and the reduction of the rates, under the operation of the 
State bank system, than existed under the Bank of the United States ? 
Ipstead of fulfilling his promises then held out, the government now 
wraps itself up in its dignity — ^tells the people that they expect too 
much of it ; that it is not its business to furnish exchanges ; and that 
they may look to Europe for the manner in which, through the 
agency of private bankers, the commerce and business of its countries 
are supplied with exchange. We are advised to give up our Ameri- 
can mode of transacting business through the instrumentality of 
hanking corporations, in which the interests of the rich and the poor 
a^ happily blended, and to establish bankers similar to the Hopca, 
the Barings, the Rothschilds, the Hotinguers, of Europe ; houses 
which require years of ages to form and to put in successful opcrar 
lion, and whose vast overgrown capitals, possessed by the rich ex- 
clusively of the poor, control the destiny of naUonS| and detecmintf 
the fate of empires. 

Having, I think, Mr. President, shown that the project of the ad* 
ministration is.neither desirable nor practicable, nor within theconi^ 
snittttAonal power of the general flOTStoaieatftBoriMit^ ^thal kii 


contrary to the habiti of the people of the United States, and if daii- 
geroutt to their liberties.- 1 might here clozie my remarks ; but 1 con- 
ceive it to be the duty of a patriotic opposition not to confine itself 
merely to urging objections against measures to promote the general 
prosperity brought forward by those in power. It has further and 
higher duties to perform. There may be circumstances in which the 
opposition is bound formally to present such measures as, in its judg* 
ment, are demanded by the exigency of the times ; but if it had just 
reason to believe that they would be unacceptable to those who ahm 
can adopt them and give them effect, the opposition will discharge its 
duty by suggesting what it believes ought to be done for the public 

1 know, sir, that T have friends whose partiality has induced them 
to hope that 1 would be able to bring forward some healing measure 
for the disorders which unhappily prevail, that might prove accepta- 
ble. I wish to God that 1 could realize this hope, but I cannot. The 
disease is of such an alarming character as to require more skill than 
I possess ; and 1 regret to be compelled to fear that there is no efiec- 
tual remedy but that which is in the hands of the suffering patient 

Still, under a deep sense of the obligation to which I have referredi 
I declare that, after the most deliberate and anxious consideration of 
which 1 am capable, I can conceive of no adequate remedy which 
does not comprehend a national Bank as an essential part. It ap- 
pears to me that a National Bank, with such modifications as experi- 
enee has pointed out, and particularly such as would limit its profits, 
exclude foreign influence in the government of it, and give publici^ 
to its transactions, is the only safe and certain remedy that can be 
adopted. The great want of the country is a general and uniform 
corrency , and a point of union, a sentinel, a regulator of the issues of 
the local banks, and that would be supplied by such an institution. 

I am not going now to discuss, as an original question, the const! 
totional power of Congress to establish a National Bank. In human 
afiiiirs there are some questions, and 1 think this is one, that ought to 
be held as terminated. Four several decisions of Congress affirming 
the power, the concurrence of every other department of the govem- 
ment, the approbation of the people, the concurrence of both the groat 

OH THS IirB-TBEAlURr. 385 

ptrties into which the country has been divided, and forty years of 
prosperous experience with such a bank, appear to me to settle the 
controversy, if any controversy is ever to be settled. Twenty years 
ago Mr. Madison, whose opposition to the first Bank of the United 
States is well known, in a message to Congress said : 

" Waiving the qnettion of the coutilutional authority of the legislature to etC»> 
bllsh an incor|K>rHte(l bank, as being precluded, in my judement, by re|Hrttt«'d recog- 
nitions, under varied circumataoceif, of ih" validity orsuch an inHtttuiitm, in nctii of 
the l^-gialalive, executive and judicinl branches of ibe govemnieiil, accoiii|>anied by 
iadicaiionH, in ditTervnt modes, of a corretitondence of ihe general will of the na- 
tion ; the pro|H)aed bank does not ajipeur lo be cnleulnted to onbwer (he purposes of 
reviving the public credit, of providing a national m 'ditimof circulitioii, and of aid- 
ing the treasury by facilitating the iiidiaiiensable anticipationa of revenue, aad bf 
aoording to the public more durable loanr " 

To all the considerations upon which he then relied, in treating it 
•8 a settled question, are now to be added two distinct and distant 
tabsequent expressions of the deliberate opinion of a Republican 
Congress ; two solemn decisions of the Supreme Court of the United 
States, twen^ years of successful experience and disastrous conse- 
quences quickly following the discontinuance of the Bank. 

I have been present, as a member of Congress on the occasion of 
the termination of the charters of both the Banks of the United States; 
took part in the discussion to which they gave rise, and had an op- 
portunity of extensively knowing the opinions of members; and I^ 
declare my deliberate conviction that, upon neither was there one- 
third of the members in either house who entertained the opinion that 
Congress did not possess the constitutional power to charter a Bank. 

But it is contended that, however indispensable a Bank of the 
United States may be to the restoration of the prosperity of the 
country, the President's opinion against it opposes an insuperable ob- 
stacle to the establishment of such an institution. 

It will indeed be unfortunate if the only meastiVe which can bring 
relief to the people should be prevented by the magistrate whose 
elevated station should render him the most anxious man in the na- 
tion to redress existing grievances. 

The opinion of the President which is relied upon is that contained 
in his celebrated letter to S. Williams, and that which is expressed 
in the message before us. I must say, with all proper deference, 

986 ipncHif OP HsirBT clay. 

that no man, prior to or after his election to the chief magistral 
has a right to say, in advance, that he would not approve of a paiticu* 
lar bill, if it were passed by Congress. An annunciation of audi m 
purpose is premature, and contrary to the spirit, if not the ezpreas 
letter of the constitution. Accoiding to that instiument, the partici- 
pation of the President in the legislative power — his right to pass 
upon a bill — is subsequent and not previous to the deliberatiotts of 
Congress. The constitutional provision is, that when a bill shall 
have passed both Houses, it shall be presented to the President jbr 
his approval or rejection. His right to pass upon it results from the 
presentation of the bill, and is not acquired until it is presented. 
What would be thought of the judge who, before a cause is brought 
before the court, should announce his intention to decide in favor of a 
named party ^ Or of the Senate, which shares the appointing powier^ 
if it should, before the nomination of a particular individual ib made 
for an office, pass a resolution that it would not approve the nomiiift* 
tion of that individual ? * 

It is clear that the President places his repugpaance to a Bank of 
the United States mainly upon the ground ihat the popular will hat 
been twice ^^ solemnly and unequivocally expressed" against it. lo 
this I think the President is mistaken. The two occasions to which 
he is understood to refer, are the election of General Andrew Jack* 
son in 1832, and his own election in 1836. Now, as to the first, 
there was not, before it took place, any unequivocal expression of tho 
opinion of the late President against a National Bank. There waa, 
in fact, a contrary expression. In the Veto Message, President 
Jackson admitted the public convenience of a Bank ; stated that be 
did not find in the renewed charter such modifications as could se* 
core his approbation, and added that if he had been appli^ to, he 
could have furnished the model of a Bank that would answer ifae 
purposes of such an institution. In supporting his re-election, there* 
fore, the people did not intend, by the exercise of their suffrage, to 
deprive themselves of a National Bank. On the contrary, it is with- 
in my own knowledge, that many voted for him who believed in the 
necessity of a Bank quite as much as 1 do. And 1 am perfectly per- 
suaded that thousands and tens of thousands sustained his re-election 
under the full expectation that a National Bank would be established 
during his second term. 


^for, sir, can I think that the ele^ion of the present chief magit> 
trate ought to be taken as evidence that the people are against m 
Bank. The most that can be asserted is, that he was elected, the 
expression of his opinion in the letter to Mr. Williams notwithstand- 
ing. The question of the election of a chief magistrate is a complex 
question, and one of compensations and comparison. All his opinions, 
all his qualifications are taken into consideration, and compared with 
those of his competitors. And nothing more b decided by the people 
than that the person elected is preferred among the several candidates. 
They take him as a man takes his wife, for better or for worse, with 
all the good and bad opinions and qualities which he possesses. Yoa 
might as well argue, that the election of a particular person to the 
chief magistracy implies that his figure, form and appearance exhilut 
the standard of human perfection, as to contend that it sanctions and 
approves every opinion which he may have publicly expressed on 
public affair^ It is somewhat ungrateful to the people to suppose that 
the particular opinion of Mr. Van Buren in regard to a Uni^ States 
Bank, constituted any, much less the chief recommendation of him 
to their suffrages. It would be more honorable to him and to them, 
to suppose that it proceeded from his eminent abilities, and his dis- 
tinguished services at home and abroad. If we are to look beyond 
them and beyond him, many believe that the most influential cause 
of his election was the endorsement of that illustrious predecessor, 
fai whose footsteps he stands pledged to follow. 

No, sir, no ; the simple and naked question of a Bank or no Bank 
of the United States was not submitted to the people and ^^ twice 
folemnly and unequitocally^^ decided against by them. I firmly be- 
lieve, that if such a question were now submitted to them, the re- 
sponse of a vast majority would be in the affirmative. I hope, how- 
ever, that no Bank will be established or proposed, unless there shall 
he a clear and undisputed majority of the people and of the States m 
favor of such an institution. If there be one wanted, and an une- 
quivocal manifestation be made of the popular will that it is desired, 
a Bank will be established. The President's opposition to it is found- 
ed principally upon the presumed opposition of the people. Let them 
demonstrate that he is mistaken, and he will not separate himself 
from them. He is too good a democrat, and the whole tenor of his 
life shows that, whatever other divorces he.may recommend, the least 
that he would deatM^ would k% one between him and the peofile 


Should this not prove to he the case, and if a majority shofild not 
exist sufiicienlly large to pass a Bank Charter in spite of the retOf 
the uliimate remedy will remain to the people to change their nilesr 
if their rulers will not change their opinions. 

But, during this debate it has been contended that the establish 
ment of a new Bank of the United States would aggravate existing 
distresses ; and that the specie necessary to put it in operatton 
could not be obtained wictiout prejudice to the local Banks. 

What is the relief for which all hearts are now so anxiously throb- 
bing ? It is to put the Banks again in motion ; to restore exchanges 
ausd revive the drooping business of the country. And, what are the 
obstacles ? They are, first, the foreign debt, and, secondly^a want 
of confidence. If the banks were to re-open their vaults, it is appre- 
hended that the specie would be immediately exported^o Europe to 
discharge our foreign debt. Now, if a Bank of the United States 
were established, with a suitable capital, tne stock of that Bank itself 
would form one of the best subjects of remittance ; and an amount of 
It equal to what remains of the foreign debt would probably he remit- 
ted, retaining at home, or drawing from abroad the equivalent in 

A great, if not the greatest existing evil is the want of confidence, 
not merely in the government, but in distant Banks, and between the 
Banks themselves. There are no ties or connexion binding them to- 
gether, and they are often suspicious of each other. To this, want 
of confidence among the Banks themselves, is to be ascribed tliat ex- 
traordinary derangement in the exchanges of the country. How 
otherwise can we account for the fact, that the paper of the Banks 
of Mississippi cannot now be exchanged against the paper of the 
Banks of Louisiana, without a discount on the f6rmer often or fifteen 
per cent. ; nor that of the Banks of Nashville, without a discount ol 
eight or ten per cent, against the paper of the Banks of the adjoining 
State of Kentucky ? It is manifest that, whatever may be the me- 
dium of circulation, whether it be inconvertible pa[>er, or convertible 
paprr and specie, supposing confidence to exist, the rates of ex- 
change in both cases ought to be nearly the same. But, in times liks 
ibese, no Bank will allow its funds to accumulate, by the operations 
of exchange, at points where no present use can be made of them. 

OM THB ■U^-nUUSORT. 389 

Now, if a Bank of the United States were established, with a 
fffoper capital, and it were made the sole depository of the public 
moneys, and its notes were receivable in all government dues, it 
migl^t commence operations forthwith, with a small amount of specie^ 
perhaps not more than two millions, lliat sum would probably be 
drawn from the community, when it is now hoarded and dormant , 
or if it were taken even from the local banks, they would be more 
than compensated in the security which they would enjcj , by the 
remittance of the stock of the new Bank to Europe, as a substitato 
for their specie. 

Such a new Bank, once commencing business, would form a rally- 
ing point ; confidence would revive, exchanges be again regulated, 
and the business and prosperity of the country be restored. And it 
is by no means certain that there would be any actual augmentation 
oi the banking capital of the country, for it is highly probable that 
the aggregate amount of unsoiyid Banks, which can never resuma 
specie payments, would be quite equal to that of the new Bank. 

An auxiliary resolution might be adopted with salutary efiect, sim- 
ilar to that which was edopted in IS 16, offering to the State Banks, 
as a motive to lesurne specie payments, that their paper should be 
received for the p'jblic dues ; or, as their number has since that pe- 
riod greatly increased, to make the motive more operative, the offer 
might be confined to one or two Banks in each State known to be 
tiu::tworthy. Let them and a Bank of the United States, commence 
specie payments, and all the other sound banks would be constrained, 
by the united force of public opinion and the law, to follow the ex- 

If, in contrasting the two periods of 1817 and 1837, some advan* 
tages for the resumption of specie payments existed at the former 
epoch, others which distinguish the present, greatly preponderate. 
At the first there were none except the existence of a public debt, 
and a smaller number of banks. But then an exhausting war had 
wasted our moans. Now we have infia*tely greater wealth, our re- 
sources are vastly more developed and increased, our population near- 
ly doubled, our knowledge of the disease much better, and, what if 
of the utmost importance, a remedy, if applied now, would be admin- 
istered in a'much earlier stage of the disorder. 


A general currencj of sound and uniform ralue A necessary to the 
well-being of all parts of the confederacy, but it bindispensableto the 
interior States. The seaboard States have each of them Banksi 
whose paper freely circulates within their respective limits, and serves 
all the purposes of their business and commerce at their capitals, and 
throughout their whole extent. The variations, in the value of this 
paper, in passing through those States, from one commercial metro- 
polis to another, are not ordinarily very great. But how are we of 
the interior to come to the Atlantic cities to purchase our supplies of 
foreign and domestic commodities, without a general medium ? llie 
paper of our own Banks will not be received but at an enormous dis- 
count. We want a general currency, which will serve at home and 
enable us to carry on our accustomed trade with our brethren of the 
Atlantic States. And such a currency we have a right to expect. 

I do not arrogate to myself a right to speak for and in behalf of dl 
the western states ; but as a Senator from one of them, I am entitled 
to be heard. This union was formed to secure certain general, but 
highly important objects, of which the common defence, commerce, 
and a uniform cunency were the leading ones. To the interior 
States none is of more importance than that of currency. Nowhen 
is the attachment to the union more ardent than in those States ; but 
if this government should neglect to perform its duty, the vahie of 
the union will become impaired, and its very existence in process of 
time may become endangered. I do believe, that between a sound 
general currency, and the preservation of itself, in full vigor and per- 
fisct safety, there is the most intimate connection. 

If, Mr. President, the reiAedies which I have suggested were sue* 
cessful, at a former period of our history, there is every reason to 
hope, that they would again prove efficacious ; but let me suppose 
(hat they should not, and that some unknown cause, which could 
not then, should now, thwart their operation, we should have, in any 
event, the consolation of knowing that we had endeavored to pro6t 
by the lessons of experience, and if they failed, we should stand ac- 
quitted m the judgment of the people. They are heartily tired of 
visionary schemes and wild experiments. They wish to eet out of 
the woods, into which they have been conducted, back to the pkin, 
beaten, wide road^ which they had before trod. 


How, and when, without such measures as I have suggested, dre 
the State Bankn to resume specie payments ? They never can le* 
'•ume without concert; and concert springs from confidence; and 
confidence from knowledge. But what knowledge can eight hundred 
hanks, scattered over our own vast territory, have of the actual con- 
dition of each other ? It is in vain that statements of it be periodi- 
cally published. It depends at last, mainly upon the solvency of the 
debtors to the bank ; and how, whenever their names are not known, 
can that be ascertained ? 

Instead of coming to the aid of these prostrate institutions, and 
assisting them by a mild and parental exercise of your power, in a 
mode sanctioned and approved by experience, you projiotie to aban- 
don them and the country to their fate. You propose worse, to di»- 
credit their paper, to distrust them even as special doposiioiies,and to 
denounce agiunst them all the pains and penalties of bankruptcy. 

How, and when will they resume specie payments ? Never, as far 
as my information extends, have exertions been greater thnn those 
which the banks have generally made to open again their vaults. 
It is wonderful that the community should have been able to bear, 
with so much composure and resignation, the prodigious curtail 
ments which have been made. Confidence re-established, the for- 
eign debt extinguished, and a national institution created, most of 
them could quickly resume specie payments, some of them, urged by 
a high sense of probity, and smart ing under severe reproaches, will 
no doubt make the experiment of resuming end continuing s])ecie 
payments. They may even go on a while; but without (he co-ope- 
ration of the State Banks generally , and without the co-operation of a 
National Bank, it is to be apprehended that they will be ngain seized 
with a paralysis. It is my deliberate conviction that the preservi^ 
lion of the existence of the State Bank^ themselves, dejx-nds upon 
the institution of a National Bank. It is as necessary to them as the 
union is to the welfare of the States in our political system. Without 
it, no human being can foresee when we shall emerge from the diffi- 
culties which surround us. It has been my fortune several times to 
see the country involved in great danger ; but never before have I 
beheld it encompassed with any more menacing and portentous. 

UntertBining the views which I hare presented, it may be asked, 


842 ariuccHBi or hbsirt clay. 

why I do not at once propose the establishment of a National Bank. 
1 have already adverted to the cause, constituted as Ck>ngre8S bow u, 
1 know that such a proposition would be defeated ; and that it would 
be, therefore, useless to make it. I do not desire to force upon the 
Senate, or upon the country, against its will,- if I could, my opinion, 
however sincerely or strongly entertained. If a National Bank be 
established, its stability and its utility will depend upon the general 
conviction which is full of its necessity. And until such s conviction 
is deeply impressed upon the people, and clearly manifested by them, 
it would in my judgment, b^ unwise even to propose a Bank 

Of the scheme of the Senator from Virginia, (Mr. Rives) I think 
now as I thought in 1834, 1 do not believe that any practicable con- 
nection of State Banks can supply a general currency, be a safe de- 
pository of the public moneys, or act efficiently as a fiscal agent of 
the general Government. I was not then opposed to the State Banks 
in their proper sphere. I thought that they could not be relied uptm 
to form exclusively a Banking System for the country, although they 
were essential parts of a general system. 

The amendment of the Senator, considered as a measure ic bring 
aoout the resumption of specie payments, so much desired, I think 
must fail. The motive which it holds out of the receivability in all 
payments to the government of the paper of such banks as may re- 
sume at a given day, coupled with the conditions proposed, is wholly 
madequate. It is an oflTer to eight hundred banks ; and the revenue, 
payment of which in their notes is held out as the inducement, 
amounts to some twenty or twenty-five millions. To entitle tliem 
to the inconsiderable extension of their circulation which would result 
from the credit given by government to the paper of all of them, they 
are required to submit to a suppression of all notes below five dollars, 
and at no very distant period, to all below twenty. The enlaige- 
ment of their circulation, produced by making it receivable by govern- 
ment, would be much less than the contraction which would arise 
from the suppression of the prohibited notes. Besides, if the quality 
proposed again to be attached to the notes of these local banks was 
insufficient to prevent the suspension, how can it be efficacious enough 
to stimulate a resumption of specie payments ? 

I shall^ nevertheless, if called upon to give a vote between the pro- 



ject of the administration and the amendment of the Senator from 
Virginia, vote for the latter, because it is harmless, if it effects no 
good, and looks to the preservation of the State Banks ; whilst the 
other is fraught with mischiefs, as I believe, and tends, if it be not 
designed, to the utter destruction of those institutions. But, prefer- 
ing to either, the postponement moved by the Senator from Georgiai 
I shall in the first instance, vote for that. 

Such, Mr. President, are the views which I entertain on the pre- 
sent state of our public affiurs. It is with the deepest regret that I 
can perceive no remedy, but such as is in the hands of the people 
themselves. Whenever they shall impress upon Congress a convic- 
tion of that which they wish applied, they will obtain it, and not 
before. In the mean time, let us go home, and mix with and couauh 
our constituents. And do not, I entreat you, let us carry with us 
the burning reproach, that our measures here display a selfish solici- 
tude for the government itaelf, but a cold and heartless insensibility to 
the sufferings of a bleeding people. 

[The bill passed the Senate, by a vote of 26 to 20 ; but, on reaehiog die 
It was, after a vehement struggle, latd ^ifon Uu tabU for the seMion, bf a vote of 
UO to 107.1 


In the Senate of the United States, February 79, 18SS. 

[The Sub-TreaMiry or Tnr^eprndfnt Troaswry scheme of Finanr**, cfpfcp.trd 9t tilt 
Extra SfSKion of 1837, was again Mm»^;?ly recominend'*<l by PrHi«i(l« iit Vafi Eubu^ 
on the rea»M'n>blii)g of Con{fr«'6i) in regular eeselon, in I>c<>mber o<' tliut year, And 
ft bill topstabliah it ugiin r^p rird lo the Senate, by Hon. SIL^s Wright, i'rom tht 
Finance Cunimiiiee< In the cour^^e of tlie debate oji that bill. Mi. Clat addreased 
ibe Senate as follows :] 

1 HAVB seen some public service, passed through many troubled 
times, and often addressed public assemblies, in this rapitol and else* 
where ; hut neviT brfon; havo 1 risen in a deliberative body, uodor 
more oppressed feelings, or with a deeper sense of auful responbibil- 
ity. Never before have I ris<*n to express my opinions upon any 
pubhc measure frauglit with such tremendous consequmres to (he 
"welfare and prosperity of the country, and so perilo'is to ihe liberties - 
of the people, as I solemnly believe the bill under consideration will 
be. If you knew, sir, what sl(*(|)less hours reflection upon it haf 
cost me ; if you knew with what f^Tvor and sincerity I have implored 
Divine assistance to strfni^lhcn and sustain n\e in \ny ()|>p(»sitioh to it, 
Ishouhl have credit with you, at least, for the sincerity «)f my convic- 
tions, if I shall be» so unfortunate as not to have vour concurrence as 
to the dan^t'rrus character of ihe measure. And 1 havr : hanked my 
God that he has prolonii'.'d my life until the pres( nl time, to enable 
me to <'xert myself i?.i the service of my country, aj];ainsl a project far 
transcend in<j;, in pernicious tendency, an}' that I have cvit had occa- 
sion to consider. 1 thank him for the heullh I am permiitetl lo enjoy; 
I thank him for the so^t and sweet repose w! ich I experienced last 
night ; I thank him for the brighl and glorious sun which shint!s upon 
U8 this day. 

It is not my purpose, at this time, Mr. Pre:i!dent, to go at large into 
a consiileration of the causes which have led lo the pre>eni most dis- 
astrous state of public afilurs. 1 hat duty vras ix^formed by olhers« 

on THE 80B-TREA8URT. 845 

and myself, at the extra session of Congress. It was then /l^arlj 
shown that it sprang from the ill-advised and unfortunate measures 
of executive administration. I now will content niyself with saying 
that, on tlie 4lh day of March, 1829, Andrew Jackson, not by the 
blessing of God, was made President of the United Stales ; that the 
country then was eminently prosperous ; that its currency was as 
sound and safe as any that a people were ever blessed with ; (nat, 
throughout the wide extent of this whole Union, it possessed a uni- 
form value ; and that exchanges were conducted with such regularity 
and perfection, that funds could be transmitted from one extremity 
of the Union to the other, with the least possible risk or loss. In 
this encduraging condition of the business of the country, it remained 
for several years, until aAer the war, wantonly waged against the 
late Bank of the United States, was complf.iely successful, by the 
overthrow of that invaluable institution. What our present situation 
is, it is as needless to describe as it is painful to contemplate. First 
felt in our great commercial marts, distress and embarrassment have 
penetrated into the interior, and now pervade almost the entire Union. 
It has been justly remarked, by one of the soundest and most practi- 
cal writers that I have had occasion to consult, that '' all convulsions 
m the circulation and commerce of every country must originate in 
the operation of the government, or in the mistaken views and erro 
neous measures of those possessing the power of influencing credit 
and circulation ; for they are not otherwise susceptible of convulsion^ 
and, if left to themselves, they will find their own level, and flow 
nearly in one uniform stream. *' 

Yes, Mr. President, we all have but too melancholly a conscious- 
ness of the unhappy condition of our country. We all too well know 
that our noble and gallant ship lies helpless and immovable upon 
breakers, dismasted, the surge beating over her venerable sides, and 
the crew threatened with instantaneous destruction. How came she 
there } Who was the pilot at the helm when she was stranded ? 
The pb'ty m power ! The pilot was aided by all the science and skill, 
by all the charts and instruments of such distinguished navigators as 
Washington, the Adamses, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe ; and yet 
he did not, or could not, save the public vessel. She was placed in 
her present miserable condition by his bungling navigatiou, or by his 
want of skill and judgment. It is impossible for him to escape from 
one or the other horn of that dilemma. I leave him at liberty to 
choose between theai. 



I shall endeavour, Mr. President) in the course of the address I am 
about making, to establish certain propositions, which I believe to be 
incontestible ; and, for the sake of perspicuity, I will state them 
severally to the Senate. I shall contend — 

1st. That it was the deliberate purpose and fixed design of the late 
Administration to establish a government bank — a treasury bank — to 
be administered and controlled by the executive department. 

2d. That with the view, and to that end, it was its aim and inten- 
tion to overthrow the whole banking system, as existing in the United 
States, when the administration came into power, beginning with the 
Bank of the United States, and ending with the State Banks. 

'3d That the attack was first confined, from consideration? of poli- 
cy, to the Bank of the United States ; but that, after its o^ erthrow 
was accomplished, it was then directed, and has since been continued^ 
•gainst the State Banks. 

4. That the present administration, by its acknowledgements^ 
emanating from the highest and most authentic source, has succeeded 
to the principles, plans and policy of the preceding administration^ 
and stands solemnly pledged to complete and perfect them. 

And, 5th. That the bill under consideration is intended to execute 
the pledge, by establishing, upon the ruins of the late Bank of tha 
United States, and the State Banks, a government Bank, to be roan* 
aged and controlled by the treasury department, acting under th^ 
conunands of the President of the United States. 

I believe, solemnly believe the truth of every one of these ^ve 
propositions. In the support of them I shall not rely upon any gratu- 
'itous surmises or vague conjectures, but upon proofs, clear, positive, 
undeniable, and demonstrative. To establish the first four I shaL 
adduce evidence of the highest possible authenticity, or facts admitted 
or undeniable, and fair reasoning founded on them. And as to the 
last, the measure under consideration, I think the testimony intrinsic 
3nd extrinsic, on which I depend, stamps, beyond all doubt, its true 
character as a government bank, and ought to carry to the mind of 
^.he Senate the conviction which I entertain, and in which 1 feel per- 
fectly confident the whole country will share. 


1. My first propocition is, that it was the deliberate 'purpose and 
fixed design of the late administration to establish a govemmeiU 
bank, a treasury bank, to be administered and controlled by the ex- 
ecutive department. To establish its troth, the first prool which i 
offer is the following extract from President Jackson's annual mes* 

sage of December, 1829 : 


** The Charter of the Bank of tb JnHed States ei^iret in 1896, and its stoekhoM- 
ers will most probably ap(>ly for a renewal of their pnvileges. In order to avoid the 
eTib resulting from precipitancy, in a measure inrolvins such important principles, 
and such deep pecuniary interests, I feel that I cannot, in justice to the parties inter- 
ested, too soon present it to the consideration of the Legislature and the people. 
Both the constitutionahty and the expediency of the law creatini; this bank, are tttll 
^uettioned by a large portion qfourftUotts-citizent ; and it must be admitted by dU^ that 
It has failedfin the great end of establishing a uniform and sound currency. 

" Under these circumstances, if such an institution is deemed essential to the fiscal 
operations of the government, J submit to the wisdom of the legislature, whether a na- 
tional one, founded VL[tou the credit of the government and its revenues, niifht not be 
devised which would avoid all constitutional diificultieii, an^ at the same time secure 
all (he advantages to the government and the country that were expected to result 
from the present Bank." 

This was the first open declaration of that implacable war against 
the late Bank of the United States, which was afterwards waged with 
00 much ferocity. It was the sound of the distant bugle to collect 
together the dispersed and scattered forces, and prepare for battle. 
The country saw with surprise the statement that ^^ the constitution- 
ality and expediency of the law creating this bank are well question- 
ed 6y a iarge portion of our fellow-citizens," when, in truth and in 
&ct, it was well known, that but few then doubted the constitution- 
ality, and none the expediency of it. And the assertion excited much 
greater surprise that ^^ it must be admitted by all that it has failed in 
the great end of establishing a uniform and sound currency." In this 
message, too, while a doubt is intimated as to the utility of such an 
institution, President Jackson clearly first discloses his object to es- 
tablish a national one, founded upon the credit of the government and 
itt revenues. His language is perfectly plain and unequivocal. Such 
a bank, founded «pon the credit of the government and its revenues, 
would secure all the advantages to the government and the country, 
he tells us, that were expected to result from the present bank. 

In his annual message of the ensuing year, the late President says : 

** The importance of the principles involved in the •»iquiry, whether it will be 
pios«er to recnarter the Bank of the United States, requires that I should again call 
ih'? r.Uention of Congress to the nbjject. Nothing has occurred to lessen in nni da 


tree the danfeiB wfateh many of our citizens tpprehendod from thti inetitntioB, m 

at jtmtnt organized. lu the 8i>lrit of improvrnient and compromise which dimio- 
giiitihesour country and its institutions it bpcomcw lui to iminirc, tehrtlur U 6c iMf 
poaibU 10 tecur* tfu advantages afforded by the pretent bank through the agtnr^ tfa 
Bank of the Unih^d States, so modified in its princiyies as to obviate consiitaliOflAl 
aod other objeciions. 

" It is thought practicable to organize such a bank, with the necessary o(BceTV,ai 
a branch of the Treasury department, based on the public and individaal depoaitc^ 
without power to make lotinn or puichusse nroperiy, which ^hali remit the funds ol 
the government ; and the exiM^n-^e ol which may be paid, il thought advisable, hj 
allowing its otiicers to sell biUs of exduinge to private ludividoals at a modeiate pft- 
mium. Not being a corporate body, having nu stockholders, debtors, and nroperty, 
and but lew ollicer?^ it would not be obnoxious to the conctilutiooal oVjectiou 
which are ui^ed sgaiiisi the present bank \ and having no iiieaos to operate oa tha 
hopes, fean». or interests of large masses ot the commuuity, it would be shorn of tke 
influence which makes that buuk formidable.'* 

In this message, President Jackson, after again adverting to the 
imaginary dangei^ of a Bank of the United States, recurs to hii fit- 
▼orite project, and inquires '^ whether it be not possible to secure the 
advantages afforded by the present bank through the agency of a 
Bank of the United States, so modified in its principles and structme 
as to obviate constitutional and other objectioas.^' And to dispel all 
doubts of the timid, and to confirm the wavering, he declares that it 
is thought practicable to organize such a bank, with the necessary 
officers, as a branch of the treasury department. As a branch of tki 
inaavry department! The very scheme now under consideration. 
And, to defray the expenses of such an anomalous institution, he 
suggests that the officers of the treasury department may turn bank- 
eta and brokers, and sell bills of exchange to private individuals at a 
moderate premium ! 

In his annual message of the year 1S31 upon this subject, he 
brief and somewhat covered in his expressions. But the 6xed pur- 
pose which he entertained is sufficiently disclosed to the attentiTe 
reader. He announces that, 

*' Entertaining the opinion heretofore expressed in relation to the Bank of th« 
United States, as at present organized, I felt it my duty, in my former roesBage, 
to disclose then), in order that the attention of the legislature add the people sbovM 
be seasonably directed to that important subject, andf that it might be considered, 
and finally disposed of in a manner b^st calculated to promote the ends of the con- 
stitution, and subserve the public interests." 

What were the opinions ^ heretofore^ expressed in relation to tbe 
Bank of the United States, as at present organized, that is to say, an 
organization with any independent corporate government ; and in fa- 
vor of a national bank, which should be so constituted as to be nib- 
ject to exclusive executive control. 

m THt tUB-TtSAIVKr. 841 

At the session of 1831-'2, the question of the recharter of the Bank 
of the United States came np ; and although the attention of Congress 
and the country had heeii repeatedly and deliberately before invited 
to the consideration of it by President Jackson himself, the agitation 
of it was now declared by him and his partisans to be precipitate 
and premature. Nerertheless, the country and Congress, consciooi 
of the value of a safe and sound uniform currency, conscious that 
rfuch a currency had been eminently supplied by the Bank of th^ 
United States, and unmoved by all the outcry raised against that ad 
mirable institution, the recharter commanded large majorities in both 
houses of Congress. Fatally for the interests of this country, the 
stern, self-will of Qcncral Jackson prompted him to risk every thing 
upon its overthrow. On the 10th of July, 1832, the bill was return- 
ed with his veto : from which the following extract is submitted to 
the attentive consideration of the Senate : 

'* A bank of the United StfttM is, in many rtgpectB, cooTenient for the govenroeal 
aod oB^lul to the people. EutertHinins thia opiaioo, and deeply iinpreased with the 
t>eUef that some of the powe» and privileges poqpKflaed by the eiisting bank are 
ananthorized by the constitution, subversive of the rights of the Stales, and danjger 
OQS to tho libenics of the people. I felt it my duty, at an early period of my adminia 
tration, to call the attention of Congren to the practicability of organizinfi^ and insti- 
tution combining all its advantages, and obviating these objecttons. I sincerely re- 
gret that, in the act before m^, I can perceive none of those modiflcatiooe of the 
Baok Charter, which are necessary, in my o^nnion, to make it compatible with (QB 
tiee, with sound policy, or with the constitution ol our country." 

*' That a Bank of the United States, competent to all the duties which may be 
required by government, might be so oiganized as not to infringe upon our own da- 
legated powers, or the reaerved rights of the Stares, I do not entertain a doubt. Had 
the executive been called upon to furnish ihgprqfect cftufh an inatitution, tlu^ dtUp 
would fuive been cheerfully performed. In the absence of such a call, it is obviously 
proper that he thoakf conflne hinaself to pointiug out those prominent featores in tha 
act presented, which, in his opinion, make it incompatible with the constitution and 
sonnd policy.'' 

President Jackson admits in the citation which has just been made, 
that a Bank of the United States is, in many respects, convenient for 
the government ; and reminds Congress that he had, at an early pe- 
riod of his administration, called its attention to the practicability of 
so organizing such an institution ais to secure all its advantages with- 
out the defects of the existing bank. It is perfectly manifest that he 
alludes to his previous recommendations of a government — a treasury 
bank. In the same message he tells Congress that if he had been 
called upon to furnish the project of such an institution, the duty 
would have been cheerfully performed. Thus it appears that he had 
not only settled in his mind the general principle, but had adjusted 


the details of a government bank to be subjected to executire con- 
trol ; and Congress is even chided for not calling upon him to present 
them. The bill now under consideration, beyond all controversy, la 
the very project which h e had in view, and is to consummate the 
work which he began. I think, Mr. President, that you must now 
concur with me in considering the first proposition as fully maintained. 
I pass to the second and third, which, on account of their intimate 
connection, I will consider together. 

2* That, with a view of establishing a government bank, it was 
the settled aim and intention of the late administration to overthrow 
the whole banking system of the United States when that adminis- 
tration came into power, beginning with the Bank of the United 
States, and ending with the State Banks. 

3. That the attack was first confined, from consideratious of policy, 
to the Bank of \he United States ; but that, after its overthrow was 
accomplished, it was then directed, and has since continued, against 
the Stale Banks. 

We are not bound to inquire into the motives of President Jackson 
for desiring to subvert the established monetary and financial system 
which he found in operation ; and yet some examination into those 
which probably influenced his mind is not without utility. These 
are to be found in his peculiar constitution and character. His egotism 
and vanity prompted him to subject everything to his will; to 
change, to remould, and retouch everything. Hence the proscription 
which characterized his administration, the universal expulsion from 
office, at home and abroad, of all who were not devoted to him, and 
the attempt to render the executive department of government, to 
iise a favorite expression of his own, a complete ^^ unit." Hence bis 
seizure of the public deposites m the Bank of the United States, and 
his desire to unite the purse with the sword. Hence his attack upon 
all the systems of policy which he found in practical operation — on 
that of internal improvements, and on that of the protection of nation- 
al industry. He was animated by the same sort of ambition which 
induced the master-mind of the age. Napoleon Bonaparte, to impress 
his name upon every thing in France. When I was in Paris, the 
sculptors were busily engaged chisseling out the famous N., so odious 
« the Bourbon line, which had been conspicuously carved in the 


palace oi the Tuilleries, and on other public edifices and monuments 
in the proud capital of France. When, Mr. President, shall we see 
effaced, all traces of the ravages committed by the administration of 
Andrew Jackson ? Society has been uprooted, virtue punished, vice 
rewarded, and talents and intellectual endowments despised ; brutal- 
ity, vulgarism, and loco-focoism, upheld, cherished, and countenanced. 
Ages will roll around before the moral and political ravages which 
have been committed, will I fear, cease to be discernable. General 
Jackson's ambition was to make his administration an era in the his- 
tory of the American government, and he has accomplished that ob- 
ject of his ambition ; but I trust that it will be an era to be shunned 
as sad and lamentable, and not followed and imitated as supplying 
sound maxims and principles of administration. 

I have heard his hostility to Banks ascribed to some collision which 
he had with one of them, during the late war, at the city of New 
Orleans ; and it is possible that may have had some influence upon 
his mind. The immediate cause, more probably, was the refusal of 
that perverse and unaccommodating gentleman, Nick Biddle, to turn 
out of the office of President of the New Hampshire branch of the 
Bank of the United States, at the instance of his excellency Isaac 
Hill, in the summer of 1829, that giant-like person, Jeremiah Mason 
— giant in body, and giant in mind. War and strife, endless war and 
strife, personal or national, foreign or domestic, were the aliment of 
the late President's existence. War against the Bank, war against 
France, and strife and contention with a countless number of individ* 
uals. The wars with Black Hawk and the Seminoles were scarcely 
a luncheon for his voracious appetite. And he made his exit from 
public life, denouncing war and vengeance against Mexico and tht 
State Banks. 

My acquaintance with that extraordinary man commenced in this 
city, in the fall of 1815 or 1816. It was short, but highly respectful, 
and mutually cordial. I beheld in him the gallant and successful 
general, who, by the glorious victory of New Orleans, had honorably 
closed the second war of our independence, and 1 paid him the homp* 
age due to that eminent service. A few years after, it became my 
painful duty to animadvert, in the House of Representatives, with 
the independence which belongs to the Representative character, upoji 
some of his proceedings in the conduct of the Seminole war, which . 


thoaght illegal and contrary to the constitution and thclawof natiow 
A non-intercourse Ix^ween us ensued, liihich continued until the fall 
of 1824, \i^hen, he being a mcniber of the Senate, an accommodatioD 
between us was sought to he brought about by the principal pait of 
the delegation from his own State. For that purpose, we were in- 
▼ited to dine with them at Claxton's boarding housc^ on 'Capitol Hill, 
where my venerable friend from Tennessee, (Mr- While) and his 
colleague on the Spanish commission, were both present. 1 retired 
early from dinner, and was followed to the door by General Jackson 
and the present minister of the United States at the Court of Madrid. 
They pressed me earnestly to take a seat with them in their carriage. 
My faithful servant and friend, Charle.s, was standing at the door 
waiting for me, with my own. I yielded to their urgent politeness, 
directed Charles to follow with my carriage, and they set me down 
at my own door. We afterwards frequently met, with mutual re- 
spect and cordiality ; dined several times together, and reciprocated 
the hospipality of our respective quarters. This friendly intercourse 
' continued until the election, in the House of Representatives, of a 
President of the United States came on in February, 1825. I gave 
the vote which, in the contingency that happened, I told my col- 
league, (Mr. Crittenden,) who sits before me, prior to my departure 
from Kentucky, in November, 1824, and told others, that I should 
give. AU intercourse ceased between General Jackson and myselL 
We have never since, except once accidentally, exchanged saluta- 
tions, nor met, except on occasions when we were performing the 
last offices towards deceased members of Congress, or other officers of 
government. Immediately after my vote, a rancorous war was com- 
menced against me, and all the barking dogs let loose upon me. I 
shall not trace it during its ten years' bitter continuance. But I thank 
my God that 1 stand here, firm and erect, unbent, unbroken, unsub- 
dued, unawed, and ready to denounce the mischievous measures of 
this administration, and ready to denounce this its legitimate offspring, 
the most pernicious of them all. 

His administration consisted of a succession of astounding mear 
sures, which fell on the public ear like repeated bursts of loud and 
appalling: thunder. Before the reverberations of one peal had ceased, 
another and another came, louder and louder, and more terrifying. 
Or rather, it was like a volcanic mountain, emitting frightful erup- 
tions of burning lava. Before one was cold and crusted, before the 


voice of the iDhabitants of buried villages and cities were hushed id 
eternal silence, anoLher, more desolatinjiTy wtis vomited forth, extend- 
ing wider and wider the circle of death and destruction. 

Mr. President, this is no unnecessary digression. The personal 
character of such a chief as I have been descri^hing, his passions, his 
propensities, the character of his miud, should be all thnrou«rhly 
studied, to comprehend clearly his measures, and his adniinistratioo. 
But I will now proceed to more direct and strict proofs of my second 
and third propositions. That he was resolved to Uvvnk down the 
Bank of the UujUmI States, is proven by the same citations from his 
messages which I have made, to exhibit his purpose to establish a 
treasury bank, is proven by his veto message, and by the fact that he 
did destroy it. The war against all other Imnks was not originally 
announced, because he wished the State Banks to be auxiliaries in 
overthrowing the Bank of the United Stales, and because such an 
annunciation would have been too rash and shocking upon the people 
of the United States for even his tremendous influence. It was 
necessar}' to proceed in the work wilh caution, and to begin with 
that institution against which could be embodied the greatest amount 
of prejudice. The refusal to recharter the Bank of the United Stateg 
was followed by a determination to remove from its custody the 
public money of the United States. That determination was first 
whispered in this place, denied, again intimated, and fmally, in Sep- 
tember, 1832, executed. The agitation of the American public \\ hich 
ensued, the warm and animated discussions in the country and in 
Congress, to which that unconstitutional measure gave rise, are all 
fresh in our recollection. It was necessary to quiet the public mindy 
and to reconcile the people to what had been done, before President 
Jackson seriously entered upon his new career of hostility to the 
State Banks. At the commencement of the session of Congress, in 
1834, he imagined a sufficient calm had been produced, and, in hig 
annual message of that year, the war upon the State Banks was 
opened. In that message he says : 

" It secniR due to the safety ot the public funds remnining in that bank, and to 
the honor of the Americnn |M?opIe, ihut inewFiireH be Uikrn to ttepHmte ihc govern.- 
ment eniirelv from an institution «» minehievoiw to the pnblir prosperity, and so 
regHrdl»;w of the consiimiion and Inw?. Kv irHn^rerring ih** |)«il»ltc dfposiieg, by 
appoititing olher pension aRents, h8 far as it had the power, by orderir./s: ihc discern* 
tinu.inoe of the ri'cei|»i of Iwnk rher ka In payment ol ilie public dues afier the flnt 
day ol Jrtunary next, the executive haa exerted aM its lawful authority to sever the 
fonoexum betweeo the sovernm«ot and this raiihiesB eviporauoo." 



In this quotation it will be seen that the first germ is contained of 
that separation and divorce of the government from banks, which has 
recently made such a conspicuous figure. It relates, it is true, to the 
late Bank of the United Stales, and he speaks of separatiag and sev- 
erhig the connexion between the government and that institution. 
But the idea, once developed, was easily susceptible of application to 
all banking institutions. In the message of the succeeding year, his 
meditated attack upon the State Banks is more distinctly disclosed. 
Speaking of a sound currency, he says : 

*' Iq considerini^ the means of obtaining bo important an end, {.that is, a aound 
currency.] we miut set aside all calculations of temporary convenience, and be in- 
fluencea oy those only that are in harmony with the true character ana permanent 
interests of the Republic. We must recur to the first principlea, and see what it is 
that has prevented the legislation of Cong[rc8s and the States on the subject ot cur- 
rency from satisfying the public expectation, and realizing results corresponding to 
those which have attended the action of our system when truly consistent with the 
great principle of equality upon which it rests, and with that spirit of forbearance 
and mutual concession and generous patriotism which was originally, and mast eret 
continue to be, the vital element of our Union. 

" On this subject, I am sure that I cannot be mistaken in ascribing our want of 
success to the undue countenance which has been afforded to the spirit of monopohr. 
All the serious dangers which our system has yet encountered may be traced to the 
resort to imphed powers, and the use of corporations clothed with privileges, ths 
effect of which b to advance the interests of the few at the txpense of the many. 
We have felt but one class of those dangers, exhibited in the contest waged by the 
Bank of the United States against the government for the last four years. Happily, 
they have been obviated for the present by the indignant resistance of the people ; 
but we should recollect that the principle whence they sprang is an ever-active one, 
which will not fail to renew its efforts in the same ana in other forms, to long as 
there is a hope of success, founded either on the inattention of Uie people, or the 
treachery of their representatives to the subtle progress of its influence." • • • 
" We are now to see whether, in the present favorable condition of the country, we 
cannot take an effectual stana against this tn^'int of monopoly, and practically prove, 
in respect to the currency, as well as other important interests, that there is no ne> 
cessity for so extensive a resort to it as that which has been heretofore practised.** 
• ♦ ♦ ♦ " It has been seen that without the agency of a great moneyed monop- 
oly the revenue can be collected, and conveniently and safely applied to all the pur- 
poses of the public expenditure. It is also ascertained that, instead of being neces- 
sarily made to promote the evils of an unchecked paper system, the management of 
the revenue can be made auxiliary to the reform which the legislature of several of 
the Stales have already commenced in regard to the suppression of small biUs; and 
which has only to be fostered by proper regulations on the part of Congress, to semro 
a practical return, to the extent required for the security of the currency, to the con- 
stitutional medium." 

As in the instance of the attack upon the Bank of the United States, 
the approach to the State Banks is slow, cautious, and insidious. He 
reminds Congress and the country that all calculations of temporaiy 
convenience must he set aside ; that we must recur to first princi* 
pies ; and that we must see what it is that has prevented legislatioA 
of Congress and the States on the subject of the currency from satif- 
fying public expectation. He declares bis conviction thai the want 


ot success has proceeded from undue countenance which has been 
afibrded to the spirit of monopoly. All ihe serious dangers which 
•ui system has yet encounterd, may be traced to the resort to implied 
powers, and to the uso of corporations. We have fe]t, he says, but 
one class of those dangers in the contest with the Bank of the United 
States, and he Clearly intimates that the other class is the State 
Banks. We are now to see, he proceeds, whether, in the present 
favorable condition of the country, we cannot take an effectual stand 
against the spirit of monopoly. Reverting to his favorite scheme of 
a government bank, he says it is ascertained that, instead of being 
made necessary to promote the evils of an unchecked paper system, 
the management of the revenue can be made auxiliary to the reform 
which he is desirous to introduce. The designs of President Jackson 
against the State Banks are more fully developed and enlarged upon 
in his annual message of 1836, from which I beg leave to quote the 
following passages : ^ - 

*' I beg l«nve to call your attention to another subject intimately aiBociated with 
the preceding one — ^the currency of the country. 

" It is apparent, from the whole context of the constitution, as well as the historf 
of the times that gare birth to it, that it was the purpose of the convention to estab* 
lish a currency consisting of the precious metals.^ xhese, from their peculiar proper- 
tiesw which rendered them the standard of value in all other countries, were adopted 
m this, as well to establib'h its commercial standard, in reference to foreign countries, 
by a permanent rule, as to exclude the use of a mutable medium of exchange, such 
as of certain agricultural commodities, recognized by the statutes of some States m 
a tender for debts, or the still more pernicious expedient of a paper currency. 

** Variableness must ever be the characteristic of a currency of which the precious 
metals are not the chief ingredient, or which can be expanded or contracted without 
regard to the principles that regulate the value of those metals as a standard in die 
general trade of the world. With us, bank issues constitute such a currency, and 
must evf'r do so, until they are made dependent on those just proportions of gold and 
idJver^ as a circulating medium, which experience has proved to be necessary, not 
only in this, but in all other commercial countries, where those proportions are 
not infused into the circulation, and do not control it, it is manifest that prices must 
vary according to the tide of bank issues, and the value and stability of property 
must stand' exposed to all the uncertainty which attends the administration of insU- 
tutions that are constantly liable to the temptation of an interest distinct from that 
of the community in which they are establiahed.'*. 

*' But. althouf|[h various dangers to our republican institutions have been obviated 
by the failure ot the bank to extort from the government a renewal of its charter, 
it is obvious that little has been accomplished, except a salutary change of publie 
opinion, towards restoring to the country the sound currency provided for m the 
constitution. In the acts of several of the States prohibiting the circulation of small 
notes, and the auxiliary enactments of Congress at their last session, forbidding their 
reception or pavment on public account, the true policy of the country has been ad- 
vanced, and a larger portion of the precious metals infused into our circulating me- 
dium. These mensures will probably be followed up in due time by the enactment 
of State laws, banishing from circulation bank notes of still higher denominations t 
ud the object may be materially promoled by farther acts of CoogreM, foibidd«f 


the employment, is fiacal af^enti*, of such banks as iasup notea of low donominmtioaf 
and throw intpeaiments in the way of the circulation of gold and ailver.*' 

** The «*frects of an extention of bank credils and ovcr-iannra of hank paper, hmwe 
been Ktriki*igly iiluatrated in the 8a!;*8 of ihf* public lands. From the rt*tnrns made by 
th** various n-gislers and ivceivens in the eailv phrt oCiart pummfr, it wa^»pr^ce^red th' receipts arising from the Siiles of public lands \vfn» incip>i»«inj( to an anpre- 
ced»"nicd amonnt. In elfect, however, th«*s«* recei|>t-» amonnt to noihin? more thaa 
crediu* ill bank". The^ b.mks lent out th-ir notes to j:pr»cnl:«t(>r8 : th**y were paid la 
receivprei, and imm**diate!y retnmed to the banks, to be lent ont ai^ain and again, 
being mere inMruni^nta to iranstfer to fftecula.or^ ine most vuiunhle public land, and 
pay \\v: government by a credit on the hooka of the bunks IMiose credits on the 
Dook^ o\ some of the western banks, nsually calle<l d«'posite», w»*re alrendy greatlr 
beyond iheir immedinie means of Uciyment, and were ra(>idly increasing Indeeo, 
eaeh speculation furnished means for another; for no poon»»r hud one iuilividual or 
comi»uny paid in th** notes, th.m they were lent to anoth'r fora like purpa>;e ; and 
the bank"* were extending ih"ir husineps and rh-ir iKsni'P so lnrg«'Iv us to >ilurm con- 
wder<it»* men. and render it doubtful whether thcfr hank nrditf, iffHrmitted to arm- 
muhle^ icoulfi uHinuitcly (hi of the leant valm to the gnrernmeiit The spirit of expan> 
tion and pperutuiion was not confined to the dcpo^ite b;ink8, but pervaded the whoia 
multitude of bunks ihroughout the Union, and was giving riaa to new institulkoM 
to aggravate the evil. 

** The safety of the public funds, and the interest of the people generally^ required 
that tht^RC openuions should be ch»*cked ; and it became the duty of every orancbof 
th**g"nr»ral and Stale governmenifl to adopt all lei»iriniate and proper mean* to pro- 
duce ih It salui.irv elf'-et. Under this vi'Av of my duly, I dir»'cted llie inauing of the 
orl 'r, wUieh will be 1 lid befon* you by the St'cretary of the Trpasur>', requiring pay- 
ment of the public lands Fold to be made in s|>ecip, with an exception notil the fff> 
teenih oftbe prrgenl month in favor of actual neitlers This measure hasprodaoed 
many salutary coni»equ^nct»8 It checked the caref»r of the western bank**, and gave 
theiri additional strength in antii'ipation of th»* pres^nre which bus since pervaded 
ourea^teni as well ns the European commercial cili*»s. By prevpntini^ the exMa- 
nouofthe credit 8yj»tem, it measurably cut ort' th" mean? of *fperu!ation, andr^ 
tard^il its progress in monopolizing the moM valuable of the i^nblic lands. It baa 
tend*"! ii» wave the new States from a non-resident propria to rfihi|i — one<»f the nrat- 
eat oU>i.i^;l"8to the advancement of a new conntry and the pro^p»»rity of an old one. 
It has tended to k«'epoj»en the public lands for entry by emiarrants at gnvemment 
pries, in>»t»'ad of their neina compelled iopureh-^«e offp^rulutorsat double or treble 
pric M. And it Ih conveying into the interior large s'lins in Vilver and gold, there to 
enr-'r permanr^ntly into the curr»'ncv of the country, and plac* it on a firmer foan- 
dation It is confidently believed that the country will (iiid, in the motives which 
indiic<-d that order, and the happy consequences which have ensued, much to oom- 
mend and nothing to condemn." 

It is seen that he again calls the attention of Cono^ress to the cor^ 
rency of the country, alleilges that it was apparent from the whole 
context uf the constitution, as well as the history of the tinoes that 
gave birth to it, that it was the purpose of the convention to establish 
a curn^ncy consisting of the precious metnb ; imput(»8 variablenesi 
and a liability to inordinate contraction and expansion to the existing 
paper system, and denounces bank issues as being an uncertain stand- 
ard. Me felicitates himself upon the dangers which have i>eeo ob- 
viated by the overthrow of the Bank of the United States, but de- 
clares that little has been yet done, except to produce n salutary 
change of public opinion towards restoring to the country the soond 
currency provided far in the constitution, 1 will here say, in paaslDg, 

«■ turn tu»-TBKAtuMr. 857 

that all lhi8 outcry about the precious metals, gold, and the consti- 
tuliooal currency, has been put forth to delude the people, and to use 
the precious metals as an instrument to break down the banking insti- 
tutions of the States, and to thus pa%*e the way for the ultimate estab- 
lishment of a great government bank. In the present advanced state 
of civilization, in the present condition of the commerce of the world, 
and in the actual relations of trade and intercourse between the differ- 
ent nations of the world, it is perfectly chimerical to suppose that the 
currency of the United States should consist exclusively, or princi- 
pally, of the precious metals. 

In the quotations which I have made from the last annual message 
of General Jackson, he speaks of the extension of bank credits, and 
the overissues of bank paper, in the operations upon the sales of 
public lands. In his message of only the preceding year, the vast 
amount of those sales had been dwelt upon with peculiar complaisance, 
as illustrating the general prosperity of the country, and as proof of 
the wisdom of his administration. But now that which had been an* 
aounc^d as a blessing is deprecated as a calamity. Now, his object 
being to assail the banking institutions of the States, and to justify 
that fatal treasury order, which I shall hereafter have occasion to 
notice, he expresses his apprehension of the danger to which we are 
exposed of losing the public domain, and getting nothing for it but 
bank crediia. He describes, minutely, the circular process by which 
the notes of the banks passed out of those institutions to be employed 
in the purchase of the public lands, and returned again to them in the 
form of credits to the government. He foists that Mr. Secretary 
Taney, to reconcile the people of the United States to the daring 
measure of removing the public deposites, had stimulated the banks 
to the exercise of great liberality in the grant of loans. He informs 
OB, in that message, that the safety of the public funds, and the in- 
l^^ts of the people generally, required that these copious issues of 
the banks should be checked, and that the conversion of the public 
lands into mere bank credits should be arrested. And his measure 
to accomplish these objects was that famous treasury order, already 
adverted to. Let us pause here for a moment, and contemplate the 
drcumstaaces under which it was issued. The principle of the order 
had been proposed and discussed in Congress. But one Senator, as 
fSsur as I know, in this branch of the Legislature, and not a solitary 



in favor of it. And yet, in about a week after the adjournment of 
Congress, the principle, which met with no countenance from the 
legislative authority was embodied in the form of a treasury edict, 
and promulgated under the executive aulhority, to the astonishmeiit 
of the people of the United States. 

1 f we possessed no other evidence whatever of the hostility of Pre- 
sident Jackson to the State Banks of the United States, that order 
would supply conclusive proof. Bank notes, bank issues, bank credits, 
were distrusted and denounced by him. It was proclaimed to the 
people that they were unworthy of confidence. The government 
could no longer trust in their security. And at a moment when the 
banking operations were extended, and stretched to their utmost ten- 
sion ; when they were almost all tottering and ready to fall, for the 
want of that metallic basis on which they all rested, the executive 
announces its distrust, issues the treasury order, and enters the mar- 
ket for specie, by a demand of an exfraordinary amount to supply the 
means of purchasing the public lands. If the sales had continoed in 
the same ratio they had been made during the previous year, that is, 
at about the rate of twenty-four millions per annum, this unprece* 
dented demand created by government for specie must have exhausted 
the vaults of most of the banks, and produced much sooner the ca^ 
tastrophe which occurred in May last. And, what is more extraor* 
dinary, this wanton demand for specie upon all the banks of the com- 
mercial capitals, and in the busy and thickly peopled portions of the 
country, was that it might be transported into the wilderness, and, 
afler having been used in the purchase of public lands, deposited to 
the credit of the government in the books of western banks, in aome 
of which, according to the message, there were already credits to the 
government '^ greatly beyond their immediate means of payment.** 
Government, therefore, did not itself receive, or rather did not retain, 
the very specie which it professed to demand as the only medium 
worthy of the public lands. The specie, which was so uselessly ex- 
acted, was transferred from one set of banks, to the derangement of 
the commerce and business of the country, and placed in the Taulti 
of another set of banks in the interior, forming only those bank credits 
to the government upon which President Jackson placed so slight a 

FinaUyi when Gmieral Jackson was about to retire from the 

0* THE tUB-TRtAaURT. 399 

of government, he favored his coantrymen with a farewell address. 
The solemnity of the occasion gives to any opinions which he has 
escpressed in that document a claim to peculiar attention. It will be 
seen, on perusing it, that he denounces, more emphatically than in 
any of his previous addresses, the bank paper of the country, corpo- 
rations, and what he chooses to denominate the spirit of monopoly. 
The Senate will indulge me in calling its attention to certain parts 
of that address in the following extracts : 

'* The conetitation of the United Statra nnqvestionably intemled to secure to the 
people a circuluting inediuni of ^oldsand silver. But the eftabli^hinent of a National 
Bank by Congrera, with the privilege of ii«ning paper monry receivab!** in payment 
of the public dues, and the unfortunate cour>c of legislation in the Bevcrai Statea 
apon the same (^object, drove from general circulation the constitutional currency, 
•uid aubinitted one of p^per in its place.'* 

**The mischief springs from the power which the moneyed interest derives from 
a paper currency, which they are able to control ; from the mn It iiude of corpora- 
tions, with exclusive privileges, which they have succeeded in obtaining in the dif- 
ferent States, and which are employed ahogether for their benefit ; and unless you 
become more watchful in your .Slater, and check this spirit of mono|K)Iy and thirst 
for exclusive privileges, you will in the end, tlnd that the most imporiani powers of 
fovemment have be«n given or bartered away, and the control over your demiest 
interests has passed into the hands of these corporations." 

•* But it will require steady and persevering exertions on your part torrid your- 
Klves of the iniouities and mischiefs of the fiaper system, and check the spirit of 
monopoly and otner abuses which have sprung up with it, and of which it is the main 
support. So many interests are united to resist all reform on this subject, that yon 
must not hope that the conflict will be a short one^ nor huccoss easy. ^Iy humble 
^flbrts have not been spared, during mv administration of the government, to restore 
the constitutional currency of gold and silver : and somethinf^, I trust, has been done 
towards the accomitllshmenl of this moat desinible object, liut enough yet remains 
to reouire all your energy and perseverance. The power, however, is in your hands, 
and tne remedy must and will be applied, if you determine upon it." 

The mask is now thrown off, and ho boldly says that the constitu- 
tion of the United States unquestionably intended to secure to the 
people a circulating medium of gold and silver. They have not en- 
joyed, he says, that benefit, because of the establishment of a National 
Bank, and the unfortunate course oj legislation in the several States. 
He does not limit his condemnation of the past policy of this country 
to the federal government, of which he had just ceased to be the 
chief, but he extends it to the States also, as if they were incompe- 
tent to judge of the interests of their respective citizens. He tells us 
that mischief springs from the power which the monied interest de- 
rives from a paper curtency, which they are able to control, and the 
muldtude of corporations ; and he stimulates the people to become 
more Watchful in their several States, to chtvk this spirit of monop- 
olar. To ihrigorate their IWtftvBei M Mlitf the ^leople that it wiR ' 

360 fPBlCIUt or HUTRT CLAT. 

require steady and persevering exeitions, on their part, to rid them 
selves of the iniquities and mischiefs of the paper system, and to 
check the spirit of monopoly. They must not hope that the conflict 
will be a short one, nor success easy. His humble efforts have not 
been spared, during his administration, to restore the constit*]tioiia« 
currency of gold and silvery and, although he has been able to dc 
something towards the accomplishment of that object, enough gtt 
remains to require all the energy and perseverance of the people. 

Such, Mr. President are the proofii and the argument on which I 
rely to establish the second and third propositions which I have been 
considering. Are they not successfully maintained ? Is it possible 
that any thing could be more conclusive on such a subject ? I pass to 
the consideration of the fourth proposition. 

4. That the present administration, by acknowledgments emana 
ting from the highest and most authentic source, has succeeded to tha 
principles, plans, and policy of the preceding administration, and 
stand solemnly pledged to complete and perfect them. * 

1 ne proofs on this subject are brief; but they are clear, direct and 
plenary. It is impossible for any unbiassed mind to doubt for a bkh 
ment about them^ You, sir, will be surprised, when I shall aira^ 
them before you, at their irresistible force. The first that I shall oSsr 
IS an extract from Mr. Van Buren's letter of acceptance of the nomi 
nation of the Baltimore convention, dated May 23d, 1835. In that 
letter he says : 

honored with the choice of the Americmn i^eople, endeavor generallv to follow is 
the footsteps of President Jackson, happy if I shal be able to jfttftct Uu work which 
he has so gloriously began.** 

Mr. Van Buren announces that he was the honored instrument se- 
lected by his friends of the present administration, to carry out its 
principles and policy. The honored instrument ! That word, accord- 
ing to the most approved definition, means tool He was then, the 
honored tool — to do what ? to promote the honor, and advance the 
welfare of the people of the United States, and to add to the gloiy of 
the country ? No, no ; his country was not in his thoughts. Party, 
partji filled the place in his boaooi| which country should have oc- 

I Oir TRC tUB-TRBAtUST. 361 

cupied. He was the honored tool to carry out the principles and 
policy of General Jackson ^s adniinistration ; and if elected, he should, 
as well from inclination as from duty, endeavor, generally, to tread in 
the footsteps of General Jackson — happy, if he should he ahle to per- 
fect the work which he had so gloriously begun. Duty to whom > 
to the country, to the whole people of the Untted States ? No such 
thing ; but duty to the friends of the then administration ; and that 
duty required him to tread in the footsteps of his illustrious predeces- 
sor, and to perfect the work which he had begun ! Now, the Senate 
will bear in mind, that the most distinguishing features of General 
Jackson's administration related to the currency ; that he had de* 
nounced the banking institutions of the country ; that he bad over- 
thrown the Bank of the United States ; that he had declared, when 
that object was accomplished, only one half the work was completed ; 
that he then commenced a war against the State Banks, in order to 
finish the other half *, that he cof^stantly persevered in, and never 
abandoned, his favorite project of a great government treasury Bank ; 
and that he retired from the office of Chief Magistrate, pouring out, 
in his farewell address, anathemas against paper money, corporations, 
and the spirit of monopoly. When the^e things are recollected, it is 
impossible not to comprehend clearly what Mr. Van Buren means 
by carrying out the principles and policy of the late administration 
No one can mistake that those principles and that policy require biro 
to break down the local institutions of the States, and to discredit 
and destroy the paper medium which they issue. No one can be at 
A loss to understand that, in following in the footsteps of President 
Jackson, and in perfecting the work which he begun, Mr. Van Buren 
means to continue attacking, systematically, the Banks of the States, 
and to erect on their ruins that great government Bank, begun by his 
predecessor, and which he is the honored instrument selected to com- 
plete. The next proof which I shall offer is supplied by Mr. Van 
Buren's inaugural address, from which I request permission of the 
Senate to r^ad the following extract : 

" Id receiving from the people the sacred tmst twice confided to my illufttrioos 
predecesror, and which he has discharged 00 faithrully and so well, I know that I 
cannot exiiect to perform the arduous tusk with ec^ual ability and success. But. 
united as I have been in /)(%roitnw/«, a daily wilnAss ol his exclusive and unjutrpassea 
devotion to his country^s welfare, agreeing with him in sentiments which his coun- 
trymf^n have warmly supported, and permitted to partake larfrefv <>f his confidence. 
I may hope that tonfewhat of toe same cheering approbation will be found to attena 
apon my path T" 


Here we find Mr. Van Boren distinctly avowing, what the Ameri- 
can people well knew before, that he had been united in the councils 
of General Jackson ; that he had agreed with him in sentiments, and 
that he had partaken largely of his confidence. This intimacy and 
confidential intercourse could not have existed without the concur- 
rence of Mr. Van Buren in all those leading and prominent measures 
of his friend, which related to the establishment of a government 
bank, the overthrow of the Bank of the United States, the attack 
upon the State institutions, and the denunciation of the paper cur- 
rency, the spirit of monopoly, and corporations. Is it credible that 
General Jackson should have aimed at the accomplishment of all 
those objects, and entertained all these sentiments, without Mr. Van 
Buren's participation ? 

I proceed to another point of powerful evidence^ in the conduct 
of Mr. Van Buren, in respect to the famous treasury order. That 
order had been promulgated, originally, in defiance of the opinion <^ 
Congress, had been continued in operation in defiance of the wishes 
and will of the people, and had been repealed by a bill passed at the 
last ordinary session of Congress, by overwhelming majorities. The 
fate of that bill is well known. Instead of being returned to the 
House in which it originated, according to the requirement of the 
constitution, it was sent to one of the pigeon-holes of the department 
of state, to be filed away with an opinion of a convenient Attorney 
General, always ready to prepare one in support of executive en- 
croachment. On the fifth of March last not a doubt was entertained, 
as far as my knowledge or belief extends, that Mr. Van Buren would 
rescind the obnoxious order. I appeal to the Senator from Missouri, 
who sits near me, (Mr. Linn,) to the Senator from Mississippi, who 
sits i^rthest from me, (Mr. Walker,) to the Senator from Alabama, 
(Mr. King,) and to the whole of the administration Senators, if such 
was not the expectation of all of them. Was there ever an occasion 
in which a new administration had so fine an opportunity to signalize 
its commencement by an act of grace and wisdom, demanded by the 
best interests and most anxious wishes of the people ? But Mr. Van 
Buren did not think proper to embrace it. He had shared too largely 
in the confidence of his predecessor, agreed toQ fully with him in his 
councils, to rescind an order which constituted so essential a part of 
the system which had been deliberately adopted to overthrow tbt 
State Banks. 


Another course pursued by the adniiDistratioD, aAer the catastrophe 
of the suspension of specie payments by the banks, demonstrates the 
hostile purposes towards them of the present administration. When a 
similar event had occurred during the administration of Mr. Madison, 
did he discredit and discountenance the i2>sues of the banks by 
refusing to receive them in payment of the public dues ? Did th« 
State governments, upon the former or the late occasion, refuse to 
receive them in payment of the dues to them, respectively ? And if 
irredeemable bank notes are good enough for State governments and 
the people, are they not good enough for the federal government of 
tbe same people ? By exacting specie, in all payments to the gene- 
ral government, that government presented itself in the market as a 
powerful and formidable competitor with the Banks, demanding spe? 
cic at a moment when the Banks were making unexampled struggle* 
to strengthen themselves, and prepare for the resumption of specie 
payments. The extent of this government demand for specie does 
not admit of exact ascertainment ; but when we reflect that the an- 
nual expenditures of the government were at the rate, including the 
post-office department, of about thirty-three millions of dollars, and 
that its income, made up either of taxes or loans, must be an equal 
sum, making together an aggregate of sixty-six millions, it will be 
seen that the amount of specie required for the use of government 
must be immensely large. It cannot be precisely determined, but 
would not be less probably than fifteen or twenty millions of dollars 
per annum. Now, how is it possible for the banks, coming into the 
specie market, in competition with all the vast power and influence 
of the government, to provide themselves with specie in a reasonable 
time to resume specie payments ? That competition would have 
been avoided, if upon the stoppage of the Banks, the notes of those 
of whose solidity there was no doubt, had been continued to be re- 
ceived in payment of the public dues, as was done in Mr. Madison's 
administration. And, why, Mr. President, should they not have been ? 
Why should not this government receive the same description of me- 
dium which is found to answer all the purposes of the several State 
governments ? Why should they have resorted to the expedient of 
issuing an inferior paper medium, in the form of treasury notes, and 
refusing to receive the better notes of safe and solid banks ? Do not 
misunderstand me, Mr. President. No man is more averse than I am to 
a permanent inconvertible paper medium. It would have been as a 
temporary measure only that I should have thought it expedient to 


receive the notes of good local banks. If, along with that measnre, the 
treasur}' order had been repealed, and other measures adopted to en*^ 
courage and coerce the resumption of specie payments, we should have 
been much nigher that desirable event than, I fear, we now are. In- 
deed, I do not see when it is possible for the banks to resume specie 
payments, as long as the government is in the field making war upon 
them, and in the market demanding specie. 

Another conclusive evidence of the hostility to the State Banks, 
on the part of Mr. Van Buren, is to be found in that extraordinary 
recommendation of a bankrupt law, contained in his message at the 
extra session. According to all the principles of any bankrupt syB^ 
tem with which I am acquainted, the Banks, by the stoppage of 
specie payments, had rendered themselves liable to its operation. If 
the recommended law had been passed, commissions of bankruptcy 
could have been immediately sued out against all the suspended 
banks, their assets seized, and the administration of them traiisferredi 
from the several corporations to which it is now entrusted, to commis- 
sioners appointed by the President himself. Thus, by one blow, 
would the whole of the State Banks have been completely prostrated, 
and the way cleared for the introduction of the favorite Treasury 
Bank ; and is it not in the same spirit of unfriendliness to those banks, 
and with the same view of removing all obstacles to the establish- 
ment of a government bank, that the bill was presented to the Senate 
a few days ago by the Senator from Tennesee (Mr. Grundy) against 
the circulation of the notes of the old Bank of the United States ? 
At a time when there is too much want of confidence, and when 
every thing that can be done, should be done to revive and strengthen 
it, we are called upon to pass a law denouncing the heaviest penalty 
and ignominious punishment against all who shall re-issue the notes 
of the old Bank of the United States, of which we are told that aboat 
seven millions of dollars are in circulation ; and they constitute the 
best portion of the paper medium of the country, the only portion of 
it which has a credit everywhere, and which serves the purpose of 
a general circulation ; the only portion with which a man can travel 
from one end of the continent to the other ; and I do not doubt that 
the Senator who has fulminated those severe pains and penalties 
against that best part of our paper medium, provides himself with a 
sufficient amount of it, whenever he leaves Nashville, to take him t» 


(Here Mr. Gnmdy roee, and remarked t No, sir ; I always trsTel on apecie.l 

Ah ! my old friend is always specious, I am quite sure that menr. 
bers from a distance in the interior generally find it indispensable to 
supply themselves, on commencing their journey, with an adequate 
amount of these identical notes to defray their expenses. Why, sir, 
will any man in his senses deny that these notes are far better than 
those which have been issued by that government banker, Levi 
Woodbury, aided though he be by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
(I beg his pardon, I mean the ex-Chancellor,) the Senator from New 
York, (Mr. Wright ?) I am not going to stop here to inquire into 
the strict legality of the re-issue of these notes ; that question, to- 
gether with the power of the government to pass the proposed bill, 
will be taken up when it is considered. I am looking into the mo- 
tive of such a measure. Nobody doubts the perfect safety of the 
notes ; no one can believe that they will not be fairly and fully paid. 
What, then, is the design of the bill ^ It is to assail the only sure 
general medium which the people possess. It is because it may 
come in competition with treasury notes, or other government paper. 
Sir, if the bill had not been proposed by my old friend from Tennes- 
see, I would say its author better deserved a penitentiary punishment 
than those against whom it is directed. I remember to have heard 
of an illustrious individual, now in retirement, having on some oc- 
casion, burst out into the most patriotic indignation, because of a 
waggish trick played off upon him, by putting a note of the late 
Bank of the United States into his silk purse with his gold. 

But it is unnecessary to dwell longer on the innumerable proofs of 
the hostility against the State Banks, and the deliberate purpose c 
those in power to overthrow them. We hear and see daily through- 
oat the country among their partisans and presses, denunciations 
•gainst banks, corporations, rag barons, the spirit of monopoly, &c. ' 
and the howl for gold, hard money, and the constitutional currency 
and no one can listen to the speeches of honorable members, friends 
of the administration, in this house and the other, without being m 
pressed with a perfect conviction that the destruction of the State 
Banks is meditated. I have fulfilled my promise, Mr. President, to 
sustain, the first four propositions with which I set out. I now pro- 
ceed to the fifth proposition* 


5. Tbat the bill under consideration is intended to execate Mr. 
Van Barents pledge to complete and perfect the principles, plans and 
policy of the past administration, by establishing upon the ruios of 
the late Bank of the United States, and the State Banks, a govern- 
ment Bank, to be managed and controlled by the treasury depart- 
ment, acting under the commands of the President of the United 

The first impression made by the perusal of the bill, is the prodigal 
and boundless discretion which it grants to the Secretary of Uie 
Treasury, irreconcileable with the genius of our free institutions, and 
contrary to the former cautious practice of the government. As ori- 
ginally reported, he was authorized by the bill to allow any number 
of clerks he thought proper to the various Receivers Greneral, and to 
fix their salaries. It will be borne in mind that this is the mere com- 
mencement of a system ; and it cannot be doubted that, if put into 
operation, the number of Receivers General and other depositaries of 
the public money would be rodefinitely multiplied. He is allowed to 
appoint as many examiners of the public money, and to fix their sal- 
aries as he pleases ; he is allowed to erect at pleasure, costly build- 
ings ; there is no estimate for any thing ; and all who are conversant 
with the operations of the executive branch of the government, know 
the value and importance of previous estimates. There is no other 
check upon wasteful expenditure but previous estimates, and that 
was a point always psrticuhtrly insisted upon by Mr. Jefierson. The 
Senate will recollect that, a few days ago, when the salary of the 
Receiver General at New York was fixed, the chairman of the Com- 
mittee on Finance rose in his place and stated that it was suggested by 
the Secretary of the Treasury that it should be placed at three tnoo- 
■and dollars ; and the blank was accordingly so filled. There was no 
statement of the nature or extent of the duties to be performed, of the 
time that he would be occupied, of the extent of his responsibility, or 
the expense of living at the several points where they were to oe lo- 
cated ; nothing but the svggestion of the Secretary of the Treasury, 
and that was deemed all-sufficient by a majority. There is no iimit 
upon the appropriation which is made to carry into effect the jill, 
contrary to all former usages, which invariably prescribed a sum noC 
to be transcended. 

A most remarkable feature in the bill, is that to which I have a/- 


ready called the atteDtion of the Senate, and of which no satisfactory 
explanation has been given. It is that which proceeds upon the idea 
that the treasury is a thing distinct from the treasure of the United 
States, and gives to the treasury a local habitation and a name, in the 
new building which is being erected for the treasury department in 
the city of Washington. In the treasury, so constituted, is to be 
placed that pittance of the public revenue which is gleaned from the 
District of Columbia. All else, that is to say, nine hundred and ninety* 
nine hundredths of the public revenue of the United States is to be 
placed in the hands of the Receivers General, and the other deposits 
arics beyond the District of Columbia. Now, the constitution of the 
United States provides that no money shall be drawn from the public 
treasury but in virtue of a previous appropriation by law. That tri- 
fling portion of it, therefore, which is within the District of Columbia, 
will be under the safeguard of the constitution, and all else will be at 
the arbitrary disposal of the Secretary of the Treasury. 

It was deemed necessary, no doubt, to vest in the Secretary of the 
Treasury this vast and alarming discretionary power. A new and 
immense government bank is about to be erected. How it would 
work in all its parts, could not be anticipated with certainty ; and it 
was thought proper, therefore, to bestow a discretion commensurate 
with its novelty and complexity, and adapted to any exigencies which 
might arise. The tenth section of the bill is that in which the power 
to create a bank is more particularly conferred. It is short, and I will 
read it to the Senate. 

" Pko. 10. And be it further enacted. That it shall be lawful for the Sf'crclary of 
the Treasury tcftransfor ihe moneys in the hands of any denositaiy hereby constitu- 
ted, to the treasury of the United States ; to the mint at Philadelphia ; to the branch 
mint at New Oileans ; or to the oilices of either of the Keceivers General of public 
moneys, by this act directed to be appointed ; to be there safety kept, according to 
the provisions of this act ; and alio to tranrfer moneys in the hands of any one depotit' 
«try, constituted by this act, to any other depositary constituted by the same, at ins ms- 
cRcnoif, and astne safety of the publie monevs, and the convenience of the public ser- 
vice, shall seem to him to require. And, for trie purpose of payments on the public 
account, it shall be lawful for the said Secretary to draw upon any of the said depoeita- 
net. as A« may think most conducive to the public ini^ests, or to the convenience of the 
public creditors, or both." 

It will he seen that it grants a power, perfectly undefined, to the 
Secretary of the Treasury, to shift and transfer the public money, from 
depositary to depositary, as he pleases. He is expressly authorized 
to transfer moneys in the hands of any one depositary, constituted faj 
the aety to any other depositary constitiited by it, al Ms dUcrtiimj 


and as the safety of the public moneys, and the ccntemence of the 
public service^ shall seem to him to require. There is no specifica- 
tion of any contingency or contingencies on which he is to act. All 
is left to his discretion. He is to judge "when the public service (and 
more indefittite tenns could not have been employed) shall seem to 
him to require it. It has been said that this is nothing more than the 
customary power of transfer, exercised by the treasury department 
firom the origin of the government. I deny it, utterly deny it. It is 
a totally different power from that which wras exercised by the cau- 
tious Gallatin, and other Secretaries of the Treasury — a power, by 
the by, which, on more than one occasion, has been controverted, 
and which is infinitely more questionable than the power to establish 
a bank of the United States. The transfer was made by them raiely, 
in large sums, and were left to the banks to remit. When payments 
were made, they were effected in the notes of banks with which the 
public money was deposited, or to which it was transferred. The 
rates of exchange were regulated by the state of the market, and un- 
der the responsibility of the banks. But here is a power given to 
transfer the public moneys, without limit as to sum, place or time, 
leaving everything to the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury, 
the Receivers General, and other depositaries. What a scope is al- 
lowed in the fixation of the rates of exchange, whether of premium 
or discount, to regulate the whole domestic exchanges of the country, 
to exercise favoritism ! These former transfers were not made for 
disbursement, but as preparatory to disbursement; and, when dis- 
bursed, it was generally in bank notes. The transfers of this bill are 
immediate payments, and payments made, not in bank notes, but in 
specie. ^ 

The last paragraph in the section provides that, for the purpose of 
payments on the public account, it shall be lawful for the Secretary 
to draw upon any of the said depositaries^ as he may think most con* 
ducive to the public interest, ot to the convenience of the public credi- 
tors, or both. It will be seen that no limit whatever is imposed upon 
the amount or form of the draft, or as to im depositary upon which 
it is drawn. He is made the exclusive judge of what is *' most con- 
ducive to the public interests." Now let us pause a moment, and 
trace the operation of the powers thus vested. The government has 
a revenue of from twenty to thirty millions. The Secretary may 
draw it to any one or more points, as he pleases. More than a 



moiety of the revenae arising from customs is receivable at the port 
of New York, to which point the Secretary may draw all portions of 
it, if he thinks it conducive to the public interest. A man has to re- 
eeive, under an appropriation ]aw, $10,000, and applies to Mr. Sec- 
retary for payment. Where will you receive it ? he is asked. On 
New York. How ? In drafts from $5 to $500. Mr. ^cretary 
will give him these drafts accordingly, upon bank note paper, im- 
pressed like and simulating bank notes, having all suitable embla- 
zonry, signed by my friend the Treasurer, (whose excellent practical 
sense, and solid and sound judgment, if he had been at the head of 
the treasury, instead of Mr. Levi Woodbury, when the suspension of 
specie payments took place, would have relieved or mitigated the 
pecuniary embarrassments of the government and the people,) and 
countersigned by the Comptroller, and filled up in the usual way olf 
bank notes. Here is one of them ! 

[He here held up to the gaze of the Senate a treasury note, having all the appoaranea 
of a bank note, colored, engraved, and executed like any other bank note, for #00.] 

This is a govemment pof/-note, put into circulation, paid out as 
money, and prepared and sent forth, gradually to accustom the peo- 
ple of this country to government paper. s 

I have supposed $10,000 to be received, in the mode stated, by a 
person entitled to receive it under an appropriation law. Now, let 
us suppose what he will do with it. Anywhere to the south or west 
it will command a premium of from two to five per cent. Nowhere 
in the United States will it be under par. Do you suppose that the 
holder of these drafts would be fool enough to convert them into spe- 
cie, to be carried and transported at his risk. Do you think that be 
would not prefer that this money should be in the responsible custody 
of the govemment, rather than in his own insecure keeping ? Do 
you think that he will deny to himself the opportunity of realizing 
the premium of which he may be perfectly sure ? The greatest want 
of the country is a medium of general circulation, and of uniform value 
everywhere. That, especially, is our want in the western and inte- 
rior States. Now, here is exactly such a medium ; and, supposing 
the govemment bank to be honestly and faithfully administered, it 
will, during troch an administration, be the best convertible paper 
BMMiqr in the wocld^ for two leagont The first iti thai every doQw 


of paper out will be the representative of a dollar of specie in tlie 
hands X)f the Receivers General, or other depositaries ; and, secondly, 
if the Receivers General should embez/le the public money, the re- 
sponsibility of the government to pay the drafts issued upon the bans 
of that money would remain unimpaired. 'The paper, therefore, 
would bo^as far superior to the paper of any private corporation as 
the ability and resources of the government of the United States are 
superior to those of such corporations. 

The banking capacity may be divided into three fi^ulties— de- 
posites, discount of bills of exchange, and promissory notes, or either, 
and circulation. This government hank would combine them all, 
except that it would not discount private notes, nor receive j^vate 
deposites. In payments for the public lands, indeed, individuals are 
allowed to make deposites, and to receivecertificatesof their amount 
To guard against their negotiability, a clause has been introduced to 
render them unassignable. But bow will it be possible to maintain 
such an inconvenient restriction, in a country where every descrip- 
tion of paper imposing an obligation to pay money or deliver property 
is assignable, at law or in equity, from the oommercial nature and 
trading character of our people ? 

Of all the faculties which I have stated of a bank, that which cre- 
ates a circulation is the most important to the community at large. li 
is that in which thousands may be interested, who never obtained a 
discount or made a deposite with a bank. Whatever a government 
agrees to receive in payment of the puclic dues, as a medium of cir- 
culation, is money, current money, no matter what its form may be, 
treasury notes, drafts drawn at Washington by the treasurer, on the 
Receiver General at New York, or, to use the language employed in 
various parts of this bill, '' such notes, bills or paper issued under the 
authority of the United States." These various provisions were 
probably inserted not only to cover the case of treasury notes, but 
that of these drafls, in due season. But if there were no express pro- 
vision of law, that these drafts should be receivable in payment of 
public dues, they would, necessarily, be so employed, from their owi 
intrinsic value. 

The want of the community of a general circulation of uniixa 
value everywhere in the United States, wonld occacion vast 

of the species of drafts which I have described to remain in (yrcula- 
tion. The appropriations this year will probably fall not much short 
of thirty millions. Thirty millions of treasury drafts on Receivers 
Geneial,of cverjdenomination and to any amount, may he issued by 
the Secretary of the Treasury. What amount would remain in Circu- 
lation cannot be determined a prioriy I suppose not less than ten or 
fifteen millions ; at the end of another year some ten or fifteen mill- 
ions more ; they would fill all the channels of circulation. The war 
between the government and State Banks continuing, and this mam- 
moth government bank being in the market, constantly demanding 
specie for its varied and ramified operations, confidence would be loft 
in the notes of the local banks, their paper would gradually cease to 
circulate, and the banks themselves would be crippled and broken. 
The paper of the government bank would ultimately fill the vacuum, 
as it would instantly occupy the place of the notes of the late Bank 
of the United States. 

I am aware, Mr. President, that the 25th section of the bill, in or- 
der to disguise the purpose of the vast machinery which we are about 
constructing, provides that it shall be the duty of the Secretary 
of the Treasury to issue and publish regulations to enforce the speedy 
presentation of all government drafts for payments at the place where 
payable, &c. Now, what a tremendous power is here vested in the 
Secretary ! He is to prescribe rules and regulations to enforce the 
speedy presentation of all government drafts for payment at the place 
where payable. The speedy presentation ! In the case I have sup 
posed, a man has his $10,000 in drafts on the Receiver General at 
New Yoirk. The Secretary is empowered to enact regulations re- 
quiring him speedily to present them, and, if he do not, the Secretary 
may order them to be paid at St. Louis. At New York they may 
be worth a premium of five per cent. ; on St. Louis they may be 
liable to a discount of five per cent. Now, in a free government, who 
would ever think of subjecting the property or money of a citizen to 
the exercise of such a power by any Secretary of the Treasury? 
What opportunity does it not afford to reward a partisan or punish an 
opponent ? It will be impossible to maintain such an odious and use- 
less restriction for any length of time. Why should the debtor (aa 
the government would . be in the case of such drafts as I have sup- 
posed) require his creditor (as the holder of the draft would be) to 
applj within a prescribed time fitf his payment ? No, sir ; the tji^ 


373 tPnCHll OP HBNRT CUkT. 

tern v[Ould control you ; you could not control the i^stem- But, it 
SQch a ridiculous restriction could not be so continutni, the drafts 
would, nevertheless, while they were out, be the time long or short 
perform the office of circulation and money. 

liCt us trace a little further the operation of this fi^vemmen^ banlu 
and follow it out to its final explosion. 1 have supposed the appro 
propriation of some thirty millions of dollars annually by the govern- 
ment, to be disbursed in form of drafts, issued at Washington by the 
treasury department, upon ,the depositaries. Of that amount some 
ten or fifteen millions would remain, the first year, in circulation ; at 
the end of one year,' a similar amount would continue in circulation ; 
and so on, from year to year, until, at the end of a series of some five 
or six years, there would be in circulation, to supply the indispensa- 
ble wants of commerce and of a general medium of uniform value, 
not less than some sixty or eighty millions of drafts issued by the gov- 
ernment. These drafts would be generally upon the Receiver General 
at New York, because on that point they would be preferred over all 
others, as they would command a premium, or be at par, throughout 
the whole extent of the United States ; and we have seen that the 
Secretary of the Treasury is invested with ample authority to con- 
centrate at that poiat the whole revenue of the United States 

All experience has demonstrated, that in banking operations a 
much larger amount of paper can be kept in circulation than the spe- 
cie which it is necessary to retain in the vaults to meet it when pre- 
sented for payment. The proportions which the same experience 
has ascertained to be entirely safe, are one of specie to three of paper. 
If, therefore, the executive government had sixty millions of dollars 
accumulated at the port of New York, in the hands of the Receiver 
Creneral, represented by sixty millions of government drafb in circu- 
lation, it would be known that twenty of that sixty millions would be 
sufficient to retain to meet any amount of drafts which, in ordinary 
times, would be presented for payment. There would then remain 
forty millions in the vaults, idle and unproductive, and of which no 
practical use could be made. Well, a great election is at hand in the 
State of New York, the result of which will seal the fate of an exist- 
ing admmistration. If the application of ten millions of that dormant 
capital could save, at some future day, a corrupt executive from 
overthrow, can it be doubted that the ten milliont would be applied 

Off TRX S0B-TftXAfURT. 873 


to preserve it in power ? Again : let us suppose some great exigen- 
cj to arise, a season of war, creating severe financial pressure and 
embarrassment. Would not an issue of paper, founded upon and ex- 
ceeding the specie in the vaults, in some such proportions as experi- 
ence had demonstrated might be safely emitted, be authorised? 
Finally, the whole amount of specie might be exhausted, and then, as 
it is easier to engrave and issue bank notes than to perform the un- 
popular office of imposing taxes and burdens, the discovery would be 
made that the credit of the government was a sufficient basis where- 
on to make emissions of paper money, to be redeemed when peace 
and prosperity returned. Then we should have the days of conti- 
nental money and of assignats restored ! Then we should have that 
government paper medium, which the Senator from South Carolinai 
(Mr. Calhoun) considers the most perfect of all currency ! 

Meantime, and during the progress of this vast government ma- 
chine, the State Banks would be all prostrated. Working well, as it 
may, if honestly administered, in the first period of its existence, it 
will be utterly impossible for them to maintain the unequal competi- 
tion. They could not maintain it, even if the government were ac- 
tuated by no unfriendly feelings towards them. But, when we know 
the spirit which animates the present executive towards them, who 
can doubt that they must fall in the unequal contest ? Their issues 
will be discredited and discountenanced ; and that system of bank- 
ruptcy which the President would even now put into operation against 
them, wil\, in the sequel be passed and enforced without difficulty. 

Assuming the downfall of the local banks, the inevitable conse- 
quence of the operations of this great government bank ; assuming, as 
I have shown would be the case, that the government would mono- 
polize tlic paper issues of the country, and obtain the possession of 
a great portion of the specie of the country, we should then behold a 
combined and concentrated moneyed power, equal to that of all the 
existing banks of the United States, with that of the late bank of the 
United States superadded. This tremendous power would be wield- 
ed by the Secretary of the Treasury, acting under the immediate com- 
mands of the President of the United States. Here would be a per- 
fect union of the sword and purse ; here would be no imaginary, but 
an actual, visible, tangible, consolidation of the moneyed power. Who 
or what could withstiuid it ? The States thexnaelves would become 



ffOj^liants at the feet of the executive for a portion of those papor 
emissions, of the power to issue which the/ had been strippedy and 
which he now exclusively posssessed. 

Mr. President, my observation and experience have satisfied me 
that the safety of liberty and prosperity consists in the division of 
power, whether political or pecuniary. In our federative system, our 
security is to be found in that happy distribution of power which ex- 
ists between the Federal government and the Slate governments. In 
oar monetary system, as it lately existed, its excellence resulted from 
that beautiful arrangement by which the States had their instilutioni 
for local purposes, and the general government its institution for the 
more general, purposes of the whole Union. There existed the great- 
est congeniality between all the parts of this admirable system. All 
was homogeneous. There was no separation of the federal govern- 
ment from the States or from the people. There was no attempt to 
execute practically that absurdity of sustaining, among the same peo- 
ple, two different currencies of unequal value. And how admirably 
did the whole system, during the . forty years of its existence move 
and work ! And on the two unfortunate occasions of its ceasing to 
exist, how quickly did the business and transactions of the country 
run into wild disorder and utter confusion. 

Hitherto I have considered this new project as it is, according to 
its true nature and character, and what it must inevitably become. 
I have not examined it as it is not, but as its friends would represent 
it to be. They hold out the idea that it is a simple contrivance to 
collect, to keep and disburse the public revenue. In that view of it, 
every consideration of safety and security recommends the agency of 
responsible corporations, rather than the employment of particular in- 
dividuals. It has been shown, during the course of this debate, that 
the amount which has been lost by the defalcation of individuals has 
exceeded three or four times the amount of all that has been lost by 
the local banks, although the sums confided to the care of individoals 
have not been probably one-tenth part of the amount that has been is 
the custody of the local banks. And we all know that, durin<r the 
forty years of the existence of the two banks of the United Stales, 
■ot one cent was lost of the public revenue. 

I have been curious Mr. President, to know whence this idea of 


4m THB «OB-TRfiA8URT. 876 

Receiyers General was derived. It has been supposed to have been 
borrowed from France. It required all the power of that most ez* 
iraordinary man that ever lived, Napoleon Bonaparte, when he was 
in his meridian greatness, to displace the Farmers General, and to 
iubstilute in their place the Receivers General. The new system 
requires, I think I have heard it stated, something like 100,000 em- 
ployees to have it executed. And notwithstanding the modesty of 
the infant promise of this new project, 1 have no doubt that ulti- 
mately we shall have to employ a number of persons approximating 
to that which is retained in France. That will undoubtedly be the 
case whenever we shall revive the system of internal taxation. In 
France, what reconciled them to the system was, that Napoleon firsts 
and the Bourbons afterwards, were pleased with the immense patro- 
nage which it gave them. They liked to have 100,000 dependents 
to add strength to the throne, which had been recently constructed 
or re-ascended. 

I thought, however, that the learned Chairman of the Committee 
on Finance must have had some other besides the French model for 
bis Receivers General ; and accordingly, upon looking into Smith's 
history of his own state, I found that, when it was yet a colony some 
centyry and a half ago, and when its present noble capital still re- 
tained the name of New Amsterdam, the historian says : 

"Among the principal laws enacted at this session, we mav mention that tor e«> 
tftblishinK the revenue, which was drawn into precedent, llie sums raised by it 
were made payable into the hands of Receivers General, and Lwied bv the Gover> 
nor's warrant. By this means the Governor became, for a season, independent of 
the people, and hence we find frequent instances of the assemblies contending widi 
him for the discharge of debts to private pemons contracted on the faith of the gor 

The then Governor of the colony was a man of great violence of 
temper, and arbitrary in his conduct. How the sub-treasury system 
of that day operated, the same historian informs us in a subsequent 
part of his work. 


* The revenue,** he says, " established the 1a<it year, was at this sc83ion continued 
five years longer than onjinallv intended. This was rend<?rin? the Governor 
independent of the people. For, at that dar, the Assembly had no treasure, but the 
amount of all taxes went, of conrap, into the hands o\' the Kecciver General, who 
was appointed by thp crown. Out of the fund, moneys were only issuable by the 
Governor's wamint; so that every officer in the government, from Mr. Blaithwait, 
wlio drew Mnnually five per cent, out of the revenne, as Auditor General, down to 
the meanest servant of the public, became deiiendent, solely, on the Governor. Aiijt 
hence we Ann the house, at the close of every seftioa, hambiy aduiesaiog ais ezctlr 
Nttsjr for tlie ^Ifang wates <tf liMir aim«l«ia*'* 


And, Mr. President, if the measure should unhappily pass, the daj 
may come when the Senate of the United States will have hambly to 
implore some future President of the United States to grant it money 
to pay the wages of its own sergeant-at-arms and dooi keeper. 

Who, Mr. Presideut, are the most conspicuous of those who pef • 
severingly pressed this bill, upon Congress and the American peo- 
ple ? Its drawer is the distinguished gentleman in the White House 
not far off, its endorser is the distinguished Senator firom South 
Carolina, here present. What the drawer thinks of the endorser, 
his cautious reserve and stifled enmity prevent us from knowing. 
But the frankness of the endorser has not left us in the same igno- 
rance with respect to his opinion of the drawer. He has often ex- 
pressed it upon the floor of the Senate. On an occasion not very 
distant, denying him any of the nobler qualities of the royal bekst of 
the forest, he attributed to him those which belong to the most crafty, 
most skulking, and one of the meanest of the quadruped tribe. Mr. 
President, it is due to myself to say that I do not altogether share 
with the Senator from South Carolina, in this opinion of the Presi- 
dent of the United States. I have always found him, in his man- 
ners and deportment, civil, courteous, and gentlemanly ; and he dis- 
penses, in the noble mansion which he now occupies, one worthy the 
residence of the Chief Magistrate of a great people, a generous and 
liberal hospitality. An acquaintance with him of more than twenty 
years^ duration has inspired me with a respect for the man, although 
I regret to be compelled to say, I detest the magistrate. 

The eloquent Senator from South Carolina has intimated that the 
course of my friend^ and myself, in opposing this bill, was unpatriotic, 
and that we pught to have followed in his lead ; and, in a late letter 
of his, he has spoken of his alliance with us, and of his motives for 
quitting it. I cannot admit the justice of his reproach. We united, 
if indeed, there were any alliance in the case, to restrain the enor- 
mous expansion of executive power , to arrest the progress of cor- 
ruption ; to rebuke usurpation ; and to drive the Goths and Va^als 
from the capital ; to expel Brennus and his horde from Rome, who, 
when he threw his sword into the scale, to augment the ransom de- 
manded from the mistress of the world, showed his preference for 
gold ; that he was a hard-money Chieftain. It was by the much 
more valuable metal of iron that he was driven from her gates. And 

Off THB aVB-TSSAf UBT. 377 


how often hare we witnessed the Seoator from South Carolina, with 
woful countenance, and in doleful stiains, pouring forth touching and 
mournful eloquence on the degeneracy of the times, and the down- 
ward tendency of the republic ? Day after day, in the Senate, hare 
we seen the displays of his lofty and impassioned eloquence. Al- 
though I shared largely with the Senator in hb apprehension for the 
purity of our institutions, and the perminancy of our civil liberty, 
disposed always to look at the brighter side of human affiurs, I was 
sometimes inclined to hope that the vivid imagination of the Senator 
had depicted the dangers by which we were encompassed in some- 
what stronger colors than they justified. The arduous contest in 
which we were so long engaged was about to terminate in a glorious 
victory. The very object for which the alliance was formed was 
about to be accomplished. At this critical moment the Senator left 
us ; he left us for the very purpose of prc^venting the success of the 
common cause. He took up his musket, knapsack, and shot-pouch, 
and joined the other party. He went, horse, foot, and dragoon, and 
he himself composed the whole corps. He went, as his present most 
distinguished ally commenced with his expunging resolution, solitaiy 
and alone. The earliest instance recorded in history, within my re- 
collection, of an ally drawing off his forces from the combined army, 
was that of Achilles at the siege of Troy. He withdrew, with all 
his troops, and remained in the neighborhood, in sullen and dignified 
inactivity. But he did not join the Trojan forces ; and when, dur- 
ing the progress of the siege, his fiuthfiil fiiend fell in battle, he rais- 
ed his avenging arm, drove the Trojans back into the gates of Troy, 
and satiated his vengeance by slaying Priam's noblest and dearest 
son, the finest hero in the immortal Illiad. But Achilles had been 
wronged, or imagined himself wronged in the person of the fair and 
beautiful Briseis. We did no wrong to the disinguished Senator from 
South Carolina. On the contrary, we respected him, confided in his 
great and acknowledged ability, his uncommon genius, his extensive 
experience, his supposed patriotism ; above all, we confided in his 
stem and inflexible fidelity. Nevertheless, he left us, and joined our 
co^pnon opponents, distrusting and distrusted. He left us, as he 
tells tt9 in the Edgefield letter, because the victory which our com* 
mon arms were about to achieve, was not to enure to him and his 
party, but exclusively to the benefit of his allies and their cause. I 
thought that, actuated by patriotism — ^that noblest of human virtues 
-*-we had been amtending together finr one common coontry, for htr 


violated rights, her threatened liberties, her prostrate comtitotiim. 
Never did I suppose that personal or party considerations entered idId 
our views. Whether, if victory shall ever again be about lo perch 
upon the standard of the spoils party, — the denomination "which the 
Senator from South Carolina has so often given to his present allies— 
he will not feel himself constrained, by the principles c n which he ha» 
acted, to leave them because it may not enure to the benefit of hiift- 
self and his party, 1 leave to be adjusted between themselves. 

The speech of the Senator from South Carolina was plausible, in- 
genious, abstract, metaphysical, and generalizing. It did not appear 
to me to be adapted to the bosoms and business of human life. H 
was aerial, and not very high up in the air, Mr. President, either, 
not quite as high as Mr. Clayton was in his last ascension in hisbft- 
loon. The Senator announced that there was a single alternative, 
and no escape from one or the other branch of k. He stated that we 
must take the bill under consideration, or the substitute proposed by 
the Senator from Virginia. I do not concur in that statement of the 
case. There is another course embraced in neither branch of the 
Senator's alternative ; and that course is to do nothing ; always the 
wisest when you are not certatn what you ought to do. Let us sup- 
pose that neither branch of the alternative is accepted, and that noth- 
ing is done. What, then, would be the consequence ? There would 
be a restoration of the law of 1789, with all its cautious provisions 
and securities, provided by the wisdom of our ancestors, which has 
been so trampled upon by the late and present administrations. By 
that law, establishing the treasury department, the treasure of the 
United States is to be received, kept, and disbursed, by the treasurer, 
under a bond with ample security, under a large penalty fixed by 
law, and not left, as this bill leaves it, to the uncertain discretion of a 
Secretary of the Treasury. If, therefore, we were to do nothing, 
that law would be revived ; the treasurer would have the custody, 
as he ought to have, of the public money, and doubtless he would 
make special depositcs of it in all instances, with safe and sound 
State Banks, as in some cases the Secretary of the Treasury is ipw 
obliged to do. Thus, we should have in operation that very special 
deposite system, so much desired by some gentlemen, by which the 
public money would remain separate and unmixed with the monej 
of banks. There is yet another course, unembraced by either branch 
of the alternative presented by the Senator from. South Carolina ; and 

Qir THV 8VB-TB«A8(mT. 87t- 

that is to establish a Bank of the United States, constituted according 
to the old and approved method of forming such an institution, tested 
and sanctioned by experience ; a Bank of the United States which 
should blend public and private interests, and be subject to public and 
private control, united together in such a manner as to present safb 
and salutary checks against all abuses. The Senator mistakes hif 
own abandonment of that institution as ours. 1 know that the 
party in power has barricaded itself against the establishment of such 
a bank. It adopted, at the last extra session, the extraordinary and 
unprecedented resolution, that the people of the United States should 
not have such a bank, although it might be manifest that there was a 
clear majority of them demanding it. But the day may come^ and I 
trust is not distant, when the will of the people must prevail in the 
councils of her own government; and when it does arrive, a bank 
will be established. 

The Senator from South Carolina reminds us that we denounced 
the pet bank system ; and so we did, and so we do. But does it 
therefore follow that, bad as that system was, we must be driven into 
the acceptance of a system infinitely worse ? He tells us that the 
bill under consideration takes the public funds out of the hands of the 
executive, and places them in the hands of the law. It docs no such 
thing. They are now without law, it is true, in the custody of the 
executive ; and the bill proposes by law to confirm them in that cus- 
tody, and to convey new and enormous powers of control to the ex« 
ecutive over them. Every custodary of the public funds provided by 
the bill is a creature of the executive, dependent upon his breath, and 
subject to the same breath for removal, whenever the executive, from 
caprice, from tyranny, or from party motives, shall choose to order 
it. What safety is there for the public money, if there were a hund- 
red su1x)rdinate executive officers charged with its care, while the 
docrine of the absolute unity of the whole executive power, promul- 
gated by the last administration, and persisted in by this, remains 
unrevoked and unrebuked ? 

While the Senator from South Carolina professes to be the friend - 
of State Banks, he has attacked the whole banking system of the 
United States. He is their friend ; he only thinks they are all un- 
constitutional ! Why ? Because the coining power is possessed by 
the general government, and that coining power, he argues, was io* 


tended to supply a currency of the precious metals ; but the State 
Banks absorb the precious metals, and ivithdraw them from circtila- 
tion, and, therefore, are in conflict with the coining power. That 
power, according to my view of it, is nothing but a naked authority 
ta stamp certain pieces of the preciotios metals, in fixed proportions of 
alloy and pure metal prescribed by law, so that their exact value be 
known. When that office is performed, the power Isfunctm offido^ 
the money passes out of the mint, and becomes the lawful properly 
of those who legally acquire it. They may do with it as they please, 
throw it into the ocean, bury it in the earth, or melt it in a crucible, 
without violating any law. When it has once left the vaults of the 
mint, the law maker has nothing to do with it, but to protect it against 
those who attempt to debase or counterfeit, and subsequently, to pass 
it as lawful money. In the sense in which the Senator supposes the 
banks to conflict with the coining power, foreign commerce, and es- 
pecially our commerce with China, conflicts with it much more ex- 
tensively. That is the great absorbent of the precious metals, and is 
therefore much more unconstitutional than the State Banks. For* 
eign commerce sends them out of the country ; banks retain them 
within it. The distmguished Senator is no enemy to the banks ; he 
merely thinks them injurious to the morals and industry of the coon* 
try. He likes them very well, but he nevertheless believes that they 
levy a tax of twenty-five millions annually on the industry of the 
country ! Let us examine, Mr. President, and see how this enor- 
mous assessment is made, according to the argument of the Senator 
firom South Carolina. He states that there is a mass of debt due from 
the community to the banks, amounting to $475,000,000, the inter- 
est upon which, constituting about the sum of $25,000,000, forms 
the exceptionable tax. Now, this sum is not paid by the whole com- 
munity, but only by those individuals who obtain discounts from the 
banks. They borrow money at six per cent, interest, and invest it 
in profitable adventures, or otherwise employ it. They would not 
borrow if they did not suppose they could make profit by it. Instead, 
therefore, of there being any loss in the operation, there is an actual 
gain to the community, by the excess of profit made beyond six per 
cent, interest, which they pay. What are banks } They are meie 
organized agencies for the loan of money and the transaction of mone- 
tary business ; regulated agencies acting under the prescriptions of 
law, and subject to a responsibility, moral and legal, far transcendiisfg 
that under which any private capitalist operates. A number of per- 

•» IBM tOB-TEBiUnJET. 981 

ij not choosiog to lend out their j^onej privately, associate to- 
gether, bring their respective capitals into a common stock, which is 
controlled and managed by the corporate government of a bank. If 
no association whatever had been formed, a large portion of this capi- 
tal, therefore, of that very debt c^ $475,000,000, would stiU exist, in 
the shape of private loans. 

The Senator from South Carolina might as well connect the aggre- 
gate amount of all the mortgages, bonds, and notes, which have been 
executed in the United States for loans, and assert that the interest 
paid upon the total sum constituted a tax levied upon the community. 

In the liquidation of the debt due to the banks from the community, 
and from the banks to the community, there would not be as much 
difficulty as the Senator seems to apprehend. From the mass of 
debts due to the banks are to be deducted, first, the amount of sub- 
scriptions which constitute their capitals ; secondly, the amount of 
deposites to the credit of individuals in their custody ; and, thirdly, 
the amount of their notes in circulation. How easily these mutual 
debts neutralise each other ! The same person, in numberless instan- 
ces, will combine in himsdf the relations both of creditor and debtor* 

The only general operation of banks beyond their discounts and de- 
posites, which pervades the whole community, is that of fhmbhing a 
cifculatios in redeemable paper, beyond the amount of specie to re- 
deem it in their vaults. And can it be doubted that this additional 
supply of money furnishes a powerful stimulus to industry and pro- 
duction, fully compensating any casual inconvenience, which some- 
times, though rarely, occurs ? Banks reduce the rate of interest, and 
repress inordinate usury. The salutary influence of banking opera- 
tions is demonstrated in countries and sections of country where they 
prevail, when contrasted with those in which they are not found. In 
the former, all is bustle, activity, general prosperity. The country 
is beautified and adorned by the noble works of internal improve- 
ments; the cities are filled with splendid edifices, and the wharves 
covered with the rich productions of our own and of foreign climates. 
In the latter, all is sluggishness, slothfulness, and inaqtivity. Eng- 
land, in modem times, illustrates the great advantages of banks, of 
credit, and of stimulated industry. Contrast her with Spain, desti- 
tute of all those advantages. In ancient times, Athens would present 

382 SPEECHES or heitrt clat. 

an image of full and active employment of all the energies of nuui^ 
carried to the highest point of civilization, while her neighbor, Sparta, 
with her iron money, affords another of the boasted benefits of ma* 
tallic circulation. 

The Senator from South Carolina would do the banks no hann ; 
but they are deemed by him highly injurious to the planting interest! 
According to lilm, they inflate prices, and the poor planter sells his 
productions for hard money, and has to purchase his supplies at the 
swollen prices produced by a paper medium. Now I must dissent 
altogether from the Senator's statement of the case. England, the 
principal customer of the planter is quite as much, if not more, a par- 
per country than ours. And the paper-money prices of the one coun- 
try are neutralized by the paper-money prices of the other country. 
If the argument were true that a paper-money trades disadvantage- 
ously with a hard-money country, we ought to continue to employ a 
paper medium, to counter-balance the paper medium of England. 
And if we were to banish our paper, and substitute altogether a me^ 
tallic currency, we should be exposed to the very inequality which 
has been insisting upon. But there is nothing in that view of the 
matter which is presented by the Senator from South Carolina. I^ 
as he asserts, prices were always inflated in this country beyond their 
standard in England, the rate of exchange would be constantly against 
us. An examination, however, into the actual state of exchange be- 
tween the two countries, for a long series of years, evinces that it has 
generally been in our favor. In the direct trade between England 
and this country, I have no doubt there is a large annual balance 
against us ; but that balance is adjusted and liquidated by balances 
in our favor in other branches of our foreign trade, which have been 
finally concentrated in England, as the great centre of the commer- 
cial world. 

Of all the interests and branches of industry in this country, none 
has profited more by the use and employment of credit and capital, 
derived from the banks and other sources, than the planting intei^^sts. 
It habitually employs credit in all countries where planting ao;rica]* 
turo prevails. • The States of Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and 
Louisiana, have almost sprung into existence, as it were by magic, or 
at least, have been vastly improved and extended under the influence 
of the credit system. Lands, slaves, utensils, beasts of burden, and 


other supplies, have been constantly bouglit, and still continue to be 
purchased, upon credit; and bank-agency is all-cssential to give the 
most beneficial operation to these credits. But the argument of the 
Senator from South Carolina, which I am combating, would not be 
correct, if it were true that we have inflated prices on this side of the 
Atlantic, without a corresponding inflation of price on the other side ; 
because the planter, generally selling at home, and buying at home, 
the proceeds of his sale, whatever they may be, constitute the means 
by which he effects his purchases, and consequently neutralizes each 
other. In what do we of the West receive payment for the immense 
quantity of live stock and other produce of our industry, which we 
annually sell to the South and Southwest, but that paper-medium 
now so much decried and denounced ? The Senator from South 
Carolina is very fond of the State banks ; but he thinks there is no 
legitimate currency except that of the constitution. He contends 
that the power which the government possesses to impose taxes re-* 
stricts it, in their payment, to the receipt of the precious metals. Bat 
the constitution does not say so. The power is given in broad and 
unrestricted terms ; and the government is lefl at liberty to collect the 
taxes in whatever medium or commodity from the exigencies of the 
case, it can collect them. It is, doubtless, much the most convenient 
to collect them in money, because that represents, or can command, 
every thing, the want of which is implied by the power of taxation. 
But suppose there was no money in the country, none whatever, to 
be extorted by the tax gatherer from an impoverished people ? Is 
the power of jrovernment to cease, and the people to be thrown back 
into a state of nature ? The Senator asks if taxes could be levied 
and collected on tobacco in cotton and other commodities ? Undoubt- 
edly they could, if the necessity existed for such an inconvenient im- 
position. Such a case of necessity did exist in the colony of Virginia, 
and other colonies, prior to the revolution, and taxes were accord- 
ingly levied in tobacco or other commodities, as wolf-scalps, even at 
this day, compose a part of the revenue of more than one State. 

The argument, then, of the Senator against the right of the govern- 
ment to receive bank notes in payment of public dues, a practice co- 
eval wilh the existence of the government, does not seem to me to 
be sound. It is not accurate, for another reason. Bank notes, when 
convertible at the will of the holder into specie, are so much counted 
or told specie, like the specie which is counted and pat in marked 


k^ denoting the quantity of their contents. The Senator tells m 
that it has been only within a few days that he has discovered that 
it is illegal to receive bank notes in payment of public dues. Doea 
he think that the usage of the government, under all its adminiatrar 
tions, and with every party in power, which has prevailed for nig^ 
fifty years, ought to be set aside by a novel theory of his, just dream- 
ed into existence, even if it possesses the merit of ingenuity ? The 
bill under consideration, which has been eulogized by the Senator aa 
perfisct in its structure and details, contains a provision that bank 
notes shall be received in diminished proportions, during a term >of 
six years. He himself introduced the identical principle. It is the 
only part of the bill that is emphatically his. How then can he con- 
tend that it is unconstitutional to receive bank notes in payment of 
public dues ? I appeal from himself to himself. The Senator iurthtt 
contends that general deposites cannot be made with banks, and be 
thus confounded with the general mass of the funds on which they 
tiaasact business. The argument supposes that the money collected 
for taxes must be [Kreserved in identity ; but that is impossible often 
to do. May not a collector give the small change which he has re- 
ceived fix>m one tax-payer to another tax-payer to enable him to eflfect 
his payment ? May he not change gold for silver, or vice oersa, or 
both, if he be a distant collector, to obtain an undoubted remittance to 
the public tfeasury ? What Mr. President, is the process of making 
deposites with banks ? The deposite is made, and a credit is entered 
for its amount to the government. That credit is supposed to be the 
exact equivalent of the amount deposited, ready and forthcoming to 
the government whenever it is wanted for the purposes of disburse 
ment. It is immaterial to the government whether it receives hack 
again the identical money put in, or other money of equal value. All 
that it wants is what it put in the bank, or its equivalent ; and that, 
in ordinary times, with such prudent banks as alone ought to be se» 
lected, it is sure of getting Again : the treasury has frequently to 
make remittances to foreign countries, to meet the expenditure neces- 
sary there for our naval squadrons and other purposes. They are 
made to the bankers, to the Barings or the Rothschilds, m the fimn 
of bills of exchange, purchased in the market by the agents of the 
government here, with, money drawn out of the treasury. Here is 
one conversion of the money received from the tax-gatherer into the 
treasury. The bills are transmitted to the bankers, honored, paid, 
and the amount credited by them to the United States. Are thu 


bankers bound to retain the proceeds of tho hills in identity P Are 
they bound to do more than credit the government for an equal 
amount for which they stand responsible whenever it is wanted P If 
they should happen to use any portion of those very proceeds of bills 
remitted to them in their banking operations, would it be drawing 
money from the treasury contrary to the provisions of the constitu- 
tion ? 

The Senator from South Carolina contends that there is no consti- 
tutional power to contract with the twenty-five selected banks, as 
proposed in the substitute ; yet the deposite act of 1836, which ob- 
tained the hearty approbation of that Senator, contained a similar 
provision ; and the very bill under consideration, so warmly support- 
ed by him, provides, under certain contingencies, for contracts to be 
made with State Banks, to receive deposites of the public money 
upon compensation. He objects to the substitute, that it converts 
twenty- five State Banks into a system of federal institutions; but the 
employment of State institutions by the federal authority no more 
makes them federal, than the employment of federal institutions by 
the states converts them int<r State institutions. This mutual aid, 
and this reciprocal employment of the several institutions of the 
general and particular governments, is one of the results and beauties 
of our admirable though complex system of government. The gene- 
ral government has the use of the capital, court-houses, prisons, and 
penitentiaries, in the several States. Do they, therefore^ cease to 
appertain to the States ? It is to be borne in mind that, although the 
Slate Banks may occasionally be used by the federal authority, iheiv 
legal responsibility to the several States remains unimpaired. They 
continue to be accountable to them and their existence can only be 
terminated or prolonged by the state authority. And being governed, 
as they are, by corporate authority, emanating from, and amenable 
to, state jurisdiction, and not under the control of the executive of 
the United States, constitutes at once a greater security for the public 
money, and more safety to the public liberty. It has been argued 
that a seperation of the government from the banks will diminish the 
executive power. It must be admitted that the custody of the pub- 
lic money in various banks, subject to the control of state authority, 
furnishes some check upon the possible abuses of the executive gor- 
emment. But the argument maintains that the executive has leart 
power when it has most complete poaiession of the poblic treasury ! 


The Senator from South Carolina contends that the separation in q^ 
tion being once effected, the relation of the federal governtneBt and 
the State Banks will be antagonisticul. 1 believe so, Mr. President. 
This is the very thing I wish to prevent. I want them to live in peace, 
harmony and friendship. If they are antagonists, how is it possible 
that the State Banks can maintain their existence against the tiemen- 
dous influence of the government ? Especially, if this goverament 
should be backed by such a vast treasury bank as I verily believe 
this bill is intended to create ? And what becomes of the argument 
urged by the Senator from South Carolina, and the abolition reso- 
lutions, offered by hi^pn at an early period of tbe session, asserting that 
the general government is bound to protect the domestic institutioiw 
of the several States ? 


The substitute is not, I think, what the welfare of the country re- 
quires. It may serve the purpose of a good half-way house. Its 
accommodations appear fair, and, with the feelings of a wearied 
traveler, one may be tempted to stop awhile and refresh himself 
there. I shall vote for it as an amendment to the bill, because I be- 
lieve it the least of two evils, if it should, indeed, inflict any evil ; or 
rather, because 1 feel myself in the position of a patient to whom the 
physician presents in one hand a cup of arsenic, and in the other a cup 
of ptisan; I reject the first, because of the instant death with which 
it is charged ; I take the latter as being, at the most, harmless, and 
depend upon the vis medicatrix natura. It would have been a great 
improvement, in my opinion, if the mode of bringing about the re- 
sumption of specie payments, contained in the substitute, were re- 
versed : that is to say, if, instead of fixing on the first of July, for 
resumption, it had provided that the notes of a certain number of safe, 
sound and unquestionable Banks to be selected, should be forthwith 
received by the general government, in payment of all public dues ; 
and that if the selected Banks did not resume, by a future designated 
day, their notes should cease to be taken. Several immediate effects 
would follow : 1st. The government would withdraw from the mar- 
ket as a competitor with the banks for specie, and they would be left 
undisturbed to strengthen themselves. And, 2dly, confidence would 
be restored by taking off the discredit and discountenance thrown 
upon all Banks by the government. And why should these notes 
not be so received ? They are as good as treasury notes, if not bet- 
ter. They answer all the purposes of the State governments and the 

OR THB lUB-TRBABUftr. 387 

pciople. They now would buy as much as specie could have com- 
manded at the i>eriod of suspension. They could be disbursed by the 
government. And finally, the measure would be temporary. 

But the true and only efficacious and permanent remedy, I solemn- 
ly believe, is to be found in a Bank of the United States, properly 
organized and constituted. We are told that i^uch a bank is fraught 
with indescribable danger, and that the government must, in the se- 
quel, get possession of the bank, or the bank of the government. I 
oppose to these iniaginary terrors the practical experience of foxty 
years. I oppose to them the issue of the memorable contest, com- 
menced by the late President of the United States, against the late 
Bank of the United States. The administration of that bank had been 
without serious fault. It had given no just offence to governnoent, 
towards which it had faithfully performed every financial duty. Un- 
der its able and enlightened President, it had fulfilled every anticipa- 
tion which had been formed by those who created it ; Prebidcnt Jack- 
son pronounced the edict that it must fall, and it did fall, agaiubt the 
wishes of an immense majority of the people of the United States ; 
against the convictions of its utility entertained by a large majority 
of the States ; and to the prejudice of the best interests of the whole 
country. If an innocent, unoffending and highly bencfisial institu- 
tion could be thus easily destroyed by the power of one man, where 
would be the difficulty of crushing it, if it liad given any real cause 
lor just animadversion ? Finally, I oppose to these imaginary terrors 
the example deducible from English history. There a bank has ex- 
isted since the year 1694, and neither has the bank got possession of 
the government, nor the government of the bank. They have existed 
in harmony together, both conducing to the prosperity of that great 
country ; and they have so existed, and so contributed, because each 
has avoided cherishing towards the other that wanton and unneces- 
sary spirit of hostility whicn was unfortunately engendered in the 
late President of the United States. 

lam admonished, pir, by my exhausted strength, and by, I fear, 
your more exhausted patience, to hasten to a close. Mr. President, 
8 great, novel, and untried measure is perseveringly urged upon the 
acceptance of Congress. That it is pregnant with tremendous con* 
sequences, for good or evil, is undeniable, and admitted by all. We 
firmly believe that it will be fatal to Ibe best interests of this country, 


and ultimately stibyersiye of its liberties. You, who havB been 
greatly disappointed in other measures of equal piromisey can onlj 
hope, in the doubtful and uncertain future, that its operation may 
prove salutary. Since it was first proposed at the extra session, the 
whole people have not had an opportunity of passing in judgment 
upon it at their elections. As far as they have, they have expressed 
their unqualified disapprobation. From Maine to the State of Mis- 
sissippi, its condemnation has been loudly thundered forth. In every 
intervening election, the administration has been defeated, or its for- 
mer majorities neutralized. Maine has spoken ; New York, Penn- 
sylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island, Mississippi and Michigan; 
all these States, in tones and tenns not to be misunderstood, have 
denounced the measure. The key-stone State (God bless her) has 
twice proclaimed her rejection of it, once at the polls, and onoe 
through her legislature. Friends and foes of the administration have 
united in condemning it. And, at the very moment when I am ad- 
dressing you, a large meeting of the late supporters of the adminis- 
tration, headed by the distinguished gentleman who presided in the 
electoral college which gave the vote of that patriotic State to Presi- 
dent Van Buren, are assembling in Philadelphia, to protest solenmly 
against the passage of this bill. Is it right that, under such circum- 
stances, it should be forced upon a reluctant but free and intelligent 
people .' Is it right that this Senate, constituted as it now is, should 
give its sanction to the measure ? I say it in no disrespectful or 
taunting sense, but we are entitled, according to the latest expres- 
sions of the popular will, and in virtue of manifestations of opinion 
deliberately expressed by State Legislatiires, to a vote of thirty-five 
against the bill ; and I am ready to enter, with any Senator friendly 
to the administration, into details to prove the assertion. Will the 
Senate, then, bring upon itself the odium of passing this bill ? I im- 
plore it to forbear, forbear, forbear ! I appeal to the instructed Sen- 
ators. Is this government made for us, or for the people and the 
States, whose agents we are ^ Are we not bound so to administer 
it as to advance their welfare, promote their prosperity, and give gen- 
eral satisfaction ? Will that sacred trust be fulfilled, if the known 
sentiments of large and respectable conrmiunities are despised and con- 
demned by those whom they have sent here ? I call upon the hon- 
orable Senator firom Alabama, (Mr. King) with whom I hHveso long 
stood in the public councils, shoulder to shoulder, bearing up the 
honor and the glory of this great people, to come now to their rescue. 



I call upon all the Senators ; let us bary, deep and forever, the cha- 
racter of the partisan, rise up patriots and statesmen, break the yile 
chains of party, throw the fragments to the winds, and feel the proud 
satisfoction that we have made but a small sacrifice to the paramount 
obligations which we owe our common country. 

[This bill a^ain failed, the Specie exaction having been fint struck out in the 
Senate, (SI to 21) when Mr. Cauioun voted against it, but it peiBed uevertheleai, 
by 25 to 17. On reaching the House, however, it was instantly met by Mr. Pattost, 
of Virginia, with a motion that it do lie on the tahU, which prevailed ; Yeas 106 ; 
Nays 98. It was likewise defeated at the next session) and only became a law oa 
the fomth trial, July, 1840, after the illegal admianoa ojf the rab-lreaaiiiy ckiiniali 
Irom New Jenwy to seats in the House.] 



In THE Senate or the United States, Mat 21, 1838. 

[Mr. Ciar, OB pteaentiiig a petition asking CongresB to establish a Bank of tha 
United States, spoke briefly as follows :] 

I WISH to present a petition, confided to my care, signed by » 
number of persons, praying for the establishment of a Bank of the 
United States. It is similar to several other petitions which haye 
been presented to the Senate or to the House, during the present ses- 
sion, praying for the same object. They afford evidence of a deep 
and returning conviction among the people of the utility of such an 

While I am up, with the permission of the Senate, I beg leave to 
submit a few observations upon this subject. There is reason to be- 
lieve that much honest misconception, and some misrepresentaUon 
prevail in regard to it, which I wish to correct. It has been supposed 
that those who are desirous of seein^c a Bank of the United States 
established, are anxious that a charter should be granted to an exist- 
ing State institution, which has an eminent individual at its head, and 
that this was the sole object of all their exertions. Now, I wish for 
one to say, that I have no such purpose in view. I entertain for that 
gentleman very high respect. I believe him uncommonly able, pro- 
foundly skilled in finance, and truly patriotic. There is but one other 
person connected with the banking institutions of the country, in 
whose administration of a Bank of the United States I should have 
equal confidence with Mr. Biddie, and that is Albert Gallatin, who, 1 
am glad to learn, at an advanced age, retains in full vigor the &cqI* 
ties of his extraordinary mind. There may be other citizens eqoafl^ 
competent with those two gentlemen, but I do not know theniiOr 
am not acquainted with their particular qualifications. 

Bat it is not for any existing State Bank, or any particular indi* 

ooTun or a hatiohal bank. 391 


▼idaal'at its head, that I am coDtending. I believe the establishmeDt 
of a Bank of the United States is required by the common good of 
the whole country ; and although 1 might be willing, if it were prae* 
ticablc, to adopt an existing bank as the basis of such an institution, 
under all circumstances, 1 think it most expedient that a new bank 
with power to establish branches, be created and chartered under the 
authority of Congress. My friends (as far as I know their opinions,) 
and I, are not particularly attached to this or that individual, to this 
or that existing bank, but to principles, to the thing itself, to the in- 
stitution, to a well organized Bank of the United States, under the 
salutary operation of which, the business of the country had so greatly 
prospered, and we had every reason to hope, would again revive and 
prosper. And, presuming upon the indulgence of the Senate, I wiQ 
now take the liberty to suggest for public consideration, some of those 
suitable conditions and restrictions under which it appears to me that 
it would be desirable to establish a new bank. 

1. The capital not to be extravagantly large, but at the same time, 
amply sufficient to enable it to perform the needful financial duties for 
the government; to supply a general currency of uniform value 
throughout the Union, and to facilitate as nigh as practicable, the 
equalization of domestic exchange. I suppose that about fifty mill- 
ions would answer all those purposes. The stock might be divided 
between the general government, the States according to their federal 
population and individual subscribers. The portion assigned to tha 
latter, to be distributed at auction, or by private subscription. 

2. The corporation, in the spirit of a resolution, recently adopted 
by the General Assembly of the State, one of whose Senators I have 
the honor to be, to receive such an organization as to blend, in fiur 
proportions, public and private control, and combining public and pri- 
vate interests. And, in order to exclude the possibility of the oxer^ 
cise of all foreign influence, non-resident foreigners to be prohibited 
not only from any share in the administration of the corporation, but 
from holding, directly, or indirectly, any portion of its stock. M- 
'though. I do not myself think this latter restriction necessary, I would 
make it, in deference to honest prejudices, sincerely entertained, and 
which no practical statesman ought entirely to disregard. The bank 
would thus be, in its origin, and continue, through its whole exist- 
^WDOy a genuine American imtitnlkm. 


3. Ad adequate portion of the capital to be set apart in productive 
stocks, and placed in permanent security beyond the reach of the cor- 
poration, (with the exception of the accruing profits on those stocks) 
sufficient to pay promptly, in any contingency, the amount of til 
such paper, under whatever form, that the bank shall put forth as a 
part of the general circulation. The bill or note holders, in other 
words, the mass of the community, ought to be protected against the 
possibility of the failure or the suspension of a bank. The aupply pf 
the circulating medium of a country, is that faculty of a bank, tlie 
propriety of the exercise of which may be most controverted. The 
dealing with a bank, of those who obtain discounts, or make deposites, 
are voluntary and mutually advantageous, and they are comparatively 
few in number. But the reception of what is issued and used as a 
part of the circulating medium of the country, is scarcely a voluntary 
act, and thousands take it who have no other concern whatever with 
the bank. The many ought to be guarded and secured by the care 
of the legislative authority ; the vigilance of the few will secure them 
against loss. I 'think this provision is a desideratum in our American 
banking, and the credit of first embodying it in a legislative act is due 
to the Sutc of New York. 

4. Perfect publicity as to the state of the bank at all times, inclu- 
ding, besides the usual heads of information, the names of every debt- 
or to the bank, whether as drawer, endorser, or surety, periodically 
exhibited, and open to public inspection ; or if that should be found 
inconvenient, the right to be secured to any citizen to ascertain at the 
bank the nature and extent of the responsibility of any of its custom- 
ers. There is no necessity to throw any veil of secrecy around the 
ordinary transactions of a bank- Publicity will increase responsibili- 
ty, repress favoritism, insure the negotiation of good paper, and whea 
individual insolvency unfortunately occurs, will deprive the bank of 
undue advantages now enjoyed by banks practically in the distribotioii 
of the cfects of the insolvent. 

5. A Ihnitation of the dividends so as not to authorize more than 
— per cent to be struck. This will check undue expansion in the 
circulating medium, and restrain improper extension of bu«neta ia 
the administration of the bank. 

6. A prospective reduction in the tate of interest so as to nsCriet 


the bank to six per cent, simply, or if practicable, to only five per 
cent. Banks now receive at the rate of near six and a half per cent., 
by demanding the interest in advance, and by charging for an addi- 
tional day. The reduction may be effected by forbearing to exact 
any bonus, or when the profits are likely to exceed the prescribed 
limit of the dividends, by requiring that the rate of interest shall be 
so lowered as that they shall not pass that limit. 

7. A restriction upon the premium demanded upon post notes and 
checks used for remittances, so that the maximum should not be mcMre 
than say one and a half per cent, between any two of the remotest 
points of the Union. Although it may not be practicable to regulate 
foreign exchange, depending as it does upon commercial causes not 
within the control of any one government, I think that it is otherwise 
with regard to domestic exchange. 

8. Every practicable provision against the exercise of improper 
mfluence, on the part of the executive, upon the bank, and, on the 
part of the bank, upon the elections of the country. The late Bank 
of the United States has been, I believe, mosf unjustly charged with 
interference in the popular elections. There is, among the public 
documents evidences of its having scrupulously abstained from such 
interference. It never did more than to exercise the natural right of 
self-defence by publishing such reports, speeches, and documents, as 
tended to place the institution and its administration in a fair point of 
view before the public. But the people entertain a just jealousy 
against the danger of any interference of a bank with the elections of 
the country, and every precaution ought to be taken strictly to guard 
against it. 

This is a brief outline of such a new Bank of the Vnited States as 
1 think, if established, would greatly conduce to the prosperity of the 
country. Perhaps on full discussion and consideration, some of the 
conditions which I have suggested might not be deemed expedient, 
or might require modification, and important additional ones may be 
proposed by others. 

I will only say a word or two on the constitutional power. I think 
that it ought no longer to be regarded as an open question. There 
ought to be some bounds to human controversy • Stability is a neces- 


•arj want of society. Among those who deny the power, there aro 
many who admit the bene6t4i of a Bank of the United States. Foot 
times, and under the sway of all the political parties, have Congress 
deliberately affirmed its existence. Every department of the govern* 
ment has again and again asserted it. Forty years of acquiescence by 
the people ; uniformity every where in the value of the currency ; 
Deu^ility and economy in domestic exchanges, and unexampled proa- 
perity in the general business of the country, with a Bank of the 
United States ; and, without it, wild disorder in the currency, ruinous 
irregularity in domestic exchange, and general prostration in the com* 
merce and business of the nation, would seem to put the question at 
rest, if it is not to be perpetually agitated. The power has been sus^ 
tained by Washington, the Father of his Country ; by Madison, the 
Father of the Constitution ; and by Marshall, the Father of the Ju- 
diciary. If precedents are not to be blindly followed, neither ought 
they to be wantonly despised. They are the evidence of troth ; and 
tho force of the evidence is in proportion to the integrity, wisdom, 
and patriotism, of those who establish them, i tliink that on no occa* 
sion could there be an array of greater or higher authority. For one^ 
I hope to be pardoned for yielding to it, in preference to submitting 
my judgment to the opinion of those who now deny the power, hoir 
ever respectable it may be. 

[No action was at this time taken on these safgeetioni f 


fur THE Senate of the United States, February 7, 1839 

(From the relations of the Federal Government and of the People of the Free 
^atee to Slavery, 8i>rinf the most perplexing and df^licate r^uestioni) which have ariaen 
under our complex PoUiical System— questions exciting acrimony, irritation and 
alarm in the Southern States, and requiring of the North conventional action in re- 
gard to the Right of those held in bondage, adverse to the fundamental principles of 
Free Government, on which the Institutions of the Free States are based. The pro- 
per di^poe^ition of the Petitions poured in u)K>n Congresn asking action adverse to 
the existence of Slavery, is one of the related topics which has at times arrested the 
action of Congress and threatened the existence of the Union. Mr. Clat, having 
received one of these Petitions, with a request that he present it to the body of 
which he was a Member sooke as follows :] 

I HAVE received, Mr. President, a petition to the Senate and House 
of Representatives of the United States, which I wish to present to 
the Senate. It is signed by several hundred inhabitants of the Dis- 
trict of Cohimbia, and chiefly of the city of Washington. Among 
them I recognize the name of the highly esteemed Mayor of the city, 
and other respectable names, some o$ which are personally and well 
known to me. They express their regret, that the subject of the 
abolition of slavery within the District of Columbia, continues to be 
pressed upon the consideration of Congress by inconsiderate and mis* 
guided individuals in other parts of the United States. They state 
that they do not desire the abolition of slavery within the district, 
even if Congress possesses the very questionable power of abolishing 
it, without the consent of the people whose interests would be im- 
mediately and directly affected by the measure ; that it is a question 
solely between the people of the District and their only constitutional 
legislature, purely municipal, and one in in which no exterior influ- 
ence or interest can justly interfere ; that, if at any future period the 
people of this District should desire the abolition of slavery within it, 
they will doubtless make their wishes known, when it will be time 
enough to take the matter into consideration ; that they do not, on 
this occasion, present themselves to Congress because they are slave- 


holders — ^many of them are not ; some of them are conscientioiuly 
opposed to slavery — but they appear because they justly respect the 
rights of those who own that description of property, and because 
they entertain a deep conviction that the continued agitation of the 
question by those who have no right to interfere with it, has an in- 
jurious influence on the peace and tranquility of the community, and 
upon the well-being and happiness of those who are held in subjec- 
tion ; they finally protest as well against the unauthorized investiga- 
tion of which they complain, as against any legislation on the part of 
Congress in compliance therewith. But, as I wish these respectable 
petitioners to be themselves heard, I request that their petition may 
be read. 

lit WB8 read accordingly, and Mr. Clay proceeded.] 

I am informed by the Committee which requested me to ofier this 
petition, and believe, that it expresses the almost unanimous senti* 
ments of the people of the District of Columbia. 

The performance of this service affords me a legitimate oppor- 
tunity, of which, with the permission of the Senate, I mean now to 
avail myself, to say something, not only on the particular objects of 
the petition, but upon the great and interesting subject with which it 
is intimately associated. 

It is well known to the Senate, that I have thought that the most 
judicious course with abolition petitions has not been of late pursued 
by Congress. I have believed that it would have been wisest to 
have received and referred them, without opposition, and to have 
reported against their object in a calm and dispassionate and argu- 
mentative appeal to the good sense of the whole community. It 
has been supposed, however by a majority of Congress, that it was 
most expedient either not to receive the petitions at all, or, if formally 
received, not to act definitively upon them. There is no substantial 
difference between these opposite opinions, since both look to an ab- 
solute rejection of the prayer of the petitioners. But there is a great 
difference in the form of proceeding ; and, Mr. President, some ex- 
perience in the conduct of human affairs has taught me to believe 
that a neglect to observe established forms is often attended with 
more mischievous consequences than the infliction of a positive injury. 


We all know that, even in private life, a violation of the existing 
usages and ceremonies of society cannot take place without serioas 
prejudice. I fear, sir, that the abolitionists have acquired a consider- 
able apparent force by blending with the object which they have In 
view a collateral and totally different question arising out of an al- 
ledged violation of the right of petition. I know full well, and take 
great pleasure in testifying, that nothing was remoter from the inten- 
tion of the majority of the Senate, from which I differed, than to 
violate the right of petition in any case in which, according to its 
judgment, that right could be constitutionally exercised, or where 
the object of the petition could be safely or properly granted. Still, 
it must be owned that the abolitionists have seized hold of the fact of 
the treatment which their peti|ions have received in Congress, and 
made injurious impressions upon the minds of a large portion of the 
community. This, I think, might have been avoided by the course 
which I should have been glad to have seen pursued. 

And I desire now, Mr. President, to advert to some of those topics 
which I think might have been usefully embodied in a report by a 
Committee of the Senate, and which, I am persuaded would have 
checked the progress, if it had not altogether arrested the efforts of 
abolition. I am sensible, sir, that this work would have been ac 
complished with much greater ability and with much happier effect, 
under the auspices of a committee, that it can be by me. But, anx- 
ious as I always am to contribute whatever is in my power to the 
harmony, concord, and happiness of this great people, I feel myself 
irresistably impelled to do whatever is in my power, incompetent as I 
feel myself to be, to dissuade the public from continuing to agitate a 
subject fraught with the most dreadful consequences^ 

There are three classes of persons opposed, or apparently opposed, 
to the continued existence of slavery in the United States. The first 
are those who, from sentiments of philanthropy and humanity, are 
conscienciously opposed to the existence of slavery, but who are no 
less opposed, at the same time, to any disturbance of the peace and 
tranquillity of the Union, or the infringement of the powers of the 
States composing the confederacy. In this class may be comprehend- 
ed that peaceful and exemplary society of " Friends," one of whose 
established maxims is, an abhorrepce of war in all its forms, and the 
cultivation of peace and good-will amoDg mankind. The next claM 


coDsuitfl of appareDt abolitionists — that is, those who, having been 
persuaded that the right of petition has been violated by Congre8i| 
co-operate with the abolitionists for the sole purpose of asserting and 
vindicating that right. And the third class are the real ultra-aboli- 
tionistSy who are resolved to persevere in the pursuit of their object 
at all hazards, and without regard to any consequences, however 
calamitous they may be. With them the right of property is noth- 
ing J the deficiency of the powers of the general government is noth- 
ing ; the acknowledged and incontestible powers of the States are 
nothing ; a civil war, a dissolution of the Union, and the overthrow 
of a government in which are concentrated the fondest hopes of the 
civilized world, are nothing. A single idea has taken possession o£ 
their minds, and onward they pursue it, overlooking all barriers, and 
regardless of all consequences. With this class, the immediate aboli- 
tion of slavery in the District of Columbia, and in the territory of 
Florida, the prohibition of the removal of slaves from State to State, 
and the refusal to admit any new State, comprising within its limits 
the institution of domestic slavery, are but so many means conducing 
to the accomplishment of the ultimate but perilous end at which they 
avowedly and boldly aim .; are but so many short stages in the long 
and bloody road to the distant goal at which they would finally ar- 
rive. Their purpose is abolition, universal