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The Collector's Edition of the Writings of Henry 
Clay is limited to six hundred signed and numbered 
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John C. Calhoun. 

After the paintins; by C B. Kiiu 

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The Works of 

Henry Clay 

Comprising His Life, Correspondence 
and Speeches 

Edited by 

Calvin Colton, LL.D. 

With an Introduction by 
Thomas B. Reed 

And a History of Tariff Legislation, 1 8 1 2-i 896 


William McKinley 

Ten Volumes 

G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York and London 

^be fintclterbochcr predd 








I J 

The Works of Henry Clay 

Volume Two 

Life and Times 

Part Two 



In the introduction of this work, the author announced as one 
of his rules in its composition, that he had confined himself to the 
life and career of Mr. Clay, and that he does not profess to give 
history any further than Mr. Clay has been connected with it. He 
also suggested, that he has not been able to use all the materials 
found within these limits. It will be obvious, therefore, that wide 
as has been his range, and comprehensive as has been the view 
of public affairs which he has been obliged to take, the history 
contained in these volumes is rather personal than general. 

It can not but be observed, that Mr. Clay's public life has been 
one of conflict, and that the principles and measures he has advo- 
cated, have been stormed by opposition, often amounting to ani- 
mated hostility, and sometimes to bitter personal animosity. It 
can not, therefore, be surprising, but should be expected, that the 
author, sympathizing with Mr. Clay's principles, and with himself 
when assailed on account of his principles, should earnestly, when 
he could conscientiously, defend both the one and the other. 
How else could he do justice to his subject? 

This duty of the author has necessarily led him to use some 
freedom of remark toward public men. The times of Mr. Clay 
have been characterized with strife for great and vital principles of 
a young republic. In whatever he has been right, he could not 
be vindicated, without a showing of the wrong; and it has so hap- 
pened, that the wrong done to the country, as well as to Mr. Clay, 
has, in some instances, according to the convictions of the author, 
been very great and flagrant. It was unavoidable, therefore, that 
he should speak of all concerned in these controversies, as die 


merits of the questions seemed to require. However undesirable 
it may be in itself, to arraign the by-gone acts of those who occupy 
eminent positions in society, duty to the commonwealth is para- 
mount to respect for individuals, if their conduct demands animad- 
version. If anything can purchase impunity for political offences, 
or silence remonstrance, or seal up the records of history, the 
strongest motives to fidelity in the public service are destroyed. 

The author has endeavored so to exhibit the political history 
of the country, which was necessarily involved in his undertaking, 
as to show its practical bearings on the great interests of the 

It will be seen, that he has endeavored to give form to 
an important doctrine on the subject of protection, not before 
clearly defined. If he has succeeded in showing, that political 
freedom for the masses is indissolubly connected with protection 
of their labor, where such freedom exists, he will have accom- 
plished what he very much desired, as he sincerely believes, that 
all that is necessary to the protective policy, in and for the 
United States, is comprehended in a right understanding of the 
relation between labor as an agent of power and labor as 
AN INDEPENDENT AGENT. He thinks that the entire doctrine 
of the protective policy in this country, must ultimately resolve 
itself into this, and that when it is fully understood, there will be 
nothing else of it, but the simple principle — labor against 


The rights of property and of labor once secured, the great end 
of poHtical society would seem to be accomplished. Then, and 
not till then, will labor have its own fair and rightful chances to 
acquire property, retain it, and be independent. Nothing, there- 
fore, has a greater interest in maintaining and vindicating the rights 
of property, when its own rights are secured, than labor, in all its 
departments, intellectual, professional, artistical, agricultural, man- 
ufacturing, mechanical, commercial, and manipulation of every 
description — whatever, indeed, is labor necessary to the wants of 
man and to the perfection of the social state. 




The Currency, — Mr. Clay's Views in 1811, — His Change of Opinion 
on a National Bank. — Reasons. — The Constitutional Question. — 
Not Banks, but a Tariff, makes Money Plenty and Sound. — Losses 
to the Country by State Banks. — General Jackson's Veto of the 
Bank in 1833.— Reasons. — Remarks of Mr. Clay on the Veto. — The 
Motives out of Sight. — Wiles of the Magician. — How the State of 
New York was brought under. How General Jackson attempted 
to bring the Nation under. — Failure, — Vengeance. .... 9 


The Currency. — Mr. Van Buren's Accession. — Extra Session of 
1837.— The Sub-Treasury. — Its Failure at the Extra Session.— Sub- 
sequent Debate on the Message. — Mr. Clay's Views of it. — His 
Examination of General Jackson's Scheme of a Government 
Bank. — Mr. Clay's Argument in 1838, and his Warning on the 
Passage of the Bill in 1840. — Mr. Van Buren's Servility proves his 
Destruction. — Capital and Labor. — Philosophy of Currency. . . 29 


Removal, of the Deposites.— Care of the Public Funds Committed 
by Law to Congress, and by Law Forbidden to the Executive. — An 
Opinion of the Supreme Court. — The Secretary of the Treasury an 
Agent of Congress, not of the Executive. — Required to make his 
Report to Congress —The Secretary of the Treasury reads a 
Lecture to Congress. — An Employee that has more Power than 
his Principals. — Airs of an unrobed Official. — Mr. Clay's Resolu- 
tions. — Remarks. — A Revolution. — The Judiciary humbled. — The 
President takes the Responsibility. — Mr. Clay's Views. — Corre- 
spondence of General Jackson and Mr, Duane. — The President takes 
Charge of Morals, &c. — A Ctesar. — Mr. Duane's noble Conduct. 68 


Removal of the Deposites.— A Locum Tenens.— Difficulty of the 
Secretary's Task. — His Reasons for removing the Deposites — 
What Mr. Clay thought. — The Secretary Lectures Congress on 
Law, Politics, Affairs of State, and other Matters. — Relevancy of 
these Topics to Finance considered. — False Position of the Secre- 
tary. — Consequences. — Sometimes right, sometimes wrong. — In a 
Strait betwixt Two. — Orders from one Quarter, — Responsibility in 
Another. — Sinks between two Boats 101 



The Expunginq Resolution,— The Secret of General Jackson's 
Power. — Its Culminating Point. — Armed Interpretation of Law. — 
Silencing Remonstrance.- -A Case of Political Casuistry. — General 
Jackson's Protest against the Resolution of the Senate. — Mr. 
Calhoun's Views of it. — Revival of the Names Whig and Tory. 
— The Yeas and Nays on the Expunging Resolution.— Remarks of 
Mr. Clay. — Protest of the Massachusetts Senators. — The Resolu- 
tion. — Act of Expunging. — A Scene in the Senate 122 

The Protective Policy. — A New Doctrine in Political Economy. — 
The Protective Policy and Freedom identical, — Mr. Clay's Debttt 
on the Protective Policy.— His Grst Speech in Congress on the 
Subject. — Protection of the Interests of Navigation. — Navigation 
Acts. — Condition of Manufactures after the War of 1812.— Tariff 
of 1816.— Its inadequacy,— The Attempt for a Tariff in 1820.— Mr. 
Clay's Efforts at that Time.— Disastrous Consequences of the 
Failure.— The Tariff of 1824.— Mr, Clay's Exertions in its behalf.— 
Machine Power. — A Measure of the Wealth of Nations.— Balance 
of Trade. — Policy of European States. — Russian Policy. — Policy of 
Napoleon —What the British think of American Policy — 
American Free Trade Policy is British Policy for America, , . 138 

The Protective Policy— The Opening of a New Era.— Control of 
Moral Causes over the Destiny of Nations. — General Jackson's 
Jealousy of Mr. Clay.— The effect of this Jealousy on the Pro- 
tective Policy,— Nations Foot Balls to Kings.— First Demonstration 
of an Attack on the Protective Policy.— Mr. Clay comes to the 
Rescue,— Proposes a Resolution in the Senate for the Reduction of 
Duties on Unprotected Articles.— Who is responsible for the Tariff 
of 1828.— Parliamentary Advantage of Mr Clay's Resolution. — 
Notice of his Speech upon it.— His reply to Mr. Hayne. — Two 
Great Cycles of National Poverty and Wealth,— One of the 
Greatest Efforts of Mr. Clay in defence of the Protective Policy. . 176 

The Compromise Tariff.— Mr. Clay's Views of Public Policy in a 
Letter to the Hon. J. S. Johnston.— Controversy between the 
President and Vice-President, General Jackson and Mr. Calhoun.— 
Pilate and Herod agree in one Thing.— Nullification.— General 
Jackson attempts to kill two Birds at one Throw.— Fails to kill 
either —Publication of the Ordinance of Nullification.- General 
Jackson's Proclamation.— Governor Hayne' s Counter Proclama- 
tion — South Carolina in a State of Rebellion.— Mr. Clay's Opinion 
of General Jackson's Proclamation in a Private Letter —The 
Proclamation a Failure. — General Jackson Misses his Game.— Mr. 
Clay on the Alert to save the Protective Policy.— Difficulties of 
his Position.— Matures his Plan.— Proposes the Compromise- 
Explains it to the Senate.— Analysis of the Bill —Its Reception.— 
Mr. Verplanck's Bill under par.— A Private Letter from Mr, Clay 
of this Date. 213 




The Compromise Tariff.— Mr. Clay's Reply to Objections.— The 
Perilous Position of the Protective Policy at the Moment.— Triumph 
of the Compromise.— Its Immediate Effect.— The Compromise 
Act not carried out by General Jackson.— Partially Defeated by 
Strangling the Land Bill.— Mr. Clay's later Statements on the 
Subject.— Reply to Mr. Calhoun, in 1840.— The Grand Result.— 
Mr. Clayton's Account of the Compromise Debate.— Mr. Dallas's 
Motion in the Senate, and Mr. Polk's Statement in Tennessee.— 
Letter of Mr. Clay to Mr. Clayton.— Mr. Clay and Mr. Randolph. 334 


Nullification versus a Southern Planter.— Doctrine of the 
NuUifiers.— Its Absurdities.— The Teachings of a Southern Planter 
contrasted with the Doctrines of Nullification. .... 265 


History of Opinion on the Protective Policy. — Opinion of 
Presidents in Messages to Congress.— General Jackson's Letter 
to Doctor Coleman. — Opinion of the Tammany Society, in 1819. — 
Opinion of the Framers of the Constitution — of the First Conven- 
tion, 1786— and of the First Congress under the Constitution. . . ^89 


Political Economy as it respects the Protective Policy. — 
Protective Duties not a Tax, but a Rescue from Taxation. — A 
Sketch of Taxation m Great Britain. — Adequate Protection saves 
the Country fifty per cent, in the Cost of Articles protected. — 
The Parties who Realize this Saving.— How the Protective Policy 
distributes its Benefits to all Classes. — Meaning of the Balance of 
Trade. — Histoi'y of its Results against the United States. — Its 
Results in favor of Great Britain.— Effects of the Tariff of 1842.— 
Importance of Domestic Commerce. — The Protective Policy neces- 
sary to countervail the Machine Power of Great Britain. — Neces- 
sary to the Capital of Labor. — How the Nation ran in Debt. — 
Relative Position of European and American Capital and Labor. — 
The Laissez-Faire Principle. — Great Britain not returning to Free 
Trade. — The only Way to have a Sound and Adequate Currency. 305 


Mr. Clay's Eastern Tour in 1833. — Private Letter and Project of 
this Tour. — Public Gratitude.— Reception at Baltimore. — At Phil- 
adelphia. — At New York. — At Providence, — At Boston. — At 
Charlestown.— At Bunker's Hill.— In Faneuil Hall.— At Lowell. — 
At Danvers. — At Salem. — Interesting Occurrences in Boston and 
Vicinity. — Correspondence, Addresses, and Answers. — Reception at 
Worcester. — At Hartford. — At Springfield. — At Troy. — At Albany, 
— At Newark. — Return to Washington, through New York, Phila- 
delphia, and Wilmington. — Recognition of this Tour. . . . 383 



Mr. Clay and the Twenty-Seventh Congress.— General Harri- 
soa's Accession. — His Death. — A Vice-President not a President. 
— The Great Apostate. — Proud Position of a Party prostituted by a 
faithless Chief. — What could have been done. — One good Thing 
achieved. — Mr. Clay's Position in the Twenty-Seventh Congress.— 
The First Act of Executive Perfidy. — The Traitor known to Some 
before. — Notice of Mr. Clay's Speech on the Veto of the Bank Bill. 
— Mr. Ilives's Reply. — Mr. Clay's Rejoinder. — Its Effect. . . . 355 

Mr. Clay and the Twenty-Seventh Congress. — What gained and 
What lost. — Perfidy of the Acting President. — Mr. Clay's Position. 
— His Plan of National Policy and Reform. — Statement and Con- 
sideration of this Plan. — Objects aimed at in 1840. — Doom of the 
then existing Administration. — Could not reform. — Must therefore 
forge Chains.— Project for a Standing Army of 200,000.— The 
Sub-Treasury. — Disclosures of Extravagance and Corruption made 
by the Twenty-Seventh Congress. — Their Fidelity. . . . 376 

Mr. Clay's Resignation and Valedictory Address. . . . 404 

Mr. Clay in Retirement.— The Barbeque at Lexington in Honor of 
Mr. Clay. — The Sentiment addressed to him, — His Speech on the 
Occasion. — Personal Matters. — Public Afi'airs. — The Hoary States- 
man in Private Life 413 

The Presidential Campaign of 1844.— Causes of the Early Move- 
ment of 1844. — Baltimore Whig Convention. — Its Enthusiasm and 
High Hopes. — Nomination by Acclamation, — Mr. Frelinghuysen. — 
Causes of Defeat — Party Names. — The Texas Question. — Political 
Letters of Candidates. — The Whigs a Patriotic Party. — Mr, Van 
Buren put off the Course. — Executive Patronage, — Texas Treaty. — 
Native Americans. — Abolition. — Action of Mr, Clay's Namesake.— ~ 
Defects of Whig Organizations. — Betting on Elections. — Election 
Frauds. — Mr. Clay elected by the Legal Vote of the Country. . . 423 

The Disappointment, — Remarks on the Occasion. — Extracts from 
Letters of Persons, of all Classes, in all Parts of the Union, ex- 
pressive of their Feelings over the Result of the Election of 1844. — 
Notice of Similar Documents of Political Associations. . . . 444 

Reflections.— Ml". Clay's Influence on American Society. — The Pro- 
tective Polic3\ — Public Wrongs to Mr. Clay. — The Oregon Ques- 
tion Settled by Mr. Clay. — The Public Land Policy. — Fickleness of 
Legislation. — The Administrations of Harrison and Tyler. — A 
Glance at the Future 457 







Mr. Clay's Views in 1811. — His Change of Opinion on a National Bank. — Rea. 
sons. — The Constitutional Question. — Not Banks, but a Tariff, that makes 
Money plenty and sound. — Losses to the Country by State Banks. — General 
Jackson's Veto of the Bank in 1832. — Reasons. — Remarks of Mr. Clay on the 
Veto.— The Motives out of Sight.— The Wiles of the Magician.— The Way the 
State of New York was brought under. — How General Jackson attempted to 
bring the Nation under. — Failure. — Vengeance. 

When Mr. Clay made his speech, in 1811, against recharter- 
ing the bank of the United States, he found occasion to rehearse 
the following anecdote of Patrick Henry : — 

" He mistook, in one instance, the side of the cause in which 
he was retained, and addressed the court and jury in a very mas- 
terly and convincing speech, in behalf of his antagonist. His 
distracted client came up to him, while he was thus employed, and, 
interrupting him, bitterly exclaimed : ' 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, con- 
tinued his argument, by observing, ' May it please your honors, 
and you, gentlemen of the jury, I have been stating to you what I 
presume my adversary may urge on his side. I will now show 
you how fallacious his reasonings, and groundless his pretensions 
are.' The skilful orator proceeded, satisfactorily refuted every 
argument he had advanced, and gained his cause !" 

It can not be denied, that Mr. Clay made a very able argument 
on that occasion, and that either his argument, or his vote, or both, 
defeated the bill ; for it passed the house of representatives, and 
was lost in the senate, of which Mr. Clay was then a member 


only by the casting vote of the vice-president, Mr. Clinton. But 
in Mr. Clay's argument on the same subject, in 1816, like Pat- 
rick Henry, he beat himself, " and gained his cause." His speech 
on the last occasion, in committee of the house of representatives, 
of which he was then member and speaker, was never published ; 
but in an address to his constituents at Lexington, June 3, 1816, 
his views and reasons in supporting the bank are succinctly and 
forcibly stated, of which he afterward, in 1832, said : "By the 
reasons assigned in it for the change of my opinion, I am ready 
to abide, in the judgment of the present generation, and of pos- 
terity." He also said on the same occasion : " During a long 
public life (I mention the fact not as claiming any merit for 
it), the only great question, on which I have ever changed my 
opinion, is that of the bank of the United States." It might, per- 
haps, more properly be called a change of sides, than of opinion; 
for the reasons which shaped and controlled his opinion in 1811, 
are as different from those which swayed him in 1816, as one opin- 
ion varies from the other ; and there is no inconsistency in his ac- 
tion in the two cases, when the reasons of both are considered. 
It was not, therefore, strictly speaking, a change of opinion ; but a 
change of circumstances in the state of the country and in the state 
of the question, which led to different views with a statesman. 
Since, however, Mr. Clay himself has allowed it to be a change 
of opinion, others are not required to arraign this admission, 
though it may be suggested, that its ingenuousness might naturally 
create additional confidence in that correctness of judgment vi-hich 
has never required, and that firmness of character which has never 
shown, a change on any other great national question. 

But, it is due to Mr. Clay to show the reasons of this change. 
They are few, simple, and obvious. In Mr. Clay's address to his 
constituents, June 3, 1816, he gave three reasons for his oppo- 
sition to the bank in 1811 : " First, that he was instructed to op- 
pose it by the legislature of the state. Next, that he believed the 
corporation had, during a portion of the period of its existence, 
abused its power, and had sought to subserve the views of a po- 
litical party." In answer to the question, " What security is 
there, that the new bank [of 1816] will not imitate this example?" 
he replied : " The fate of the old bank, warning all similar insti- 
tutions to shun politics ; the existence of abundant competition, 
arising from the great multiplication of banks ; and the precautions 
which are to be found in the details of the act." 


• A third consideration [said Mr. Clay] upon which he acted in 
1811, was, that as the power to create a corporation, such as was pro- 
posed to be continued, was not specifically granted in the constitution, 
and did not then appear to him to be necessary to carry into effect any 
of the powers which were specifically granted, Congress was noi 
authorized to continue the bank. The constitution, he said, con- 
tained powers delegated and prohibitory, powers expressed and 
constructive. It vests in Congress all powers necessary to give 
effect to the enumerated powers — all that may be necessary to put 
into motion and activity the machine of government which it con- 
structs. The powers that may be so necessary are deducible by 
construction. They are not defined in the constitution. They 
are, from their nature, indefinable. When the question is in rela- 
tion to one of these powers, the point of inquiry should be, is its 
exertion necessary to carry into effect any of the enumerated pow- 
ers and objects of the general government? With regard to the 
degree of necessity, various rules have been, at different times, 
laid down ; but, perhaps, at last, there is no other than a sound 
and honest judgment exercised, under the checks and control 
which 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 necessity to give effect to the latter, which necessity is to 
be sought for and ascertained by a sound and honest discretion, it 
is manifest that this necessity may not he perceived, at one time^ 
under one state of things, when it is perceived at another time, unde? 
a different state of things. The constitution, it is true, never 
changes ; it is always 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 par- 
ticular exercise of constructive power to-day, which they did not 
see at a former period. 

" Mr. Clay proceeded to remark, that when the application was 
made to renew the old charter of the bank of the United States, 
such an institution did not appear to him to be so necessary to the 
fulfilment of any of the objects specifically enumerated in the con- 
stitution, as to justify Congress in assuming, by construction, a 
power to establish it. It was supported mainly upon the ground 
that it was indispensable to the treasury operations. But the local 
institutions in the several states were at that time in prosperous 
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 actually employed by the 
treasury to aid that department, in a part of its fiscal arrange- 
ments ; and they appeared to him to be fully capable of affording 
to it all the facility that it ought to desire in all of them. Thev 
superseded, in his judgment, the necessity of a national institu 


lion. But how stood the case in 1816, when he was called up 
again to examine the power of the general government to incor- 
porate a national bank ? A total change of circumstances was 
presented — events of the utmost magnitude had intervened. 

" A general suspension of specie payments had taken place, 
and this had led to a train of consequences of the most alarming 
nature. He beheld, dispersed over the immense extent of the 
United States, about three hundred banking institutions, enjoying 
in different degrees the confidence of the public, shaken as to 
them all, under no direct control of the general government, and 
subject to no actual responsibility to the state authorities. These 
institutions were emitting the actual currency of the United States 
— a currency consisting of a paper, on which they neither paid 
interest nor principal, while it was exchanged for the paper of the 
community, on which both were paid. He saw these institutions 
in fact exercising what had been considered, at all times, and in 
all countries, one of the highest attributes of sovereignty, the reg- 
ulation of the current medium of the country. They were no 
longer competent to assist the treasury in either of the great oper- 
ations of collection, deposite, or distribution, of the public rev- 
enues. In fact, the paper which they emitted, and which the 
treasury, from the force of events, found itself constrained to re- 
ceive, was constantly obstructing the operations of that depart- 
ment. For it would accumulate where it was not wanted, and 
could not be used where it was wanted for the purposes of gov- 
ernment, without a ruinous and arbitrary brokerage. Every man 
who paid or received from the government, paid or received as 
much less than he ought to have done as was the difference be- 
tween the medium in which the payment was effected and specie. 
Taxes were no longer uniform. In New England, where specie 
payments have not been suspended, the people were called upon 
to pay larger contributions than where they were suspended. In 
Kentucky as much more was paid by the people in their taxes 
than was paid, for example, in the state of Ohio, as Kentucky 

paper was worth more than Ohio paper. 


" Mr. Clay said, he determined to examine the question with as 
little prejudice as possible arising from his former opinion. He 
knew that the safest course to him, if he pursued a cold, calcu- 
lating 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. But, looking at the 
subject with the light shed upon it by events happening since the 
commencement of the war, he could no longer doubt. A bank 
appeared to him not only necessary, but indispensably necessary, 
in connexion with another measure, to remedy the evils of which 
all were but too sensible. He preferred to the suggestions of the 


pride of consistency, the evident interests of the communit}-, and 
determined to throw himself upon their candor and justice. That 
which appeared to him in 1811, under the state of things then ex- 
isting, not to be necessary to the general government, seemed now 
to be necessary, under the present state of things. Had he then 
foreseen what now exists, and no objection had lain against the 
renewal of the charter other than that derived from the constitu- 
tion, he should have voted for the renewal. 

" Other provisions of the constitution, but little noticed, if no- 
ticed at all, in the discussions in Congress in 1811, would seem 
to urge that body to exert all its powers to restore to a sound state 
the money of the country. That instrument confers upon Con- 
gress the power to coin money, and to regulate the value of for- 
eign coins ; and the states are prohibited to coin money, to emit 
bills of credit, or to make anything but gold and silver coin a 
tender in payment of debts. The plain inference is, that the sub- 
ject of the general currency was intended to be submitted exclu- 
sively to the general government. In point of fact, however, the 
regulation of the general currency is in the hands of the state 
governments, or, which is the same thing, of the banks created by 
them. Their paper has every quality of money, except that of 
being made a tender, and even this is imparted to it by some states, 
in the law by which a creditor must receive it, or submit to a ru- 
inous suspension of the payment of his debt. It was incumbent 
upon Congress to recover the control which it had lost over the 
general currency." 

In the above citations are seen the ground which Mr. Clay oc- 
cupied on the bank question, in 1811, and that occupied by him 
in 1816, and ever smce. At the former period he labored some- 
what haltingly on the constitutional argument, and one of the 
pleasantest, if not the most forcible illustrations he then presented, 
is the following : — 

" A bank is made for the ostensible purpose of aiding in the 
collection of the revenue, and while it is engaged in this, the mo?t 
inferior and subordinate 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 precedent furnish no form for his case, but that 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 
can not authorize you to discount, to emit paper, to regulate com- 
merce, &c. No ! our book has no precedents of that kind. But 
then we can authorize you to collect the revenue, and, while occu' 
pied with that, you may do whatever else you please !" 


But on the point of constitutionality, Mr. Clay was not very 
confident at that time, and he admits in 1816, that " he should 
have voted for the renewal, had he then foreseen what now exists." 
A total change had come over the monetary system of the country, 
and that state of things which, in 1811, did not seem to Mr. Clay 
to make a national bank " necessary and proper" — such being the 
languaire of the constitution — had, in 1816, given place to an en- 
tirely different state of things, as described by Mr. Clay, in the 
above extracts, which, in his view, did render such an institution 
" necessary and proper" to carry out the other powers given to 
Congress by the constitution ; or, as that instrument itself expresses 
it, in two general and comprehensive powers, one as the introduc- 
tion to, and the other as the conclusion of, certain and numerous 
siwcific powers : " Congress shall have power to provide for the 
common defence and general welfare of the United States," and 
" to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for 
carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other pow- 
ers vested by this constitution in the government of the United 
States." Of course, as Mr. Clay intimates, the use of " a sound 
and honest discretion" is implied in such language, and diat which 
is " necessary may not be perceived at one time, under one 
state of things, when it is perceived at another time, under a differ- 
ent state of things." In 1811, the necessity of a national bank 
was not so apparent ; in 1816, it was regarded by Mr. Clay, and 
those who acted with him, as imperative. 

After the country had endured four years of the worst currency 
ever experienced since the adoption of the constitution, down to 
the era of the tariff of 1842, comprehending the interval between 
the expiration of the charter of the first bank of the United States 
and the establishment of the second, the republican or democratic 
party, with Mr. Madison at their head, by a strong and decided 
expression of feeling and of votes — 80 to 71 in the house, and 22 
to 12 in the senate — against the federalists, who for the most part 
voted against it, reincorporated the bank for another twenty years. 
It was on this occasion that Mr. Clay came out as the advocate 
of this institution, in the manner and for the reasons already ex- 
hibited in his own words. In the same extracts is also presented 
the deplorable state of the currency, which led to the adoption of 
this measure. Mr. Madison, and all the republicans, aHas demo- 
crats, of that day, who had felt scruples as to the constitutionality 
Df the act, yielded to the necessities of the country, and took 


shelter under authority. Mr. Calhoun brought in the bill, and 
supported it. It was a republican or democratic measure, and Mr- 
Clay was one of the leaders. No other member, probably, had an 
equal influence in the house of representatives. His position as 
speaker of that body is a sufficient indication of his social influence, 
not to speak of his previous history as a statesman. 

As no bank, or banks, can make money, or supply the defects 
of an inadequate tariff by bringing money into the country, it is a 
sufficient praise of the effects consequent on the reincorporation of 
the bank of the United States, that it immediately brought order out 
of confusion, re-established confidence, and helped the nation along, 
till the tariff of 1824 began to restore funds to the country after which 
everything went on swimmingly, till the United States bank was 
again wound up in consequence of the veto of President Jackson. 
The tariff of 1842 has once more supplied funds for a currency, 
and according to the doctrine advanced in another chapter, it is 
impossible that the means of a currency, that is, mone}, should be 
wanting, so long as the tariff is adequate to prevent more money 
going out of the country than comes in. Whether the currency, 
as to its FORM, shall be supplied and regulated by state banks 
alone — it is taken for granted that banks will not be dispensed with 
— or whether the federal government shall assert its right and duty 
;o have to do with it, is a question still open for debate. While 
3he currency is good and sufficient, the mass of the people will not 
sTouble themselves about this question ; but statesmen, who are 
bound to understand the complicated machinery of political econ- 
omy, and to look into its profound secrets, can not repose without 
concern on a mere superficial calm, that is the effect of a pres- 
ent prosperity and abundance. So long as the people are supplied 
with a currency that answ*^ all their present purposes, they do 
not inquire, nor is it possible for them to know, whether it is fur- 
nished by agencies that may be trusted to any extent ; whether the 
system is guarded by all the necessary checks and balances ; or 
whether, for want of a balance-power, it is rising and spreading, to 
topple on its foundations, and finally to fall with a crash that will 
overwhelm the community with disaster. It is for those who un- 
derstand the subject, for the faithful sentinels of the public, to give 
notice of any harm that may be impending, and to show the rea- 
sons why they apprehend it. That the state authorities, through 
the medium of state corporations, which are their creatures, ought 
not to be the sole agents to supply and regulate the currency of 


the country, would seem to be a very credible proposition. Ever) 
one feels, on reading the federal constitution, that the instrumen' 
intended, that the general government should have some hand in 
this business, and that it is proper ; that it should at least exert an 
influence equal to a balance-power, to prevent the states from erect- 
ing an overgrown monetary system, to fall by its own weight, and 
from blowing up bubbles, to dazzle by their promise, and disap 
point by bursting. 

A sage and quaint writer, after citing the old adage, that experi- 
ence is the best schoolmaster, gives this additional advice, that it 
doth charge high wages. 

It appears by the letter of the secretary of the treasury (House 
Doc. No. Ill, second session. Twenty-sixth Congress), that the 
increase of banks from 1S20 to 1830, was only 22, and the increase 
of bank capital, for the same period, only $8,000,000. During this 
time the influence of the national bank, or some other cause, kept the 
unhealthy growth of state banks in check. But, behold the change ! 
From the same document, it appears that the increase of banks, from 
1830 to 1840, was 392 (including branches, 571), and that the in- 
crease of banking capital for the same period, was $213,000,000 ! 
It also appears, that this rapid increase did not begin till the fate 
of the national bank was sealed by General Jackson's veto. 

A large portion of these banks failed, and the capital vanished, 
as might have been expected. The losses on bank circulation and 
deposites amounted to $54,000,000, and the losses on bank caphal 
to $248,000,000 — in all, to three hundred and two millions of dol- 
lars ! All this by state banks. Not a cent was ever lost by a na- 
tional bank. Verily, experience doth charge high wages. 

The motives of President Jackson, in vetoing the bank bill of 
1832, will become more and more apparent, as history opens the 
plan, in the execution of which he unsettled the commercial habits 
of the natioH, and brought about a derangement and general break- 
ing up of the currency. It was made a subject of complaint by 
the partisans of the president, when the bill of 1832 was brought 
in, that it was premature. The insincerity of this protest was in- 
stantly shown by Mr. Clay, by calling attention to the facts, that 
the president himself had specially and pointedly invoked the ac- 
tion of Congress on the subject, in his annual messages of 1829, 
1830, and 1831 — that is, at the opening of every session of Con- 
gress, after his advent to power. During the progress of the bill, 
an extraordinary investigation into the administration of the bank 


wag ordered, with a view to impair public confidence, but without 
resuh. It is singular, that each one of the reasons assigned by 
General Jackson, as objections to the bill, vanished upon scrutiny, 
thereby indicating, that the real motives were out of sight. He 
expressed himself, that the precedents drawn from the history of 
the proceedings of Congress, as to the constitutional power to es- 
tablish a bank, were neutralized by there being two for and two 
against the authority; whereas, in the instance of ISll, the bill 
passed in the house, and was lost in the senate by the casting vote 
of the vice-president; but it was known, at the same time, that on 
the constitutional question, the senate stood 21 in favor of the 
power, and that some of the remaining 13 were doubtful. As to 
the bill of 1815, that too was lost in the hpuse by the casting vote 
of the speaker (Mr. Cheves); but the objections that prevailed 
were not constitutional. They arose out of the structure of the 
bill. Not one Congress, from the commencement of the govern- 
ment, had been opposed to a bank on constitutional grounds. 

That foreigners were interested in the stock, was not a reason 
becoming a statesman, who must know that anybody, in any part 
of the world, might trade in stock that is in the market, as bank 
stock always is; much less did such a reason become a statesman, 
at the head of a government, which ought to take care, that it 
should not be necessary for the stocks of the country to go into 
foreign markets to settle the balances of trade; and still less did 
such a reason become a statesman, who ought to know, that the 
capital of foreigners, vested in the country, would more naturally 
add to its commercial and political strength, than to its detriment. 
It might, perhaps, enter into the argument of a demagogue. The 
same amount of stock, said to be owned by foreigners, eight mil- 
lions, would still remain in the country in some other form ; or, if 
it should be remitted, it would so far cripple the currency and im- 
poverish the country. 

That the interests of the great west required this course of treat- 
ment, might have been left for the west to determine. The ques- 
tion was, whether they should be called upon, unexpectedly, to 
pay up thirty millions of principal, which they owed the bank of 
the United States, and be themselves wound up in bankruptcy; or 
whether they should be allowed to trade on, and pay interest out 
of the profits of their business, which they could afford, and which 
was the object of both parties in the loans ? But General Jackson 
took upon himself to decide this question, and wound them all up 

Vol. II.— 2 


in bankruptcy, with the comforting assurance, that he thought their 
interests required it ! 

General Jackson's^'«a/e of reasons in this veto message, was, 
that, if the executive had been called upon for the project of a 
bank, the duty would have been cheerfully performed. It is true, 
this was inverting the order of the constitution, and like as in 
France, under the old regime, assigning the initiative of the laws 
to the king, and forbidding that any should be passed, except such 
as had been first presented to the legislature by the crown. But, 
so the constitution be called into service, what matter, whether it be 
taken right or wrong end foremost, especially while it was in such 
safe hands as the executive? It will appear by-and-by what the 
executive project was. It is true the constitution authorizes the 
president to propose objects of legislation ; but it remains to be dis- 
covered, wherein it invites him to bring forward the organic forms 
of law. 

The president, in this veto message, spoke of "an investigation 
unwillingly conceded [the investigation into the administration of 
the bank] and so restricted in time as necessarily to make it incom- 
plete and unsatisfactory, disclosing enough to excite suspicion and 

" Allow me, [said Mr. Clay] to ask how the president has ascer- 
tained that the investigation was unwillivgly 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 magis- 
trate to come into either house of Congress, and scrutinize the mo- 
tives of its members; to examine whether a measure has been 
passed with promptitude or repugnance; and to pronounce upon 
the willingness or unwillingness with which it has been adopted or 
rejected. It is an interference in concerns which partake of a do- 
mestic 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 consummated 
proceedings, and does not extend to measures in their incipient 
stages, during their progress through the houses, nor to the motives 
by which they are actuated. There are some parts of this message 
that ought to excite deep alarm ; and that especially in which '2:2 
pr'j5ideat aoopunces that each public officer may interpret the con 


stitution as he pleases. His language is : ' Each public officer, who 
takes an oath to support the constitution, swears that he will sup- 
port it as he understands it, and not as it is understood by others. 
* * * The opinion of the judges has no more authority over 
Congress than the opinion of Congress has over the judges; and 
on that, point the jJresident is i?idei)endc?it of both. ^ Now, Mr. Pres- 
ident, I conceive, with great deference, that the president has mis- 
taken the purport of the oath to support the constitution of the 
United States. No one swears to support it as he tmdersta7ids it, 
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 ? 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 
constitution only as he understands it, what would be the conse- 
quence? The judge of an inferior court would disobey the man- 
date of a superior tribunal, because it was not in conformity to the 
constitution, as he understands it ; a custom house officer would 
disobey a circular from the treasury department, because contrary 
to the constitution, as he understands it; an American minister 
would disregard an instruction from the president, communicated 
through the department of state, because not agreeable to the con- 
stitution, as he understands it; and a subordinate officer in the 
army or navy, would violate the orders of his superior, because 
tliey were not in accordance with the constitution, as he under- 
stands it. We should have nothing settled, nothing stable, nothing 
fixed. There would be general disorder and confusion throughout 
every branch of administration, from the highest to the lowest offi- 
cers — universal nullification. For what is the doctrine of the 
president but that of South Carolina applied throughout the Union? 
The president independent both of Congress and the supreme 
court! only bound to execute the laws of the one and the decis- 
ions of the other, so far as they conform to the constitution of 
the United States, as he imderstarids it I Then it should be the 
duty of every president, on his installation into office, carefully to 
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. iVnd, 
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 \Y,ere or were not agreeable to the constitution, as he 
understands it." 

Mr. Clay concluded his speech on this occasion, July 12, i83S 

with the following melancholy reflections : — 


"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 
operations of their government shall we be bound to communicate? 
We shall be compelled to say, that the supreme court is paralyzed, 
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 executive, through the secretary of the treasury, sent to 
Congress a tariffbill which would have destroyed numerous branches 
of our domestic industry, and tending to the final 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 have been 
unnecessarily assailed; and that the president has promulgated a 
rule of action for those who have taken the oath to support the 
constitution of the United States, that must, if there be practical 
conformity to it, introduce general nullification, and end in the ab- 
solute subversion of the government." 

It has been suggested, that the baseless reasons assigned in the 
veto message on the bank bill of 1S32, for the renewal of the char- 
ter of that institution, argued motives out of sight. It is the 
province of history to inquire into the motives of men who have 
been prominent and leading agents in great events, and in the ac- 
complishment of momentous results ; and it is a recognised rule 
of evidence, common and judicial, that motives are to be inferred 
from conduct. Errors may result from the application of this rule, 
and it ought doubtless to be used with caution and allowance. 
But it is neither required, nor possible, to dispense with it. 

The war of General Jackson on the currency system of the 
United States, such as he found it when he came into power, and 
the disastrous results which flowed from it, in connexion with 
the history of the attempt to establish an independent or sub-treas- 
ury, demand the most thorough and rigid scrutiny, not less for the 
future use of statesmen, than for the well-being of the republic. It 
was an aim at a fundamental, complete, and radical revolution 
in the commercial habits of the people, without consulting them. 
It was, indeed, never accomplished, for that was impossible. 
Nothing but a miracle could do it. Changes were forced upon 
the community ; society was convulsed to its foundations ; the 
great mass was upheaved as by the throes of an earthquake ; stee- 
ples toppled on their bases ; fearful chasms yawned in sight of the 
terror-stricken multitude ; a continent was rocked ; millions were 


destroyed ; and a nation was scarcely saved. Nevertheless, the 
revolution contemplated, was not effected. That can never be. 

Some, no doubt, will be surprised, when the history of motives 
in these transactions, is unveiled. The evidence in the case, as 
in all such cases, is that of probability — presumption — arising from 
certain known facts. Men, devoted to an object which they dare 
not promulge, do not wear the announcement of their purposes, 
written on their foreheads. 

In the first place, it will not be denied, that Andrew Jackson 
was a man of iron will — disposed to have his own way — pro- 
pense to despotism. Friends and enemies agree in this. It is 
marked indelibly on the history of his life. He cherished none 
who would not minister to this appetite, and acknowledge him as 
chief. Servility was the homage he demanded — not acquiescence. 
There was no independence of judgment, within the sphere of his 
influence, on questions which belonged to him, or which he thought 
proper to take in hand. He wanted tools — not a master. 

It will also probably be admitted, that Martin Van Buren had 
more influence with General Jackson, during his [the general's] 
administration, than any other man. It is then pertinent to the 
purpose now in view, to call attention to a somewhat remarkable 
chapter of political history in the state of New York. 

It was very naturally expected, when Mr. Van Buren and his par- 
ty rose to power in the state of New York, 1829, that, having been 
the denouncers of banks, they would rather abridge the system, 
than enlarge it. After the governor's [Mr. Van Buren's] message 
had recommended to the legislature Judge Forman's plan of bank- 
ing, and that plan was reported on, the public were somewhat 
surprised to find in the report of the bank committee the following 
language : — 

" The system of paper credit has now become indispensable to 
all commercial countries. It is the most powerful agent known to 
the world in generating the wealth and prosperity of a nation, li. 
great exigencies, it, by its timely assistance, often delivers govern- 
ments from embarrassments and danger." Again : " A paper cir- 
culation as to all objects of commerccj is a positive increase of 
capital." Again : " Banks in this country have been productive 
of the greatest advantages." 

The plan of banking, heralded by this favorable report, was the 
safety-fund system — a somewhat captivating name, though not, 
perhaps, when thoroughly sifted, quite so safe as was originally 


promised. For example, in 1834, when the liabiHties of the 
safety-fund banks of New York, exclusive of capital stock, were 
$34,000,000, the safety fund, alias the security, was only S2S9,000 : 
and for several years that fund has been in a minus quantity. 
That mode of security is not otherwise a positive vice, than as be- 
ing deceptive. It is good for what it amounts to, and may answer 
tolerably in prosperous times ; but, in a hard trial of a banking 
system, or in a general crash, as has sometimes happened, it is 
good for nothing. But it was blown into favor on the advent of 
]Mr. Van Buren, as governor of New York ; and in six years after 
the system was established, sixty-six banks were chartered on 
this basis ! The previous number of the banks in the state, was 
nominally forty ; several of which, however, were broken and un- 
sound. These forty banks were a half century coming into exist- 
ence, and did not average one a year ; whereas, the Van Buren 
administration the first year renewed the charters of sixteen old 
banks, and created twelve new ones ! Ten more were created 
the next session of the legislature ; ten again the next thereafter ; 
AND so ON ! This, for an anti-bank party, was doing business. 

But the secret is not told. It had been customary to require a 
bonus to the state, of a new bank, and for new charters ; but Mr. 
Van Buren, in his message of 1S29, recommended, that thereafter 
no bonus should be required. The average premium arising from 
the advance of stock above par, was ten per cent., which on a 
capital of $12,550,000 — that being the whole capital of these 
new banks — amoun'ed to $1,285,000. The way this bonus of 
$1,285,000, was disposed of, may be accounted for by a consid- 
eration of Mr. Stephen Allen's project of a Tammany bank, in 
1832, which he calculated would yield the Tammany society 
$19,000, without a penny's investment ; and by the following evi- 
dence given in the New York circuit court, July 6, 1827, by 
Joseph D. Beers, a celebrated broker, on the trial of Jacob 
Barker : — 

" ' Did you ever sell stock on contract, and sell it without own- 
ing it V — ' Yes, frequently.' — ' To what amount V — ' Not very 
large at any onetime.' — 'Do others do it?' — 'Yes.' — 'Is it a 
common practice among brokers and stock-dealers?' — 'It is: 
sometimes to large amounts.' — ' Say three or four hundred thou- 
sand dollars?' — ' Yes.' — ' Whether the amount be large or small, 
is it like other business, only the ditference between a wholesale 
and retail dealer ?' — ' That is all.' — ' Are not such contracts en- 
tirely regulated by the prospect of profit ?' — ' I make no other cal- 


culation, than whether or not I can fulfil to advantage.' — ' Is it n©t 
very common to settle such contracts by paying or receiving the 
difference without there being any stock received or delivered ?' 
— ' It is very common to settle in that way.' " 

It is unnecessary to say, that it was perfectly easy, in the way 
suggested by Mr. Allen's project for a Tammany bank, and by Mr. 
Beers' evidence, as above, to distribute this bonus of $1,285,000 
among political associates, and for political objects, in the state of 
New York, and that all the business might be done on change, with 
no other use of money than for the nominal and privileged holders of 
the stock to pocket the difference between par and ten per cent, 
above par ; and they must have been more simple than some re- 
cent developments indicate, if they did not embrace the opportu- 
nity. As Mr. Allen said, when he proposed to establish a Tam- 
many bank of half a million, " my opinion, you no doubt know, 
is in opposition to these banking monopolies ;" so it was well 
known, that Mr. Van Buren's opinion ran the same way, when, 
in 1829, he started afresh the manufacture of banks in the state of 
New York, turning out a batch of twenty-eight the first year, and an 
average of ten a year thereafter, till he and his party obtained a 
very handsome bonus as above, for their political objects — the 
bonus, by recommendation of the governor, as before seen, being 
kept back from the state, and applied to what were doubtless regard- 
ed, by those who used it, more important and more worthy objects. 
Probably the reason why Mr. Allen's project of a Tammany bank 
did not prevail, was, that it would be drawing aside the veil too 
much, whereby all the rest would chance to be seen. Besides, in 
that case, the mouth of Tammany would have been shut. 

There is another material fact, as reported and believed, worthy 
of notice in this place, in the history of the New York state banks, 
to wit, that contemporaneously with the events above noticed, the 
old banks found themselves annoyed by unexpected runs upon 
them for specie, and that while laboring under these inconveniences, 
hints were passed to them, that, by appointing such and such 
directors, they would be relieved. The new banks were of cours 
all furnished with suitable directors. In this way, it is averred, 
that the whole banking system of the state of New York, from one 
of the bank parlors of Albany, was brought under the sway of the 
dominant political party, and forced to minister to their occasions. 

It can not be denied, that, of all men in the world, they who 
had accomplished such an achievement, were best qualified to 


know the power of banks as political engines, and to declaim 
against them when it should answer their purpose, as an enormity 
in the social state. Who was better qualified than Mr. Van Bu- 
ren, when transferred to the state department at Washington, to 
give advice to the president of the United States on this subject? 
•' Do you not see, sir, how admirably this system works in the 
state of New York ? We govern the state by the banking system 
there, and force the banks (alias, the people) to pay all the costs of 
our party in maintaining our ascendency. You have only to adopt 
the same system with the bank of the United States, get such di- 
rectors and presidents of the branches as are most suitable, and 
gradually bring the parent institution under the same discipline, 
and the politics of the nation will ever afterward be at command." 

There is no positive evidence, that such counsel was ever given, 
or adopted, with such a view. But it would be singular, if it were 
not thought of, and more strange, considering what is known of 
the parties, and of the contemporaneous history of banking in the 
state of New York, if such a plan were not actually agreed upon. 
The very thing that would be expected to follow, came to pass. 
In 1829, General Jackson undertook to remove and appoint offi- 
cers of the bank of the United States, and began with Jeremiah 
Mason, president of the branch bank of Portsmouth, New Hamp- 
shire. It appears, however, the aim being apparent, that there 
was too much probity, even in the bank of the United States, to 
consent to be made subservient to the political designs of a party 
in power, and the movement was resisted and thwarted on the 
threshold. Better, perhaps, for the bank, if it had yielded ; but 
it did not yield, and its doom was sealed from that hour. 

They who choose to ascribe to General Jackson patriotic mo- 
tives in falling in with this supposed project, are at liberty to do 
so ; but none, who understand his character, will deny that he de- 
sired and aimed to have everything under his control ; and what 
more important to an ambitious chief of the nation, than to get the 
bank of the United States under his thumb ? Was it morally 
j)Ossible for a man of General Jackson's known temperament, to 
be contented, till he had accomplished that object, if he had once 
conceived it? And what shall be deemed evidence that he ever 
undertook it ? Precisely that species of conduct which is alleged 
to have been practised in the state of New York, for the attainment 
of a kindred object, and which is believed to have been so suc- 
cessful ; and that evidence is furnished. 


Mr. Clay, in his speech on the sub-treasury scheme, of Febru- 
ary 10, 183S, has noticed this event as follows : — 

" I have heard his [General Jackson's] hostility to banks, as- 
cribed 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 unac- 
commodating 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 1S29, that giant-like person, Jeremiah Mason — giant in body, 
and giant in mind. War and strife, endless war and strife, per- 
sonal 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 individuals. 
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 the 
state banks." 

It is charitable to suppose, that General Jackson had not the 
remotest conception of the tremendous calamities he was preparing 
for the country, in the vengeance he resolved on against the bank 
of the United States, for this heinous disregard of his will. No 
one will probably ever accuse him of having been endowed with 
such perspicacity. It is the consequences which this vengeance 
led to, and not the destruction of the bank, that is so much to be 
deplored. The latter was a trifle, and scarcely worthy of notice. 
With an adequate protective policy, the country can possibly do 
without a national bank. It can at least try. If the state banks 
can be kept within safe bounds, without a national institution to 
act as a balance-power in checking their excesses, a national bank 
is not essential. But, it was war on the currency system of the 
whole country, and on its protective policy, which followed in the 
train of this war against the bank of the United States, and brought 
disasters incalculable, and almost without end, upon the nation. 
It was the great plan immediately formed, after this disappointment, 
to revolutionize the entire monetary and commercial system of the 
United States, in the establishment of a government bank, un- 
der the guise of an independent treasury, which brought 
desolation and wo upon the land. That iron will could never 
bend — must rule. Since it could not brino; the bank of the 


United States under its control, it resolved to remove all other 
banks out of the way, and have one of its own. 

It is to be observed, however, that the plan of the subtreasury 
was not matured, till that of establishing a new national bank in 
the city of New York, under the control of the partisans of the 
administration — who, on the principle of the New York state sys- 
tem, before noticed, expected to realize at least a two-million bo- 
nus, for private and political objects — had failed. The evidences 
of this plan are so abundant and notorious, as not to require speci- 

From the time when this fatal resolution of war on the currency 
began to take effect on the great interests of the country, till the 
people came to the rescue in 1S40, the history of the republic is 
one of uninterrupted, wide-spread, overwhelming calamity. This, 
and the war on the protective policy, and on all the commercial 
habits of the nation, was one of plan and of time. A great and 
strong people, in the full tide of prosperity, can not be easily bro- 
ken down by measures of government, however hostile to their in- 
terests, however destructive in their tendency. " He [General 
Jackson] killed off the institutions of the country in detail," says 
the Hon. John M. Clayton, " always selecting the weakest first, 
destroying that with the aid of the friends of the others, before he 
ventured to announce any hostility to the latter, and never attack- 
inir the strongest, until the friends of the weaker measures, which 
had been victimized, became powerless. His first attack was 
upon the internal improvement system. The bank's turn came 
next. Within six months after that, he made war on the tariff." 

These demonstrations, by the alarm which they excited, began 
immediately to affect the country, though they did not so soon 
reach the great body of the people. The impetus of public pros- 
perity, which the tariff of 1824 had imparted to the nation, could 
not be instantly arrested. It was a great and mighty volume of 
the business and trade of a great people, rolling up wealth in heaps 
and mountains, and it was not till nearly the close of General 
Jackson's administration, that the effects of his destructive meas- 
ures began to be seriously felt. The veto of the bank bill, in 
1S32, was a shock under which the whole nation staggered ; but 
it was then too strong to fall. The removal of the public depos- 
ites, in October, 3 833, in the face of a resolution of Congress 
intended as a damper for the half-revealed purpose, and against 
the remonstrances of his own party, stunned the public miid, like 


the effect of the first blow on the head of a bullock that is doomed 
to the slaughter. It also produced great and extensive distress. 
Jt was on the occasion of introducing a resolution in the senate to 
rebuke this extraordinary assumption of power, that Mr. Clay said : 
*' We are in the midst of a revolution!" Petitions from all 
parts of the country poured into Congress, praying for relief. But 
General Jackson had taken the people captive, was in the zenith 
of his power, and his iron will, still bent on the execution of his 
fell purposes, knew no sympathy for a suffering public. He had 
been thwarted. He must be revenged. It has been charitably 
allowed, that he was not aware of the devastation he was bringing 
upon the country, not being able, from want of skill as a states- 
man, to foresee the effects of his own measures. 

The next great error, planned in equal ignorance of its unavoid- 
able result, but designed to atone for the public dissatisfaction so 
extensively expressed, was a bait thrown out to the people and the 
states, in the double form of loaning the public deposites to private 
enterprise, and recommending the bestowment of the surplus 
funds of the national treasury on the states, for their use and bene- 
fit. The seductive influence of this temptation to all these parties, 
was unfortunately but too effective. The people launched forth 
into the wildest schemes of speculation ; importers flooded the 
country with foreign goods ; states, in anticipation of the surplus 
funds, projected internal improvements on the largest scale, sent 
their bonds to the European market, the proceeds of which were 
remitted in goods, and the funds for home consumption were drawn 
from banks of home manufacture, which, by scores and hundreds, 
under the same stimulus, had sprung into existence, without capi- 
tal ; the whole face of the country was checkered with new and 
weW-moj)ped towns and cities ; property everywhere rose to an un- 
natural price ; extravagance, in all conditions of life, was the order 
of the day ; and the nation ran mad with the idea, that all this was 
substantial, and could never end. It need not now be said, that 
it was all forced. It is equally unnecessary to say — for all will see 
it — that this state of things was produced by unsettling the old 
commercial habits of the people, by destroying the old system of 
currency, and introducing a new and fictitious one, and by capti- 
vating the nation with bubbles of credit, doomed to burst. 

When the people and states were wrought up to this intense 
pitch of excitement and expectation, and more than twenty millions 
a year were flowing into the national treasury from the sales of the 


public lands, and at the very moment when, in consequence of 
these stimulants administered by the seductive measures of the 
government, a balance of sixty millions in foreign parts had ac- 
cumulated against the importing cities, the people were thunder- 
struck with an order from the treasury, the effect of which was to 
remove the specie from the Atlantic border, where it was most 
wanted, to the far west, where it was not wanted. The nation 
WAS RUINED ! Even without this order, it would have been diffi- 
cult for the people to stand up, after such a season of intoxication. 
When it came, they were prostrate. The work of destruction, 
which began with the veto of the bank bill, in 1832, was consum- 
mated by the specie circular of 1S36. There was no more to be 
done, no more to be hoped for, till the nation, come to its senses, 
should rise, and save itself, as it attempted, and partially accom- 
plished, in 1840. What patriot, w^hat man, that lived through 
that fearful period, to know what it was, by some taste of its ca- 
lamities, can look back upon it, without shuddering at the perils 
through which the country was doomed to pass ? 




Mr. "Van Buren's Accession. — The Extra Session of 1837. — The Sub-Treasisry. — 
Its Failure at the Extra Session. — Subsequent Debate on the Message. — Mr. 
Clay's Views of it. — His Examination of the Gradual Opening of General 
Jackson's Scheme of a Government Bank. — Mr. Clay's Argument in 1838, and 
his Warning on the Passage of the Bill in 1840. — Mr. Van Buren's Servility 
proves his Destruction. — Capital and Labor. — The Philosophy of Currency. 

Mr. Van Buren came into power, in 1837, to " tread in the 
footsteps of his illustrious predecessor." In less than three 
montlis after his accession, the banks, unable to hold out any- 
longer, suspended. The work of destruction was now complete. 
All that had been resolved on, was accomplished, with one excep- 
tion. The bank of the United States was destroyed, and all the 
banks of the country were under the feet of the president. The 
currency was destroyed, the protective policy was crippled, man- 
ufactures drooped and the establishments were tumbling in ruins, 
every species of property had depreciated to a mere nominal value, 
thousands and tens of thousands who had supposed themselves 
rich, found themselves bankrupts, and sheriffs and their deputies 
were almost the only vocations worth pursuing. The spirit of the 
people was broken, and now was the time to fasten upon them 
that great project, which General Jackson conceived soon after he 
first quarrelled with the bank of the United States, to which all 
the measures of his administration looked and tended, and which 
was his undeviating aim, during the tremendous ordeal through 
which he had hurried the nation, to precipitate the final result. 

All things being judged to be right for the measure, Mr. Van 
Buren called a special session of Congress in the autumn of 
1837, and brought before them the scheme for an independent 
TREASURY, as he and his party denominated it, indicating the ab- 
straction of DIVORCE OF BANK AND STATE. The opponents of 
the scheme have been accustomed to call it the sub-treasury. 


The project, iiowever, was destined to encounter more formidablf 
difficulties, than had been anticipated. The mandate of the chief- 
tain had less force from the Hermitage, than from the chair of 
state. Though the will of his successor did not lack in obse- 
quious fidelity, he could not roar like the lion himself. He was 
accused of being related to another species of the quadruped race, 
more cunning, and less generous. The bill failed, and Congress 
adjourned without result. 

In the opening of Mr. Clay's speech on this occasion, Septem- 
ber 25, 1S37, he said :— 

" No period has ever existed in this country, in which the fu- 
ture was covered by a darker, denser, or more impenetrable gloom. 
iVone, in which the duty was more imperative to discard all pas- 
sion and prejudice, all party ties, and previous bias, and look ex- 
clusively to the good of our afflicted country. In one respect, 
a^d I think it a fortunate one, our present difficulties are distin- 
guishable from former domestic trouble, and that is their univer- 
sality. They are felt, it is true, in different degrees, but they 
reach every section, every state, every interest, almost every man 
in the Union. All feel, see, hear, know their existence. As they 
do not array, like our former divisions, one portion of the confed- 
eracy against another, it is to be hoped that common sufferings 
may lead to common sympathies and common counsels, and that 
we shall, at no distant day, be able to see a clear way of deliv- 
erance. If the present state of the country were produced by the 
fault of the people ; if it proceeded from their wasteful extrava- 
gance, and their indulgence of a reckless spirit of ruinous specu- 
lation ; if public measures had no agency whatever in bringing it 
about ; it would, nevertheless, be the duty of government to exert 
all its energies, and to employ all its legitimate powers, to devise 
an efficacious remedy. But if our present deplorable rendition 
has sprung from our rulers ; if it is to be clearly traced to their 
acts and operations, that duty becomes infinitely more obligatory ; 
and government would be faithless to the highest and most solemn 
of iiuman trusts should it neglect to perform it. And is it not too 
true, that the evils which surround us are to be ascribed to those 
who have had the conduct of our public affairs ? 

" In glancing at the past, nothing can be further from my inten- 
tion than to excite angry feelings, or to find grounds of reproach. 
It would be far more congenial to my wishes, that, on this occa- 
sion, we should forget all former unhappy divisions and animo»- 
ities. But in order to discover how to get out of our difficulties, 
we must ascertain, if we can, how we got into them. 

" Prior to that series of unfortunate measures which had for its 
object the ovt.Mthrow of the oank of the United States, and the 


discontinuance of its fiscal agency for the government, no people 
upon earth ever enjoyed a better currency, or had exchanges bet- 
ter regulated, than the people of the United States. Our mone- 
tary system appeared to have attained as great perfection as any- 
thing human can possibly reach. The combination of United 
States and local banks presented a true image of our system of 
general and state governments, and worked quite as well. Not 
only within the country had we a local and general currency per- 
fectly sound, but in whatever quarter of the globe American com- 
merce had penetrated, there also did the bills of the United States 
bank command unbounded credit and confidence. Now we are 
in danger of having fixed upon us, indefinitely as to time, that 
medium, an irredeemable paper currency, which, by the univer- 
sal 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 result of those measures to which I have adverted ? When, 
at the very moment of adopting them, the very consequences 
which have happened were foretold as inevitable, is it necessary 
to look elsewhere for their cause ? Never was prediction more 
distinctly made ; never was fulfilment more literal and exact. 

"Let us suppose that those measures had not been adopted ; 
that the bank of the United States had been rechartered ; that the 
public deposites had remained undisturbed ; and that the treasury 
order had never issued ; is there not every reason to believe that 
we should be now 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 hap- 

" The president's message asserts that the suspension has pro- 
ceeded 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, in the instance of a homicide perpetrated 
by the discharge of a gun, to allege 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 message 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 proved by the vast multiplica- 
tion of banks, the increase of the line of their discounts and ac- 
commodations, prompted and stimulated by Secretary Taney, and 
the great augmentation of their circulation which ensued ?" 

After exposing other unsound reasonings of the message 
especially the incorrect statement, that similar difiiculties had oc- 
curred in Great Britain and Europe from the same causes — which 


\va.< not a fact — Mr. Clay proceeds to a specification of what he 
regards as the true causes : — 

" Since the intensity of suffering, and the disastrous state of 
things in this country, have far transcended anything that has oc- 
curred in Europe, we must look here for some peculiar and more 
potent causes than any which have been in operation there. They 
are to be found in that series of measures to which I have already 
adverted : — 

First, the veto of the bank ; 

Second, the removal of the deposites, with the urgent injunc- 
tion of Secretary Taney upon the banks to enlarge their accom- 
modations ; 

Third, the gold bill, and the demand of gold for the foreign 
indenmities ; 

Fourth, the clumsy execution of the deposite law : and 

Fifth, the treasury order of July, 1S36." 

These points were severally established by Mr. Clay, in a gen- 
eral survey and detail of facts, with apposite proofs and illustrations. 
The following remarks, made by Mr. Clay on this occasion, are 
introduced here, not alone for their own inherent importance, but 
for the sake of some others growing out of the subject, which are 
deemed necessary to disabuse the public mind of errors of fact: — 

" The message asserts that the bank of the United States, char- 
tered by Pennsylvania, has not been able to save itself or to check 
other institutions, notwithstanding ' the still greater strength it has 
been said to possess under its present charter.' That bank is now 
a mere state or local institution. Why is it referred to more than 
the bank of Virginia, or any other local institution ? The exalted 
station which the president fills forbids the indulgence of the sup- 
position, that the allusion has been made to enable the administra- 
tion to profit by the prejudices which have been excited against it. 
Was it the duty of that bank, more than any other state bank, to 
check the local institutions ? Was it not even under less obliga- 
tion to do so than the deposite banks, selected and fostered by the 
general government? 

"But how could the message venture to assert, that it has greater 
strength than the late bank of the United States possessed ? What- 
ever may be the liberality of the conditions of its charter, it is 
inii)Ossible that any single state could confer upon it faculdes equal 
to those granted to the late bank of the United States — first, in 
making it the sole depository of the revenue of the United States ; 
and, secondly, in making its notes receivable in the payment of all 
public dues. If a bank of the United States had existed, it would 
have had ample notice of the accumulation of public moneys in 
the local banks ; and, by timely measures of precaution, it could 


have prevented the speculating uses to which they were applied. 
Such an institution would have been bound by its relations to the 
government, to observe its appropriations and financial arrange- 
ment and wants, and to hold itself always ready promptly to meet 
them. It would have drawn together gradually, but certainly, the 
public moneys, however dispersed. Responsibility would have 
been concentrated upon it alone, instead of being weakened or 
lost by diffusion among some eighty or ninety local baaks, dis- 
persed throughout the country, and acting without any effective 

The very just rebuke administered by Mr. Clay, in the above 
extract, to Mr. Van Buren, for pandering in his message to preju- 
dices sown and nourished for party purposes, will be appreciated. 
No man knew better than Mr. Van Buren, that the bank chartered 
by the state of Pennsylvania for its own state purposes, which very 
improperly took the name of the " Bank of the United States," 
to avail itself of the credit of that institution — thereby imposing 
upon the public, and making a great political party responsible for 
it — occupied precisely the same position as any other state bank, 
and was no more worthy of a special notice in the president's mes- 
sage. Ever since the failure of that bank, the same unfairness has 
labored to keep up the idea in the popular mind, that it was the 
failure of the national bank, after which it was fraudulently named. 
It would be equally proper to call the United States hotel in New 
York, or the United States eating-house in Washington, a na- 
tional INSTITUTION, and hold the government of the United 
States, or a political party, responsible for it. And yet, the fate 
of that institution in Philadelphia, is still pointed to as the down- 
fall of the national bank. It was indeed true, that the president 
of the national bank — which had ceased to exist — was at the head 
of this bank ; that the business of both was done in the same build- 
ing, and the money kept in the same vaults ; that much of the 
capital of the first was transferred to constitute the capital of the 
second ; but a man would be scouted, that should pretend to iden- 
tify one institution with the other. The faculties of this state 
bank, as in the case of many other state banks of that time, were 
perverted from banking to commercial functions, and it was ruined. 
But there was no such practice, and no such tendency, in the bank 
of the United States ; nor is there any ground to believe, that its 
fidelity and strength, as a national institution, would have been 
impaired, if its charter had been renewed. 

In January, 1840, while the sub-treasury bill was still pending. 

Vol. II.— 3 


Mr. Clay had occasion to make a similar reply to a like misstate- 
ment of Mr. Buchanan, as follows : — 

" Mr. President, can the distinguished senator be serious in his 
description of these attributes of the Pennsylvania bank ? Surely 
he must have intended that part of his speech for some other thea- 
tre. Tn the first place, Pennsylvania, besides sundry other onerous 
conditions of loans and sub-=criptions to objects of internal improve- 
ments, levied upon the j)resent bank, in the form of bonus, some 
four or five millions of dollars. Then the general government has 
withdrawn from it the seven millions of stock which it held in the 
old bank — a circumstance which I have no doubt has tended to 
cripple its operations. And it is wholly without the deposites of 
the government, which the former bank possessed. Instead of 
being an ally, the general government has been in the relation of 
an enemy to it. And it has had to encounter all the enmity of a 
powerful party, within the bosom of the commonwealth. So far 
from assuming the office of a regulator of the local banks, its late 
distinguished president, upon whose authority the senator relies 
for proof of the extent and liberality of its new charter, expressly 
declared that it had ceased to be a general agent, and had retired 
within the circle of its state duties. So far from having derived 
any strength from its connexion with the late bank of the United 
States, there can not be a doubt that that connexion rendered it 
far less efficient than it would have been, if it had gone into opera- 
tion with an unencumbered capital, freshly subscribed, of thirty- 
five millions of dollars." 

Mr. Clay very justly notices in this speech the want of fidelity 
in the federal executive in carrying out the purposes of the com- 
promise act, and shows the bad effects of hostility to that measure 
from the same quarter ; — that this bad faith had its share of influ- 
ence in producing the misfortunes of the country. 

"But [said Mr. Clay] the cause of our present difficulties may 
be stated in another way. During the late administration [Jack- 
son's] we have been deprived of the practical benefit of a/ree gov- 
ernment ; the forms, it is true, remained and w^ere observed, but 
the essence did not exist. In a free, or self-government, the col- 
lected wisdom, the aggregate wisdom of the whole, or at least of a 
majority, moulds and directs the course of public affairs. In a 
despotism, 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 magistrate controls 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 disastrous measures — the veto of the bank, the removal of 
the deposites, the rejection of the land bill, and the treasury order 


— which have led to our present unfortunate condition — ^Ijeen 
adopted, in spite of the wishes of the country, and in opposition, 

probably, to those of the dominant party itself"? 


" We are told, that it is necessary to separate, divorce the gov- 
ernment from the banks. Let us not be deluded by sounds. 
Senators might as well talt 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 fortune and destiny, and all, all entitled to the protecting 
care of a parental government. You may as well attempt to make 
the government breathe a dilferent air, drink a different water, be 
lighted and warmed by a different sun, from that of the people I 
A hard-money government, and a paper-money people ! A gov- 
ernment, an official corps — the servants of the people — glittering 
in gold, and the people themselves, their masters, buried in ruin, 
and covered with rags ! 

" No prudent or practical government, will in its measures run 
counter to the long-settled habits and usages of the people. Re- 
ligion, language, laws, the established currency and business of a 
whole country, can not be easily or suddenly uprooted. After the 
denomination of our coin was changed to dollars and cents, many 
years elapsed before the old method of keeping accounts, in 
pounds, shillings, and pence, w^as 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 sud- 
den, but conducted by slow and cautious degrees. The people 
of the United States have been always a paper-money people. It 
was paper mon^y that carried us through the revolution, estab- 
lished our liberties, and made us a free and independent people. 
And, if the experience of the revolutionary war convinced our 
ancestors, as we are convinced, of the evils of an irredeemable pa- 
per medium, it was put aside only to give place to that convertible 
paper, which has so powerfully contributed to our rapid advance- 
ment, prosperity, and greatness." 

The insecurity of the sub-treasury system as a depository of 
public funds, and the fearful increase of executive patronage con- 
sequent thereupon, are delineated by Mr. Clay with great truth 
and graphic power : — 

" There stands the executive power, perpetuated in all its vast 
magnitude, undiminished, reasserted, and overshadowing all the 
other departments of the government. Every trophy which the 
late president won from them, now decorates the executive man- 
sion. Every power, which he tore from a bleeding constitution 
is now in the executive armory, ready, as time and occasicn trav 


prompt the existing incumbent, wherever he may be, to be thun 
dered against the liberties of the people. 

" Whatever," said Mr. Clay, " 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 General Andrew Jackson, to the 
office of chief magistrate, it was not from any private considera- 
tions, 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 realized my worst appre- 
hensions, I was guided solely by a sense of public duty. And I 
do now declare my solemn and unshaken conviction, that, until 
the executive power, as enlarged, extended, and consolidated by 
him, is reduced within its true constitutional limits, there is no per- 
manent security for the liberties and happiness of this people. 

"Pass this bill, and whatever divorce its friends may profess to 
be its aim, that perilous union of the purse and the sword, so justly 
dreaded by our British and revolutionary ancestors, becomes ab 
solute and complete." 

But the greatest objection, after all, arises from the fact, which 
could not be concealed, that in putting down one system of bank- 
ing, known and tried, the sub-treasury, in its practical operation, 
as a substitute, must necessarily become a government bank 
of stupendous, ever-increasing, unlimited, alarming power, in the 
worst and most dangerous hands — worst because unsuitable, and 
most dangerous because of the motives to abuse and the lack of 
all restraint. The governing power would be irresponsible. 

But the speech of Mr. Clay at the next and regular session of 
Congress, on this subject, delivered February 19, 1838, is deser- 
ving of special regard. The stupendous alteration proposed in 
the very structure of the government, to engraft upon it, and in- 
fuse through all its branches, a new and momentous power, had 
evidently lain with a heavy pressure upon his mind, during the 
recess, and since the bill had again been brought forward at this 
session. Never has Mr. Clay been known to rise on any public 
occasion, with such marked seriousness and solemnity, as at this 
time. His exordium was as follows: — 

"I have seen some public service, passed through many troubled 
times, and often addressed public assemblies, in this capitol and 
elsewhere ; but never before have I risen in a deliberative body, 
under more oppressed feelings, or with a deeper sense of awful 
responsibility. Never before have 1 risen to express my opinions 
upon any public measure, fraught with such tremendous conse- 
quences to the welfare and prosperity of the country, and so per- 
ilous to the liberties of the people, as I solemnly believe the bill 


under consideration will be. If you knew, sir, what sleepless hours 
reflection upon it has cost me ; if you knew with what fervor and 
sincerity I have implored divine assistance to strengthen and sus- 
tain me in my opposition to it, I should have credit with you, at 
least, for the sincerity of my convictions, if I shall be so unfortu- 
nate as not to have your concurrence as to the dangerous character 
of the measure. And I have thanked my God that he has pro- 
longed my life until the present time, to enable me to exert myself 
in the service of my country, against a project far transcending in 
pernicious tendency any that I have ever had occasion to consider. 
I thank him for the heahh I am permitted to enjoy ; I thank him 
for the soft and sweet repose which I experienced last night ; I 
thank him for the bright and glorious sun which shines upon us 
this day. 

" It is not my purpose, at this time, Mr. President, to go at large 
into a consideration of the causes which have led to the present 
most disastrous state of public affairs. That duty was performed 
by others, and myself, at the extra session of Congress. It was 
then clearly shown, that it sprung from the ill-advised and unfor- 
tunate measures of executive administration. I now will content 
myself, with saying that, on the fourth day of March, 1S29, Andrew 
Jackson, not by the blessing of God, was made president of these 
United States ; that the country was then eminently prosperous ; 
that its currency was as sound and safe as any that a people were 
ever blessed with ; that, throughout the wide extent of this whole 
Union, it possessed a uniform 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 encouraging condition of the 
business of the country, it remained for several years, until after 
the war, wantonly waged against the late bank of the United States, 
was completely successful, by the ov^erthrow of that invaluable in- 
stitution. What our present situation is, 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 practical writers that I 
have had occasion to consult, that 'all convulsions in the circula- 
tion and commerce of every country must originate in the opera- 
tions of the government, or in the mistaken views and erroneous 
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 melancholy a conscious 
ness of the unhappy condition of our country. We all too well 
know, that our noble and gallant ship lies helpless and immoveable 


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 hehn when she was 
stranded? The party in power ! The pilot was aided by all the 
science and skill, by all the charts and instruments, of such distin- 
guished navigators as Washington, the Adamses, Jefferson, Madi- 
son, and Monroe; and yet he did not, or could not, save the pub- 
lic vessel. .She was placed in her present miserable condition by 
his bungling navigation, 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 them." 

The plan of this speech is laid out as follows: — 

"I shall endeavor, Mr. President, in the course of the address I 
am about making, to establish certain propositions, which I believe 
to be incontestable; and for the sake of perspicuity, I will state 
them severally to the senate. I shall contend : — 

"First, 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 de- 

" Secondly, that, with that view, and to that end, it was its aim 
and intention to overthrow the whole banking system, as existing 
in the Un'ted States when that administration came into power, 
beginning with the bank of the United States, and ending with the 
state banks. 

" Thirdly, that the attack was first confined, from considerations 
of policy, to the bank of the United States ; but that, after its over- 
throw was accomplished, it was then directed, and has since been 
continued, against the state banks. 

"Fourthly, that the present administration, by its acknowledg- 
ments, 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 per- 
fect them. 

" And. fifthly, that the bill under consideration is intended to 
execute the pledge, by establishing, upon the ruins of the late bank 
of the United States, and the state banks, a government bank, to 
be managed and controlled by the treasury department, acting un- 
der the commands of the president of the United States. 

"I believe, solemnly believe, the truth of every one of these five 
propositions. In the support of them, I shall not rely upon any 
gratuitous surmises or vague conjectures, but upon proofs, clear, 
])Ositive, undeniable, and demonstrative. To establish the first 
four, I shall adduce evidence of the highest possible authenticity, 
ol facts admitted or undeniable, and fair reasoning founded on 
them. And as to the last, the measure under consideration. I think 


the testimony, intrinsic and extrinsic, on which I depend, stamps, 
beyond all doubt, its true character as a government bank, and 
ouo-ht to carry to the mind of the senate the conviction which I 
entertain, and in which I feel perfectly confident the whole country 
will share." 

The first three of these propositions are established with great 
clearness and force, by citations from General Jackson's messages, 
beginning with the first, in 1829, and pursuing the gradual disclo- 
sure of this purpose in his public and official documents, during 
the term of his administration of eight years. As a part of an ex- 
tended clause of reasoning on the subject, the project is fully 
broug-ht out in the message of 1829 : " I submit, whether a national 
one lhRn]i],fou?ided vpon the credit of the government and its reve- 
nues, might not be devised," &c. In the message of 1830, he 
revives the subject in another extended paragraph, and, among 
other things, says : " It becomes us to inquire, whether it is not 
possible to secure the advantages afforded by the present bank, 
through the agency of a bank of the United States, so modijied in 
its principles, as to avoid constitutional objections. It is thought 
practicable to organize such a bank, with the necessary officers, as 

sage of 1831, he says : "Entertaining the opinions heretofore ex- 
pressed, in relation to the bank of the United States, as at present 
organized, I felt it my duty, in my former messages, frankly to 
disclose them, in order that the attention of the legislature and the 
people should be seasonably directed to that important subject, and 
that it might be considered and finally disposed of, in a manner 
best calculated to promote the ends of the constitution, and sub- 
serve the public interests." In his veto message of 1832, he says : 
"I do not entertain a doubt, that a bank of the United States might 
be so organized, &c. Had the executive been called upon to fur- 
nish the project of such an iiistitution, the duty would have been 
cheerfully performed." In the message of 1834, the war upon 
the state banks was commenced, by proposing a divorce of the 
government from all banks, and endeavoring to bring odium upon 
such institutions. In the message of 1835, this attack is yet more 
distinctly disclosed : " In considering the means of obtaining so 
important an end, we must set aside all calculations of temporary 
convenience. . . . We must recur to first principles, and see what 
it is that has prevented the legislation of Congress, and of the states, 
on the subject of the currency, &c. ... I am sure I can not be 


mistaken in ascribing our want of success to the spirit of monopoly. 
All the dangers which our system has yet encountered, may be 
traced to the resort to implied powers, and the use of corporations 
clothed u-ith privileges. . . . We are now to see, whether, in the 
present favorable condition of the country, we can take an effectual 
stand against this spirit. ... It is ascertained that the manage- 
ment of the revenue can be made auxiliary to reform. It has only 
to be fostered by proper regulations on the part of Congress, to se- 
cure a practical return, to the extent required for the security of 
the currency, to the constitutional medium." 

Upon this message, Mr. Clay says : — 

" As in the instance of the attack upon the bank of the United 
States, the approach to the state banks is slow, cautious, and insid- 
ious. He reminds Congress and the country, that all calculations 
of temporary convenience must be set aside ; that we must recur 
to first principles ; and that we must see what it is that has pre- 
vented the legislation of Congress, and the states, on the subject 
of the currency from satisfying public expectation. He declares 
his conviction, that the want of success has proceeded from the 
undue countenance which has been afforded to the spirit of mo- 
nopoly. All the serious dangers which our system has yet en- 
countered, may be traced to the resort to implied powers, and to 
the use of corporatio}is. We have felt, he says, but one class of 
these 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 con- 
dition of the country, we can not take an effectual stand against 
this 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 'i)aper system, 
the management of tlie 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 en- 
larged upon in his annual message of 1S36." 

After quoting largely from the message of 1836, Mr. Clay 
says : — 

" It is seen that he again calls the attention of Congress to the 
currency of the country, alleges that it was apparent, from the whole 
context of the constitution, as well as the history of the times that 
gave birth to it, that it was the purpose of the convention to estab- 
lish a currency consisting of the precious metals ; imputes variable- 
ness and a liability to inordinate contraction and expansion to the 
exi.-ting paper system, and denounces bank issues, as being an un- 
certain standard. He felicitates himself upon the dangers which 


have been obviated by the overthrow of the bank of the United 
States, but declares that little has been yet done, except to pro- 
duce a salutary change of public opinion toward restoring to the 
country, the sound currency j)rovidedfor in the co7istitutio7i. I will 
here say, in passing, that all this outcry about the precious metals, 
gold, and the constitutional currency, has been put forth to delude 
the people, and to use the precious metals as an instrument to 
break down the banking institutions of the states, and thus to pave 
the way for the ultimate establishment of a great government bank. 
In the present advanced state of civilization, in the present condi- 
tion of the commerce of the world, and in the actual relations of 
trade and intercourse between the different nations of the world, it 
is perfectly chimerical to suppose that the currency of the United 
States should consist exclusively, or principally, of the precious 

In General Jackson's farewell address, on retiring from the gov- 
ernment, March 3, 1837, he says : " My humble efforts have not 
been spared during my administration, to restore the constitutional 
currency of gold and silver. But enough yet remains to require all 
your energy and perseverance. . . . The constitution of the United 
States unquestionably intended to secure to the people a circulating 
medium of gold and silver. But the establishment of a national 
bank by Congress, with the privilege of issuing paper money, re 
ceivable in payment of the pubHc dues, and the unfortunate course 
of legislation in the several states upon the same subject, drove 
from general circulation the constitutional currency, and substituted 
one of paper in its place." 

" The mask [says Mr. Clay], is now thrown off, and he boldly 
says that the constitution of the United States unquestionably in- 
tended to secure to the people a circulating medium of gold and 
silver. They have not enjoyed, he says, that benefit, because of 
the establishment of a national bank, and the unfortunate course of 
legislation in the several states. He does not limit his condemna- 
tion of the past policy of his 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 incompetent to judge of the interests 
of their respective citizens." 

In support of the fourth proposition, Mr. Clay says : — 

" The proofs on this subject are brief; but they are clear, di- 
rect, and plenary. It is almost impossible for any unbiased mind 
to doubt for a moment about them. You, sir, will be surprised, 
when I shall array them before you, at their irresistible force. The 
firr-t that I shall offer is an extract from ^Ir. Van Buren's letter o^" 


acceptance of the nomination of the Baltimore convention, dated 
May 23d, 1S35. In that letter he says: — 

" 'I content myself, on this occasion, with saying, that I con- 
sider myself the honored iyistrumeyit selected by the friends of the 
present administration, to carry out its j^finciples and 'policy ; and 
that, as well from inclination as from duty, I shall, if honored with 
the choice of the American people, endeavor generally to follow 
in the footsteps of President Jackson ; happy if I shall be able to 
■pcrfict the ivork which he has so glorio^isly begiin.^ 

" Mr. Van Buren announces that he was the honored instrument 
selected by the friends of the present administration, to carry out 
its principles and policy. The honored instrument ! That word, 
according 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 glory of his country "? No, no ; his country was not in his 
thoughts. Party, party, filled the place in his bosom which country 
should have occupied. He was the honored tool to carry out the 
principles and policy of General Jackson's administration ; 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 ohould be able to perfect the work which he had so gloriously 
begun. Duty to whom ? to the country, to the whole people of 
the United 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 predecessor, 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 denounced the banking insti- 
tutions of the country; that he had overthrown the bank of the 
United States ; that he had declared, when that object was accom- 
plished, only one half die work was completed ; that he then 
commenced war against the state banks, in order to finish the other 
half; that he constantly 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 fare- 
well address, anathemas against paper money, corporations, and 
the spirit of monopoly. When all these 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 refjiiire him 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 wnich 
he began, Mr. Van Buren means to continue attacking, systematic- 
ally, the banks of the states, and to erect on their ruins, that great 


government bank, begun by his predecessor, and which he is the 
.lonored instrument selected to complete. The next proof which 
I shall offer is supplied by Mr. Van Buren's inaugural address, 
from which I request permission of the senate lo read the following 
extract : — 

" 'In receiving from the people the sacred trust twice confijded 
to my illustrious predecessor, and which he has discharged' so 
faithfully and so well, I know that I can not expect to perform the 
arduous task with equal ability and success. But, linked as I have 
been in his counsels, a daily witness of his exclusive and unsurpassed 
devotion to his country's welfare, agreeing with him in sentiments 
which his countrymen have warmly supported, and permitted to 
partake largehj of his confidence, I may hope that somewhat of the 
same cheering approbation will be found to attend upon my path.' 

" Here we find Mr. Van Buren distinctly avowing, what the 
American people well knew before, that he had been united in the 
counsels of General Jackson ; that he had agreed with him in sen- 
timents, and that he had partaken largely of his confidence. This 
intimacy and confidential intercourse could not have existed with- 
out the concurrence of Mr. Van Buren in all those leading and 
prominent measures of his friend, which related to the establish- 
ment of a government bank, the overthrow of the bank of the 
United States, the attack upon the state institutions, and the denun- 
ciation of the paper currency, the spirit of monopoly, and corpo- 
rations. Is it credible that General Jackson should have aimed at 
the accomplishment of all these objects, and entertained all these 

sentiments, without JNIr. Van Buren's participation ? 

* * * # # # * 

" 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 Mis- 
souri, who sits near me [Mr. Linn], to the senator from Missis- 
sippi, who sits furthest from me [Mr. Walker], to the senator from 
Alabama [Mr. King], and to the whole of the administration sen- 
ators, if such was not the expectation of all of them? Was there 
ever an occasion in which a new administration had so fine an op- 
portunity 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 em- 
brace it. He had shared too largely in the confidence of his pred- 
ecessor, agreed too fully with him in sentiments, had been too 
much united with him in his counsels, to rescind an order which 
constituted so essential a part of the system which had been de- 
liberately adopted to overthrow the state banks." 

The order of Mr. Van Buren, that nothing but specie should be 
received from the people, in paying their dues to the treasury, when 


no specie could be had, and his recommendation of a bankrupt 
law that should walk over within the lines of state jurisdiction, to 
wind up the state banks, were justly regarded as a most offensive 
exhibition of his obsequiousness to the will of his predecessor, and 
of a determination to clear the way by force for the establishment of 
a government bank, on the ruins of all other banks. Such was the 
fierceness of the war, that a bill was brought into the senate by 
Mr. Grundy, to suppress the only currency that was then univer- 
sally current — specie being out of the question — to wit, a few 
hundred thousand dollars of the old bank of the United States. 

" Sir [said Mr. Clay], if the bill had not been proposed by 
my old friend from Tennessee, I would say its author better de- 
served a penitentiary punishment, than those against whom it is 
directed. I remember to have heard of an illustrious individual, 
now in retirement [General Jackson], having, on some occasion, 
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." 

Mr. Clay went on to show, how such a government bank would 
confer boundless power on the national executive ; what unlimited 
discretion the plan proposed to confer on the secretary of the 
treasury ; how its practical operation would fill up the channels of 
circulation, and become the medium of trade, to the exclusion of 
all other currency ; what chances of speculation in brokerage it 
would afford to the agents and favorites of government ; how easy 
it would be for a chief-magistrate to abstract millions to gain an 
election, and himself have charge of the secret ; what temptations 
to enlarge issues, till nobody would know how much paper was 
out, and it should finally be discovered, that the World was full of 
it, and no specie to redeem it ' 

" All experience [said Mr. Clay] has demonstrated, that in 
banking operations, a much larger amount of paper can be kept 
out in circulation than the specie which it is necessary to retain in 
the vaults to meet it when presented for payment. The propor- 
tions which the same experience has ascertained to be entirely 
safe, are one of specie to three of paper. If, therefore, the exec- 
utive government had sixty millions of dollars accumulated at the 
port of New York, in the hands of the receiver-general, represented 
by sixty millions of government drafts in circulation, it would be 
known that twenty of that sixty millions would be sufficient to re- 
tain to meet any amount of drafts, which, in ordinary times, would 
be presented for payment. There would then remain forty mill- 


ions in the vaults, idle and unproductive, and of which no practi- 
cal 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 ex- 
isting administration. If the application of ten millions of that 
dormant capital could save, at some future day, a corrupt execu- 
tive from overthrow, can it be doubted, that the ten millions would 
be applied to preserve it in power ? Again, let us suppose some 
great exigency to arise : a season of war, creating severe financial 
pressure and embarrassment. Would not an issue of paper, 
founded upon and exceeding the specie in the vaults, in some 
such proportions as experience had demonstrated might be safely 
emitted, be authorized ? 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 unpopular office of imposing taxes 
and burdens, the discovery would be made, that the credit of the 
government was a sufficient basis whereupon to make emissions 
of paper money, to be redeemed when peace and prosperity re- 
turned. Then we should have the days of continental money, 
and of assignats, restored [***** 

" The system [said Mr. Clay] would control you. You could 
not control the system. * * * * * * 

"Assuming the downfall of the local banks — the inevitable con- 
sequence of the operations of this great government bank ; assu- 
ming, as I have shown would be the case, that the government 
would monopolize the 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 tre- 
mendous power would be wielded by the secretary of the treasury, 
acting under the immediate commands of the president of the 
United States. Here would be a perfect union of the sword and 
the purse ; here would be no imaginary, but an actual, visible, tan- 
gible, consolidation of the moneyed power. Who or what could 
withstand it ? The states themselves would become suppliants at 
the feet of the executive for a portion of those paper emissions, of 
the power to issue which they had been stripped, and which he 
now exclusively possessed. ***** 

Look ! " How admirably did the whole system, during the 
forty years of its existence [bank of the United States], move and 
work ! And on the two unfortunate occasions of its ceasing to ex- 
ist, how quickly did the business and transactions of the country 
run into wild disorder and utter confusion ! * * * * 

" I have been curious, Mr. President, to know whence this idea 
of receivers-general was derived. It has been supposed to have 
been borrowed from France. It required all the power of that 
most extraordinary man that ever lived, Napoleon Bonaparte, when 


he was in his meridian greatness, to displace the farmers-general, 
and to substitute in their place the receivers-general. The new 
system requires, I think I have heard it stated, something like one 
hundred thousand employees to have it executed. And, not\vith« 
standing the modesty of the infant promises of this new project, 
I have no doubt that ultimately 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 first, and the Bourbons afterward, 
were pleased with the immense patronage which it gave them. 
They liked to have one hundred thousand dependants to add 
strength to the throne, which had been recently constructed or re- 
ascended. I thought, however, that the learned chairman of the 
committee of finance, must have had some other besides the 
French model for his receivers-general ; and, accordingly, looking 
into Smith's history of his own state, I found, that, when it was 
yet a colony, some ceniury and a half ago, and when its present 
noble capital still retained the name of New Amsterdam, the his- 
torian says : ' Among the principal laws enacted at this session, we 
may mention that for establishing the revenue, which was drawn 
into precedent. The sums raised by it were made payable into 
the hands of receivers-general, and issued by the governor's war- 
rant. By this means the governor became, for a season, inde- 
pendent of the people, and hence we find frequent instances of the 
assemblies contending with hiin for the discharge of debts to pri- 
vate persons, contracted on the faith of the government.' The 
then governor of the colony was a man of great violence of tem- 
per, 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 last 
year, was at this session continued five years longer than was origi- 
nally intended. This was rendering the governor independent of 
the people. For, at that day, the assembly had no treasure, but 
the amount of all taxes went, of course, into the hands of the re- 
ceiver-general, who was appointed by the crown. Out of this 
fund, moneys were only issuable by the governor's warrant, so that 
every officer in the government, from Mr. Blaithwait, who drew 
annually five per centum out of the revenue, as auditor-general, 
down to the meanest servant of the public, became dependent, 
solely, on the governor. And hence we find the house, at the 
close of every session, humbly addressing his excellency, for the 
trirting wages of their own clerk.' And, Mr. President, if this 
measure should imhappily pass, the day may come, when the sen- 
ate of the United States will have humbly to implore some future 
president of the United States to grant it money to pay the wages 
of its own sergeant-at-arms, and doorkeeper." * • » 


The earliest and most remarkable instance of sub-tresiSUTy in 
history, and the most graphic picture of the system, is found in the 
47th chapter of Genesis, from the loth to the 26th verses, under 
which the treasury of Pharaoh first swallowed up all the money of 
the people ; next, their cattle were taken ; then, their lands ; last 
of all, they sold themselves into perpetual bondage, to render to 
Pharaoh, in perpetuity, one fifth of the products of their labor ; 
and they remained in slavery for ever afterward. When Spain ex- 
hausted the mines of South America, and in the end drew forth 
more than a thousand millions of bullion into the royal coffers, it 
was all done by 5z/6-treasurers, W'hile the people were taxed, worn 
out, and kept under. Sub-treRsurers are always in favor of direct 
taxation, and that is the only way to maintain the system. Rome 
was free till the system of sub-tre^iSUTy was introduced. So was 
it in Greece. So has it been in every country that has lost its 
freedom. The peculiarity of a s?^J-treasury system is, to separate 
the government from the people, to raise it above them, to make 
it independent, and to make the people dej)e?ide?it — slaves. There 
is no sympathy between the parties, but a necessary and perpetual 
hostility of interests. 

Mr. Clay concluded this speech — one of the greatest and hap- 
piest efforts of his life — as follows : — 

" I am admonished, sir, by my exhausted strength, and by, J 
fear, your more exhausted patience, to hasten to a close. Mr. 
President, a great, novel, and untried measure is perseveringly 
urged upon the acceptance of Congress. That it is pregnant with 
tremendous consequences, for good or evil, is undeniable, and ad- 
mitted by all. We firmly believe that it will be fatal to the best 
interests of this country, and ultimately subversive of its liberties. 
You. who have been greatly disappointed in other measures of 
equal promise, can only hope, in the doubttul 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 Mississippi, its condemnation has been loudly 
thundered forth. In every intervening election, the administration 
has been defeated, or its former majorities neutralized. Maine has 
spoken ; New York, Pennsylvania, JNIaryland, Ohio, Rhode Island, 
Mississippi, and Michigan, all these states, in tones and terms 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 once through her legislature. Friends and 


foes of the administration have united in condemning it. And, at 
the very moment when I am addressing you, a large meeting of 
the late supporters of the administration, headed by the dis- 
tinguished gentleman who presided in the electoral college which 
gave the vote of that patriotic state to President Van Buren, are 
assembling in Philadelphia, to protest solemnly against the passage 
of this bill. Is it right that, under such circumstances, 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 sanc- 
tion to the measure ? I say it in no disrespectful or taunting sense, 
but we are entitled, according to the latest expressions of the pop- 
ular will, and in virtue of manifestations of opinion, deliberately 
expressed by state legislatures, 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 implore 
it to forbear, forbear, forbear ! I appeal to the instructed senators. 
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 general 
satisfaction ? Will that sacred trust be fulfilled, if the known sen- 
timents of large and respectable communities are despised and con- 
temned by those whom they have sent here ? I call upon the 
honorable senator from Alabama [Mr. King], with whom I have 
so 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 bury deep and 
for ever the character of the partisan, rise up patriots and states- 
men, break the vile chains of party, throw the fragments to the 
winds, and feel the proud satisfaction that we have made but a 
small sacrifice to the paramount obligations which we owe out 
common country." 

Notwhhstanding the fixed and resolute purpose of jNIr. Van Bu- 
ren and his advisers, acting, as supposed, under the dictation of 
his predecessor, or bound by fealty to fulfil pledges to that author- | 
ity, the exposures made of the novelty and dangerous character 
of this great experiment, struck the public mind with alarm, and 
for a while held the execution of the project in suspense. But, I 
as has been seen, the abandonment of this object would disappoint 
the plan and labor of years. All that had been done by General 
Jackson, in breaking down the currency system of the country, 
was to prepare the way for a treasury and government bank. It 
can not be denied, that this course of preparation had been to the 
nation what General Jackson, in his message of 1835, allowed to 
bear on public " convenience.^^ It was in fact a tremendous 


ordeal. Was the iron will of the retired chieftain to be disap- 
pointed ? Was the mantle which he had cast behind him on the 
shoulders of his own anointed one, to be torn off, and trampled 
under foot ? The pertinacity with which this great purpose, this 
consummation of the work of many years, this dear and long- 
cherished scheme, was pushed by Mr. Van Buren, to his personal 
peril, to his final ruin, is a striking exemplification of the functions 
of an " honored instrument," alias " tool," " to carry out the 
principles and policy" of his predecessor, to which he had pub- 
licly and solemnly vowed in the acceptance of his nomination in 
1835. The responses which came back from the wide domain 
of the republic, on the full disclosure of this scheme — the pre- 
monitory symptoms — were not very encouraging. Pauses, vacil- 
lations, fears were betrayed, in the mind of him who had been 
"the honored instrument" of thus shocking the mind of the na- 
tion by a proposal, which, so far as understood, was most remote 
from meeting with approbation. But it was the goal marked out 
eight years before, to reach which, the best interests of a great, 
confiding, patient people, had been walked over with iron heel, 
and left trodden in the dust. 

The scheme, as before seen, was first brought forward at the 
extra session of Congress, in 1837, convened for that especial pur- 
pose, when it was expected the bill would be passed, and the de- 
bate was not finally closed till 1840. In January, 1840, when 
the bill was about to become a law, Mr. Clay — not with any hope 
of arresting the measure, for the votes were marshalled, and the 
purpose sealed — but to sustain his protest to the last, and dis- 
charge his duty to the country, dehvered another speech upon the 
subject, recapitulating his former arguments, au>i suggesting some 
new thoughts. 

It was at this session, that Mr. Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, 
came out with his theory on the wages of labor. " The gentle- 
man from Pennsylvania," said Mr. Clay, "has put the case of 
two nations, in one of which the amount of its currency shall be 
double what it is in the other, and, as he contends, the prices of 
all property will be double in the former nation of what they are 
in the latter." It matters little in point of justice to him who pro- 
pounded this theory, in what form it is set forth. The principle 
and the object can not be disguised. The avowed object of the 
administration and its advisers at that time, was to suppress the 
paper medium of the country, and introduce a metallic currency ; 

Vol. II.— 4 


and the independent or sub-treasury, was to be the means of ar-.- 
compHshing the end, although, as shown by Mr. Clay, it must 
necessarily fail, and itself establish a paper medium of a most 
dangerous tendency. As in a sound paper currency, there is 
allowed to be three to one of the specie basis, the suppression of 
paper will reduce the amount of currency by the proportional dif- 
ference. It is allowed by the theory, that every species of prop- 
erty, and the wages of labor, must fall in the same proportion ; 
but its advocates say, that, when everything is reduced to that 
level, the difference is merely nominal, and it will not only be 
equally well, but better for all parties. 

There is, certainly, some plausibility in this theory. But the 
difficulty is in reducing it to practice, because it fails to consider 
the relative position of American capital and labor to the labor 
and capital of other parts of the world, which is illustrated in a 
subsequent chapter. If the reasoning in the place here referred to, 
be sound, it demolishes this theory, and shows that nothing could 
be more alarming to the American laborer, nothing more fatal to 
American freedom, than its proposed object. The high prices of 
American capital and labor are the citadel of freedom, and with 
their fall, freedom falls. He who seeks to pull down one, lays 
violent hands upon the other. It was for want of consideration 
of this relation of prices to freedom, and of freedom to despot- 
ism — it might, perhaps, be added, an ignorance of political econ- 
omy — that proposed and advocated a measure, which was sup- 
posed and allowed to involve a large reduction — say, fifty per 
cent, — in the prices of American property, and in the wages of 
American labor. It would be mild enough, because it is exactly 
true, to say — it was treason to the country ! 

The following are some of Mr. Clay's thoughts on this point : — 

" The proposed substitution of an exclusive metallic currency 
to the mixed medium with which we have been so long familiar, is 
forbidden by the principles of eternal justice. Assuming the cur- 
rency of the country to consist of two thirds of paper and one of 
specie ; and assuming, also, that the money of a country, what- 
ever may be its component parts, regulates all values, and expres- 
ses the true amount which the debtor has to pay to his creditor, 
the effect of the change upon that relation, and upon the property 
of the country, would be most ruinous. All property would be 
reduced in value to one third of its present nominal amount, and 
every debtor would, in effect, have to pay three times as much as 
he had contracted for. The pressure of our foreign debt would 


be three times as great as it is, wliile the six hundred millions, 
which is about the sum now probably due to the banks from the 

people, would be multiplied into eighteen hundred millions ! 


"Have gentleman reflected upon the consequences of their sys- 
tem of depletion ? I have already stated, that the country is 
borne down by a weight of debt. If the currency be greatly 
diminished, as beyond all example it has been, how is this debt to 
be extinguished? Property, the resource on which the debtor 
relied for his payment, will decline in value, and it may happen 
that a man, who honestly contracted debt, on the faith of property 
which had a value at the time fully adequate to warrant the debt, 
will find himself stripped of all his property, and his debt remain 
unextinguished. The gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Bu- 
chanan] has put the case of two nations, in one of which the 
amount of its currency shall be double what it is in the other, and, 
as he contends, the prices of all property will be double in the 
former nation of what they are in the latter. If this be true of 
two nations, it must be equally true of one, whose circulating me- 
dium is at one period double what it is at another. Now, as the 
friends of the bill argue, we have been, and yet are in this infla- 
ted state ; our currency has been double, or, in something like 
that proportion, of what was necessary, and we must come down 
to the lowest standard. Do they not perceive that inevitable ruin 
to thousands must be the necessary consequence ? A man, for 
example, owning property to the value of five thousand dollars, 
contracts a debt for five thousand dollars. By the reduction of 
one half of the currency of the country, his property in effect be- 
comes reduced to the value of two thousand five hundred dollars. 
But his debt undergoes no corresponding reduction. He gives 
up all his property, and remains still in debt two thousand five 
hundred dollars. Thus this measure will operate on the debtor 
class of the nation, always the weaker class, and that which, for 
that reason, most needs the protection of government. 

" But if the effect of this hard-money policy upon the debtor 
class be injurious, it is still more disastrous, if possible, on the la- 
boring classes. Enterprise will be checked or stopped, employ- 
ment will become difficult, and the poorer classes will be subject 
to the greatest privations and distresses. Heretofore it has been 
one of the pretensions and boasts of the dominant party, that they 
sought to elevate the poor by depriving the rich of undue advan- 
tages. Now their policy is, to reduce the wages of labor, and this 
is openly avowed ; and it is argued by them, that it is necessary 
to reduce the wages of American labor to the low standard of Eu- 
ropean labor, in order to enable the American manufacturer to 
enter into a successful competition with the European manufac- 
turer in the sale of their respective fabrics. Thus is this dom? 


nant party perpetually changing, one day cajoling the poor, and 
fulminating against the rich ; and the next, cajoling the rich, and 
fulminating against the poor. It was but yesterday that we heard 
that all who were trading on borrowed capital, ought to break. It 
was but yesterday we heard denounced the long-established policy 
of the country, by which, it was alleged, the poor were made 
poorer, and the rich were made richer. 

" Mr. President, of all the subjects of national policy, not one 
ought to be touched with so much delicacy as that of the wages, 
in other words, the bread, of the poor man. In dwelling, as I 
have often done, with inexpressible satisfaction upon the many ad- 
vantages of our country, there is not one that has given me more 
delight than the high price of manual labor. There is not one 
which indicates more clearly the prosperity of the mass of the com- 
munity. In all the features of human society, there are none, I 
think, which more decisively display the general welfare, tlian a 
permanent high rate of wages, and a permanent high rate of inter- 
est. Of course, I do not mean those excessive high rates, of 
temporary existence, which result from sudden and unexpected 
demands for labor or capital, and which may, and generally do, 
evince some unnatural and extraordinary state of things ; but I 
mean a settled, steady, and durable high rate of wages of labor, 
and interest upon money. Such a state demonstrates activity and 
profits in all the departments of business. It proves that the employer 
can afford to give high wages to the laborer, in consequence of the 
profits of his business, and the borrower high interest to the lender, 
in consequence of the gain which he makes by the use of capital. 
On the contrary, in countries where business is dull and languish- 
ing, and all the walks of society are full, the small profits that are 
made will not justify high interest or high wages." 

The systematic and destructive attack, that was made on the 
commercial habits of the people of the United States by the Jack- 
son regime, as developed in this and the preceding chapter, and 
which remains yet more perfectly to be disclosed — vastly compre- 
hensive and fearfully ruinous in its operations, entailing upon the 
country at least an age of adversity, however soon the remedy may 
be applied — has raised a new question in political economy peculiar 
to the position of the people of the United States, in their political 
and commercial relations to other parts of the world — more espe- 
cially to Europe. The secret of this question has never yet been 
laid open to common apprehension, nor, perhaps, has it been dis- 
tinctly stated. In all the debates which, for a long course of years, 
this destructive system, introduced by General Jackson, has exci- 
ted, it has been felt and declared, that freedom was concerned m 


a policy that should tend to depress the value of property and the 
wages of labor ; but the cause, the quo modo, how it is concerned, 
how it operates, so far as the author of this work has observed, has 
never been shown. It will be found comprehensively stated in the 
twelfth chapter of this volume ; but, as the application of the prin- 
ciple is especially pertinent here, and may possibly serve to cast 
some light on the subject now under consideration, it is thought 
proper to make some use of it in this place. 

It is suggested above, that it is a question peculiar to the United 
States. For practical purposes, statesmen and commercial men 
have long felt its importance ; but as a question of pohtical econ- 
omy, or science, it has never been debated. The destructive 
regime, now in view, has drawn it forward, and must enforce its 
consideration. The fact of there having been a difference of prices 
in European capital and labor, as compared with those of Ameri- 
can capital and labor, was necessarily observed, while the cause or 
causes have never attracted an equal attention. The secret has, 
in fact, been hidden from most minds. Not even statesmen have 
troubled themselves with it as a question of political economy. 
They have indeed frequently announced, that freedom was con- 
cerned in it ; it was impossible they should not see and feel it ; 
but they have never explained how and why. 

In the chapter above referred to, the high prices of American 
capital and labor, as compared with those of Europe, are repre- 
sented as identical with freedom — as its own price and prerogative ; 
that this difference is not an accident, that can disappear, and free- 
dom remain ; but that it is essential to freedom. It is not true to 
say, that the values of European capital and labor are real, and 
those of the United States fictitious, though there is a difference 
of about half between them. It is the two states of political soci- 
ety that make the difference ; and so long as they remain, this dif- 
ference must remain. The wages of labor in Europe are not fixed 
oy the laborers. They have no voice in it — are not parties to the 
arrangement — but are compelled to work for a bare subsistence — 
that being often cruelly and inhumanly insufficient. The result is, 
Jiat the avails of this cheap and forced labor, in every form of its 
products and of wealth, can be afforded cheaper, apart from the 
neavy taxes imposed upon them by expensive and tyrannical gov- 
ernments ; and under all these exactions, money capital in Europe, 
thus acquired, does not cost probably more than half as much as 
money made in the United States. Hence, six per cent, interest 


on the latter capital, is only equal to three per cent, on the former ; 
and as the value of money is measured by the interest that can be 
obtained for it, it is seen, that money in the United States is worth 
about twice as much as in Europe. The price of labor here is 
about three to one of the average price in Europe, because laborers 
in the United States have a voice in determining their wages. The 
terms are not — work at a given price, or starve. If wages are not 
satisfactory in one place, they go to another ; if not in one calling, 
they choose a second ; and if no employer will give enough, ac- 
cording to their estimate of their own services, wanting capital to 
set up for themselves, as a last resort they can always go to the 
unseated lands of the west, and be independent. There is always 
a virtual independence in their position, and their labor is never 
forced. Hence, when the labor of the country is protected, it will 
always command a fair price — not only sufficient for subsistence, 
but to give a chance, by frugality and economy, to rise in the world, 
and acquire wealth. It is the prerogative of freedom, and identi- 
fied with it. 

But this state of things supposes an adequate protective system, 
as is shown in another part of this work, and protection is indis- 
pensable to it. It is shown elsewhere, that an adequate protective 
policy saves to the country at least an average of fifty per cent, of 
the costs of the articles protected, which is distributed among all 
classes, one fraction of which goes to reduce the prices of such 
articles, another to sustain the wages of labor, and so on. This 
sustentation of the wages of labor effected by a protective policy, 
is the point wherein American freedom is defended against the en- 
croachments of European despotism. The wages of labor being 
high, money and other forms of wealth produced by labor, cost 
more than in Europe, and are consequently worth more. The 
value of every species of property is sustained by the operation of 
the same principle. It is not unnaturally high, but just where it 
ought to be, and must be, as the concomitant of freedom. With- 
out a protective policy, prices would at once go down to the Euro- 
pean standard, labor would be oppressed, and freedom lost. Gov- 
ernments are expensive and oppressive, all the world over, just in 
proportion as the wages of labor are below what freedom requires ; 
and it is when the governments extort, in various modes of taxation, 
a moiety, more or less, of the rightful property of laborers, that 
they are kept poor, humiliated, and enslaved. 

Assuming 100 as the cost of American capital, and 100 as the 


price of American labor, under an adequate system of protection 
to both, the average cost of European capital is about 67, and the 
average price of European labor about 33, as ascertained by the 
best information. This makes the joint value of European capital 
and labor 100, and that of American capital and labor 200. The 
difference, that is to say, fifty per cent, goes into the exchequer- 
of European governments, by their various modes of taxation, to 
support the implements of tyranny, orders of nobility, religious 
establishments, armies, navies, and all the paraphernalia of the 
regal and monarchical conditions of society. But as the govern- 
ment of the United States costs nothing, but is supported by im- 
posts which constitute a properly-adjusted protective system, being 
itself a fraction of this moiety saved to the country by the protective 
policy, the other fraction saved, being the chief part of it, all goes 
to the people directly, and is distributed among all classes, of which 
the laborer always gets his full share, and is more benefited than 
any other class, first, by the sustentation of his wages, and next, 
in that he obtains the articles protected, which are necessary to 
him, at a cheaper rate, because they are rescued from foreign tax- 
ation, and come to him at a fair price. 

It will be seen, by this view, that the aggregate costs of society, 
capital, and labor, are just about the same in Europe as in Amer- 
ica, in one region of civilization as in another. The difference is, 
that in Europe, government and its appurtenances absorb a. moiety 
of the avails of labor, whereas in the United States labor, under a 
system of adequate protection, realizes its own and full reward, as 
the prerogative of freedom. Here all the expenses of the general 
government are defrayed by the operation of the protective system, 
so that the people are relieved from this important item of taxation. 
Here, by the same means, money capital, and property of every de- 
scription, maintain a freedom value — a fair price — and every man 
has his rights. Whereas, in Europe, government and its appen- 
dages are an incubus on the bosom of the people. Money there 
is not worth more than two thirds of its value in the United States, 
the wages are not so high by two thirds, and every species of 
property is alike encumbered. 

These brief remarks on this great and important question, in 
some respects new, if not altogether so, as to the principle involved, 
will be seen to be pertinent in this place, as they are connected 
with the wages of labor, the topic in debate by Mr. Clay, which 
occasioned this digression. It was contended by Mr. Buchanan 


and other opponents of Mr. Clay, friends of the then existing ad- 
ministration, that the reduction of the wages of labor to which their 
policy tended, and which must be its inevitable result, would be 
merely nominal, and equally good in the end. But besides the 
injustice to all debtor classes, and the ruin of many, as exhibited 
oy ^^r. Clay, the direct tendency of the measures proposed, was 
to identify the policy with the European system, a view of which 
and its operations are given above. If the American laborer can 
not retain his wages, he loses his freedom. Both stand or fall to- 
gether. It is not true, that the reduction of the wages of labor, as 
averred, would be merely nominal. It would be an abatement, a 
destruction of its rights. The subject of debate at this time was 
the currency question ; but it will be seen, that the w^ages of labor 
are necessarily connected with the protective policy, and the views 
introduced here could not be given, without recognising that rela- 
tion. And Mr. Clay, in this debate, was forced to come to a con- 
sideration of this subject, as the following remarks will show : — 

" We are told by the president of the United States, in his mes- 
sage at the opening of the session, that a great moneyed power 
exists in London, that exerts a powerful influence on this country, 
and that it is the result of the credit system. » « * * 

"But, sir, we must look to higher and much more potent causes 
than the operations of any bank, foreign or domestic, for the lively 
interest which is felt in this country, in the monetary transactions 
of England. In England, the credit system, as it is called, exists 
in a much more extensive degree than in this country; and, if it 
were true of the nature of that system, as is alleged, to render one 
country dependent upon another, why should not England be 
more dependent upon us, than we upon England? The real 
cause of our dependence arises out of the unfavorable balance of 
our foreign trade. We import too much, and export too little. 
We buy too much abroad, make too little at home. If we would 
shake off this degrading foreign dependence, we must produce 
more, or buy less. Increase our productions, in all the variety of 
forms in which our industry can be employed ; augment the prod- 
ucts of our soil, extend our manufactures, give new stimulus to 
our tonnage and fishing interests, sell more than we buy, get out 
of debt and keep our of debt to the foreigner, and he will no longer 
exert an influence upon our destiny. 

"And this unfavorable balance of our foreign trade is wholly 
independent of, and unconnected with, the nature or the character 
of the currency of the country, whether it be exclusively metalKc, 
or mixed with paper and the precious metals. England, in a great 
measure, by means of that credit or paper system, now so much 


denounced, has become the centre of the commerce, the exchanges, 
and the moneyed operations of the world. By the extent, variety, 
and perfection of her manufactures, she lays most nations that 
admit them freely, under contribution to her. And if we iiad no 
currency but specie, we should be just as much exposed to the 
moneyed power of London, or, which is the true state of the case, 
to the effects of an unfavorable balance of trade, as we now are. 
We should probably be more so, because a large portion of the 
specie of the country being in the vaults of a few depositaries, it 
would be easier then to obtain it for exportation, in the operations 
of commerce, than now, when it is dispersed among nine hundred 
or a thousand banks. What was our condition during the colonial 
state, when, with the exception of small amounts of government 
paper money, we had no currency but specie, and no banks? 
Were we not constantly and largely in debt to England? Was 
not our specie perpetually drained to obtain supplies of British 
goods? Do you not recollect that the subject of the British debts 
formed one of those matters which were embraced in the negotia- 
tions and treaty of peace, which terminated the revolutionary war? 
And that it was a topic of angry and protracted discussion long 
after, until it was finally arranged by Mr. Jay's treaty of 1794? 

"Look into the works of Doctor Franklin, in which there is more 
practical good sense to be found, than is to be met with in the same 
compass anywhere. He was the agent of Pennsylvania, from 
about the middle of the last century until the breaking out of the 
revolutionary war, and a part of the time the agent, also, of the 
colonies of Georgia and Massachusetts. His correspondence 
shows, that the specie of the colonies was constantly flowing from 
them for the purchase of British goods, insomuch that the colonies 
were left absolutely destitute of a local currency; and one of the 
main objects of his agency was to obtain the sanction of the parent- 
country to those issues of paper money, which the necessities of 
Pennsylvania compelled her to make. The issue was strenuously 
opposed by the merchants engaged in the American trade, on ac- 
count of the difficulty which it created in making collections and 
remittances home. So great was that drain of specie, that we 
know that Virginia and other colonies were constrained to adopt 
tobacco as a substitute for money. 

" The principal cause, therefore, of the influence of the moneyed 
power of London over this country, is to be found in the vast ex- 
tent of our deahngs with her. The true remedy is, to increase 
our manufactures and purchase less of hers, and to augment our 
exports by all the means in our power, and to diminish our imports 
as much as possible. We must increase our productions, or econ- 
omize much more than we have done. New Jersey, before the 
revolution, being much pressed for one hundred thousand pounds 
sterling, Doctor Franklin proposed a plan, by which she could in 


one year make up that sum. The plan was this: she was in the 
habit of importing annually from England merchandise to the 
amount of two hundred thousand pounds. He recommended that 
tiie ladies should buy only half the amount of silks, calicoes, teas, 
and so forth, during the year, which they had been in the habit of 
consuming , and in this way, by saving, the colony would make 
the required sum of one hundred thousand pounds. If we would, 
for a few years, import only half the amount from England that 
we have been in the habit of doing, we should no longer feel the 
influence of the London money power. 

" What people ever consented to increase their own burdens 
unnecessarily? The effect of this measure is, by exacting specie 
exclusively from the people, and paying it out to the official corps 
and the public creditor, to augment the burdens of the people, and 
to swell the emoluments of office. It is an insult to the under- 
standing and judgment of the enlightened people of the United 
States, to assert that they can approve such a measure. 

" No true patriot can contemplate the course of the party in power 
without the most painful and mortified feelings. They began some 
years ago their war on the bank of the United States. It was 
dangerous to liberty; it had failed to fulfil the purposes of its insti- 
tution ; it did not furnish a sound currency, although, the sun, in 
all its course, never shone upon a better. In short, it was a mon- 
ster, which was condemned to death, and it was executed accord- 
ingly. During the progress of that war, the state banks were the 
constant theme of praise, in speech and song, of the dominant 
party. They were the best institutions in the world, free from all 
danger to public liberty, capable of carrying on the exchanges of 
the country, and of performing the financial duties to government, 
and of supplying a far better currency for the people than the bank 
of the United States. We told you that the state banks would 
not do, without the co-operation of a bank of the United States. 
We told you that you would find them a weak league — a mere 
fleet of open boats tied together by a hickory withe, and which the 
first storm would disperse and upset. But you scorned all our 
warnings, and continued, year after year, to pufF and praise the 
operations of these banks. You had the boldness, in tlie face of 
this abused nation, to aver that the country had been supplied by 
them with a better currency, and better exchanges, than it had 
been by the bank of the United States. Well, by your own meas- 
ures, by your treasury circular, distribution of the surplus, and so 
forth, you accelerated the catastrophe of the suspension of the 
banks. You began with promises to the people of a better cur- 
rency, better times, more security to civil liberty; and you end 
with no currency at all, the worst possible times, an increase of 
executive power, and a consequent increase of danger to civil lib- 


erty. You began with promises to fill the pockets of the people, 
and you end by emptying theirs and filling your own." 

Mr. Clay went on to show, in more minute details, and with 
even more effective illustrations, than in his former speeches, that 
the sub-treasury scheme was the plan of a treasury-bank, and must 
necessarily operate as such, and concluded his remarks upon this 
point, as follows : — 

" I know that it has been argued, and will be argued again, that 
at all times, since the commencement of the government, the prac- 
tice of the treasury has been, to issue its drafts upon the public 
depositaries ; that these drafts have not heretofore circulated as 
money ; and that if they now do, it is an incident which attaches 
no blame to the government. 

"But heretofore these drafts were issued upon banks, and the 
holders of them passed to their credit with the banks, or received 
payment in bank-notes. The habit of the country — and habit was 
a great thing — was to use bank-notes. Moreover, there were bank- 
notes of every kind in use — those which were local, and those 
which were general, in their credit and circulation. Now, having 
no bank of the United States in existence, there are no bank-notes 
which maintain the same value, and command the public confi- 
dence, throughout the Union. You create, therefore, an inexora- 
ble necessity for the use of government drafts as a medium of gen- 
eral circulation, and argue from a state of things when no such 
necessity existed ! 

" The protestation of the friends of the bill in this chamber, the 
denunciations of its opponents, and the just horror which the peo- 
ple entertain of a government bank, may prompt the secretary of 
the treasury, slowly and slyly, to lift the veil which masks its true 
features. A government bank may not suddenly burst upon us, 
but there it is, embodied in this bill ; and it is not the least objec- 
tion to the measure, that it depends upon the discretion of a sec- 
retary of the treasury to retard or accelerate the commencement 
of its operation at his pleasure. Let the re-election of the present 
chief magistrate be secured, and you will soon see the bank dis- 
closing its genuine character. But, thanks be to God, there is a 
day of reckoning at hand. 

" There is one man [Mr. Van Buren], and I lament to say, from 
the current of events, and the progress of executive and party power, 
but one man at present in the country, who can bring relief to it, 
and bind up the bleeding wounds of the people. He, of all men 
in the nation, ought to feel as a parent should feel, most sensibly, 
the distresses and sufferings of his family. But looking to his 
public course, and his official acts, I am constrained to say, that 
he surveys unconcerned the wide-spread ruin, and bankruptcy, and 


wretchedness, before him, without emotion, and without sympathy. 
While all the elements of destruction are at work, and the storm 
is raging, the chief magistrate, standing in the midst of his unpro- 
tected fellow-citizens, on the distinguished position of honor and 
confidence to which their suffrages have devoted him, deliberately 
wraps around himself the folds of his India-rubber cloak, and lift- 
ing his umbrella over his head, tells them, drenched and shivering 
as they are, under the beating rain, and hail, and snow, falling upon 
them, that he means to take care of himself and the official corps, 
and that they are in the habit of expecting too much from govern- 
ment, and must look out for their own shelter, and security, and 
salvation ! 

" Now, sir, put this government bank into operation, and who 
are to be charged with the administration of its operations ? The 
secretary of the treasury, the treasurer of the United States, the 
register and comptroller of the treasurv, and the receivers-general, 
and so forth — every one of them holding his office at the pleasure 
and mercy of the president — every one of them, perhaps, depend- 
ing for his bread upon the will of the president — every one of them 
taught, by sad experience, to know that his safest course is to 
mould his opinions, and shape his conduct, so as to please the 
president — every one of them knowing perfectly, that, if dismissed, 
he is without the possibility of any remedy or redress whatever. 
In such a deplorable state of things, this government bank will be 
the mere bank of the president of the United States. He will be 
the president, cashier, and teller. Yes, sir, this complete subjec- 
tion of all the subordinate officers of the government to the will of 
the president, will make him sole director, president, cashier, and 
teller, of this government bank. The so-much-dreaded union of 
the purse and the sword will at last be consummated, and the 
usurpation, by which the public deposites, in 1833, were removed 
by the advancement of the one, and the removal of another sec- 
retary of the treasury, will not only be finally legalized and 
sanctioned, but the enormity of the danger of that precedent will 
be transcended by a deliberate act of the Congress of the United 
States ! 

'' Mr. President, for ten long years we have been warring against 
the alarming growth of executive power ; but, although we have 
been occasionally cheered, it has been constantly advancing, and 
never receding. You may talk as you please about bank expan- 
sions. There has been no pernicious expansion in this country 
like that of executive power; and, unlike the operations of banks, 
this power never has any periods of contraction. You may de- 
nounce, as you please, the usurpations of Congress. There has 
been no usurpation but that of the executive, which has been both 
of the powers of other co-ordinate departments of this government, 


and of the slates. There scarcely remains any power in this 
government but that of the president. He suggests, originates, 
controls, checks everything. The insatiable spirit of the Stuarts, 
for power and prerogative, was brought upon our American throne 
on the fourth of March, 1829. It came under all the usual false 
and hypocritical pretences and disguises, of love of the people, de- 
sire of reform, and diffidence of power. The Scotch dynasty 
still continues. We have had Charles the First, and now we have 
Charles the Second. But I again thank God, that our deliverance 
is not distant; and that, on the 4th of March, 1S41, a great and 
glorious revolution, without blood and without convulsion, will be 

This bill became a law at this (first) session of the 26th Con- 
gress, 1S40, by a vote of 124 to 107 in the house of representa- 
tives, and 24 to 18 in the Senate ; and one of the first acts of the 
27th Congress, elected whh General (William H.) Harrison, in 
the great political revolution of 1840, was to repeal it, when it had 
been in operation about a year. Nothing contributed so much to 
the downfall of the Jackson regime, as the audacity of this 

The importance of the subject of currency seems to require 
some remarks and facts, which rather appertain to the functions of 
a political economist, than to the debates of statesmen. 

Money is the medium of trade, or the means by which trade is 
carried on ; currency is that which passes for money, and, for 
the purposes of trade, is money. It is indispensable to the credit 
of a common currency, that it be always convertible into specie 
on demand. Otherwise, its credit is instantly impaired, and it 
sinks just in proportion to the doubts cast over the prospects of 
redemption — because gold and silver, weighed in the scales, and 
assayed by common laws, are the universal test. No legislation 
can force credit into a currency ; — this truth is settled by expe- 
rience. Many governments have tried it, but without avail. 
France tried it in her assignats ; Great Britain has tried it in va- 
rious modes ; America tried it in continental money ; despots have 
tried it ; but it always fails. The reason is, that gold and silver, 
weighed, is the only common currency of the world. This test 
finds its way everywhere, into all countries, and to all currencies, 
in spite of legislation, or the will of despots. 

It is an error to suppose, that the value of gold and silver con- 
sists in the fact, that they are money. On the contrary, they are 


appropriated to this use, on account of their superior value and 
great demand for innumerable purposes of utility, art, and orna- 
ment, arising from their peculiar and excellent qualities. It is 
estimated that trade employs about one sixth or one seventh of the 
gold and silver in the world in exchange as money. On this ac- 
count there can never be a want of money, inasmuch as gold 
and silver, being worth more for purposes of trade, than in any 
other use, they will always come forth from their other forms, 
when trade invokes them, in a sufficient quantity to supply the 
demand. What is commonly called scarcity of money arises from 
improvidence in some quarter. If a country wants money, it 
arises from an inadequate protective policy. The money has gone 
off to settle balances. The improvidence of an individual leads 
to the same result. It is not because there is not gold and silver 
enough in the world. There is always some five or six times 
more than the uses of trade require, and if trade be prudently 
managed, it will always be at hand. Any party, whether an indi- 
vidual person, or a nation, that is in the habit of buying in excess 
of sales, must expect a dearth of the precious metals. 

The constitution of the United States has wisely ordered, that 
" no state shall make anything but gold and silver coins a tender 
in payment of debts." The effect, and doubtless the design of 
this rule, is, to keep the way open for the only legitimate test for 
all currencies, viz., gold and silver, weighed in the scales. The 
constitution itself goes no further than the test of coins, which is 
imperfect ; but the aim of government in the mint assays, is to 
keep the coins as near as possible to the test of the scales, which 
is near enough for all practical purposes, though seldom exact. 
Sound policy would require, that the legal coins, thus provided, 
should rather be under than over their nominal value, to bar ex- 
portation as an article of trade. If in a slight degree over their 
nominal value, they will be bought up and exported for profit, as 
fast as the mint turns them out. This was the effect of the gold 
bill passed under the administration of General Jackson. An 
affectation of being over-honest with the people, robbed the coun- 
try. It was a want of sagacity. 

Some aver, that the constitutional tender, gold and silver coins, 
is the only constitutional currency. This can not be maintained, 
first, because the rule itself grows out of the fact, and is based 
upon the fact, of the existence and use of other currencies, and 
comes in to forbid that any other currency should be forced upon 


the public, by forcing it on creditors. So long as the creditor may 
lawfully demand gold and silver coins in payment of debts, his 
rights are sufficiently well secured. Secondly, to put an inter- 
pretation on the constitution, which was contrary to the practice 
of the time, and which interferes with the necessities of society at 
all times, would be absurd. Thirdly, the rule, as here interpreted, 
is all-sufficient, as it leaves all currencies open to the test of gold 
and silver weighed. 

It is further evident, that the constitutional tender was not in- 
tended as an exclusive currency, from the fact, that no nation can 
make an exclusive appropriation of the precious metals as a cur- 
rency. The accident of a nation's stamp on the face of a coin, is 
nothing beyond its own jurisdiction. The gold and silver, bear- 
ing the stamp of the American mint, is still a currency, as truly 
and equally good, all the world over, as in the United States. 
The only difference is, that in one case it passes by its stamp, and 
in the other by the scales. The moment an American coin issues 
from the mint, it is ever afterward the property of him who holds 
it for the time being, whether he be in America, in Europe, or 
in Asia ; and when once it goes beyond the jurisdiction of the 
United States, it is by no means certain it will ever return again, 
and the chances are perhaps against it. The chief use — a very 
important one — of the legal tender, is as a secure and authorized 
test of all the currencies that may be afloat. This is the practical 
effect of the law, which was doubtless its intention, and which is 
as good a protection of the public against false and spurious cur- 
rencies, as society can conveniently furnish. All civilized com- 
munities find it necessary, and employ it as such. 

A law to establish an exclusive metallic currency, would in 
effect be a law to stop trade — that is, the great amount of it that is 
now carried on. The exchanges daily made in the market and in 
banks, if required to be done with gold and silver, would absorb a 
large portion of the industry, labor, and porterage of every com- 
munity, and in a little while would cost more than all the money 
there is in the world — not to speak of the risks of such a mode of 
business. The less action of gold and silver in trade, so much the 
more is saved to all parties. It is only required for small change, 
and to settle balances between remote points of the commercial 
world. One of the differences between civilization and barbar- 
ism, is, that credit characterizes the former, and barter the latter ; 
and the further a nation aavances in civilization, so much less will 


be the activity of the precious metals as a currency. The grea- 
art of trade is to keep them quiet as a basis ; and the great art 
of government is to see that they be always on hand to redeem the 
evidences of debt. 

The system of banking in the United States is designed to make 
one dollar in specie answer the purposes of three, not precisely, 
but as a general rule ; and it is perfectly safe on two contingencies, 
first and chiefly, that the protective policy of the government, in 
its regulation of foreign commerce, be adequate to prevent balances 
of trade falling against the nation ; and secondly, that the statutes 
of incorporation be adequate in themselves, and adequately en 
forced, to prevent mismanagement and fraud. It is supposed, tha 
the legislatures have taken care, as is their duty, so to frame the 
statutes as to secure the community, if faithfully observed, and i'. 
is the duty of the government to see that they are executed. A 
sound banking system has always a capital, including assets, in 
excess of its debts, liable to the claims of creditors. 

It is by a system of this kind, and only by this, that American 
capital and labor can maintain its ground against European capital 
and labor, the latter costino- onlv half of the former, as shown in 
another chapter. The physical and moral capabilities of the Uni- 
ted States, can employ to advantage all the currency which such 
a system affords, and they can not prosper against the rivalship of 
European capital and labor, without it. Reduce the people of this 
country to a hard money currency, and they are ruined. 

The currency of a nation is as blood to the animal economy. 
Disturb it, or vitiate it, or impair it, or tie up its veins, or over- 
charge it, or drain it, or dam up its courses, or put clogs and tram- 
mels on its action, or in any way treat it rudely and unskilfully, 
the effect is precisely the same on the health and wealth of the 
nation, as is produced by a like treatment of the vital current, 
functions, and organs of the human body. In all these and other 
forms of abuse and rudeness, has the currency of the United States 
been handled, as shown in this and the preceding chapter. 

A. certain quack doctor gave out that a certain great animal was 
too plethoric, and required bleeding ; but the blood being precious, 
he proposed to infuse it by injection into the bodies of certain other 
animals of the same genus. But it only threw them into a fever. 
He then proposed to draw it off again, and infuse it into the veins 
of the people. But it gave the people a fever. Then he thought 
it would better suit the bodies of the backwoodsmen, and he gave 


it to them by a like process. But, unfortunately, all the bodies 
thus practised upon, rather grew worse, and showed symptoms of 
a fatal termination. The virus, once communicated, became a 
raging epidemic. States caught it, cities and villages caught it, all 
manner of corporations caught it, individuals caught it, the whole 
nation was seized of it, new and artificial beings started into mush- 
room life, to get a little of the blood, and, after a feverish existence, 
died. At last, the fever being spent, there was a universal col- 
lapse, and all remedies failed to bring the patients to. 

The head of a great house, saw the big old St. Bernard family 
dog, in his path, and cried out to his boys — "Mad Dog!" 
Whereupon the youngsters seized their rifles, gave chase, and shot 
him down. But it turned out that he was in no wise mad at all, 
and the loss was grievous. He had been especially useful in keep- 
ing the numerous pack of small dogs in order. The moment he 
was dead, the small curs broke loose, many of them ran mad and 
bit numbers of the family. One of the family took the carcass of 
the old dog, and undertook to galvanize it. He jumped a little, 
and then fell down, to jump no more. 

To drop figures, and come to facts. The losses sustained by 
the country in the calamitous vicissitudes, through which it has 
been forced, must have been vast ; and the aggregate could not be 
approached, but by adding the results of a prosperity that ought 
to have been realized, to the positive sacrifices that have been sus- 
tained. Few persons are accustomed to reflect on the diversity 
and extent of the losses of those times. But, let every man, who 
lived through them, calculate for himself what he personally sac- 
rificed — what chances were lost by him — what he might have done, 
and what he might have been, if the prosperity of the country had 
not been arrested by those fatal measures — and he will then be 
better qualified to appreciate the private and public calamities of 
that period. Mr. Clay states the average depression in the value 
of property under that state of things which existed before the 
tariff of 1S24 came to the rescue of the country, ^i fifty i^er cent. 
The revulsion of 1837 produced a far greater havoc than was ex 
perienced in the period above-mentioned. The ruin came quick 
and fearful. There were few that could save themselves. Property 
of every description was parted with at sacrifices that were as- 
tounding, and as for the currency, there was scarcely any at all. 
In some parts of the interior of Pennsylvania, the people were 
obliged to divide bank notes into halves, quarters, eighths, and so 

Vol. H.— 5 


on, and aoree from necessity to use them as money. In Ohio, 
with all her abundance, it was hard to get money to pay taxes. 
The sheriff of Muskingum county, as stated by the Guernsey 
Times, in the summer of 1S42, sold at auction one four-horse 
wagon, at $5 50 ; 10 hogs at 6^ cents each ; two horses (said to 
be worth from S50 to $75 each) at S2 each ; two cows at SI 
each ; a barrel of sugar for SI 50: and a "store of goods" at 
that rate. In Pike county, Mo., as stated by the Hannibal Jour- 
nal, the sheriff sold 3 horses at SI 50 each ; 1 large ox at 12^ 
cents ; 5 cows, 2 steers, and 1 calf, the lot at S3 25 ; 20 sheep 
at 13j cents each ; 24 hogs, the lot, at 25 cents ; 1 eight-day 
clock, at $2 50 ; lot of tobacco, 7 or S hogsheads, at $5 ; 3 stacks 
of hay, each, at 25 cents ; and 1 stack of fodder, at 25 cents. 

The United States Almanac stated the losses on five descrip- 
tions of capital, in four years, from 1S37, as follows: — 

Losses on bank circulation and deposites $54,000,000 

" on bank capital failed and depreciated 248,000,000 

" on State Stock depreciated 100,000,000 

« on Company Stocks 80,000,000 

" on Real Estate 300,000,000 

Total of these items, $782,000,000 

A writer of a series of papers published in New York, in 1840, 
entitled, " Letters to the people of the United States, by Con- 
civis," showing a good deal of ability, and apparent labor of in- 
vestigation, sums up a catalogue of losses in the whole country, 
for the same period, as follows : — 

Losses on wool $20,000,000 

" on cotton 130,000,000 

" on grain 150,000,000 

" on foreign merchandise 130,000,000 

" on domestic do 400,000,000 

" on capital vested in manufactures 50,000,000 

" on capital vested in moneyed stocks 150,000,000 

" on capital vested in slave kbor 400,000,000 

" on capital vested in lands 2,500,000,000 

" on capital vested in real estate in cities 500,000,000 

" on the price of labor 1,500,000,000 

Total $5,930,000,000 

A portion of this, it will be seen, is a calculation of depression 
of values in permanent property, amounting to more than half of 
the aggregate, which is restored, at least in part, with the revival 
of prosperity, and does not, therefore, belong to the score of ab- 
solute and entire destruction ; though it shows what would continue 
as the effect, and operate destruction, without a remedy. In all 


seasons of general adversity of this kind, however, a vast amount 
of permanent property is forced to change hands, and is conse- 
quently a sacrifice to individuals, though not to the country, when 
its value is restored. With these abatements, and with all allow- 
ances for the difficulties of coming at exact truth — variations from 
which being as likely to fall on one side as the other, except in a 
want of fairness — calculations of this kind lead to stupendous 
results, of which this is an instructive example. 

Government can facilitate or embarrass, revive or destroy, the 
trade of a nation, and it is fair to hold it responsible for unfavorable 
results in commerce, domestic and foreign. The maxim of Mr. 
Van Buren — " Let the people take care of themselves, and the 
government take care of itself," is subverting the design of gov- 
ernment, whose appropriate function is a parental care of the peo- 
ple and their interests. But this maxim destroys this parental 
relation, fosters unnatural and destructive passions, and seems to 
authorize rulers to prey on the people. It is undoubtedly true, 
that the American people will take care of themselves, if the gov- 
ernment will let them. All they require is the protection of their 
interests vested in labor, art, and capital, which is one of the chief 
designs of the appointment of governing powers. 




Care of the Public Funds committed by Law to Congress, and by Law forbidden 
to the Executive. — An Opinion of the Supreme Court. — The Secretary of the 
Treasury an Agent of Congress, not of the Executive. — Required to make his 
Report to Congress. — The Secretary of the Treasury reads a Lecture to Con- 
gress, and helps them out of a difficulty. — An Employee that has more Power 
than his Principals. — The Airs of an unrobed OScial. — Mr. Clay's Resolutions. 
— Remarks. — A Revolution. — The Judiciary humbled. — The President takes 
the Responsibility. — Mr. Clay's Views. — Correspondence between General Jack- 
son and Mr. Duane. — The President takes Charge of Morals, &c. — A Csesar. 
— Mr. Duane's noble Conduct. 

It will not be surprising to those who may have read the pre- 
ceding parts of this work, that the transaction indicated by the 
head of this chapter, should have been regarded as an alarming 
usurpation. When it is considered, that one of the prime and 
most careful objects of all free governments has ever been to keep 
the purse of the state separate from the sword ; that in whatever 
nation these two powers have been united, it has been used for 
purposes of despotism ; that the government of the United States 
was carefully constructed to guard against it; that all the laws 
erecting and governing the treasury department were framed ex- 
pressly to constitute it the agent of the democratic branch of the 
government, and make it responsible to that branch alone ; that it 
is required to report to that body, and not to the executive ; that 
the treasurer of the United States, and not the secretary of the 
treasury, is by law made the keeper of the public funds, and re- 
quired to give bonds for their security ; that the treasurer's duties 
are clearly defined in the statute, as follows, " To receive and 
keep the moneys of the United States, and to disburse the same, 
upon warrants drawn by the secretary of the treasury, counter- 
signed by the comptroller, recorded by the register, and not oth- 
erwise ;" that the constitution says, " No money shall be drawn 
from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by 
law," that is, only by the authority of Congress ; that the bank of 


the United States, by the act of its incorporation, was constituted 
the treasury of the nation ; that, in consequence of these various 
enactments, made from time to time, creating the treasury, appoint- 
ing its agents, and regulating its concerns, the president of the 
United States was as effectually cut off from any lawful power to 
touch the public funds, or to have any control over them, as any 
other man in the nation, or in the world, and designedly and espe- 
cially so, for the reason that they were intended to be kept out 
of his reach, on the ground of a recognised principle of supreme 
political importance, that the security of public liberty required it; 
and when, in addition to these provisions of law, it is considered, 
that, in consequence of a disposition manifested, on the part of the 
president, to violate these obligations, and transcend these limita- 
tions of his authority, the house of representatives in Congress — a 
majority of whom were his polhical friends — passed a resolution, 
in March, 1833, by a vote of 110 to 46, " That the government 
deposites may, in the opinion of the house, be safely continued in 
the bank of the United States," thus emphatically expressing their 
opinion in advance, as a rebuke of the purpose, and as an admo- 
nition against its execution ; and when, in addition to all this, it is 
also considered, that the secretary of the treasury, prompted by 
the president himself, sent an agent to inquire as to the safety of 
the public deposites in the bank of the United States, who reported, 
that they were perfectly safe ; and that, in consequence of the en 
deavors of the president, in his official documents and otherwise, 
to excite public distrust in the bank, a committee was appointed 
by Congress to make the same inquiry, with the same result ; — it 
can not be denied, that these laws and these facts ought to have 
been regarded as a very formidable barrier to the executive act of 
taking charge of these deposites, and removing them, notwith- 
standing '. 

To clear the way for this extraordinary assumption of power, it 
was necessary, first, to assume, that the secretary of the treasury 
was an executive agent, challenging or overlooking the fact, that he 
was constituted by law the agent of the legislative branch of the 
government. That, unfortunately, according to the practice of the 
government — though it is believed against the design of the con- 
stitution — he held his place at the will of the president by the 
power of removal, is true, as is the case with every public officer 
that is appointed by the co-ordinate power of the senate, there be- 
ing practically no co-ordinate power in removing from office. It 


should be remarked, however, that this power of removal, as usu 
ally exercised by the president, is no further a settled question 
tlian by the precedent of the casting vote of the vice-president in 
the first Congress under the constitution, and may therefore be 
considered an open question. 

The heads of the departments of state, navy, and war, seem to 
be recognised executive agents, and make their reports directly to 
the president. The members of the cabinet are no rule to deter- 
mine this question, as there is no such constitutional body or fac- 
ulty, it being optional with the president, who he will have as ad- 
visers, or whether he will have any ; though, as a matter of pru- 
dence, and in respect for usage, he could hardly dispense with it. 
General Jackson brought into his cabinet the attorney-general and 
postmaster-general, not before practised. 

It will be observed, that Mr. Secretary Taney, in whose name 
the deposites were removed, very properly addresses his report of 
that transaction to the Hon. Andrew Stevenson, speaker of the 
house of representatives, over his signature of R. B. Taney, sec- 
retary of the treasury. Though the reports from that department 
are always made to Congress, there seems not to have been a uni- 
formity in the modes of address. Whether there has been at any 
time a disposition to break loose from that connexion, and form a 
new one, is not a fact admitting of very clear evidence. Mr. Sec- 
retary Woodbury, in 1S37, sends his report as usual to Congress, 
but addresses it to nobody — that is, to no representative function- 
ary. It begins thus : " In obedience to an act supplementary to 
an act to establish the treasury department, the secretary of the 
treasury respectfully submits to Congress the following report." 
Mr. Secretary Spencer, in 1S43, addresses his report to the Hon. 
Willie P. Mangum, president of the senate, and begins: "Sir: By 
the act of Congress approved May 10, 1800, it is made the 
DUTY of the secretary of the treasury," &c. — a very suitable rec- 
ognition of the authority under which he acted. This obvious re- 
lation, as developed in the history of the action of the treasury de- 
partment, corresponds, as it should, with the constitution and the 
laws, and shows, as might be expected, that the secretary is a min- 
ister of the legislature, and not of the executive branch of the gov 
ernment. The reasoning in the decision of the supreme court 
of the United States, given in the note* below, in the case of Mar- 

•"By the constitution of the United States, the president is invested with cer- 
tain important political powers, in the exercise of which, he is to use his own dis- 
cretion, and is accountable onlj to his country in his political character, and to hii 


bury and Madison — making allowance for the position of the par- 
ties — is directly to this point, and settles the principle. 

President Jackson inadvertently betrayed his error, in the rea- 
soning he employed in the paper read to his cabinet on the 18th 
of September, 1833, in justification of his course : " It is for the 
wisdom of Congress to decide upon the best substitute to be 
adopted ia the place of the bank of the United States. . . . Al- 
though, according to the frame and principle of our government, 
this decision would seem more properly to belong to the legisla- 
tive power," &c.* So also Mr. Secretary Taney in his report : 
" The power over the place of deposite, would seem properly to 
belong to the legislative department of the government, and it is 
difficult to imagine why the authority to withdraw it [the money] 
from this bank, was confided exclusively to the executive. But 
the terms of the charter appear to be too plain to admit of a 
question." The clause of the charter here referred to, reads as 
follows : — 

" That the deposites of the money of the United States, in 
places in which the said bank and branches thereof may be estab- 
lished, shall be made in said bank or branches thereof, unless the 
secretanj of the treasury shall at ainj time otherwise order and di- 
rect ; in which case the secretary of the treasury shall immediately 
lay before Congress, if in session, and if not, immediately after the 

own conscience. To aid him in the performance of these duties, he is authorized 
to appoint certain officers, who act by his authority, and in conformity to his orders. 

" In such cases, their acts are his acts ; and whatever opinion may be enter- 
tained 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 rights, and being intrusted to the execu- 
tive, the decision of the executive is conclusive. The application of this remark 
will be perceived by adverting to the act of Congress for establishing the depart- 
ment of foreign affairs. 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. 

"But when the legislature proceeds to impose on that officer other duties; 
when he is directed peremptorily to perform certain acts (that is, when he is not 
placed under the direction of the president) ; when the rights of individuals are 
dependant on the performance of those acts, he is so far the officer of the law ; is 
amenable to the laws for his conduct ; and can not at his discretion sport away the 
vested rights of others. 

" The conclusion from this reasoning is, that where the heads of departments 
are the political or confidential agents of the executive, merely to execute the will 
of the president, or rather to act in cases in which the executive possesses a con- 
stitutional or legal discretion, nothing can be more perfectly clear than that their 
acts are only politically examinable^ But where a specific duty is assigned by 
law, and individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty, it seems 
equetly clear that the 'individual who considers himself injured, has a right to 
resort to the laws of his country for a remedy." 

• For the entire document, see Niles's Register, vol. xlv., p. 73. 


commencement of the next session, the reasons of such order or 

The words in italics are all the authority there was for removing 
the deposites ; and every one will see, that the common sense in- 
terpretation of such phraseology, in such connexion, was to au- 
thorize the secretary, as the minister of Congress, on a sudden 
emergency of peril to the public funds — it being his place and duty 
to know about that — to take instant steps for their security, in 
which he would of course be approved. Such a discretion might 
perhaps, in some cases, be extended further ; but it would be haz- 
ardous, and the secretary would doubtless first satisfy himself, that 
he could render a satifactory account to his employers, whose 
agent he was. He was required by the same law " immediately 
to lay before Congress, if in session, and if not, immediately 
after the commencement of the next session, the reasons of such 
order or direction." As much as to say, for the safety of the pub- 
lic funds, such may sometimes be a necessary, though it is a high, 
discretion, and should be explained and defended — the case sup- 
posed would be its own defence — " immediately." 

It will be observed, that Mr. Secretary Taney does not make 
his report in the name of " the president of the United States," as 
is the style of the secretary of state — in all his official transactions — 
the latter being an executive agent — but Mr. Taney does it in his 
own name — with what propriety, except in conformity to law and 
usage, may be questionable, in view of the following facts : The 
president, in the paper read to his cabinet on the 18th of Septem- 
ber, says — " The president again repeats, that he begs his cabinet 
to consider the proposed measure as his own. . . Its respon- 
sibility HAS BEEN assumed." On the 20th of September, 
his decision was authoritatively announced, and the first of Octo- 
ber was fixed as the day of execution ; on the 23d Mr. Duane 
was dismissed from the office of secretary of the treasury, because 
he refused to execute the order, and Mr. Taney was put in his 
place to do what Mr. Duane refused to do. But Mr. Taney, in 
his report to Congress, gives not a word of this history, but ap- 
pears there with all the responsibility on his own shoulders. The 
president vanishes out of sight, and the agent of Congress affects 
to give a faithful and true account, " immediately," as the law 
directs, " after the commencement of the next session," of the use 
of his high discretion. The law requires that he should give the 
" reasons," Accordingly Congress is instructed and edified — 


not with a statement of the " reasons," however — but with an 
exposition of law, and sundry alleged facts. He comes boldly 
forward, and says : " I have directed" — not, I was directed by the 
president. He informs Congress, that they had made an impru- 
dent contract with the bank of the United States ; but, by a more 
fortunate blunder, they had conveyed to him, their agent, more 
power than they, as principals, possessed ; that, by virtue of this 
power, he had come to their rescue ; that, "it is difficult to im- 
ao-ine" how this could be, but nevertheless so it was ; that they, 
Congress, could not withdraw the deposites, but he, their agent, 
could ; that the covenant between the stockholders of the bank 
and Congress, is one thing, and that between the stockholders and 
the agent of Congress, another thing ; that by the former. Con- 
gress were in a difficulty, and by the latter they were helped out of 
it ; that, although the principals could not act in this matter, their 
agent could do all that was necessary ; that it was the duty of the 
agent, in the absence of such power in his principals, to take care 
of their interests ; that the obligation to assign the reasons " of 
his conduct," can not be regarded as a restriction of his power, 
which, he says, is " absolute and unconditional ;" that the presi- 
dent of the United States is " required to take care that the laws 
be faithfully executed ;" that his [the secretary's] responsibility is 
to the executive [not true], and hence his power over the subject; 
that " the terms of the charter [giving this power] are too plain to 
admit of a question ;" that " it is the duty of the secretary of the 
treasury to withdraw the deposites, whenever the change would, in 
any degree, promote the public interest" — he being judge ; that " it 
is not necessary, that the deposites should be unsafe, in order to 
justify the removal ;" that " the general interests and convenience 
of the people, must regulate his [the secretary's] conduct ;" that 
he would otherwise "betray the trust confided in him ;" that Mr. 
Secretary Crawford acted on this principle in 1817 ; that there is 
no difference beUveen a part of a thing and the whole ; " that the 
power of remov-al was intended to be reserved exclusively to the 
secretary of the treasury ;" that " it is the duty of the executive 
departments to exercise the powers conferred on them ;" that 
the question of bank or no bank, was " argued on both sides be- 
fore the tribunal of the people, and their verdict was pronounced 
against the bank ;" that " it was, therefore, his duty to act upon 
the assumption, that this corporation would not continue ;" that he 
" could only inquire what would most conduce to the public good j" 


that " it was obvious the interests of the country would not oe 
promoted" by the other akernative ; that " the abihty of the bank 
under such circumstances, might be well doubted ;" that the bank 
owed its credit to the government, not to itself; that the state banks 
would be as good as the bank of the United States ; that the ques- 
tion of removal w^as one of time only ; that he, the secretary, 
would have done it sooner, if it had been with him to determine ; 
that, on the whole, it had happened just about the right time, for 
" the public interest ;" that the recent conduct of the bank, in 
swelling its loans, augured no good, but was very alarming ; that 
its arbitrary contractions were oppressive ; that, " under other cir- 
cumstances," he, the secietary, "would have been disposed" to 
allow this business to fall into the hands of Congress, though he 
was under no obligations to do so ; that he " should have preferred 
executing the measure in a manner that would have enabled the 
legislature to act on the subject, but the bank left him no choice ;" 
that, " the power of removal being reserved exclusively to the sec- 
retary of the treasury, his action was necessary to effect it ;" that 
" it could not have been postponed to a later day, without injury 
to the country ;" that the bank had violated its duty, and forfeited 
its rights, by seeking to obtain political power ; that, to conceal 
its designs, it had established a governing power, not known in the 
charter ; that, since such criminal transactions can not be proved, 
they ought to be j)resumcd ; that the bank had agreed to pay a 
public debt, and had only assumed it ; that it had charged the usual 
amount of damages for the non-payment of the French indemni- 
ties, but had made too much money by it in the use of its own 
facilities ; that the bank had undertaken to defend itself ao-ainst 
the hostility of the government, by diffusing information ; that the 
liberties of the people were thereby endangered ; that the bank 
had no right to defend itself; that it had "endeavored to defeat 
the election of those who were opposed to its views ;" that "it is 
a fixed principle of our political institutions to guard against the 
unnecessary accumulation of power ;" that the bank is unconsti- 
tutional ; and that, therefore, he, the secretary, had felt it his duty 
to withdraw the public deposites from the bank of the United 
States. Although some liberty has been taken, as to the form of 
these statements, and to strip them of cumbrous and artful verbiage, 
for the sake of brevity, it is believed, that the ideas and principles 
they suggest, are fairly derived from the document, in connexion 
with other historical facts.* 

•See Niss's Register, vol. xlv., p. 258. 


Thus was it proved, that Congress was not the master of its 
employee (an employee, by-the-by, thrust upon them), but that 
the employee was master of Congress; that the principals had less 
power than their agent, were indebted to him for protection, and 
for coming to their rescue, when they were involved in difficulty 
by their own want of foresight. They were also indebted to him 
for this lucid definition of their own position and his, and for his 
able exposition of the various points of constitutional and other 
law involved in the case. It is true, the secretary says nothing 
about BY WHOM, HOW, AND WHEREFORE, he camo into that po- 
sition; how long he had been there when the deposites were re- 
moved; whether he was active or passive in that transaction; 
for how could that concern those who had all the benefit? Besides, 
as he was an agent of the law, for form's sake, there must needs 
be an appearance of conformity to law. Therefore he speaks 
in his own name, as if he had really done this thing ! True, there 
was an apparent want of modesty in one — who had come so re- 
cently upon this theatre, who had not even appeared upon the 
stage till after the business was all settled, who had not the slight- 
est degree of experience in this vocation, who was unknown to his 
employers, whose name had not even been sent in to them, who 
was therefore yet uninvested with his official robes — to come before 
them with such airs of authority and power! On the 14th of 
March following, Mr. Clay said in the senate: "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 official record ; but, from the habit- 
ual practice of every previous president, from the deference and 
respect which they all maintained toward a coordinate branch of 
the government, I venture to say, that a parallel case is not to be 
found." Congress might well have said to this unknown person- 
age — " Who are you, sir? — who sent you here ?" But the farce at 
the end of a play is too important a part of the entertainment to 
be spoiled by such impertinent interrogatories ; and it does not 
appear that there was any interruption. 

As this report of the secretary of the treasury was before Con- 
gress, it must needs be the subject of some notice. Accordingly, 
on the 2Cth of December, 1833, Mr. Clay offered to the senate 
the followinc: resolutions : — 


' Resolved, That by dismissing the late secretary of the treasuiy 
because he would not, contrary to his sense of his own duty, re- 
move the money of the United States in deposite witti the bank of 
the United States and its branches, in conformity with the presi- 
dent's opinion, and by appointing his successor to effect such 
removal, which has been done, tlie president has assumed tlie exer- 
cise of a power over the treasury of the United States not granted 
to him by the constitution and laws, and dangerous to the liberties 
of the people. 

"■Resolved, That the reasons assigned by the secretary of the 
treasury for the removal of the money of the United States, de- 
posited in the bank of the United States and its branches, commu- 
nicated to Congress on the third of December, 1833, are unsatis- 
factory and insufficient." 

It was, in the first place, fit, that Mr. Clay should be the mover 
of these resolutions. His position entitled him to the honor, and 
his moral intrepidity qualified him for the duty. It is needless to 
inquire whether any other member of the senate would have done 
it, if he had not. A majority were ready to support him, as the 
result proved. The time had come, when, if any virtue remained 
in the republic akin to that which estabhshed it, a stand was to be 
taken for liberty. The main bulwark of freedom, to wit, the cus- 
tody and independent control of the public purse, in the,hands of 
the democratic branch of the government, had, within six months, 
been broken down, the funds of the nation seized and put beyond 
the reach of the constitutional keepers. It had been done in con- 
tempt of the special action of the house of representatives on the 
subject, at the previous session of Congress, in the shape of a 
resolution passed for the express purpose of deprecating and pre- 
venting this violence to the constitution and to public liberty. The 
twenty-second Congress had adjourned, on the 3d of March, 1833, 
having the day before recorded their opinion and their mandate, 
deciding — so far as they had authority and control in the case, 
both of which were independent and absolute — that the public 
funds should remain where they were, and that there was no cause 
of removal; and the twenty-third Congress assembled in Decem- 
ber of the same year, to find, that the public funds had, notwith- 
standing, been abstracted ! that they had neither penny, nor purse ! 
that the constitution which had put both into their hands, and bid 
them keep and use them at their discretion, was a mere nullity ! 
Even if there had been a question as to the expediency of the vote 
of the house, March 2, 1833, in a financial point of view ; if the 


public funds had been in jeopardy, no patriot would hesitate to 
say, better lose them all, and much more — any amount — than 
allow the constitution to be trampled in the dust. But the funds 
were not in jeopardy. The secretary — more properly the man 
who was put forward as the instrument to do this deed, for Mr. 
Taney was never a secretary of the treasury, but a mere loc^im 
tenens foisted into that place for an unlawful object — Mr. Taney 
never pretended that he removed the deposites, because he deemed 
them unsafe. On the contrary, knowing that they were perfectly 
safe, as the house of representatives had declared, he says in his 
report, " It is not necessary that the deposites should be unsafe, in 
order to justify the removal." The violation of the constitution, 
therefore, in thus contemning the authority and mandate of the only 
constitutional keepers of the public funds, was flagrant. And it 
was the more alarming, because it was not a mistake — a venial 
error — but a naked and meditated usurpation. It was done in the 
face of a protest ; for no one will pretend to say, that the resolu- 
tion of the house of representatives, of the 2d of March, 1833, 
declaring the public deposites safe in the bank of the United 
States, was not a protest in advance. The presiden-t, everybody, 
knew that such was the intention and character of that transaction. 
It was, therefore, against a remonstrance made by a party that was 
bound to make it, that the public purse was seized, and wrested 
from its constitutional custody ; and as such, it was a very grave 
matter. It was an issue made by force and intention. 

Unless, therefore, the democratic branch of the government was 
prepared to surrender at discretion ; unless the only lawful keep- 
ers of the pubhc funds, having been ravished, were so destitute of 
virtue, as to say, " we give up," there was no alternative but to 
record their opinion of this affair, and to renew their protest 
against this invasion of their appropriate domain — this violation of 
their rights — this obstruction to their high and paramount duties. 

In this position of this and other questions between the demo- 
cratic and executive branches of the government, when the latter 
was rapidly absorbing all the powers of both, it will be obvious, 
that, if a firm stand had not been taken at this time against these 
encroachments, it might soon have been too late. If any should 
say, the result proves, that the apprehensions then felt were 
groundless, it may be answered, that the result rather demonstrates 
the contrary. Notwithstanding all that was done to check the 
advance of regal power, it continued to increase, with even more 


alarming strides, till both houses of Congress were brought under 
its feet, and made subservient to its will ; and it was not till a 
complete revolution was proposed, for abolishing the old militia 
system, and substituting an enrolled army of two hundred thousand 
men, to be under command of the president, together with the 
project of confining all banking operations of the country to the 
secretary of the federal treasury, that the eyes of the people were 
opened, and they rose in 1840 to break the bands that had been 
forged for their subjection. It is fair to conclude, that the reason 
why these abuses of power did not proceed to greater extremities, 
was, because there was a determination in the democratic branch 
of the government, to assert and vindicate its own independent and 
constitutional rights. Though the resolutions at this time pending, 
and finally passed in substance, were afterward expunged, when 
regal power was high in the ascendant, it was nevertheless a con- 
servative stand, and was doubtless one of the means of the final 

When Mr. Clay rose in support of the resolutions above cited, 
he said in the most solemn manner: — 

" We are in the midst of a revolution, hitherto bloodless, but 
rapidly tending toward a total change of the pure republican charac- 
ter of the government, and to the concentration of all power in the 
hands of one man. The powers of Congress are paralyzed, except 
when exerted in conformity with his will, by frequent and ar 
extraordinary exercise of the executive veto, not anticipated by the 
founders of our constitution, and not practised by any of the 
predecessors of the present chief magistrate. And, to cramp them 
still more, a new expedient is springing into use, of withholding 
altogether bills which have received the sanction of both houses of 
Congress, thereby cutting off all opportunity of passing them, even 
if, after their return, the members should be unanimous in their 
favor. The constitutional participation of the senate in the ap- 
pointing 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, after \\\? 
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 act- 
in <t on the case of the nominated successor, have we felt the in- 
justice of the removal? How often have w^e said to each other, 
well, what can we do? The office can not remain vacant, without 
prejudice to the public interest, and if we reject the proposed sub 
stitute, we can not restore the displaced ; and, perhaps, soui*j more 
unworthy man may be nominated." 


It will be seen, that the above-cited paragraph comprehends a 
variety of topics. The usurpations of the executive were not con- 
fined to the removal of the deposites, against the will and orders 
of their rightful keepers, but they were branching out in all direc- 
tions. " We are in the midst of a revolution," said Mr. Clay. 
Executive vetoes ; the unprecedented practice of pocketing bills 
remitted from Congress, after having been passed, for the sanction 
of the president, and thus barring the legislature from the consti- 
tutional right of acting upon them, if vetoed, and passing them by 
a vot-e of two thirds, if they could ; the arbitrary removals from 
office, and arbitrary appointments, without consulting the co-ordi- 
nate power, for the very purpose of robbing that power of the 
chance of using its constitutional prerogative — a practice which 
could easily be made to answer any and the worst designs of a 
despot ; — these high and regal powers, in their various ramifica- 
tions — especially the latter, which, in its practical operation, was 
the most objectionable and most alarming of all — were not simply 
stealing, but had stolen, their march on the democratic platform 
of the constitution, and wrested from the democratic branch of the 
government its rightful claims. The bank of the United States, 
against the paramount — or what ought to have been the paramount 
— will of this branch of the government, had been destroyed ; 
the land bill, which was so much in favor with the democratic 
branch, that it would have passed by two thirds in both houses, 
against a veto, was unlawfully retained, for the sole purpose of 
controlling this result ; removals from office were constantly being 
made, and substitutes thrust into their places, to thwart " the ad- 
vice and consent of the senate," and accomplish the regal designs 
of the executive ; and to crown all, the secretary of the treasury, 
the employee of Congress, had been forced to retire, by executive 
mandate, because his conscience would not allow him to disobey 
the orders of his principals, and a man of easier conscience was 
put forward, without investiture, to violate the constitution of the 
country ! 

But this was not all. Mr. Clay went on to say : — 

" The judiciary has not been exempt from the prevailing rage 
for innovation. Decisions of the tribunals, deliberately pro- 
nounced, have been contemptuously disregarded, and the sanctity 
of numerous treaties openly violated. Our Indian relations, coe- 
val with the existence of the government, and recognised and 
established by numerous laws and treaties, have been subverted, the 


rights of the helpless and unfortunate aborigines trampled in the 
dust, and they brought under subjection to unknown laws, ii 
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 nation, is threatened with a total sacrifice. The 
general currency of the country — the life-blood of all its business — 
is in the most imminent danger of universal disorder and confu- 
sion. The power of internal improvement lies crushed beneath 
the veto. The system of protection of American industry was 
snatched from impending destruction, 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 conceded on all hands, that the 
tariff for protection merely is to be finally abandoned.' By the 
third of March, 1S37, if the progress of innovation continues, 
there will be scarcely a vestige remaining of the government and 
its policy, as they existed prior to the third of March, 1829. In 
a term of eight years, a little more than equal to that which was 
required to establish our liberties, the government will have been 
transformed into an elective monarchy — the worst of all forms of 

"Such is a melancholy but faithful picture of tlie present condi- 
tion of our public affairs. It is not sketched or exhibited to excite, 
here or elsewhere, irritated feeling. I have no such purpose. I 
would, on the contrary, implore the senate and the people to dis- 
card all passion and prejudice, and to look calmly, but resolutely, 
upon the actual state of the constitution and the country. Although 
I bring into the senate the same 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 pros- 
pect before us with feelings of deep humiliation and profound mor- 

"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 
community. Many of our best citizens entertain serious appre- 
hensions, 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 independ- 
ence and patriotic vigor, but none for despair. Thank God, we 
are yet free; and, if we put on the chains which are forging for us, 
it will be because we deserve to wear them. We should never 
despair of the republic. If our ancestors had been capable of 
surrendering themselves to such ignoble sentiments, our independ- 
ence and our liberties would never have been achieved. The 
winter of 1776-7 was one of the gloomiest periods of the revo- 
lution; but on tJds day, fifty-seven years ago, the father of his 


.ountry achieved a glorious victory, which diffused joy and glad- 
ness and animation throughout the states. Let us cherish the hope 
that, since he has gone from among us, Providence, in the dispen- 
sation of his mercies, has near at hand in reserve for us, though 
yet unseen by us, some sure and happy deliverance from all im- 
pending dangers. 

" When we assembled here last year, we were full of dreadful 
forebodings. On the one hand we were menaced with a civil war, 
which, lighting up in a single state, might spread its flames through- 
out one of the largest sections of the Union. On the other, a 
cherished system of policy, essential to the successful prosecution 
of the industry of our countrymen, was exposed to imminent dan- 
ger of immediate destruction. Means were happily applied by 
Congress to avert both calamhies; the country was reconciled, and 
our Union once more became a band of friends and brothers. And 
I shall be greatly disappointed, if we do not find those who were 
denounced as being unfriendly to the continuance of our confed- 
eracy, 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 of its powers, that ovei 
the purse, left untouched. The two most important powers of civil 
government are, those of the sword and the purse. The first, with 
some restriction, is confided by the consthution to the executive, 
and the last to the legislative department. If they are separate, and 
exercised 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 him candidly tell me where 
and when did freedom exist, when the sword and purse were given 
up from the people? Unless a miracle in human affairs interposed, 
no nation ever retained its liberty after the loss of the sword and 
the purse ? Can you prove by any argumentative deduction, that 
it is possible to be safe without one of them? If you give them 
up, you are gone.' " 

General Jackson, having made up his mind to usurp the charge 
of the purse of the nation, after various pretences of taking advice, 
called a meeting of his cabinet on the 18th of September, 183-3, 
and read to them a paper declaratory of that purpose, in which he 
said : " The president begs his cabinet to consider the proposed 
measure as his oivn, in the support of which he shall require no 
one of them to make a sacrifice of opinion or principle. Its re- 
sponsibility HAS BEEN ASSUMED." 

But there was a difficulty, in the way — more than one, indeed. 

Vol. IL— 6 


If the deed were not done forthwith, the debate that might arise, 
and the expressions of public opinion, might become formidable. 
It was, therefore, resolved, that it should be done the first day of 
October, then ensuing. But Miv Duane, the Secretary of the 
Treasury, had scruples. He could not be persuaded to such a 
violation of law. His feelings were known to the president, when 
this document was read, and one of its purposes, if not its chief 
one, was as a hint to the secretary, that he must do it, or retire. 
It was no doubt understood, at the moment, between the parties 
concerned, that Mr. Taney, then attorney-general, and member of 
the cabinet, would become the willing instrument of executing the 
president's designs. Mr. Duane, however, desirous of saving 
General Jackson from such responsibility, if indeed he could hope 
to put a bar in the way of his will, declined throwing up his com- 
mission, and resolved to remain passive, notwithstanding he had 
once given the president to understand, that, if he could not com- 
ply with his wishes, he would vacate his place. 

It should be observed, that this document, read to the cabinet 
on the 18th of September, was apparently an official one, though 
altogether novel in its character and place. That it did not come 
within the range of the president's constitutional functions, is clear 
enough, since, as shown, the treasury was by law purposely put 
beyond his reach. The inhibition against his putting his hand into 
the treasury, or having anything to do with it officially^ was more 
especially directed against him, than against any officer or citizen 
of the republic, because danger did not arise so much from other 
quarters as from this. These laws were made chiefly with the 
design of keeping the purse and the sword for ever asunder — of 
barring the end which was arrived at by this single and bold step. 
It was not a gradual insinuation, in the manner of the usual advan- 
ces of unlawful power — but one leap, one bound, by which the 
president seized on the treasury of the nation, and took charge of 
it. He knew that it was then, or never. Congress, aware that 
such a purpose was entertained in that quarter, had, in the action 
of one of its branches, by a decisive vote, thrown out an admoni- 
tion to the executive to beware ; and in about sixty days from the 
time fixed to commit the deed. Congress would be again in 
session, and probably disposed to protest most solemnly against 
such an infraction of the constitution, and such a violation of their 

But was this anomalous document, of the ISth of September, 


official ? If the act announced, and apparently authorized by it, 
was unlawful, how could it be official "? Clearly, it must necessa- 
rily fall within one of two categories — an official transaction, or a 
bald usurpation. If official, Congress had a right to an officially 
certified copy, whenever demanded, except for temporary reasons 
of expediency, existing in the breast of the president, against a 
present publication. But it had already been published, as ema- 
nating; from that source. 

On the 11th of December, the senate, thinking it incumbent 
upon them to take this business of a violated treasury in hand, and 
justly considering that this document, occupying so important a 
position, was indispensable to a full understanding of the subject, 
and ought to be officially communicated to Congress, if the trans- 
action was official, made a respectful call on the president, as is 
usual when either branch of Congress thinks it has occasion for an 
executive paper; and on the next day received a message from the 
president, declining to comply with the request. It will be seen, 
that this refusal was, either a disrespect to the senate, and a viola- 
tion of usage in the intercourse between these two branches of the 
government, or a tacit confession, that the act of removing the 
deposites was a usurpation, and as such, would be managed by 
the same will which had originated and executed the measure. 
That the president was not reluctant to show a disrespect to the 
senate, was perhaps true ; but it will naturally be surmised, that, 
in addition to this, he intended to take higher ground, and to inti- 
mate to the senate, that this was a matter which did not concern 
them. Of course, then, it was a usurpation. For, down to the 
1st of October, 1S33, the care of the treasury and of the public 
funds had, by provisions of law, been in charge of the democratic 
branch of the government, and nothing but an unlawful act could 
wrest them from that custody. 

But the conference held by the president with his cabinet, on the 
18th of September, had two remarkable features : one an appear- 
ance of asking counsel, in the words which announced that all the 
responsibility was assumed by the executive. Having resolved on 
an auto dafe, he convoked an assembly of officials to witness the 
sacrifice ! But he had before privately consulted these dignita- 
ries, all of whom were doubtless sensible of the enormity of the 
proposed measure ; but the majority had found reasons to assent. 
The most remarkable feature of this consultation is, that it was 
asking advice of executive officers, whether he should take in charge 


the business of another branch of the government, and endeavoring 
to obtain their countenance and support. He asked the opinion 
of the secretary of war as to the duties of the secretary of the treas- 
ury, and so on, round the circle. It is obvious, that he might with 
equal propriety have solicited their opinion as to the duties of the 
secretary of the senate, or of the sergeant-at-arms of the house of 
representatives, with a view to issue his orders to those employees 
of the democratic branch, since the secretary of the treasury sus- 
tained precisely the same relation to Congress, though of a differ- 
ent denomination, and having his own specific duties prescribed by 
laws of Congress. The latter was none the less an agent of that 
body, than the two former — not less amenable to it, nor less sub- 
ject to their orders. In this view, the cabinet meeting on the 18th 
of September, was, indeed, a remarkable spectacle. They were 
obliged to hear a decision pronounced, which humiliated them- 
selves, and humiliated the nation : " The president begs his cabi- 
net to consider the proposed measure as his own. Its resjionsibility 
is ass^imedy He had endeavored to obtain unanimity, failed, and 
now assembled them, to say, he would do it on his own account. 

The following are remarks of Mr. Clay, on this stage of the 
transaction : — 

" Sir, is there a senator here who will tell me that this removal 
was not made by the president? I know, indeed, that there are 
in this document many of those most mild, most gracious, most 
condescending expressions, with which power too well knows how 
to clothe its mandates. 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 trusts the secretary of the treasury will see only the frank and 
rtspcctful declarations of the opinions which the president has 
formed on a measure of great national interest, deeply affecting the 
character and usefulness of his administration : and not a spirit oj 
dictation, which the president would be as careful to ovoid, as 
ready to resist. Happy will he be, if the facts now disclosed pro- 
duce uniformity of opinion and unity of action among the mem- 
bers of the administration.' 

" ' Sir, how kind ! how gentle ! How very gracious must thi? 
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 
mo>t remarkable 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 catholic town. The place made a stout resistance ; but 
at length the town being likely to be taken, the poor catholics pro- 


posed terms of capitulation, stipulating therein for the toieratior 
of their religion. The paper containing the terms was brought to 
Oliver, who, putting on his spectacl-es to read it, cried out : ' Oh 
granted, granted, certainly ;' he added, however, ' but if one ot 
them shall dare to be found attending mass, he shall be hanged. 
Under what section is not mentioned — whether under a second, or 
any other section of any particular law, we are not told. 

" Thus, sir, the secretary was told by the president, that he had 
not the slightest wish to dictate — oh, no ; nothing is further from 
the president'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 I assign you — you 
must quit your office.' And what, sir, was the effect ? This 
document bears date on the eighteenth of September. In the 
official paper, published at the seat of government, and through 
which it is understood that the government makes known its 
wishes and purposes to the people of the United States, we were 
told, under date of the twentieth of September, 1833, two days 
only after this cabinet paper was read, as follows : — 

" ' We are authorized to state' — [authorized — this is the word 
which gave credit to this annunciation] — ' We are authorized to 
state, that the deposites of the public money will be changed from 
the bank of the United States to the state banks, as soon as neces- 
sary arrangements can be made for that purpose ; and that it is 
believed they can be completed in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New 
York, and Boston, in time to make the change hy the first of Oc- 
tober, and perhaps sooiier, if circumstances should render an ear- 
lier action necessary on the part of the government.' 

" Yes, sir, on the eighteenth of September this measure was 
decided on ; and on the twentieth, it is announced to the people, 
that the deposites would be removed by the first of October, or 
sooner, if practicable. Mr. Duane was continued in office till 
the twenty-third, on which day he was dismissed ; and between 
the twenty-third and the twenty-sixth, 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 
twentieth went forth this proclamation, by authority, of the removal 
of the deposites, although Mr. Duane remained in office till the 
twenty-third. On this point we have conclusive proof in a letter 
of the president to that gentleman, dated on the twenty-third, which 
letter, after all the gracious, friendly, and conciliating language of 
the cabinet paper, concludes in these terms : — 

" ' I feel constrained to notify you, that your further services as 
secretary of the treasury are no longer required.' 

" Such, Mr. President, is the testimony on the one side to prove 


the truth of the proposition, that the removal of the deposites from 
the bank of the United States, was a measure determined on by 
the president himself — determined on while the latter secretary of 
the treasury was still in office, and against the will of the secretary ; 
and although Mr. Taney may have put his signature to the order 
on the twenty-sixth — a mere ministerial act, done in conformity 
with the previous decision of the president — that the removal 
should take place on or before the first of October. 

" I now call the attention of 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 
passed antecedently to his removal, he proceeds to say : — 

" ' Thus was I thrust into office ; thus was I thrust 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 
refused, without further inquiry by Congress, to remove the 
deposites !' 

" Can testimony be more complete to establish the proposition 
I have advanced ? 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 accordance with his command?" 

Mr. Duane's address to the people of the United States, from 
Philadelphia, of December 2, 1833, with the correspondence 
oetween himself and the president, pending their debate on the 
removal of the deposites, which terminated in Mr. Duane's dismissal 
from office, is deemed of sufficient importance and interest for a 
place here, and will be found in the note below.* It will doubt- 


Fellow-Citizens : I announced on the 20th ultimo, that, at an early day, I 
would appear before you, at least to repel imputations cast upon my character, 
contained in a publication in the Globe, the official paper of the executive, of the 
precedins; day. If the calumnious attack referred to, had not been obviously sanc- 
tioned by the president of the United States, such is the character of the newspa- 
per under his protection, that I should not have felt myself called upon to notice 
.t. In addressing you, I have hesitated between the adoption of a general expo- 
sition, and of a brief defensive address, accompanied by that part of the corres- 
pondence between the president and myself, which the official paper seems to have 
challenged me to produce. I adopt the latter course. In the correspondence you 
wHl find ample materials for the accurate comprehension of my case — one of in- 
sult and oppression. 

On the 14th of December, 1832, without any solicitation on my part, I was un. 
expectedly invited to accept the office of secretary of the treasury. I sought to 
shun the station, did not consent to serve, until asked for my decision on the 30th 
of January, and then consented reluctantly. No doubt, subsequently to, as be- 
fore, the adjournment of Congress, speculators, for their own selfish ends, agita- 
ed the deposite question, and kept up an excitement felt by the president ; but it 
was never intimated to me, that he desired to concentrate in himself the power to 


less be felt, that it places Mr. Duane in a high and proud position, 
besides that it sheds a light on this point of the political history 
of the country, which could not be derived from any other quar- 

judge and execute — to absorb the discretion given to the secretary of the treasury 
— and even to nullify the law itself. I never heard, until after my entry into of- 
fice, that he meant to remove the deposites, without further inquiry by Congress, 
or that he had asked the opinion of the members of the cabinet on the subject. 
On the contrary, when, after having entered the treasury department, unpledged, 
untrammelled, and unsuspicious, I was informed of what was meditated, I felt 
surprise at the intelligence, and mortification at the manner in which it was com- 
municated to me. On the 3d of June, the president himself made known to me 
what was in contemplation, and that he had taken the opinions of the members of 
the cabinet on the point — two of whom concurred with him, two of whom did not 
concur, and the fifth had not yet given a written opinion. He said he would sub- 
mit to me the written opinicms of the four members of the cabinet, with his own 
views, and that he would expect me to give him my opinion frankly and fully. As 
if to urge me to avoid all reserve, he assured me, in a letter, dated Boston, June 
26, transmitting the opinions and views, that " it was not his intention to inter- 
fere with the independent exercise of the discretion committed to me by law over 
this subject." 

But when, on the 10th July, I gave my opinion frankly and fully, as an honest 
minister and man should do, there was every return but that of approbation. On 
the 22d of July I was asked, whether it was my intention to refuse to remove the 
deposites, if, after inquiry by an agent, and advisement with the cabinet, the pres- 
ident should decide to remove them, as, in such a case, " it would become his duty, 
in frankness and candor, to suggest the course, that would be necessary on his 

Not on my own account, but as an act of duty to the country, I now subjected 
my pride and feelings to restraint, by tendering, in order to avert a present hostile 
breach, a future surrender of my post, in case I should not ultimately concur 
with the president. But before my concurrence or nonconcurrence was made 
known, and while I still held in my hands the manuscript exposition, which was 
read in the cabinet on the I8th of September, and then delivered to me by the 
president for my consideration, he virtually dismissed me as an officer, and insulted 
me as a man, by causing the official communication, hereto appended (No. 1), to 
De published in the Globe on the 20th of September. 

Yet, after this, when it must have been obvious, that, independently of other 
considerations of great weight, I was absolved from all respect for any past assu- 
rance, my letter (No. 2), which I personally presented to Ihe president, on the 21st 
of September, according to my promise of September 19, was contumeliously sent 
back to me, in a letter (No. 3), intimating the existence of improper imputations 
in mine, calling my attention to my assurance of July 22, and inquiring whether 
I could concur in removing the deposites. From this letter (No. 3), it must be 
evident, that when it was written, my dismissal was not then deemed justifiable 
on grounds subsequently suggested ; for, when the president wrote it, he knew 
the contents of the letter deemed off'ensive, and yet he held the correspondence 

What, then, I ask, subsequently occurred ? Instead of treating this new indig- 
nity, the return of my letter, with silence, or evincing any other mode of dissat- 
jsfiiction, I felt that I was on duty at a public post, and that I ought not to suffer 
it to be taken by surprise. I could not now mistake, in concluding to insult me 
out of office, or to draw from me some expression which might form a pretext for 
my removal, on a minor point — so doubtful was the president, after all, on the 
propriety of removing an officer for not yielding, when desired, the discretion 
given to him bv law. Accordingly, I sent letter No. 4 — subsequently, with- 
drawn for alteration— and then letters Nos. 5 and 6— No. 5 especially— because 
the president did not seem to comprehend me, when, in my letter No. 2, I said, 
that, after what had occurred subsequently to July 22, I felt myself absolved from 
all obligation to observe the assurance given at that time. 

These last appeals, indicative of anything but bad feeling, or disrespect, were 
also sent back to me, in a letter (No. 7), declaring my services no longer neces- 
sary. I submit to all just men to determine, by whom an assurance was given, 
and without cause disregarded. 


ter. Till this time, he was an ardent admirer and devoted friend 
of General Jackson, and his leave-taking on this occasion, is ap- 
parently in the spirit of one still disposed to look back with an 
affection, equalled only by his mortification and regret. 

Thus was I thrust from office — not because I had neglected any duty— not be- 
cause I had difTered with the president on any other point of public policy— not 
because I had differed with him about the bank of the United States — but, be- 
cause I refused, without further inquiry or action by Congress, to remove the de- 
posites. If, in my letter (No. 2), there is anything that should not have been 
there, I ask it to he borne in mind, that it was written under a deep sense of in- 
jury and insult. I appeal to all prior letters and intercourse, to show, that I had 
not on any occasion forgotten my respect for the chief magbtrate, or for myself; 
and I deny that, in any letter, there was inaccuracy of fact, with my knowledge. 
As I considered my removal inevitable, I asked, in my personal interview, and by 
letter (No. 6), such order, as, when shown to the representatives of the people, 
would be my apology for leaving the station under my care. Had such order been 
given, all subsequent unpleasantness would have been prevented. For the pres- 
ent result, I am not accountable. 

If any doubt existed as to the propriety of submitting ihe annexed letters to the 
public eye, it is removed by the example set by the pre si.lent in the attack which 
he has sanctioned, and against which this is my defence. I appeal to the justice 
and generosity of all publishers of newspapers, who have inserted therein the at- 
tack upon me, whether I have not a claim upon them to allow me to be heard, by 
publishing the present letter, and the annexed documents. 


Philadelphia, December 2, 1833. 

No. 1. 
{From the Globe of September 20, 1833.) 

We are aitthorized to state, that the deposites of the public money will be 
changed, from the bank of the United States to the state banks, as soon as neces- 
sary arrangements can be made for that purpose, and that it is believed they can 
be completed in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, in time to make 
the change the first of October, and perhaps sooner, if circumstances should render 
an earlier action necessary on the part of the government. 

It is contemplated, we understand, not to remove at once the whole of the pub- 
lic money now on deposite in the bank of the United States, but to suffer it to re- 
main there until it shall be gradually withdrawn by the usual operation of the gov- 
ernment. And this plan is adopted in order to prevent any necessity, on the part 
of the bank of the United States, for pressing upon the commercial community ; 
and to enable it to afford, if it think" proper, the usual facility to the merchants. 
It is believed, that, by this means, the chanee need not produce any inconvenience 
to the commercial community, and that circumstances will not require a sudden 
and heavy call on the bank of the United States, so as to occasion embarrassment 
to the institution or the public. 

No. 2. 
{The Secretary of the Treasury to ihe President of the United States.) 

Treasury Department, September 21, 1833. 

Sir : I have the honor to lay before you — 

1. A copy of my commission, empowering and enjoining me to execute my duty 
according to law, and authorizing me to hold my office at your pleasure. 

2. A copy of my oath of office, wherein I solemnly pledge myself to execute the 
trust confided to me with fidelity. 

3. A copy of the 16th section of the law chartering the bank of the United 
States, whereby the discretion to continue the deposites of the public money in 
that bank was committed to the secretary of the treasury alone. 

4. An extract from your letter to me of the 26th of June, wherein you promise 
not to interfere with the independent exercise of the discretion committed to me 
by the (abovementioned) law over the subject. 


It may also be observed in this place, as an instructive item of 
history on this subject, that the Hon. Louis McLane, the immediate 
predecessor of Mr. Duane in the treasury department, whose 
opinion was known to be against the removal of the deposites, had 

5. An extract from your exposition of the l8th instant, wherein you state, that 
you do not expect me, at your request, order, or dictation, to do any act which I 
may believe to be illegal, or which my conscience may condemn. 

When you delivered to me on the l8th the exposition of your views, above re- 
ferred to, I asked you whether I was to regard it as direction by you to me to 
remove the deposites, you replied that it was your direction to me to remove the 
deposites, but upon your responsibility ; and you had the goodness to add, that, if 
I would stand by you, it would be the happiest day of your life. 

Solemnly impressed with a profound sense of my obligations to my country and 
myself, after painful reflection, and upon my own impressions, unaided by any ad- 
vice, such as I expected, I respectfully announce to you, sir, that I refuse to carry 
your directions into effect. 

1 . Not because I desire to frustrate your wishes, for it would be my pleasure to 
promote them, if I could do so consistently with superior obligations. 

2. Not because I desire to favor the bank of the United States, to which I ever 
have been, am, and ever shall be, opposed. 

3. Not to gratify any views, passions, or feelings of my own — but 

4. Because I consider the proposed change of the depository, in the absence of 
all necessity, a breach of the public faith. 

5. Because the measure, if not in reality, appears to be vindictive and arbitrary, 
not conservative or just. 

6. Because if the bank has abused or perverted its powers, the judiciary are 
able and willing to punish; and in the last resort, the representatives of the peo- 
ple may do so. 

7. Because the last house of representatives of the United States pronounced 
the public money in the bank of the United States safe. 

8. Because, if under new circumstances, a change of depository ought to be 
made, the representatives of the people, chosen since your appeal to them in your 
veto message, will in a few weeks assemble, and be willing and able to do their 

9. Because a change to local and irresponsible banks will tend to shake public 
confidence, and promote doubt and mischief in the operations of society. 

10. Because it is not sound policy in the Union, to foster local banks, which, in 
their multiplication and cupidity, derange, depreciate, and banish the only cur- 
rency known to the constitution, that of gold and silver. 

11. Because it is not prudent to confide, in the crude way proposed by your 
agent, in local banks, when on an average of all the banks, dependent in a great 
degree upon each other, one dollar in silver can not be paid for six dollars in cir- 
culation . 

12. Because it is danserous to place in the hands of the secretary of the treas- 
ury, dependent for office on executive will, a power to favor or punish local banks, 
and consequently make them political machines. 

13. Because the whole proceeding must tend to diminish the confidence of the 
world in our regard for national credit or reputation, inasmuch as, whatever may 
be the abuses of the directors of the bank of the United States, the evil now to 
be endured must be borne by innocent persons, many of whom, abroad, had a 
right to confide in the law, that authorized them to be holders of stock. 

14. Because I believe, that the efforts made in various quarters, to hasten the 
removal of the deposites, did not originate with patriots or statesmen, but in 
schemes to promote selfish or factious purposes. 

15. Because it has been attempted, by persons and presses known to be in the 
confidence and pay of the administration, to intimidate and constrain the secretary 
of the treasury to execute an act in direct opposition to his own solemn convic- 

And now, sir, having, with a frankness that means no disrespect, and with feel- 
ings such as I lately declared them to be, stated to you why I refuse to execute 
what you direct, I proceed to perform a necessarily connected act of duty, by an- 


been advanced to the department of state, to give place, as was 
supposed, to a man wlio might be subservient to this measure ; 
and the fact, that the object of calling Mr. Duane to that station, 

nouncin? to you, that I do not intend voluntarily to leave the post, which the law 
has placed under my charge; and by giving you my reasons for so refusing. 

It is true, that on the 22d of July, you signified, in language sufficiently Intel 
ligible, that you would then remove me from office, unless I would consent to re- 
move the deposites on your final decision ; it may also be true, that I should then 
have put it to the test; and it is also true, that, under a well-grounded assurance 
that your bank plan, the only one then embodied in the instructions drawn up by 
me for your asent, would be, as it proved, abortive, that for this and other causes 
you would be content, I did state my willingness to retire, if I could not concur 
with you. 

But I am not afraid to meet the verdict of generous men, upon my refusal, on 
refiection, and after what has since occurred, to do voluntarily what I then be- 
lieved I should be asked to do. If I had a frail reputation, or had any sinister 
purpose to answer, I might be open to censure, for a neglect of punctilious deli^- 
cacy ; but I can have no impure motives ; much less can I attain any selfish end ; 
I barely choose between one mode of retirement and another; and I choose that 
mode which least of all I should have preferred, if I had not exalted and redeem- 
ing considerations in its favor. 

I have, besides, your own example. I do not say, that, after you had promised 
" not to interfere with the independent exercise of the discretion vested in me by 
law," you were wrong in interfering, if you really thought the public welfare a 
superior consideration to a mere observance of assurances made to me ; nor can 
you say, that I err, when, upon a solemn sense of duty, I prefer one mode of re- 
moval from this station to another. 

This course is due to my own self-preservation, as well as to the public ; for 
you have, in all your papers, held out an assurance, that you " would not inter- 
fere with the exercise of the discretion committed to me by law," over the de- 
posites ; and yet, everything but actual removal of me from office, has been done 
to affect that end. So that, were I to go out of office voluntarily, you might be 
able to point to official papers, that would contradict, if I said you interfered, and 
I should thus be held up as a weak or faithless agent, who regarded delicacy not 
shown to himself more than duty to his trust. 

Sir, after all, I confess to you that I have had scruples; for it is the first time 
that I have ever condescemled to weigh a question of the kind. But I am con- 
tent that it shall be said of me, that in July last I forgot myself, and my duty 
too, rather than that it should be said, that now, knowing the course that you 
pursue, I had in any way favored it. On the contrary, if I have erred, I am vvil- 
lins: to be reproved ; but my motives no man can impu£n. 

My refusal to resign can not keep me, one moment longer than you please, in 
an office that I never sought, and at a removal from which I shall not grieve on 
my own account. It must, on the contrary, hasten my exit. So that, if you shall 
proceed in wresting from the secretary of the treasury the citadel in his posses- 
sion, the act can only be accomplished by a mandate, which will be my apology for 
no lonser standing in the breach. 

And now, sir, allow me to repeat to you, in sincerity of heart, that, in taking 
the present course, under a solemn sense of my obligations, I feel a sorrow on 
your account, far greater than on my own. I have been your early, uniform, and 
steadfast friend ; I can have no unkind disposition, but shall cherish those of a 
kind nature, that I feel. You proudly occupy the hearts of your countrymen; but 
still, it is the lot of humanity, at times, to err. I do ample justice to your mo- 
tives ; but I am constrained to regret your present proceedings, and I devoutly 
wish, that you may live to see all my forebodings contradicted, and your measures 
followed by results beneficial to your country, and honorable to yourself. 
With the utmost consideration, your obedient servant, 


No. 3. 
{The President of the United States to the Secretary of the Treasury.) 

Washington, September 21, 183.3. 
StR : After you retired, I opened and read the paper you handed me. I here 


was not disclosed to him, would seem to indicate a degree of 
timidity in the president at that time, which was subsequently sup- 
planted by a bolder purpose. 

with return it as a communication which I can not receive. Having invited the 
free and full communication of your views, before I made up a final opinion upon 
the subject, I can not consent to enter into further discussion of the question. 

There are numerous imputations in the letter, which can not, with propriety, be 
allowed to enter into a correspondence between the president and the head of a 
department. In your letter of July last, you remark : " But, if, after receiving 
the information, and hearing the discussion, I shall not consider it my duty, as a 
responsible agent of the law, to carry into effect the decision that you may then 
make, I will, from respect to you, and for myself, afford you an early opportunity 
to select a successor, whose views may accord with your own, on the important 
matter in contemplation." My communication to my cabinet was made under this 
assurance received from you; and I have not requested you to perform anything 
which your sense of duty did not sanction. I have merely wished to be informed, 
whether, as secretary of the treasury, you can, consistently with your opinion on 
the subject of the deposites, adopt such measures in relation to them, as, in my 
view, the public interests, and a due execution of the law render proper. If you 
will now communicate that information, it will confer an obligation on 

Your obedient servant, 

And-rew Jackson. 

No. 4. 

{The Secretary of the Treasury to the President of the United States.) 

Teeasurt Department, September 21, 1833. 

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note, returning the 
communication that I presented to you this morning. The grounds on which it is 
returned, are, that further discussion of the deposite question is unnecessary, and 
that there were imputations therein, that could not be admitted into a correspon- 
dence between the president and the head of a department. 

Allow me respectfully to say, that it was not with a view to a further discus- 
sion, that I presented my reasons for declining to act, agreeably to your direction, 
in removing the deposites, but to justify my refusal ; nor was it my desire or my 
intention, that any matter contained in my letter, should be disrespectful, or open 
to such a supposition. That anything therein should be so construed, I very much 
regret. My object throughout was to justify the course, on the two points stated 
in my letter, which, under the most solemn impressions, I felt it to be my duty to 

To show you my obligations, I presented a copy of my commission, a copy of 
my oath of office, and a copy of the law giving the secretary of the treasury the 
discretion to change the public depository ; to show you upon what I relied in my 
course of conduct, I quoted your letter of June 26, and your exposition of the 18th 
instant. In order to justify my refusal to resign, I described the circumstances 
under which your letter of July 22, and my reply of the same date, were written, 
and showed the new posture in which I was placed, by subsequent reflection and 

When I entered your administration, I had no knowledge that you had come to 
any decision on the deposite question, or that you meditated a change of depository 
without the action of Congress. As soon as I was made acquainted with your 
views, I anxiously sought to accord with them ; and as you invited a full di-sclo- 
sure of my thoughts, by assuring me in your letter of the 26th of June, that you 
did not intend to interfere with the independent exercise of the discretion commit- 
ted to me by the law over the deposites, I opened myself freely to you against any 
change of the depository. At all subsequent stages, although I have kept myself 
open to explanation, I have invariably declined to make that change, and I remain 
in the same resolution still. 

Permit me respectfully to say, that I am not aware that my willingness or un- 
willingness to afford you an opportunity to select a successor, would have had any 
influence or bearing upon any question before the cabinet ; but I am willing to 
meet that consideration, as well as those stated to you this day in our interview. 


"And now, sir [said Mr. Clay], having seen that the removal 
was made by the command and authority of the president, I shall 
proceed to inquire whether it was done in conformity with the con- 
stitution and laws of the United States. 

In short, sir, as I stated in that interview, my course is justificatory toward you. I 
desire no unkind feeling ; I have no unkind purpose. However ardent, or unu- 
sual, my language may be, it is at least sincere. Allow me, then, very respect- 
fully to state, as declared at our interview, that, under the most serious convictions 
of my duty, I refuse to aid, assist, or in any way participate, in the proposed 
change of the public depository ; that I refuse to relinquish a post conferred upon 
me by the law; and that, without, in the most remote degree, meaning any sort of 
disrespect to you, I protest against any interference on your part, with powers 
and duties which, I believe, were designedly withheld from the president, and com- 
mitted to the secretary of the treasury', the fiscal agent of the law. 

With fervent wishes that your measures may conduce to the advantage of your 
country, and to the honor of yourself, I am, with the utmost consideration, your 
)bedient servant, 


No. 5. 
{The Secretary of the Treasury to the President of the United States.) 

Treasury Department, September 21, 1833. 

Sir : Allow me, with great respect, to present to you another view, in addition 
to those presented to you in my letter of this date. 

If I understand your wish, as it is to be collected from your note of this date, 
which I have just now again perused, it is to hold me, on principles of delicacy, 
at least, to my assurance of July 22, that, unless I agreed with your decision, af- 
ter inquiry and discussion, I would promptly afford you an opportunity to ob- 
tain a successor according in your views. I pray you dispassionately to consider, 
whether you did not absolve me, even upon principles of delicacy, from all obliga- 
tion wpon this view of the matter. 

1. On Wednesday, September 18, I signified, in cabinet, my desire to take ana 
examine your exposition. You gave it to me, saying, in reply to my inquiry, as 
to your direction, that I was to consider myself directed to act on your responsi- 

2. On Thursday morning, September 19, you applied to me to know, if I had 
come to a decision, and I returned by your messenger, who brought your note, this 
reply : — 

" To the President of the United States : 

" Sir : Upon a matter that deeply concerns, not only myself, but all who are 
dear to me, I have deemed it right, as I have not a friend here to advise with, to 
ask the counsel of my father at this crisis. I wrote to him last night, and am 
eure that nothing but sickness will prevent his presence to-morrow night. On the 
next day, I trust that I shall be able to make a communication to you. 
" With the utmost respect, your obedient servant, 

« September 19, 1833." ' " Wm. J. Duane. 

3. On the same day (Thursday, 19th September), your private secretary, Ma- 
jor Donaldson, called on me to say, that you proposed to publish in the Globe of 
next day, your decision. I replied, that I thought you ought not; that I was not 
a part)' to it, and as a matter of delicacy to myself, could not approve of it. Lest 
words should be forgotten, I wrote, and delivered to Maj. Donaldson, this reply :— 

" j1. J. Donaldson, Esq. : 

" Dear Sir : The world is so censorious, that I am obliged, upon reflection, to 
express to you my hope, that you will not regard me as approving of any publica- 
tion. It would seem to be but delicate to defer such an act, until I shall either 
concur or decline. However, all that I desire to have understood, is, that I do no^ 
approve of the course you mentioned. Were I the president, I would consult, at 
least reasonably the feelings of a man who has already anxiety enough. As to 
the newspapers, they will know what has been done, without an official commu- 
nication. " Verv respectfully, yours, 

« September 19, 1833." ' " W. J. Dpanf 


" I do not purpose at this time to go into the reasons alleged by 
the president or his secretary, except so far as those reasons con- 
tain an attempt to show that he possessed the requisite authority. 
Because if the president of the United States had no power to do 

4. In the Globe of Friday, September, 20, you caused it be announced to the 
•world, that the die was cast ; thus altogether disregarding the rights of the secre- 
tary of the treasury, and my own feelings and fame ; and refusing, besides, to 
wait even until the next day to receive my decision. 

Allow me, therefore, very respectfully, but confidently, to say, that I was thu? 
discharged from any sort of obligation, or respect for, or on account of, the past. 
You gave me no opportunity to let you know, whether I would or would not af- 
ford you an opportunity to choose a successor. In short, the secretary of the 
treasury was, as far as an executive act would do it, nullified ; and I hold it, there- 
fore, that, after such a course, I may stand before my country, acquitted of any 
disregard, even of delicacy. 

Trusting, sir, that you will be so sood as to permit this to enter into your con- 
sideration, with my former note of this date, and that we may close, without dis- 
credit to either, the pending matter, I am, with the utmost consideration, your 
obedient servant, 


No. 6. 
(The Secretary of the Treasury to the President of the United States.) 

Treasttry Department, September 21, 1833. 

Sir : As you had not, in any written communication, given a direction as to the 
deposites, but, on the contrary, had left the action to the secretary of the treasury, 
as a matter of option, I deemed it my duty, when I had the honor to receive from 
you, your exposition of the I8th inst., to ask you, whether I was to consider my- 
self directed to remove the deposites, and you replied, that I was directed on 
your responsibilitj-. 

I was preparing to lay before you an exposition of our relative position and 
views, from the first moment of my entry into your administration, when your 
decision was authoritatively announced in the Globe — a proceeding unsanctioned by 
me, that rendered all further discussion needless, and any attempt of the kind 
derogatory to myself. 

A' communication justificatory of my course, under present circumstances, 
which I delivered to you yesterday, having been returned, on account of alleged 
objectionable matter therein, the presence of which, if disrespectful, I regret. It 
now becomes my duty, in reply to your letter, returning that communication, re- 
spectfully to announce my unwillingness to carry your direction, as to the deposites, 
into effect ; and in making known that determination — without meaning any sort 
of disrespect — to protect myself, by protesting against all that has been done, or 
is doing, to divest the secr'etar." of the treasury, of the power to exercise, inde- 
pendent of the president, the discretion committed to him by law over the de- 

I have already, sir, on more than one occasion, and recently, without contradic- 
tion, before the cabinet, stated, that I did not know, until after my induction into 
office, that you had determined that the deposites should be removed without any 
further action bv Congress. If I had known that such was your decision, and 
that I should be required to act, I would not have accepted ofiice. But as soon as 
I understood, when in office, what your intention was, I sought for all information 
calculated to enable me to act uprightly in the embarrassing position in which I 
was unexpectedly placed. 

You were so good as to transmit to me, to that end, from Boston, not only the 
opinions of the 'members of the cabinet, but your own views in detail, upon the 
deposite question. But instead of intimating to me, that my disinclination to carry 
these views into effect, would be followed by a call for my retirement, you em- 
phatically assured me, in your letter of the 26th of June, that " you did not intend 
to interfere with the independent exercise of the discretion committed to me by 
.aw over the subject." 

Fully confiding in the encouragement thus held out, I entered into an exposi- 
tion of my objections to the proposed measure. Discussion ended in an under- 


this tliin'i- — if the constitution and laws, instead of authorizing it, 
required bim 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 

standing, that we should remain uncommitted, until after an inquiry whidi your 
ai^eat was to make, should be completed, and until the discussion of the cabinet. 
But, pending the preparation of this inquiry, I received your letter of July 22, 
conveyin? what I understood to be an intimation, that I must retikre, unless J 
would then say that I would remove the deposites, after the inquiiy and discussion, 
in case vou should then decide to have them removed. 

I would have at once considered this letter as an order to retire, and would have 
obeyed it, if I had not thought it ray duty to hold the post intrusted me, as long 
as I could do so with benefit to the country, and without discredit to myself. In- 
stead, therefore, of retiring voluntarily or otherwise, I subjected my feelings to 
restraint, and stated, as you quote in your letter of this day, that, if I could not, 
after inquiry and discussion, as the responsible agent of the law, carry into efl'ect 
the decision that might be made, I would aliord you an opportunity to select a 
successor, &,c. Under these circumstances, the inquiry was entered upon. It 
ended in showing, as I had predicted, that the plan submitted to me on the 26th 
of June, was impracticable — and in a report without any defined substitute, ac- 
cording to my comprehension of it. 

After a consideration of the subject in the cabinet, you gave directions, as stated 
at the commencement of this letter, and I wrote to you, that I would make com- 
munication to you on Saturday, 21st instant, and I accordingly did so. as herein 
before stated. Unto the present time, therefore, I have been struggling, under 
painful circumstances, not to retain a post that I never sought, and the loss of 
which I shall not regret on my own account — but to maintain it for the countrj-, 
under a serious sense of duty to it, and to avert a measure that I honestly feared 
might affect vourself. 

Without entertaining or desiring to manifest toward you, sir, the slightest disre- 
spect, but solemnly impressed with a consideration of my responsibility to the 
country, and my duty to myself, I now definitely declare, that I will not in any 
way aid or assist, to cause the public money to be deposited in any other institu- 
tion, bank, or place, than that provided by the 16th section of the act chartering 
the United States bank, until Congress shall direct or authorize such change to be 
made, unless good cause shall arise, such as in my judgment does not now exist. 

I am further constrained, owing to occurrences and circumstances, that in part 
have come to my knowledge, or have taken place, of late, to leave it to you, sir, to 
determine, whether I am or am not to remain any longer a member of your admin- 
istration. I sincerely hope and beg, sir, that you will consider, that I owe it to 
myself, my family, and my friends, not to leave my course, at this most trying mo- 
ment of my life,"open to doubt or conjecture; that my conduct has already sharp- 
ened the dagger of malice, as may be seen in some of the public prints ; that you, 
who have been assailed in so many tender parts, and in whose defence I have de- 
voted many a painful day, ought to make allowance for me, in my present position ; 
that, were I to resign, I could meet no calumniator without breach of duty; tha' 
I ask such order or direction from you, in relation to my office, as may protect lue 
and my children from reproach, and save you and myself from all present or fu- 
ture pain; that I desire to separate in peace and kindness; that I will strive to 
forget all unpleasantness, or cause of it ; and that I devoutly wish, that your 
measures may end in happiness to your country, and honor to yourself. 
With the utmost consideration, your obedient servant, 


No. 7. 
(The President of the United States to the Secretary of the Treasury.) 

September 23, 1833. 
Sir : Since I returned your first letter of September 21st, and since the receip: 
of your second letter of the same day, which I sent back to you, at your own re- 
quest, I have received your third and fourth letters of the same date. The last two 
as well as the first, contain statements that are inaccurate ; and as I have already 
indicated in my last note to you, that a correspondence of this description is inad 
missible, your last two letters are herewith returned. 


United Statos over the treasury ? Is it in the ch irter estabh'shing 
the bank ? The clause of the charter relating to the public de- 
posits declares — 

[For this clause, see page 71.] 

" This is in strict consonance with the act creating the treasury 
department in 1789. The secretary of the treasury is by that act 
constituted the agc7it 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 
:s to report at any time on any particular branch of the fiscal con- 
cerns of the country. He is the age?it of Congress to watch over 
me safety of the national deposites ; and if, from any peculiar cir- 
cumstances, the removal of them shall be required, he is to report 
:he fact — to whom? to the president? No, sir; he must report 

Congress, together with his reasons therefor. By the charter 
of the bank, the president of the United States is clothed with twc 
powers respecting it, and two only. By one of its clauses he is 
authorized to nominate, and by and with the consent of the senate, 
to appoint the government directors, and to remove them ; by the 
other clause he is empowered to issue a scire facias when he shall 

But from all your recent communications, as well as your recent conduct, your 
feelings and sentiments appear to be of such a character, that, after your letter of 
July last, in which you say, should your views not accord with mine, " I will, 
from respect to you, and for myself, aflfard you an opportunity to select a succes- 
sor, whose views may accord with your own, on the important matter in con- 
templation," and your determination now to disregard the pledge you then gave, 

1 feel myself constrained to notify you, that your further services as secretary of 
the treasury are no longer required. 

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Andrew Jackson. 
[NiLF.s's Register, volume xlv, pp. 236-239.] 

In a private letter of Mr, Duane to a friend in New Orleans, dated Philadel- 
phia, October 23, 1833, some extracts from which were afterward published in 
the New Orleans Bulletin, he says : — 

"It is but too obvious, either that we misunderstood the qualities of General 
Jackson's head, or else he has been wonderfully altered. On all the cardmal 
questions agitated, he has failed to be consistent. He promised purity m selec- 
tions for office; yet few have been purely made. He professed to be a mend to 
domestic industry ; yet he has done more than anybody else to prostrate it. He advo- 
cated a national' government bank ; and yet affects to dread a moneyed aristocracy. 
He complained of the corruptions of one bank ; and takes forty or fifty irresponsible 
paper-circulating banks under the national wing. He has been for and against 
internal improvement. He denounced nullification ; yet has of late been unsay- 
ing all that he said in his proclamation. In short, I do not beheve he ever had 
fixed principles, or ever arrived at any result by the exercise of the mind. Im- 
pulses and passions have ruled. • • * I had not been twenty-four hours in 
office, when I felt, as I wrote my father, my vessel on the breakers. I found that 
the president was in the hands of men, whom I would not trust, personally or po- 
litically. • • • I undertook to tell the president the truth, in the language 
of a freeman, rather than a courtier— the end of all which was my removal from 
office, under aggravating circumstances. • • • The state of things is this : 
The good of the country is no more thought of, than if everything ought to be 
left tl) chanco. • • • At Washington, my unwillingness to pull, as a weD 
traiutd mule would, was a matter of surprise. Moral courage at Washington, n 
fts 9i»rce as Iberalit ' at Waisa\»." 


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 affairs to him, but to the secre- 
tary of the treasury ; and it is thus to report whenever he shall 
call upon it for information ; but when it becomes necessary to go 
furtlier, a committee of Congress is authorized to examine the 
books of the bank, and to look into the whole state of its affairs, 
and to report, 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 facias. 

" And has the president any power over the treasury by the con- 
stitution? 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." * * * 

After having animadverted, as the fact demanded, upon the in- 
troduction into the president's message of the novel phraseology 
of "the constitution and suffrages of the American people," as if 
the source of power were a part of the rule of government, and 
as if the will of the people were to be interpreted according to the 
will of the president, and that interpretation superadded to the 
constitution as a guide ; and after having duly chastised the per- 
version that had been made of the duty of the president " to see 
that the laws be faithfully executed," by making it a warrant to 
violate them, Mr. Clay said, in the conclusion of his remarks, 
upon this latter point : — 

" 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 sewip^^e 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 func- 
tionaries 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 faithfully executed.' " 

On this principle, the president claimed the right of setting 
aside the decisions of the supreme court of the United States, and 
refused to execute their mandate in the case of the Cherokees and 
their missionaries in Georgia. 

It happened that the secretary of the treasury held his appoint- 
ment at the will of the president, though an agent of Congress ; 
and General Jackson undertook to apply his principle of control 
to this officer. He labored hard, for months, to bring the mem- 


bers of his cabinet — all of whom knew well that they were under 
the operation of the same screw — into the measure, and succeeded, 
by this power, in converting a majority. But the secretary of the 
treasury, being contumacious, compelled the president to the appli- 
cation of force — and in that violence, he broke into the appropriate 
domain of the democratic branch of the government. Not satisfied 
with controlling his own officers, he proposed to control the agents 
of Congress, and thus took possession of the treasury of the nation. 
But this stretch of power did not stop even within these limits. 
It proposed to take the morals, the press, and the elective fran- 
chise, under its charge. The famous paper of the 18th of Sep- 
tember said : "Its responsibility [the measure of removal] has 
been assumed, after the most mature deliberation and reflection, as 
necessary to preserve the morals of the people, the freedom of the press, 
and the purity of the elective franchise.''^ On this point, Mr. Clay 
says : — 

" The morals of the people ! What part of the constitution 
has given to the president any power over ' the morals of the peo- 
ple ?' 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 V To-day he claims a power as 
necessary to the morals of the people : to-morrow he will claim 
another, as still more indispensable to our religioti. And the pres- 
ident might in this case as well have said, that he went into the of- 
fice of the secretary of the treasury, and controlled the free exercise 
of his authority as secretary, because it was necessary to preserve 
'the religion of the people !' I ask for the authority. Will any 
one of those gentlemen here, who consider themselves as the vin- 
dicators of the executive, point me to any clause of the constitu- 
tion which gives to the presevt 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 feel 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 president and his secretary, and all that sort of thing. Sir, 
it is sometimes 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 unUke some others in our 
own time. 

Vol. II.^ 


" The famous sedition act was passed, sir, in 179S; and it con- 
tained, among others, the following provision.* 

" We have now, sir, in the reasons for the removal of the gov- 
ernment deposites, the same motives avowed and acted upon. The 
abuse of the government, bringing it into disrepute, using con- 
temptuous language to persons high in authority, constituted the 
motives for passing the sedition law ; and what have we now but 
a repetition of the same complaints of abuses, disrespect, and so 
forth y As it is now, so it was then ; for, says the next section of 
the same sedition act.t 

" It is only for the sake of the truth, said they who favored the 
passage 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 assumption 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 right 
to have the truth of his alleged 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 ac- 
cused party of the opportunity 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 
constitution gives him any power over that 'franchise'?' Look, 
sir, at the nature of the exercise of this power ! If it was really 
necessary that steps should be taken to preserve the purity of the 

• " ' Section 2. That if any person shall write, print, utter, or publish, or shall 
cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, or shall, knowingly 
and willingly, assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing, any false, 
scandalous, and malicious writing or writings, against the sovernment of the Uni- 
ted States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the president 
of the United States, with intent to defame the saiii government, or either house 
of the said Congress, or the said president, or to bring them, or either of them, 
into contempt or disrepute ; or to excite aeainst 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 therein, for opposing or resisting 
any law of the United States, or any act of the president of the United States, 
done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the consti- 
tution 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 government, then such person, being thereof 
convicted before any court of the United States havins jurisdiction thereof, shall 
be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment 
not exceeding two years.' 

t " ' That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act, fbr the writing or 
publishing of any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the 
trial of the cause, to give in evidence in hi« defence, the truth of the matter con- 
tained in the publication charged as a libel. And the jury 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 cases.' 



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 (however 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 for- 
bids that the prei?s shall be touched, and declares that religion 
shall be sacred from all the powers of legislation, applied in the 
case or not. This the president has undertaken to do. . . . 

" Where is the security against such conduct on the part of the 
president? 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 re- 
sponsibility,' from that moment the public treasury might as well 
have been at the hermitage as at this place. Sir, the measure 
adopted by the president is without precedent — in our day at best- 
There is, indeed, a precedent on record, but you must go up to 
the Christian era for it. It will be recollected, by those who are 
conversant with ancient history, that, after Pompey was compelled 
to retire to Brundusium, Cfesar, who had been anxious to give him 
battle, returned to Rome, ' having reduced Italy (says the historian) 
in sixty days (the exact period, sir, between the removal of the de- 
poshes and the meeting of Congress, without the usual allowance 
of three days' grace), without bloodshed.' The historian goes on : 
'Finding the city in a more settled condition than he expected, and 
many senators there, he addressed them in a mild and gracious 
manner (as the president addressed his late secretary of the treas- 
ury), and desired them to send deputies to Pompey with an offer 
of honorable terms of peace. As Metellus, the tribune, opposed his 
taking money out of the public treasury, and cited some laws against it 
(such, sir, I suppose, as I have endeavored to cite on this occasion), 
Cffisar said, ' Arms and laws do not flourish together. If you are 
not pleased with what I am about, you have only to wuhdraw. 
('Leave the office, Mr. Duane !') War, indeed, will not tolerate 
much liberty of speech. When I say this, I am renouncing my 
own right ; for you, and all those wliom I have found exciting a 
spirit of faction against me, are at my disposal.' Having 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 : 
out Csesar, with an elevated voice, threatened to put him to death, 
if he gave any further trouble. ' And you know ve*-y well, young 
man,' said he, ' that this is harder for me to say than to do.' " 


The position occupied by Mr. Duane in this affair, is one thai 
will command the respect of the age and of posterity — and the 
same feeling that applauds him, will regard with deep mortification 
and regret the consent of Mr. Taney to lay aside the robes of an 
attorney-general, to commit this outrage on the constitution and 
laws of his country ! It was cruel, indeed, to call Mr. Duane to 
the head of the treasury, without advising him of the purpose in 
view. His position was embarrassing and painful in the extreme. 

In regard to the question of casuistry raised by his refusal to 
resign, after he had given a pledge that he would not stand in the 
way of the president, it must be left to the defence which he him- 
self has made. It can not be denied, that the treatment he re- 
ceived was a just subject of complaint; or that it materially affected 
his relations with the president ; or that it forced him into a defen- 
sive position ; though a third person could hardly assume to de- 
cide, that even all this injury, present and prospective, discharged 
him from the obligations of the understanding which he, by his own 
voluntary act, had originated and authorized. It is clear, however, 
that the president, who had set the example of breaking promise — 
having said, in a letter to Mr. Duane, that he would " 7iot interfere 
with the independent exercise of the discretion vested in him by lauP'' 
— was not the party to complain of a like breach of promise toward 
himself. But Mr. Duane's manly and noble conduct, in pro- 
testing against this measure, and resisting it to the last, sacrificing 
the honor and emoluments of place, for the maintenance and vin- 
dication of principle, exposing himself to the reproach and incur- 
ring the abuse of all his former political associates, was worthy of 
all praise, and will for ever receive the favorable verdict of man- 
kind. It exhibits one of the strongest points in the history of the 
country, as an example of virtue, of patriotism, in conflict with 
arbitrary power. The devotion of Mr. Duane to General Jack- 
son, is sufficiently proved by his call to the cabinet ; the pain he 
suffered in his controversy with the president, might be inferred, 
even if it were not revealed in the correspondence between them ; 
his adherence to principle and law, under all these trials, and the 
sacrifice he finally made, are most exemplary ; and his disappoint- 
ment, as to the character of the president, and as to the state of 
things at Washington, at that time, manifested in his letter of Octo- 
ber 23, 1833, to a friend in New Orleans, was the natural result of 
such experience, and is communicated in the frankness of private 
friendship, and therefore the more reliable as an honest opinion. 




A Locum Tenens. — Difficulty of the Secretary's Task. — His Reasons for removing 
the Deposites. — What Mr. Clay thought. — The Secretary lectures Congress on 
Law, Politics, Affairs of State, Free Institutions, and other Matters. — The Rele- 
vancy of these Topics to Finance considered. — False Position of the Secretary. 
— Consequences. — Sometimes right, Sometimes wrong. — In a Strait betwixt 
Two. — Orders from one Quarter. — Responsibility in Another. — Sinks between 
two Boats. 

The remarkable part enacted by the locum tenens of the treasury 
department, in the removal of the deposites, deserves yet more 
consideration, than the condensed analysis of his report, and a few 
scattered allusions to him, in the preceding chapter. In justifica- 
tion of the denomination here applied to his position, it is sufficient 
to say, that a commission given by the president to any public offi- 
cer, whose appointment requires the advice and consent of the 
senate, can not be more than that of a locum tenens, as the agent 
of the executive, till his appointment is confirmed by the action of 
the co-ordinate power. Courtesy usually applies to him the style 
of the office which he has contingently in prospect. But Roger 
B. Taney was never secretary of the treasury of the United States. 
That was impossible till the senate should confirm the nomination. 
But he was rejected. This distinction may often be, as it is in 
this case, practically important, to determine where the responsi- 
bility of all agencies and acts of the government lies. If the pres- 
ident commissions an agent to accomplish his own arbitrary designs, 
and has reason to know, that this agent, or this service, will not be 
agreeable to the co-ordinate power of appointment, he violates the 
spirit and intent of the constitution. If, as in the case of the head 
of the treasury, who is an agent, an employee of Congress, he puts 
forward a lociim tenens that is offensive to that body, knowing him 
to be such, either in his want of the qualifications which that body 
would prefer, or in his want of fidelity to them, it is a manifest im- 
propriety, and one bordering on what might be more harshly de- 
nominated. If, in addition to this, he takes advantage of the letter 


of the law, and employs a locum tcnens over the treasury, for the 
very purpose of violating the will of Congress, or of the co-ordinate 
power of appointment, thrusting him upon them against all their 
feelings and wishes, then it is an outrage. If, yet further, he does 
this for the purpose of usurping the rights of Congress, it then be- 
comes a heinous offence. Such — the last of these suppositions — 
appears to have been precisely the position of Mr. Taney, as the 
lociitn tenens in charge of the United States treasury, in 1833, till 
the time of his rejection by the senate, in 1834. He was forced 
upon Congress and the senate against their will — or rather, having 
never received the sanction of Congress as an employee, he was 
put forward to do that against which the house of representatives 
protested in advance, and upon which the senate afterward passed 
a resolution of censure. In law Mr. Taney was an agent of Con- 
gress ; in effect he was not ; his appointment was in spirit a viola- 
tion of the constitution ; and his action was a gross violation of its 
letter. The refusal of the president to send in his name to the 
senate, till Congress had been nearly seven months in session, was 
an aggravation of the wrong done to the rights of that body, to the 
rights of Congress, and to the constitution, as it forced upon the 
country a pubhc agent, for a protracted period, which the consti- 
tutional authorities could never sanction — and it was known that 
such would probably be the resslt. The motive of withholding 
the name, arose from the knowledge, that the public will, as ex- 
pressed through its constitutional organs, was violated, and that 
this violence, so far as this incumbent was concerned, would be 
barred the moment he should be nominated. He was rejected the 
next day. 

The power of the secretary of the treasury over the deposites, 
as vested in him by one section of the law which created the Uni- 
ted States bank of 1816, has already been considered. It was 
obviously a discretion conferred for an exigency that might arise, 
affording presumptive evidence to the secretary, that the public 
funds were in an unsafe condition, and investing him with power, 
according to the best of his judgment, to rescue them from hazard, 
for which he was required to account to Congress " immediately. 
if in session ; and if not, immediately after the commencement of 
the next session." 

The secretary of the treasury (he is so denominated in courtesy) 
had a difficult task to perform, in rendering his account to Con- 
gress. The law is very strong in its terms, in case of the use of 


the high discretion of disturbing the condition of the public depos- 
ites, as fixed by their constitutional keepers. He must give his 
reasons "immediately." It was a great responsibility. He was 
required to tell " the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the 
truth." He was in court, and under the oath of office. There 
must be good and sufficient reasons for such a use of discretion — 
not reasons of state — but reasons of a man of business, of a banker, 
of a minister of finance. In his official capacity, he had nothing 
to do with reasons of state. These were the province of his mas- 
ters, but arrogance in him as a servant to name them. It is no* 
possible to conceive of a reason suitable for him to advance on this 
occasion, which did not regard the safety of the public funds. Con- 
gress had selected the place of deposite ; it was a part of law ; the 
public faith was pledged ; and there were parties to the arrange- 
ment, who had their rights. Congress — one of its branches — had 
acted on the question, the state of which had undergone no change, 
and recorded a mandatory expression of their will ; and the duty 
of the secretary, so far as this matter was concerned, was simply 
that of a commercial agent — to secure the safety of the public funds, 
till further orders. 

The following spirited and sarcastic remarks of Mr. Clay, cut- 
ting more ways than one, will show the opinion he entertained of 
the first position of the secretary in his report : — 

" The report of the secretary of the treasury, in the first para- 
graph, commences with a misstatement of the fact. He says, ' I 
have directed ' that the deposites of the money of the United States 
shall not be made in the bank of the United States. If this asser- 
tion 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 meas- 
ure was that of the president, by whose autiiority or command the 
order was given ; and of this we have the highest and most authen- 
tic evidence. The president has told the world that the measure 
was his own, and that he took it upon his own responsibility. And 
he has exonerated his cabinet 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 eighteenth 
of September last; that it had been announced to the public on 
the twentieth ; and that Mr. Duane remained in office until the 
twenty-third. He would have informed Congress, that this impor- 
tant measure was decided before he entered into his new office, 


and was the cause of his appointment. Yes, sir, the present sec 
retary stood by, a witness to the struggle in the mind of his prede- 
cessor, between his attachment to the president and his duty to the 
country; saw him dismissed from office, because he would not 
violate his conscientious obligations, and came into his place, to do 
what he could not, honorably, and would not perform. A son of 
one of the fathers of democracy, by an administration professing 
to be democratic, was expelled from office, and his place supplied 
by a gentleman, who, throughout his whole career, has been uni- 
formly opposed to democracy ! — a gentleman who, at another epoch 
of the republic, when it was threatened with civil war, and a disso- 
lution of the Union, voted (although a resident of a slave state), in 
the legislature of Maryland, against the admission of Missouri into 
the Union without a restriction incompatible with her rights as a 
member of the confederacy! Mr. Duane was dismissed because 
the solemn convictions of his duty would not allow him to conform 
to the president's will — because his logic did not bring his mind to 
the same conclusions with those of the logic of a venerable old gen- 
tleman, inhabiting a white house not distant from the capitol — be- 
cause his watch [here Mr. Clay held up his own] did not keep 
time with that of the president. He was dismissed under that de- 
testable system of proscription for opinion's sake, which has finally 
dared to intrude itself into the halls of Congress — a system under 
which three unoffending clerks, the husbands of wives, the fathers 
of families, dependent on them for support, without the slightest 
imputation of delinquency, have been recently unceremoniously 
discharged, and driven out to beggary, by a man, himself the sub- 
stitute of a meritorious officer, who has not been in this city a 
period equal to one monthly revolution of the moon ! I 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 senate (I 
am sure he is not disposed to do it), on account of his opinions, 
political or religious, if no other member of the senate does it, I 
will instantly submit a resolution for his own dismission. 

" The secretary ought to have communicated all these things — 
he ou";ht to have stated that the cabinet was divided two and two, 
and one of the members [Mr. Cass, secretary of war] equally di- 
vided with himself on the question, willing to be put into either 
scale. He ought to have given a full account of this, the most 
important act of executive authority since the origin of the gov- 
ernment — he should have stated with what unsullied honor his pred- 
ecessor retired from office, and on what degrading conditions he 
accepted his vacant place. When a momentous proceeding like 
this, varying the constitutional distribution of the powers of the 
legislative and executive departments, was resolved on, the minis- 
ters aijainst whose advice it was determined, should have resigned 
their stations. No ministers of any monarch in Europe, under 


similar circumstances, would have retained the seals of office. 
And if, as nobody doubts, there is a cabal behind the curtain, with- 
out character and without responsibility, feeding the passions, stimu- 
lating the prejudices, and moulding the actions of the incumbent 
of the presidential office, it was an additional reason for their resig- 
nations. There is not a maitre d'hote! 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 indignant pride!" 

When a man is forced to give any reasons but the true and 
proper ones, for his own conduct, and is deeply interested in ma- 
king out his justification, it should not be deemed strange, if he 
accumulates incongruous, illogical, and even absurd statements. 
It is not proposed here to follow out minutely that concatenation 
of reasoning, in the secretary's report, the analysis of which is given 
in the preceding chapter ; but only to notice a few of the points 
more worthy of consideration. Why the secretary should have 
gone into questions of law, politics, state, and into various other 
controversies, actual and hypothetical, when in truth he could with 
propriety have had no other budget to open but that of a commer- 
cial agent, in a plain, straight-forward, and matter-of-fact statement, 
relative to financial economy on the subject in hand, is perhaps 
sufficiently obvious from the necessities of his position. No man 
knew better than he, that he had consented to be the agent of vio- 
lating the constitution and laws of the land. It was therefore neces- 
sary — since he was compelled to reason on the subject — that he 
should violate fact, logic, and even truth itself, to mystify the sub- 
ject, and embarrass the minds of those who might be doomed to 
give him a hearing. 

His first aim was to show, that he alone had power over the de- 
posites, and that thie power was unconditional and absolute. His 
stages of proof apparently are, first, the law touching the deposites, 
which constitutes the secretary of the treasury the agent of removal. 
Next, law precedents, in the decisions of courts on the relation 
between the sovereignty of a state and bank corporations, which is 
determined to be a contract. Thirdly, that the stockholders of the 
bank, by incorporating, under this law, had subscribed to this ab- 
solute power of the secretary. Without questioning the grant of 
power by the law to the secretary, or the validity of the principle 
alleged to have been decided by the courts as to the parties in the 
contract, or the fact of the stockholders of the bank being one of 


the parties, and the sovereignty of the United States the other — 
*' sovereignty" is the secretary's term, and there is no objection to 
allow him the term government, as sovereignty is somewhat of an 
abstraction — still, it is not easy to see how the secretary, as an 
agent of government, strictly of Congress, should be able to estab- 
lish himself in the position of a third and independent party, having 
rights and powers in relation to the stockholders of the bank, which 
his employers had not. He does this manifestly by his own forced 
construction of the language of the law, which must fall at the first 
glance of his position and functions as an agent, and only an 
agent, acting under the authority and orders of his principals, one 
part of which doubtless is the law in question, the construction of 
which should be reasonable, and not violate recognised and long- 
established principles, whose existence and influence framed this 
law, and surrounded and guarded it as a new regulation, to forbid 
misconstruction or perversion. It is certain that it could not be 
construed to invest the secretary with powers not derived from his 
employers, who were the authors of this law — much less to make 
him superior to them. It is obvious, that he could have no power 
not derived from his principals. 

The secretary, in his reasonings, occasionally advances a prin- 
ciple, about which there can be no controversy. For example, 
that " the right of the secretary to designate the place of deposite 
was always necessarily subject to the control of Congress ;" and 
the only wonder is, that the man who knew so well how to state 
the rule, should be capable of disregarding it, and persist in it to 
the last, by a continuous act of usurpation. But the necessity of 
the unfortunate man's position, in relation to the president, was the 
difficulty under which he labored. Video meliora, proboqve; sed 
deteriora sequor. A man is to be pitied, who has to struggle so 
hard against his reason and his conscience. The secretary darts 
from right to wrong, and from wrong to right, like a buzzing top 
spun from the hand of a boy, and stands on his foot about as long. 
No sooner had he uttered the very excellent truth above, taking up 
his station with all fidelity at the feet of Congress, than he begins 
to think of his relation to the president, and flies back to his mas- 
ter, renouncing the authority just acknowledged : "As the secre- 
tary 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 exer- 
cised must be siibject to the supervision of the officer [he hardly 


dare say president] to whom the constitution has confided the whole 
executive power, and has required to take care that the laws be 
faithfully executed." Certainly, it can not be denied, that he is 
fast by the president now, however devious may have been the path 
by which he arrived. 

It is melancholy to observe, what strategy is necessary to make 
out a case known to be wrong — how a man of logic and law will 
take refuge under equivoques and flimsy appearances, to support 
an absurdity ! Did not Mr. Taney know, that, as secretary of the 
treasury, he was an agent of Congress, and not of the executive 
hranch of the government ? Why, then, does he take advantage 
of the facts, that he is selected by the president, as the law directs, 
to fill that place ; that he presides over what is commonly called 
an executive department ; that he is under the supervision of the 
president ; that his bureau happens to have the accident of propin- 
quity to the executive mansion ; — why, on these accounts, does he 
presume to suggest the idea — in covert language indeed — that he 
is, therefore, bound to obey the orders of the president, in violation 
of all law ? Did not Mr. Taney know, that the supervision of the 
president, in regard to his office and functions, could lawfully ex- 
tend no further, than to see, that he discharged his duties faithfully, 
according to law, as an agent of Congress, and a servant of the 
public ? It is impossible, that he, or any other man, should recon- 
cile the position he here takes up, with the rule he had just laid 
down, that " the right of the secretary to designate the place of 
deposite, was always subject to the control of Congress ;" for he 
has now given it all over into the hands of the president. 

Precisely the same paradox appears in the following sentence, 
the reasoning of which seems well nigh to have set the secretary 
right: " The power over the place of deposite for the public money, 
would seem properly to belong to the legislative department of the 
government, and it is difficult to imagine why the authority to with- 
draw it from this bank was confided exclusively to the executive.^* 
It was not so confided, Mr. Secretary, except by your own forced 
construction of the law, and by your application of misnomers to 
confound the truth. Admitting that the power was in the secre- 
tary, as the proxy and agent of Congress, what right or authority 
had he to identify himself with the president, by a sly use of the 
word " executive ?" He jumps to conclusions over chasms that 
should break an honest man's neck. 

It is curious to observe how the secretary establishes the absurd- 


ity, that he had more power than his masters, and that he could 
do what they had no right to do. It was doubtless true, that Con- 
gress had no right, directly or indirecdy, by proxy or otherwise, 
to withhold or withdraw the pubUc deposites from the bank of the 
United States, during the term of the compact, so long as the bank 
was known to be a safe depository, and so long as it faithfully dis- 
charged all its duties as a party ; and that was one of the grounds 
of charge against the secretary and the president, first, that they 
had usurped a function of Congress, and next, that they had thereby, 
and in addition, caused the faith of a compact to be broken. But 
the most amusing part of the secretary's reasoning, is, that, having 
the power, he was bound to exercise it : " It is the dtity of the ex- 
ecutive departments of the government to exercise the powers con- 
ferred on them." By which rule the hangman's office ought not 
to be disappointed, and he is entitled — bound — to make a victim 
of the first man he can catch, if the courts fail to do their duty, in 
handing one over to satisfy his claims. This propensity to the 
use of power, and this conscientious application of all powers con 
ferred, occasion or no occasion, according to the executive rule of 
that day, " as he understands" and is pleased to interpret the law, 
seems, in this instance, to have been discharged to the utmost 

The way in which this financier, this man of business, appointed 
to a specific duty, regulated by law, assumes to decide questions 
of state, going back behind his masters, originating and executing 
measures which they had neglected to provide, will appear from 
the following extract : — 

" It must be the duty of the secretary of the treasury to with- 
draw the deposites from that institution [the bank of the United 
States], whenever the change would in any degree promote the 
public interest [according to the secretary's opinion]. It is not 
necessary that the deposites should be unsafe, in order to justify 
the removal. The authority to remove, is not limited to such a 
contingency. The bank may be perfectly solvent, and prepared 
to meet promptly all demands upon it. It may have been faithful 
in the performance of its duties, and yet the public interest [as de- 
termined by the secretary] may require the deposites to be with- 
drawn. And as that can not be done without the action of this 
department [so the secretary had decided, and assumed that he 
could do it], the secretary of the treasury would betray the trust 
confided to him [that must be a high discretion, that comprehends 
a duty which the authority re(pnring it, is not competent to dis- 
charge], if he did not cause the deposites to be made elsewhere 


iv'henever [in his opinion] the change would advance the public 
interest, or public convenience [even though it be but a slight con- 
venience^ the secretary, with his ample powers, can do it, and with 
all his scrupulousness, is bound to do it]. The safety of the de- 
posites, the ability of the bank to meet its engagements, its fidelity 
in the performance of its obligations, are only a part of the consid- 
erations by which his judgment must be guided. The general 
interest and convenience of the people, must regulate his con- 

It was very fortunate for a Congress, that could not understand 
" the general interest and convenience of the people," and that did 
not know how to legislate for these ends, to have such a secretary ! 
It was still more fortunate, that, having expressed an erroneous 
opinion, and recorded a virtual order, on this subject, the president 
had provided them with a secretary of paramount powers, as well 
as paramount sagacity and discretion — a secretary of " uncondi- 
tional and absolute power !" 

Not only was this secretary such a profound adept in political 
science, but he achieved the solution of a problem in mathematics, 
never before discovered, that a part is equal to the whole, and the 
whole not greater than a part, under the latter as the form of his 
proposition. Mr. Crawford, as the head of the treasury, in 1817, 
had made some use of the state banks — for his own convenience 
probably — as places of deposite. Mr. Taney arrives at the con- 
clusion : " Nor can any distinction be taken between the transfer 
of a part, and the transfer of the whole sum, remaining on depos- 
ite. The language of the charter recognises no such distinction." 
The language of the law was, that the deposites should be made 
in the bank of the United States. The discovery of Mr. Taney 
is, that it is the same thing not to use the United States bank at 
all, as to use other banks to a small extent, when the fiscal opera- 
tions of the government required it, or for any other reason ; and 
that, if Mr. Crawford violated the law in part, the path was open 
for Mr. Taney to violate the whole with impunity. 

The length of the secretary's lecture to Congress, and the accu- 
mulation of his reasons — apparently with a view to supply by their 
number what they might chance to lack in separate force — is per- 
haps some apology for seeming to contradict in one stage of his 
argument, what he advances in another. For example, he states, 
that "the executive department can not be allowed to speculate on 
the chances of future change by the legislative authority," from 
which no man could reasonably dissent. But immediately after- 


ward, when, in violation of this rule, he comes to " speculate" on 
the results of the elections, and the questions decided by them, 
according to his " speculations," he seems to think it incumbent 
upon him to " speculate" on future legislation, and to regulate his 
conduct accordingly. " The manifestations of public opinion, in- 
stead of being favorable to a renewal [of the bank charter], have 
been decidedly to the contrary. Under these circumstances, I 
could not have been justified in anticipating any change in the ex- 
isting laws;" and therefore he was justified in breaking covenant 
with the bank, which was entitled by law and compact to the use 
of the public deposites till the 3d of March, 1S36, about two years 
and a half after they were removed. These, it must be confessed, 
were somewhat bold speculations, invading the domain of moral 
casuistry, not much to its security or honor. " It is obvious," 
says the secretary, as if a question of morals were not concerned 
in it, " that the interests of the country would not be promoted by 
permitting the deposites of the public money to continue in the 
bank, until its charter expired." There might be a difference of 
opinion on the question here so gratuitously and authoritatively 
decided — though there ought not to be a question as to the obliga- 
tion of contracts. Morals, in this place, did not seem to come 
within the purview of the secretary, though, in a subsequent stage 
of his argument, he would seem to be very anxious lest morals 
should be injured by another party, and the people corrupted. 
With such a certificate of his qualifications, who could object, that 
he should preach a sermon on this topic, or remove the deposites 
as a conservator of morals ? 

If it was not positively gratifying to the pride and self-respect 
of Congress, and even if they were in some degree ungrateful, it 
could not but be regarded as a labor-saving operation, that the 
secretary should have been able to decide for them the constitu- 
tional question, in regard to a bank of the United States, which he 
did very summarily, on his own authority, ranking it, of course, 
among the grounds of his own action. If this high duty did not 
exactly comport with a business document, on matters of finance, 
it was nevertheless of some importance. 

The secretary, laying on the shelf the moral question involved 
in the faith of contracts, apparently as one unworthy of considera- 
tion, proceeds to discuss the financial economy of the bank, in 
which also he thinks he finds ample justification of the measure 
which, in the use of his " unconditional and absolute power," he 


had adopted. His first drift carries him directly on the credit of 
the bank, to show, first, that it was borrowed fi-oni its relations to 
the government of the United States ; and next, as a consequence, 
in the operation of the measure executed by him, that it ought to 
have very little or no credit at all. This, certainly, if it had fully 
succeeded, would have had a momentous influence on the com- 
mercial affairs of the country, all of which were more or less con- 
nected with the credit of this bank ; and with all abatements, arising 
from the use of the sounder judgment of the wide community, did 
have a tremendous influence as a shock to general credit. This 
was taking care of " the interests and convenience of the people," 
with a vengeance ! The secretary not only severs, by violence, 
the stipulated connexion between the government and the bank, 
when the convenience and prosperity of the whole people depended 
on its credit, but he declares that its credit was borrowed from this 
relation, now no longer existing ! That this was in some sense, 
and in some degree, true, could not be controverted. And hence 
the stupendous consequences, of a disastrous nature, which came 
down so suddenly on the people of the country. In fact the bank 
was sound, and no man of competent information ever doubted it. 
But to excite doubts, in the minds of the people, by having its 
credit assailed from such a quarter, could not fail to produce the 
results that followed. It moreover forced an exigency on the bank, 
which compelled it to a course that must force a crisis on the com- 
mercial affairs of the country. From a patron, friend, and ally of 
the bank, with mutual interests, the government had become an 
open and declared enemy, breaking faith, and mustering its reso- 
lution and energies for an exterminating war — a course of treatment 
which forced the bank into a posture of defence, in the use of such 
means as were in its power, and between the two, the government 
on the one hand, and the bank on the other, the people must be 
victims of the conflict. The two parties acting in harmony, ac- 
cording to the intention of the original compact, could not but sub- 
serve the interest and convenience of the public ; but the moment 
that one of these parties broke covenant, and declared war, each 
of them having connexions with the whole country, the controversy 
must necessarily affect the people disastrously. After this, all the 
operations of the bank had an eye on the government, and all the 
operations of the government an eye on the bank. Neither could 
any longer consult the general good. On the part of the bank, the 
principle was that of defence ; on the part of the government, it 


was a war of extermination. No matter which course the banK 
adopted, whether by an extension or contraction of its credits, the 
people must soon feel it. If by the former, it would only aggra- 
vate the evil ; if by the latter, the calamity must come instantly, 
and sooner or later, with distressing effect on the whole people. 
It could not prudently do the former ; but, like a vigilant mariner, 
who, watching the rising storm, takes in sail, and gets all things 
ready, so the bank began to prepare for that contraction of business 
to which it was compelled, by the violation of contract on the part 
of the government, in withholding and withdrawing the public de- 
posites, on the use of which for two and a half years to come the 
bank had depended, and made its arrangements accordingly — for 
which it had paid a valuable consideration, in an original bonus of 
a million and a half, and in performing all the fiscal operations of 
the government without charge for upward of seventeen years ; 
next, by the injury of its credit in all the assaults of the govern- 
ment upon it, so long sustained, and now falling heavily by official 
and public accusations, associated in their influence with the posi- 
tive fact of removing the deposites ; and lastly, by the consequent 
necessity imposed of contracting its business and collecting its 
debts, till its liabilities should be brought within safe bounds. All 
the indications of the temper and meditated action of the executive, 
after the adjournment of Congress in the spring of 1833, had fore- 
shadowed coming events, and the bank had begun to take measures 
for protection, weeks and months in advance of the publication of 
the president's manifesto of the 19th of September. These neces- 
sary precautions of the bank of the United States, affected all the 
banks of the country in the same way, and it was admitted by the 
secretary of the treasury, in his report to Congress, that, before the 
1st of October, and within four months previous, nineteen millions 
of money had been withdrawn from circulation ! This fact the 
secretary presents as a ground for his own precipitate action, alle- 
ging that this necessity of the bank was a device, to distress the 
country, and enforce its claims. But every one will see it u-as a 
necessity, and tlKit this charge does not come with a very good 
grace from those who had created it. 

Nineteen millions of dollars withdrawn from the circulating me- 
dium of the country, and the facilities and means of business dimin- 
ished in that amount, by the mere apprehension of the executive 
measure, which was consummated on the 1st of October, by the 
agency of Roger B. Taney ! Of course, this was but the begin- 


ning of trouble. Small as it was, it was felt everywhere, and began 
to create universal distress. Credit was shocked, and confidence, 
in all the commercial relations of society, was rapidly giving way. 
Every debtor trembled, and every creditor looked to his security. 

But the secretary had his charges direct in store against the 
bank. Since nothing new of any import had transpired since the 
adjournment of the twenty-second Congress, it might, perhaps, be 
considered a sufficient answer to the secretary's charges, to point 
to the fact, that, notwithstanding all the clamor which the execu- 
tive had raised against the bank, and in view of the reports from 
committees of investigation into its condition and affairs, from both 
branches of the government, the house of representatives of that 
(the previous) Congress, had solemnly pronounced their confidence 
in the bank, by a resolution to that effect. But the bank had for 
years been forced to contend against the hostility of the president 
of the United States — ever since 1829 — and like every party as- 
sailed, it had, in justice to itself, taken some measures of vindica- 
tion. These were its faults. Because it would not lie down and 
die, at the breath of the president, it ought to be killed. The rela- 
tion between the parties was unnatural. It was created in amity ; 
it had been forced into hostility. There was a covenant which 
bound the bank to perform certain functions for the government, 
and the government to guard its rights, so long as it discharged its 
duties. The bank was the creation, the offspring of government, 
and could only live and be useful by the favor of its parent. When 
the latter turned round to smite and destroy it, the original relation 
was changed. Everything which the bank did in self-defence, was 
charged as a crime ; and the secretary brought forward facts of this 
kind, and arrayed them under the denomination of offences. Not 
unlikely the administration of the bank had its defects — its positive 
vices. The exchange committee, however, which was alleged as 
its great crime, was manifestly one of the modes adopted to defend 
itself against executive espionage and persecution. It should not 
be surprising, if such hostility had driven it into some improper 
and unjustifiable modes of defence. It must, indeed, have been 
very bad, if it was more improper, or more unjustifiable, than the 
unnatural war that was waged against it. 

It was charged by the secretary, that the president of the bank 

had been authorized to cause "to be prepared such documents 

and papers as may communicate to the people information in regard 

to the nature and operations of the bank." If no party, individual 

Vol. IL— S 


or corporate, shall ever do anything that savors more of treason 
than this, the republic may yet be safe. But the secretary says : 
" There is sufficient evidence to show, that the bank has been, and 
still is, seeking to olatain political power, and has used its money 
for the purpose of influencing the election of the public servants ;" 
and he concludes by invoking Congress, on these and other ac- 
counts, " to sustain a measure, which the best interests of the country 
called for, and which had become absolutely necessary to preserve 
untainted its free institutions, and to secure the liberties and happi- 
ness of the people." 

It can not be denied, that this functionary has gone over a broad 
field to make out a report on finance ! His appropriate duty was 
one that regarded dollars and cents. He was required to give a 
history of the operations of the public treasury for the last year, 
and to present such facts and considerations as might aid Congress 
in legislating for that department in time to come. He was also 
required to give the reasons of a financier, and of a commercial 
agent, for removing the deposites. It was, however, all and exclu- 
sively a matter of business. But he begins by announcing a ques- 
tionable fact, to wit, that he had removed the deposites, when it 
was in evidence, that he was merely passive in that transaction, 
except so far as his clerical agency might be concerned. In the 
outset he occupied a false position — and considering the task be- 
fore him, it was not easy for him to get into a true one. And it 
was false in more senses than one : false, because the character in 
which he presented himself, as the responsible agent, was false ; 
false, because, while acting under the orders of one branch of the 
government, he was forced to take up the position of being respon- 
sible to another ; false, because he was not, in fact, known to the 
body before which he appeared ; false, because, being thus un- 
known, he could not with propriety speak to them ; false, because 
he was no otherwise responsible for the measure he attempted to 
vindicate as his own, than as having consented to be the instrument 
of carrying it out ; false, because there was a constitutional barrier 
in his path, and laws built thereon, which he could not remove 
without violence, nor surmount without endangering himself; and 
false, because, in all that he did, he was forced to attempt impos- 

After citing the law under which he professed to have acted, he 
refers to judicial decisions, to determine the abstraction of the rela- 
tion between the abstraction of the sovereignty of a state and the 


abstraction of a corporate body under the state. From these 
premises, he proceeds to estabhsh himself in the position, that was 
necessary to his end, viz., that he, and nobody else, was invested 
with power to do this thing. It is true, that he afterward, in some 
sort, allies himself to the president, and seems to share authority 
with him. But that point he approaches with cautious reserve and 
manifest diffidence. He comes no nearer to him, than to "the 
OFFICER to whom the constitution has confided the whole execu- 
tive power" — a convenient abstraction for the occasion. He is 
often right, and often wrong — speaks a truth, and then flies from 
it, as if too much familiarity would be perilous. Having once 
embarked in this cause, it was not the fault of his intellect, nor a 
defect of knowledge, nor want of research, that he was not able to 
construct a consistent and sound argument. The best thing he 
could do was to say much, and be understood as little as possible 
— to range over a wide field, where few could follow him — to dis- 
cuss law, pontics, state affairs, elections, liberty, free institutions — 
anything that did not belong to the subject. For, wherever he 
travelled, and whatever he said, he was in a false position. 

But the most remarkable feature of this whole afiair, is, that this 
secretary of the treasury was no secretary — that Congress should 
be obliged to hear such a lecture from a mere locum teneiis, who 
had been thrust into a place to commit an outrage on the constitu- 
tion and laws, and that he should be permitted to come before the 
body that was wronged, to defend the act by which their rights 
were trampled in the dust I He was never expected to be secre- 
tary, as is proved from the facts, that his name was withheld so 
lono- from the senate, and that the moment it was sent in, it was 
sent out. 

The following are a few extracts from Mr. Clay : — 

" Sir, I am surprised and alarmed at the new source of execu- 
tive power, which is found in the result 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 presidential election, was merely to place the chief 
magistrate in the post assigned to him ; and that he had neither 
more nor less power, in consequence of the election, than the con- 
stitution defines and delegates. But it seems that if, prior to an 
election, certain opinions, no matter how ambiguously put forth 
by a candidate, are known to the people, these loose opinions, in 
virtue of the election, i .corporate themselves with the constitution. 


and afterward are to be regarded and expounded as parts of the 

instrument ! 

♦ ♦***** 

" I have rarely seen any state paper characterized by so little 
gravity, dignity, and circumspection, as the report displays. The 
secretary is perfectly reckless in his assertions of matters of fact, 
and culpably loose in his reasoning. * * * * 

" He [the secretary] represents the bank as endeavoring to 
operate on the public, by alternate bribery and oppression, with 
the same object in both cases, of influencing the election, or the 
administration of the president. Why this perpetual reference of 
all the operations of the institution to the executive t Why does 
the executive think of nothing but itself? It is I ! It is I ! It 
is I, that is meant ! appears to be the constant exclamation. * * * 
" We have, Mr. President, a most wonderful financier at the 
head of our treasury department. He sits quietly by in the cabi- 
net, and witnesses the contest between his colleague and the presi- 
dent ; sees the conflict in the mind of that colleague between his 
personal attachment to the president on the one hand, and his sol- 
emn duty to the public on the other ; beholds the triumph of con- 
scientious obligation ; contemplates the noble spectacle of an hon- 
est man, preferring to surrender an exalted office with all its honors 
and emoluments, rather than betray the interests of the people ; 
witnesses the contemptuous and insulting expulsion of that col- 
league from office ; and then coolly enters the vacated place, with- 
out the slightest sympathy or the smallest emotion ! He was in- 
stalled on the twenty-third of September, and by the twenty-sixth, 
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 cur- 
rency, 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 bank ; that every 
chief magistrate, prior to him whose patronage he enjoyed, had 
been wrong ; that the supreme court of the United States, and the 
people of the United States, during the thirty-seven years that they 
had acquiesced in or recognised the great utility of a bank, were 
all wrong. And, opposing his single opinion to their united judg- 
ments, he dismisses the bank, scatters the public money, and un- 
dertakes to regulate and purify the public morals, the public press, 
and popular elections ! 

"If we examine the operations of this modern Turgot, in their 
financial bearing, merely, we shall find still less for approbation. 

"First: He withdraws the public moneys, where, by his own 
deliberate admission, they were perfectly safe, with a bank of thirty 


fiee millions of capital, and ten millions of specie, and places them 
at great hazard with banks of comparatively small capital, and but 
little specie, of which the Metropolis bank is an example. 

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

" Third : He withdraws them from a bank in which the Ameri- 
can people, as a stockholder, were drawling 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. 

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

"Fifth: Depreciates the value of stock in a bank where the gen- 
eral government holds seven millions, and advances that of banks 
in whose stock it does not hold a dollar, and whose aggregate cap- 
ital does not probably much exceed that very seven millions. And 

"Sixth: He dismisses a bank whose paper circulates in the 
greatest credit throughout the Union, and in foreign countries, and 
engages in the public service banks u^hose paper has but a limited 
and local circulation in their ' immediate vicinities.' 

" These are immediate and inevitable results. How much that 
large and long-standing item of unavailable funds, annually reported 
to Congress, will be swelled and extended, remains to be devel- 
oped by time. 

"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 
dangerous power over the treasury of the United States, not granted 
to him by the constitution and the laws ; and that the reasons as- 
signed for the act, by the secretary of the treasury, are insufficient 
and unsatisfactory? 

"The eyes and the hopes of the American people are anxiously 
turned to Congress. They feel that they have been deceived and 
insulted; their confidence abused; their interests betrayed; and 
their liberties in danger. They see a rapid and alarming concen- 
tration of all power in one man's hands. They see that, by the 
exercise of the positiv^e 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 Congress, is addressed for legislative action. 
We have seen a corporation, charged with the execution of a great 


national work, dismiss an experienced, faithful, and zealous presi- 
dent, afterward testify to his ability by a voluntary resolution, and 
reward his extraordinary services by a large gratuity, and appoint 
in hi.s place an executive favorite, totally inexperienced and incom- 
petent, to propitiate the president. We behold the usual incidents 
of approaching tyranny. The land is filled with spies and inform- 
ers, and detraction and denunciation are the orders of the day. 
People, especially official incumbents in this place, no longer dare 
speak in the fearless tones of manly freedom, but in the cautious 
whispers of trembling slaves. The premonitory symptoms of des- 
potism are upon us; and if Congress do not apply an instanta- 
neous and effective remedy, the fatal collapse will soon come on, 
and we shall die — ignobly die ! base, mean, and abject slaves — the 
scorn and contempt of mankind — unpitied, unwept, unmourned!" 

The resolutions offered by Mr. Clay on the 26th of December, 
1833, were debated, from time to time, in the senate, till the 2Sth 
of March, 1834, when the substance of them was passed, by a 
vote of 26 to 20, in the following form : — 

" Resolved, That the president, in the late executive proceed- 
ings, in relation to the public revenue, has assumed upon himself 
authority and power not conferred by the constitution and laws, but 
in derogation of both." 

It will be interesting, as well as instructive, in this connexion, to 
observe the effects of the removal of the deposites upon the in- 
terests of the country, which are incidentally, and in that way, most 
impressively, brought to view, in the action of Congress on sundry 
petitions and memorials, which were preferred to that body in the 
early part of 1834, before the adjournment of that session when 
Mr. Clay's resolutions were debated in the senate. The following 
remarks of Mr. Clay, on the 7th of March, 1834, made upon a 
memorial from Philadelphia, are in point, and involve more history 
than could be given in equally few words. The appeal to the 
vice-president (Mr. Van Buren, ex-officio president of the senate), 
will be regarded with much interest: — 

"I have been requested [said Mr. Clay] by the committee from 
Philadelphia, charged with presenting the memorial to Congress, 
to say a few words on the subject; and although, after the ample 
and very satisfactory exposition which it has received from the sen- 
ator from Massachusetts, further observations are entirely unneces- 
sary, I can not deny myself the gratification of complying with a 
request, proceeding from a source so highly worthy of respectful 


" And what is the remedy to be provided for this most unhappy 
estate 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 sympathy for the privations and sufferings unnecessarily 
brought upon the laboring classes. Both the committee and the 
memorial declare that their reliance is, exclusively, on the legisla- 
tive branch of the government. Mr. President, it is with subdued 
feelings of the profoundest 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 themselves. 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 them- 
selves, to sustain him, without regard to the consequences of hi? 
measures upon the public interests. And nothing but clear, deci- 
ded, and unequivocal demonstrations of the popular disapproba- 
tion of what has been done, will divert them from their present 

"But there is another quarter which possesses sufficient power 
and influence to relieve the public distresses. In twenty-four hours 
the executive branch could adopt a measure which would afford 
an efficacious 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 
truth, prevail upon him to retrace his steps and abandon his fatal 
experiment. No one, sir, can perform that duty with more pro- 
priety than yourself. You can, if you will, induce him to change 
his course. To you, then, sir, in no unfriendly spirit, but with feel- 
ings softened and subdued by the deep distress which pervades every 
class of our countrymen, I make the appeal. By your official and 
personal relations with the president, you maintain with him an 
intercourse which I neither enjoy nor covet. Go to him and tell 
him, without exaggeration, but in the language of truth and sin- 
cerity, the actual condition of his bleeding country. Tell him h 
is nearly ruined and undone, by the measures which he has been 
induced to put in operation. Tell him that his experiment is 
operating on the nation like the philosopher's experiment upon a 
convulsed animal, in an exhausted receiver, 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, in- 
volving a loss of upward of fifteen millions of dollars, have oc- 
curred. Tell him of the alarming decline in the value of all prop- 


erty, of the depreciation of all the products of industry, of the 
stagnation in every branch of business, and of the close of numer- 
ous manufacturing establishments, which, a few short months ago, 
were in activ^e and flourishing operation. Depict to him, if you 
can find language to portray, the heart-rending wretchedness of 
thousands of the working-classes cast out of employment. Tell 
him of the tears of helpless widows, no longer able to earn their 
bread ; and of unclad and unfed orphans, who have been driven, 
by his policy, out of the busy pursuits in which but yesterday they 
were gaining an honest livelihood." 

On the 14th of the same month (March), Mr. Clay rose to ad- 
dress the senate on other petitions and memorials and said : — 

" 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 sen- 
ate 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 for 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 free 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 
tliose of us have not been deceived, who have always relied upon 
the virtue, the capacity, and the intelligence of the people. * * 

" The senate stands in the breach, ready to defend the consti- 
tution, and to relieve the distresses of the people. But, without 
the concurrence of another branch of Congress, which ought to be 
the first to yield it, the senate alone can send forth no act of legis- 
lation. Unaided, it can do no positive good ; but it has vast pre- 
ventive power. It may avert and arrest evil, if it can not rebuke 
usurpation. Senators, 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. ****** 

" Senators! we hold a highly responsible and arduous position; 
but the people are with us, and the path of duty lies clearly marked 
before 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 represent — 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, amid the general gloom and darkness which prevail, let us 
continue to present one unextinguished light, steadily burning, in 
the cause of the people, of die constitution, and of civil liberty." 


In one of the debates, about the 20th of May, Mr. Clay took 
occasion again to call the attention of the senate to the extraordi- 
nary fact, that, although the senate had been nearly six months in 
session, no nomination had been made for a secretary of the treas- 
ury ; and Mr. Webster, at the same time, to show the feeling of 
General Washington on this subject, and his conscientious respect 
for the co-ordinate power of the senate in the matter of appoint- 
ments, read the following document : — 

" Message from the President of the United States to the Senate of 
the United States. 

" United States, February 9, 1790. 
" Gentlemen of the Senate: 

" Among the persons appointed, during the last session, to offi- 
ces under the national government, there were some who declined 
serving. Their names and offices are specified in the first column 
of the foregoing list. I supplied these vacancies, agreeably to the 
constitution, by temporary appointments, which you will find men- 
tioned in the second column of the list. These appointments will 
expire with your present session, and indeed ought not to en- 
For that purpose, I now nominate to you the persons named in 
the third column of the list, as being in my opinion qualified to fill 
the offices opposite to their names in the first. 

" G. Washington." 

On Monday, June 23, Mr. Taney's nomination was at last sent 
in, and on Tuesday, the 24th — the next day — he was rejected by 
a vote of 28 to 18. So, it appears, these important, momentous 
transactions were all done by an unauthorized agent, or by taking 
advantage of a mere formal license of the law. It could not be 
said, that the forms of law had been violated, though the intention 
of it evidently was. 

In reward for this fidelity, Mr. Taney was subsequently made 
Chief Justice of the United States! ! 




The Secret of General Jackson's Power. — Its Culminating Point. — Armed Inter- 
pretation of Law. — Silencing Remonstrance. — A Case of Political Casuistrj'. — 
General Jackson's Protest against the Resolution of the Senate. — Mr. Calhoun's 
Views of It. — Revival of the Names of Whig and Tory. — Why both were not 
kept up. — The Yeas and Nays on the Expunging Resolution. — Remarks of Mr. 
Clay. — Protest of the Massachusetts Senators. — The Resolution. — Act of Ex- 
punging. — A Scene in the Senate. 

The secret of General Jackson's influence, which raised him 
to power so triumphantly, and sustained him throughout his admin- 
istration of eight years, with unexampled popularity, at the same 
time that he was destroying the greatest and best interests of the 
country, on the largest scale, it is believed, is not generally under- 
stood. It has, for the most part, been ascribed to the eclat of mil- 
itaiy fame. That there was capital in this, can not be denied. It 
has also been partly attributed to the force of his character. There 
is reason also in this. But, neither his military fame, nor the force 
of his character, could account for his political career. Though 
the country was grateful for his distinguished services in fighting 
her battles, it will be observed, that nearly ten years had rolled 
round after the great victory over the British army, on the Sth of 
January, 1815, before he obtained any decided position as a can- 
didate for political eminence. As thy effect of military fame, he 
should have gained ground much faster than this, though that, un- 
doubtedly, aided him very essentially. It was felt not inconsidera- 
bly in the presidential campaign of 1824 ; but, nevertheless, there 
was manifested on that occasion, but a small part of the popular 
enthusiasm which burst forth in his favor in the campaign of 182S, 
and which had not died away in that of 1832. To understand how 
he obtained such a strong hold on the people, as to be able for many 
years, as president, to do as he pleased, and make the people be- 
lieve he was seeking their good, when he was doing them the 
greatest possible injury — as to make them satisfied with measures 
and acts, which, but for their idolatrous r-gard, would have shocked 


(t them, and driven them for ever from their support of him — as still 
to maintain his popularity, when he was revolutionizing the govern- 
ment and its institutions, disturbing and deranging the commercial 
habits of the nation, and bringing upon the people calamity and 
distress like a whirlwind — to solve this problem, requires to look 
somewhere else, than to the causes to which they have usually been 
ascribed, not, however, to abate from them a reasonable share of 
influence. But, manifestly, they are not sufficient to account for 
all this. 

Was it in the man, or in the people ? Did it rise from virtue, 
or from vice ? So far as the masses of the people were concerned, 
it had its origin in virtue, and virtue of the most generous kind. 
They believed that General Jackson was deprived of his rights in 
the election of Mr. Adams in 1825. In such a case, the people 
of all nations, more especially of the United States, are disposed 
to do justice. The power of such a sentiment over masses, when 
once it begins to operate, is vast, amazing, irresistible ; and it in- 
creases by use and exercise, beyond any powers of calculation. 
The people believed, that General Jackson was wronged ; they 
continued to believe it ; they have never ceased to believe it. 
They resolved that that wrong should be redressed ; and having 
so resolved, all that they aimed at, must be accomplished, and was 
accomplished. It is impossible to set bounds to such a sentiment, 
pervading the masses of mankind. In its volume, it is like a mighty 
river ; in its depth, like the sea ; in its power, like the mountain 
waves of the ocean. 

It is believed, that this is the chief cause of the enthusiasm which 
has been manifested by the people of the United States, in favor 
of Andrew Jackson — and the cause which sustained him so long, 
and so effectively. If so, it will be seen, that, so far as the people 
were concerned, it had its foundation in the most commendable 
feelings — feelings which do honor to human nature, and when ex- 
cited by a worthy cause, and bestowed on a worthy object, their 
results can not but be beneficent. 

It can not but be seen, by this time, that General Jackson, by 
mistake or otherwise, was the unfortunate instrument of making 
terrible havoc on the great interests of the country. How he should 
have been sustained in such a career, even in the midst of such 
convincing evidences, that he was introducing and establishing a 
most ruinous and destructive policy, is seen in the cause already 
pointed out, which so absorbs and sways the masses of mankind, 


when once it has taken hold of them. It is a sentiment of faith : 
" Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." Toward the 
Divine Being, such a sentiment can never be misapplied ; but, 
toward man, alas ! it may be. In the case of General Jackson 
and the people of the United States, it was sadly misapplied. He 
did slay them with a vengeance, when they trusted in him with 
the most implicit faith, and from the most generous feelings of hu- 
man nature. 

It has been shown, in the first volume of this work, which of the 
two parties was wronged in 1825, and onward — General Jackson, 
or Mr. Clay. 

The present chapter brings the political history of the country 
to the culmination of General Jackson's power and influence — to 
a point where it was absolute and uncontrolled. Some have sup- 
posed that the removal of the deposites was the boldest and strong- 
est measure, as compared with his other acts of usurpation. The 
reason of this feeling doubtless arises from the immediate and ift* 
trinsic importance of the act. The democratic branch of the 
government had no power left when the purse was gone. The 
balance-power was annihilated at one blow. Therefore it has been 
thought that this was the most high-handed measure of all, as it 
gave the president what Mr. Calhoun at the time called the "armed 
interpretation" of the law. It will be recollected, that General Jack- 
son claimed the right, as president, to execute the constitution and 
laws " as he understood them ;" and understanding them as he 
'pleased, he was of course, by his own rule, entitled to do as he 
pleased. Having, therefore, the sword and the purse in his hand, 
the latter because he was jileascd to take it, he was sustained by 
" armed interpretation." Nevertheless, the proposal to expunge 
the resolution of the senate, which disapproved of this violence to 
the constitution and laws, was doubtless a bolder act, than seizing 
the purse of the nation, because, after having done the deed, it was 
saying, " You shall not complain !" It was, in effect, silencing 
the democratic branch of the government ! Of course, arbitrary 
power has no remaining obstacle in its path, after it has succeeded 
in silencing all remonstrance. 

How General Jackson could so much have abused the confi- 
dence of a generous people, which had been reposed in him merely 
because they believed he had been wronged — defrauded of the 
presidency in ] S25 — as to be tempted to these outrages — is a ques- 
tion of casuistry which can not here be taken into consideration. 


It is sufficient that he did so yield to the seductive claims of ambi- 
tion, or of some other propensity, as to invade, and in a great 
measure demolish the democratic power of the constitution. 

Soon after the resolution of the senate on the removal of the 
deposites, considered in the third chapter, had passed, the presi- 
dent sent in his protest, and claimed that it should be entered on 
the senate journal. It was couched in an imperious tone, and not 
less didactic than Mr. Taney's lecture, surnamed his report, to 
both houses of Congress. As the senate supposed they under- 
stood their own duties, and that they belonged to an independent 
branch of the government, they did not see fit to comply with this 
demand, and left the president's protest in his own hands. 

As the Hon. John C. Calhoun is allowed to be a highly-gifted 
man, and has been somewhat prominent in the political world — 
though not always on the same side of the questions which have 
most agitated the country— it may be interesting — certainly it is 
instructive — to record here a few brief extracts from a speech he 
delivered, May 5, 1834, on the motion for the disposal of the 
president's protest. Among other things, Mr. Calhoun said : — 

" The secretary was but the agent of the president in the trans- 
action [removal of the deposites]. He had been placed in the 
situation he occupied expressly with a view of executing the orders 
of the president, who had openly declared that he assumed the re- 
sponsibility. To omit, under these circumstances, an expression 
of the opinion of the senate, in relation to this transaction, viewed 
as the act of the president, would have been, on the part of the sen- 
ate, a manifest dereliction of duty. * * * The question is not 
whether we had a right to pass the resolution. No. It is one of 
a very different character, and of much greater magnitude. It is 
whether the president had a right to question our decision." 

Mr. Calhoun adduced, with great propriety and force, the follow- 
ing clause of the constitution, as determining the principle as to 
what transactions of Congress the president had any right to do 
with officially : — 

" Every order, resolution, or vote, to which the concurrence 
of the senate and house of representatives may be necessary (except 
on a question of adjournment), shall be presented to the president 
of the United States ; and before the same shall take effect, shall 
be approved by him, or, being disapproved by him, shall be repassed 
by two thirds of the senate and house of representatives, according 
to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill." 

Mr. Calhoun then said : " Here a very important question pre- 
sents itself, which, when properly considered, throws a flood of 


light on the question under consideration. Why has the constitu- 
tion limited the veto power to ' bills, and to the orders, votes, and 
resolutions,' requiring the concurrence of both houses? Why not 
also extend it to their separate votes, orders, or resolutions ? But 
one answer can be given. The object is to inotect the independence 
of the two houses — to prevent the executive from interfering with 
their proceedings, and from having any control over them, as is 
attempted in the protest — on the great principle which lies at the 
foundation of liberty, and without which it can not be preserved, 
that deliberative bodies should be left without extraneous control 
or influence, free to express their opinions, and to conduct their 
proceedings according to their own sense of propriety. And we 
find, accordingly, that the constitution has not only limited the veto 
to cases requiring the concurrent votes of the two houses, but has 
expressly vested each house with the power of establishing its own 
rules of proceeding, according to its will or pleasure, without limi- 
tation or check. 

" Within these w^alls, the senate is the sole and absolute judge 
of its own powers ; and in the mode of conducting our business, 
and in determining how and when our opinions ought to be ex- 
pressed, there is no other standard of right or wrong, to which an 
appeal can be made, but the constitution and the rules of proceed- 
ing, established under the authority of the senate itself. And so 
solicitous is the constitution to secure to each house a full control 
over its own proceedings, and the freest aiid fullest expression of 
opinio7i on all subjects, that even the majesty of the laws is relaxed, 
to secure a perfect freedom of debate. ****** 

" But the part of this paper [the protest] which is most charac- 
teristic — that which lets us into the real nature and character of 
this movement — is the source from which the president derives the 
right to interfere with our proceedings. He does not even pretend 
to derive it from any power vested in him by the constitution, ex- 
press or implied. He knew that such an attempt would be utterly 
hopeless ; and accordingly, instead of a question of right, he makes 
it a question o( duty, and thus inverts the order oj^ things — referring 
his rights to his duties, instead of his duties to his rights, and for- 
getting that rights always precede duties, and are, in fact, but the 
obligations which they impose, and of course that they do not con- 
fer power, but impose obedience — obedience, in this case, to the 
constitution and laws, in the discharge of his official duties. The 
opposite view — that on which he acts, and which would give to 
the president the right to assume whatever duty he might choose, 
and to convert such duties into jiowers — would, if admitted, render 
him as absolute as the autocrat of all the Russias. Taking this 
erroneous view of his powers, he could be at little loss to justify 
his conduct. To justify, did I say? He takes higher — far higher 
ground : He makes his interference a matter of obligation — of sol- 


emn obligation — imperious necessity — the tyrant's plea. He 
tells us that it was dufi to his station, to public opinion, to proper 
self-respect, to the obligation imposed by his constitutional oath — 
his duty to see the laws faithfully executed — his responsibility as 
the head of the executive department — and to his obligation to the 
American people, as their immediate representative — to interpose 
his authority against the usurpations of the senate. Infatuated 
man ! blinded by ambition, intoxicated by flattery and vanity ! 
Who, that is the least acquainted with the human heart — who, that 
is conversant with the page of history, does not see, under all this, 
the workings of a dark, lawless, and insatiable ambition, which, if 
not arrested, will finally impel him to his own, or his country's 
ruin ■? It would be a great mistake to suppose that this protest is 
the termination of his hostility against the senate. It is but the 
commencement — it is the proclamation in which he makes known 
his will to the senate, claims their obedience, and admonishes them 
of their danger, should they refuse to repeal their ordinance — no, 
it is not an ordinance — it is a resolution. * * * JJe claims to 
be, not only the representative, but the immediate representative of 
the American people ! What effrontery ! What boldness of as- 
sertion ! The immediate representative ! Why, he never received 
a vote from the American people. He was elected by electors — 
[the colleges]. 

" But why this solicitude, on the part of the president, to place 
himself near to the people, and to push us off at the greatest dis- 
tance ? Why this solicitude to make himself their sole representa- 
tive, their only guardian and protector, their only friend and sup- 
porter ? The object can not be mistaken : It is iirejyaratorij to 
further hostilities — to an appeal to the people ! * * * Let us 
brmg under a single glance the facts of the case. He first seized 
upon the public money — took it from the custody of the law, and 
placed it in his own possession, as much so, as if placed in his 
own pocket. The senate disapproves of the act, and opposes the 
only obstacle that prevents him from becoming completely master 
of the public treasury. To crush the resistance which they inter- 
pose to his will, he seeks to quarrel with them ; and with that view, 
seizes on the resolution in question as the pretext. He sends us a 
protest against it, in which he resorts to every art to enlist the feel- 
ings of the people on his side, preparatory to a direct appeal to 
them, with a view to engage them as allies in the war which he in- 
tends to carry on against the senate, till they submit to his author- 
ity. He has proclaimed in advance, that the right to interfere, in 
volves the right to make that interference effectual. To make it 
so, force only is wanting. Give him an adequate force, and a 
speedy termination would be put to the controversy. 

" Since, then, hostilities are intended, it is time that we should 
deliberate how we ought to act — how the assault upon our consti* 


tulional rights and privileges ought to be met. If we consult what 
is due to the wisdom and dignity of the senate, there is but one 
mode : meet it on the threshold. Encroachments are most 
easily resisted at the commencement. It is at the extreme point 
— on the frontier — that, in a contest of this description, the assail- 
ant is the weakest, and the assailed the strongest. Permit the 
frontier of our rights to be passed, and let the question be, not re- 
sistance to usurpation, but at what point we shall resist, and the 
conquest [over us] will be more than half achieved. * * * 

" Nor is the attempt to limit our legislative functions by our ju- 
dicial, in reference to the resolution, less extraordinary. 1 had sup- 
posed that our judicial were in addition to our legislative functions, 
and not in diminution, and that we possess, to the full extent, with- 
out limitation or subtraction, all the legislative powers possessed by- 
the house of representatives, with a single exception as provided by 
the constitution [the origination of revenue bills]. 

" But let us reflect a moment to what extent we must be carried, 
if we once admit the principle. If the senate has no right, in con- 
sequence of their judicial functions, to express an opinion by vote 
or resolution, in reference to the legality or illegality of the acts of 
public functionaries, they have no right to express such opinion 
individually in debate — as the objection [the principle"?], if it exists 
at all, goes to the expression of an opinion by individuals, as well 
as by the body. He who has made up an opinion, and avowed it 
in debate, would be as much disqualified to perform his judicial 
functions as a judge, on a trial of impeachment, as if he had ex- 
pressed it by vote ; and of course, whatever restrictions the judicial: 
functions of the senate may be supposed to impose, would be re- 
strictions on the liberty of discussion, as well as that of voting ; and 
consequently, destroy the freedom of debate secured to us by the 
constitution. * * * #***# 

" I am mortified, that in this country, boasting of its Anglo- 
Saxon descent, that any one of respectable standing — much less 
the president of the United States — should be found entertaining 
principles leading to such monstrous results ; and I can scarcely 
believe myself to be breathing the air of our country, and to be 
within the walls of the senate-chamber, when I hear such doctrines 
vindicated. It is proof of the wonderful degeneracy of the times 
— of the total loss of the true conception of constitutional liberty." 

It should be observed, that the unconstitutional assumptions, by 
General Jackson, of regal prerogative — prerogative the most abso- 
lute — gave rise to the revival of the party names of avhig and 
TORY, as they were used in England, when liberty in that country 
was doomed to struggle against royal prerogative. Hume says : 
" This year [1679] is remarkable for being the epoch of the well- 
known epithets of ivhig and ?ory." It was in allusion to this 


new designation of parties in the United States, or rather to the 
revival of old names, that Mr. Calhoun said : — 

" But, in the midst of this degeneracy, I perceive the symptoms 
of regeneration. It is not my wish to touch on the party designa- 
tions that have recently obtained. I can not, however, but remark, 
that the revival of the party names of the revolution, after they had 
so long slumbered, is not without a meaning — not without an indi- 
cation of a relation to those principles which lie at the foundation 
of liberty. Gendemen ought to reflect, that the extensive and sud- 
den revival of these names could not be without some adequate 
cause. Names are not to be taken or given at pleasure. There 
must be something to cause their application to adhei'e. If I re- 
member rightly, it was Augustus, who, in all the plenitude of his 
power, said, that he found it impossible to introduce a new word. 
What, then, is that something ? What is there in the meaning 
of WHIG and tory, and what in the character of the times, which 
has caused their sudden revival as party designations ? I take it, 
that the very essence of toryism — that which constitutes a tory — 
is to sustain prerogative against privilege — to support the executive 
against the legislative department of the government, and to lean 
to the side of power, against the side of liberty — while the whig 
is, in all these particulars, of the very opposite principles. These 
are the leading characteristics of the respective parties, whig and 
TORY, and run through their application in all the variety of cir- 
cumstances in which they have been applied, either in this country, 
or in Great Britain. Their sudden revival and application at this 
time, ought to admonish my old friends, who are now on the side 
of the administration, that there is somethifig in the times — some- 
thina- in the existing struggle between the parties, and in the prin- 
ciples and doctrines advocated by those in power, which has caused 
this new and extensive application of these terms. I must say to 
those who are interested, that nothing but their reversing their 
course, can possibly prevent their application. They owe it to 
themselves — they owe it to the chief magistrate whom they support 
(who at least is venerable for his years) as the head of the party 
— that they should halt in the advocacy of the despotic and slavish 
doctrines which we hear daily advanced, before a return of the re- 
viving spirit of liberty shall overwhelm them, and those who are 
leading them to their ruin. * * * I am content with tha 
[name — whig] which designates those with whom I act. It is, 
at least, an honest and a patriotic name. It is synonymous with 
resistance to usurpation — usurpation, come from what quarter, and 
under what shape, it may." 

These, certainly, are remarkable sentiments, as coming from a 
man, who, not long afterward, gave in his adhesion to these high 
Vol. II.— 9 


claims of regal prerogative against liberty ! As 1679 was the epoch 
when the party '^signations of whig and tory rose in England, the 
former having been applied to the advocates of popular rights 
against royal prerogative, and the latter to those who supported the 
absolute power of the crown, so 1834 was the epoch in American 
history, when these same parly designations, which have prevailed 
uninterruptedly in England from 1679 down to this time, and which 
prevailed in the Ajperican colonies during the revolutionary war, 
were revived, in the manner specified by Mr. Calhoun, to com- 
memorate the regal pretensions of General Jackson — the one ap- 
plied to the party that opposed, and the other to the party that 
supported them ; and precisely the same reasons for the use of 
these terms, in such an application, existed in the United States in 
1834, as existed in England in 1679. Mr. Calhoun has shown 
philosophically, that the revival of the names, proves the existence 
of the cause. 

The whigs of the United States, however, must confess to one 
of two things, either that the cause of this, or their own virtue, has 
abated. Mr. Calhoun has demonstrated, that they had good cause 
for the resuscitation of the name of whig, and for the use of its 
only opposite — tory. Why have they retained the former, and 
dropped the latter, when there is no use in the one without the 
other ? Will they acknowledge, that the cause no longer exists ? 
If so, they ought to lay aside their own name, as no longer appro- 
priate. Without the name of tory, it means nothing, and is 

The truth is, the whigs have yielded to the laws of courtesy, 
without realizing an equivalent — with infinite loss. They have 
allowed, and to a great extent, awarded the name of democrats to 
their opponents, which is the favorite name of the American peo- 
ple, and have thus contributed to their own perpetual disadvantage 
and defeat. If they had maintained the ground they occupied on 
the revival of the names of whig and tory, and conscientiously ad- 
hered to these party appellations, which designated principles — for 
they were true and fair designations — they would have soon gained 
the ascendency, and maintained it, so long as they proved them- 
selves worthy of the name of whig. But they preferred politeness 
in a time of rude strife, when their opponents were not disposed 
to be equally courteous. The names were applicable on both 
sides, and there was what Mr. Calhoun calls a " something to 
caise the'JT aoplication to adhered Precisely the same antagonist 


princinles have been in the field ever since ; but the occasion that 
brought up the names, has passed over. The reward which the 
whigs have received for this forbearance and generosity, is to be 
themselves called tories by their opponents ! When will the whigs 
learn wisdom "? They seem not to have considered, that names, 
in this country, decide everything; that it is vain to contend against 
them ; that their opponents are more sagacious ; and that every 
time they apply the word democrats to the party opposed to them, 
they lose more than they gain by the best argument they can 

That the terms whig and tory were applicable (and never more 
so in England or America) at the culminating point of General 
Jackson's power and influence, few will have the hardihood to 
deny. His will was absolute. Having been met by a resolute 
expression of the feelings of the senate on the removal of the de- 
posites, he set himself to the task of humbling that body at his 
feet, and he succeeded ! 

In February, 1835, Mr. Benton, of Missouri, brought forward 
a resolution in the senate, to expunge that of the 28th of March, 
1834, disapproving of the removal of the deposites, which failed 
on this occasion by a vote of 39 to 7. He continued, however, 
to agitate the subject, and at the second session of the next Con- 
gress, 1836— '7, when the proportion of senators in favor of Gen. 
Jackson had been largely increased, he again offered his expun- 
ging resolution, which was finally carried, January 16, 1837, by a 
vote of 24 to 19. 

Yeas — Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Dana, Ewing 
(of Illinois), Fulton, Grundv, Hubbard, King (of Alabama), 
Linn, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Page, Rives, Robinson, 
RuGGLES, Sevier, Strange, Tallmadge, Tipton, Walker, 
Wall, and Wrfght. 

Nays — Messrs. Bayard, Black, Calhoun, Clay, Critten- 
den, Davis, Ewing (of Ohio), Hendricks, Kent, Knight, 
Moore, Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Southard, Swift, 
ToMLiNSON, Webster, and White. 

The debate on this occasion, as might be supposed, was one of 
great warmth. The question involved was, whether the demo- 
cratic branch of the government should continue to m.aintain its 
independence of the regal power of the constitution, and be per 
mitted freely to express its opinions ; or whether it should sue 
cumb to the mandates of the executive ? 


Mr. Clay made a speech worthy of himself on this occasion. 
The following are a few of his concluding remarks — after which 
he retired from the senate-chamber, resolved not to witness the act 
of degradation on that body, and of national humiliation, which 
had been decreed by absolute power, which was sustained by a 
majority of obsequious senators, and which was about to be con- 
summated : — 

"Mr. President, what patriotic purpose is to be accomplished by 
this expunging resolution ! What new honor or fresh laurels will 
it win for our common country? Is the power of the senate so 
vast that it ought to be circumscribed, and that of the president so 
restricted, that it ought to be extended ? What power has the sen- 
ate? None, separately. It can only act jointly with the other 
house, or jointly with the executive. And although the theory of 
the constitution supposes, when consulted by him, it may freely 
give an affirmative or negative response, according to the practice, 
as it now exists, it has lost the faculty of pronouncing the negative 
monosyllable. When the senate expresses its deliberate judgment, 
in the form of resolution, that resolution has no compulsory force, 
but appeals only to the dispassionate intelligence, the calm reason, 
and the sober judgment of the community. The senate has no 
army, no navy, no patronage, no lucrative offices, nor glittering 
honors to bestow. Around us there is no swarm of greedy ex- 
pectants, rendering us homage, anticipating our wishes, and ready 
to execute our commands. 

"How is it with the president? Is he powerless? He is felt 
from one extremity to the other of this vast republic. By means 
of principles which he has introduced, and innovations which he 
has made in our institutions, alas ! but too much countenanced by 
Congress and a confiding people, he exercises uncontrolled the 
power of the state. In one hand he holds the purse, and in the 
other brandishes the sword of the country. Myriads of dependents 
and partisans, scattered over the land, are ever ready to sing ho- 
sannahs to him, and to laud to the skies whatever he does. He 
has swept over the government, during the last eight years, like a 
tropical tornado. Every department exhibits traces of the ravages 
of the storm. Take, as one example, the bank of the United 
States. No institution could have been more popular with the 
people, with Congress, and with state legislatures. None ever bet- 
ter fulfilled the great purposes of its establishment. But it unfortu- 
nately incurred the displeasure of the president. He spoke, and the 
bank lies prostrate. And those who were loudest in its praise are 
now loudest in its condemnation. What object of his ambition is 
unsatisfied? When disabled from age any longer to hold the 
sceptre of power, he designates his successor, 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 presumptu- 
ousness of expressing an opinion contrary to his own? 

" What patriotic purpose 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, a 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 yourselves that power of annihilating the past 
which has been denied to Omnipotence itself? Do you intend to 
thrust your hands into our hearts, and to pluck out the deeply- 
rooted convictions which are there ? or is it your design merely to 
stigmatize us? You can not stigmatize us. 

" ' Ne'er yet did base dishonor blur our name.' 

" Standing securely upon our conscious rectitude, and bearing 
aloft the shield of the constitution of our country, your puny efforts 
are impotent, and we defy all your power. Put the majority of 
1834 in one scale, and that by which this expunging resolution is 
to be carried, in the other, and let truth and justice, in heaven 
above and on the earth below, and liberty and patriotism, decide 
the preponderance. 

" What patriotic purpose is to be accomplished by this expun- 
ging ? Is it to appease the wrath, and to heal the wounded pride, 
of the chief magistrate? If he be really the hero that his friends 
represent him, he must despise all mean condescension, all grovel- 
ling 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 lines ! Black lines ! Sir, I hope the secretary 
of the senate will preserve the pen with which he may inscribe 
them, and present it to that senator of the majority whom he may 
select as a proud trophy, to be transmitted to his descendants. 
And hereafter, when we shall lose the forms of our free institu- 
tions, all that now remain to us, some future American monarch, 
in gratitude to those by whose means he has been enabled, upon the 
ruins of civil liberty, to erect a throne, and to commemorate espe- 
cially this expunging resolution, may institute a new order of 
knighthood, and confer on it the appropriate name of the knight 


"But why should I detain the senate, or needlessly waste ray 
breath in fruitless exertions? The decree has gone forth. It is 
one of urgency, 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 you have perpetrated it, go home to the people, and tell 
them what glorious honors you have achieved for our common 


country. Tell them that you have extinguished one of the hright- 
est and purest lights that ever burned at the altar of civil liberty. 
Tell them that you have silenced one of tiie noblest batteries that 
ever thundered in defence of the constitution, and bravely spiked 
the cannon. Tell them that, henceforward, no matter what daring 
or outrageous act any president may perform, you have for ever 
hermetically sealed the mouth of the senate. Tell them that he 
may fearlessly assume what power he pleases, snatch from its law- 
ful custody the public purse, command a military detachment to 
enter the halls of the capitol, overawe Congress, trample down the 
constitution, and raze every bulwark of freedom ; but that the sen- 
ate must stand mute, in silent submission, and not dare to raise its 
opposing voice ; that it must wait until a house of representatives, 
humbled and subdued like itself, and a majority of it composed of 
the partisans of the president, shall prefer articles of impeachment. 
Tell them, finally, that you have restored the glorious doctrine of 
passive obedience and non-resistance, and, if the people do not 
pour out their indignation and imprecations, I have yet to learn the 
character of American freemen." 

When the vote was about to be taken, Mr. Webster, of Massa- 
chusetts, in his own behalf, and in behalf of his colleague, Mr. 
Davis, addressed an oral protest to the senate, through the presi- 
dent, which, not less for its eloquence and pertinency, than for the 
valuable information which it discloses, is thought worthy of a 
place here, and may be found in the note below.* 

• The debate having closed, and the question being about to be put, Mr. Wet^ 
ster rose, and addressed the senate as follows : — 

" Mr. President : Upon the truth and justice of the original resolution of the sen- 
ate, and upon the authority of the senate to pass that resolution, I had an oppor- 
tunity to express my opinions at a subsequent period, when the president's protest 
was before us. These opinions remain altogether unchanged. And now, had the 
constitution secured the privilege of entering a protest on the journal, I should not 
say one word on this occasion ; although, it' what is now proposed, shall be ac- 
complished, I know not what would have been the value of such a provision, 
however formally or carefully it might have been inserted in the body of that in- 
strument. But, as there is no such constitutional privilege, I can only effect my 
purpose by thus addressing the senate; and I rise, therefore, to make that prot- 
est in this manner, in the face of the senate, and in the face of the countiy, 
which I can not present in any other form. 

" I speak in my own behalf, and in behalf of my colleague. We both speak as 
senators from the state of Massachusetts, and as such we solemnly protest 
against this whole proceeding. We deny that senators from other states have 
any power or authority to expunge any vote or votes which we have given here, 
and which we have recorded agreeably to the express provision of the constitu- 
tion. We have a high personal interest; and the state whose representatives we 
are, has also a hi^h interest in the entire preservation of every part and parcel of 
the record of our conduct, as members of the senate. This record the constitu- 
tion solemnly declares shall be kept. But the resolution before the senate de- 
clares that tills record shall be expunged. 

" Whetlier subterfuge or evasion, and, as it appears to us, the degrading mock- 
ery of drawing black lines upon the journal, shall or shall not leave our names 
and our votes legible, when this violation of the record shall have been completed, 


The expunging resolution, preceded by a chapter of nine long 
"WHEREASES," "like a kite or a comet," as Mr. Clay said, "ex 
cepl that the order of nature is inverted, and the tail, instead of 

still the terms ' to expunge,' and the terms ' to keep,' when applied to a rec- 
ord, import ideas exactly contradictory — as much so as the terms to preserve, and the 
terms to destroy. A record which is expunged, is not a record which is kept, any 
more than a record which is destroyed can be a record which is preserved. The 
part expunged is no longer part of the record. It has no longer a legal existence. 
It can not be certified as a part of the proceeding of the senate for any purpose 
of proof or evidence. 

" The object of the provision in the constitution, as we think, most obviously 
is, that the proceedings of the senate shall be preserved in writing — not for the 
present only, not until published only, because a copy of the printed journal is not 
regular legal evidence — but preserved indefinitely, preserved as other records are 
preserved, till destroyed by time or accident. 

" Every one must see, that matters of the highest importance depend on the 
permanent preservation of the journals of the two houses. What but the jour- 
nals show that bills liave been regularly passed into laws, through the several 
stages ? What but the journal shows, who are members, who is president or 
speaker, or secretary, or clerk of the body? What but the journal contains the 
proof necessary for the justification of those who act under our authority, and who, 
without the power of producing such proof, must stand as trespassers ? WTiat 
but the journals show who is appointed, and who rejected, by us, on the presi- 
dent's nomination ? — or who is acquitted, who convicted, in trials on impeach- 
ment ? In short, is there at any time, any other regular and legal proof of any 
act done by the senate than the journal itself? The idea, therefore, that the sen- 
ate is bound to preserve its journal only until it is published, and then may alter, 
mutilate, or destroy it at pleasure, appears to us one of the most extraordinsiry 
sentiments ever advanced. 

" We are deeply grateful to those friends who have shown, with so much clear- 
ness, that all the precedents relied upon to justify or excuse this proceeding, are 
either not to the purpose, or from times and circumstances at and under which 
they happened, are no way entitled to respect in a free government, existing un- 
der a written constitution. But for ourselves, we stand on the plain words of the 
constitution itself. A thousand precedents elsewhere made, whether ancient or 
modern, can neither rescind, nor control, nor explain away these words. The 
words are, that ' each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings.' No gloss, 
no ingenuity, no specious interpretation — and much less can any fair or just rea- 
soning — reconcile the process of expunging with the plain meaning of these 
words, to the satisfaction of the common sense and honest understanding of man- 

"If the senate may now expunge one part of the journal of a former session, it 
may with equal authority expunge another part, or the whole. It may expunge 
the entire record of any one session, or of all sessions. It seems to us inconceiv- 
able how any man can regard such a power, and its exercise at pleasure, as con- 
sistent with the injunction of the constitution. It can make no difference what is 
the completeness or incompleteness of the act of expunging, or by what means 
done — whether by erasure, obliteration, or defacement. If by defacement, as here 
proposed, whether one word, or many words, are written on the face of the rec- 
ord — whether little ink, or much ink, is shed on the face of the paper — or whether 
some part, or the whole, of the originally wiitten journal, may yet, by possibility, 
be traced. If the act done, be an act to expunge, to blot out, to obijaerate, to 
erase the record, then the record is expunged, blotted out, obliterated, or erased. 
And mutilation and alteration violate the record, as much as obliteration or era- 
sure. A record subsequently altered, is not the original record. It no longer 
gives a just account of the proceedings of the senate. It is no longer true. It is 
in short, no journal of the real and actual proceedings of the senate, such as the 
constitution says, each house shall keep- The constitution, therefore, is, in our 
deliberate judgment, violated by this proceeding, in the most plain and open man- 

" The constitution, moreover, provides, that the yeas and nays on any question 
shall, at the request of one fifth of the members present, be entered on the journal. 


being behind, is before the body to which it is appended" — citing 
facts, as a basis of action, which were disputed — was couched in 
the following terms : — 

" Resolved, That the said resolve be expunged from the journal ; 
and for that purpose, that the secretary of the senate, at such time 

This provision, most manifestly, gives a personal right to those members who may 
demand it, to the entry and preservation of their votes on the record of the pro- 
ceedings of the body — not for one day, or one year only, but for all time. There 
the YiAS and nays are to stand for ever, as permanent and lasting proof of the man- 
ner in which members have voted, on great and important questions before them. 

" But it is now insisted, that the votes of members, taken by teas and nays, 
and thus entered on the journal, as matter of right, may still be expunged — so that 
that which it requires more than four fifth? of the senators to prevent from being 
put on the journal, may, nevertheless, be struck ofl" and erased the next moment, 
or at any period afterward, by the will of a mere majority. Or if this be not ad- 
mitted, then the absurdity is adopted of maintaining, that this provision of the 
constitution is fulfilled by merely preserving the teas and nats on the journal, 
after liaving expunged and obliterated the very resolution, or the very question, 
on which they were given, and to which alone they refer — leaving the teas and 
NATS thus a mere list of names, connected with no subject, no question, no vote. 
We put it to the impartial judgment of mankind, if this proceeding be not, in this 
respect also, directly and palpably inconsistent with the constitution ? 

" We protest, in the most solemn manner, that other senators have no authority 
to deprive us of our personal rights, secured to us by the constitution, either by 
expunging, or obliterating, or mutilating, or defacing the record of our votes duly 
entered by ytas and nats ; or by expunging and obliterating the resolutions or 
questions on which these votes were given and recorded. 

" We have seen, with deep and sincere pain, the legislatures of respectable 
states instructing the senators of those states, to vote for and support this viola- 
tion of the journal of the senate ; and this pain is infinitely increased by our full 
belief, and entire conviction, that most, if not all these proceedings of states had 
their origin in promptings from Washington; that they have been urgently re- 
quested and insisted on as bein? necessary to the accomplishment of the intended 
purpose ; and that it is nothing else but the influence and power of the executive 
branch of this government, which has brought the legislatures of so many of the 
free states of this Union to quit the sphere of their ordinary duties for the pur- 
pose of cooperating to accomplish a measure, in our judgment, so unconstitu- 
tional, so derogatory to the character of the senate, and marked with so broad 
an impression of compliance with power. 

" But this resolution is to pass. We expect it. That cause which has been 
powerful enough to influence so many state legislatures, will show itself powerful 
enough, especially with such aids, to secure the passage of this resolution here. 
We make up our minds to behold the spectacle which is to ensue. We collect 
ourselves to look on in silence, while a scene is exhibited, which, if we did not 
regard it as ruthless violation of a sacred instrument, would appear to us to be lit- 
tle elevated above the character of a contemptible farce- This scene we shall be- 
hold, and hundreds of American citizens, as many as may crowd into these lobbies 
and galleries, will behold it also — with what feelings, I do not undertake to say. 

" But we PROTEST — we most solemnly protest — against the substance, and 
against the manner of this proceeding — against its object, against its form, and 
against its effect. W^e tell you that you have no right to mar or mutilate the rec- 
ord of our votes given here, and recorded according to the constitution. We tell 
you, that you may as well erase the teas and nats on any other question or res- 
olution, or on all questions and resolutions, as on this. We tell you, that you 
have just as much right to falsify the record, by so altering it, as to make us ap- 
pear to have voted on any question as we did not vote, as you have to erase a 
record, and make that page a blank, in which our votes, as they were actually 
given and recorded, now stand. The one proceeding, as it appears to us, is as 
much a falsification of the record, as the other. 

" Having made this protest, our duty is performed. We rescue our own names, 
character, and honor, from all participation in this matter; and whatever the way- 


ttS tne senate may appoint, shall bring the manuscript journal of 
the session of 1833-'4 into the senate, draw black lines round the 
said resolve, and write across the face thereof, in strong letters, the 
following words : Expunged by order of the senate, this 


When the vote was taken, Mr. Benton moved, that the act be 
forthwith done, and as soon as the secretary had executed the deed, 
vehement and repeated hisses were expressed in the galleries of the 
senate-chamber; whereupon, Mr. King, of Alabama, being in the 
chair, ordered the galleries to be cleared. Mr. Benton objected, 
and said: "Let the ruffians be apprehended by the sergeant-at- 
arms, and brought to the bar of the senate. Let him seize the 
ruffians — the bank ruffians!" 

The order of the chair to clear the galleries was then revoked, 
and the sergeant-at-arms directed to bring the offenders to the bar 
of the senate. This officer soon returned, having in his custody " a 
tall, well-dressed man, wrapped in a black overcoat," name not 
given, and presented him at the bar. Mr. Benton, allowing that 
the public exposure was a sufficient punishment, moved that he be 
discharged; but Mr. Morris rose and said: " Call you this the jus- 
tice of the senate of the United States? Are citizens to be treated 
in this manner — brought to the bar of the senate without a hear- 
ing?" Mr. Morris demanded the yeas and nays, and proposed 
that the man be allowed a hearing and counsel. This Mr. Benton 
opposed — said he might purge himself with an oath — and added — 
" No consulting with lawyers." The yeas and nays being called, 
27 voted for discharge, and one in the negative. The man then 
advanced, and addressing the chair, said: "Mr. President, am I 
not to be permitted to speak in my own defence?" The chairman 
turned to the sergeant-at-arms, and said: "Take him out!" 
And thus the matter ended. 

■ward character of the times, the headlong and plunging spirit of party devotion, 
or the fear or the love of power, may have been able to bring about elsewhere, we 
desire to thank God that they have not, as yet, overcome the love of liberty, fidel- 
ity to true republican principles, and a sacred regard for the constitution in that 
state whose soil was drenched to a mire, by the first and best blood of the revolu- 
tion. Massachusetts, as yet, has not been conquered ; and while we have the 
honor to hold seats here as her senators, we shall never consent to a sacrifice, ei- 
ther of her rights, or our own. We shall never fail to oppose what we regard as 
a plain and open violation of the constitution of the country ; and we should have 
thought ourselves wholly unworthy of her, if we had not, with all the solemnity 
and earnestness in our power, protested against the adoption of the resolution 
BOW before the senate." — (See Niles's Register, vol. li., p. 331, l836-'37.) 




A New Doctrine in Political Economy. — The Protective Policy and Freedom iden- 
tical. — Mr. Clay's Debut on the Protective Policy. — His first Speech in Con- 
gress on the Subject. — Protection of the Interests of Navigation. — Navigation 
Acts.— Condition of Manufactures after the War of l8l2.^Tariff of 1816. — Its 
Inadequacy. — The Unsuccessful Attempt for a Tariffin 1820. — Mr. Clay's Efforts 
at that Time. — Disastrous Consequences of the Failure. — The Tariff of 1824. — 
Mr. Clay's Exertions in its behalf. — Machine Power. — A Measure of the Wealth 
of Nations. — Balance of Trade. — Policy of European States. — Russian Policy. 
— Policy of Napoleon. — What the British think of American Policy. — American 
Free Trade Policy is British Policy. 

The second great branch of the American system (that of internal 
improvement having been already considered), is the protective 


There is one great principle in the protective policy, as it respects 
the United States, yet to be developed. It has frequently been 
announced by sagacious observers, but, so far as the author knows, 
has never assumed the position of a doctrine in political economy. 
The opposite of this doctrine has frequently dropped, in the shape 
of confession, from the advocates of the protective system, in the 
following loose form : That, if all nations would adopt the system 
of free trade, it would be best for all parties. 

It is shown, in other parts of this work, that the protection of 
LSor in the United States, against the low prices to which it is 
doomed in Europe and other parts of the world, is identical with 
freedom. It is on this principle that the following proposition is 
based : That nniversa/ free trade, if it could at once he adoiUcd hxj 
all nations, woidd be destrnctivc of American freedom. 

The opposite of this proposition is often affirmed, by advocates 
of the protective system, as is believed, without a consideration of 
consequences ; or, it might, perhaps, be more correct to say, it is 
admitted by them, as may safely be done, since a general agree- 
menl in such a commercial system, as universal free trade, is not 
to be expected — is in fact impracticable. They say to their oppo- 


nents : " Secure lo us universal free trade, and we will go with 
you. But to have free ports in one nation, and not in another, is 
unjust." This last is commonly, and very properly, called one- 
sided free trade. There is no difficulty in making out the argu- 
ment against it, though it seems for ever to be held in debate. 

But, though this pledge to go for free trade on the condition of 
universal consent, is a very safe one, yet, with the United States, 
such a system would be entirely destructive of the great objects of 
their government and institutions. If equality in all other particu- 
lars could be made a part of the condition, it might perhaps do. 
But such equality can not be found, and can not be effected. At 
the starting point of such a universal free system, so far as ports 
of entry are concerned, American labor would have to meet Euro- 
pean and other foreign labor on the same level — that is, it would 
have to come down to it. The state of political society is such in 
Europe, that labor is depressed, and does not obtain its fair com- 
pensation. It is compelled to perform its task, on an average, at 
about one third of the price of American labor. Other things be- 
ing equal (they never would be exactly equal, but near enough to 
give all the required force to the present argument), the employers 
of European labor, by the forbearance of their respective govern- 
ments on the subject of taxation — which would be their policy for 
a season — would be able at once to come into the market at prices 
which would tend directly and effectually to reduce American labor 
to the same condition of bondage with European. It would tend 
at the same time, and not less effectually, to break down those 
establishments which employ a large portion of American labor. 

It can not be said, as shown elsewhere, that this proves, that the 
prices of articles now protected, would be cheapened, and that 
protection enhances the prices of such articles. They would be 
cheapened no longer, and no further, than, as a temporary policy, 
to break down the American producers, and subdue American labor, 
which being accomplished, and a monopoly acquired — at least su- 
nerior advantages — the foreign factors would then be able to com- 
mand their own prices, and would immediately raise them higher 
than they ever are under a system of protection, as all experience 
snows. European governments, knowing that their subjects had 
free entry into American ports, would relax or augment the bur- 
dens of taxation, according to circumstances, maintaining them jusl 
at the point, at which they could be sure to derive the greatest in- 
come — and that must always be the point where their own factors 


could most effectually secure the American market. European 
taxes would rise just in proportion as European factors, trading 
with the United States, could safely raise prices, and that would 
always be precisely at the point where they could keep down Amer- 
ican establishments of the same kind. 

The effect of the system would be, that the governments and 
hi'^her conditions of society in Europe, which always absorb more 
than half of the fair compensation of European labor, and necessa- 
rily depress it to a condition of hopeless bondage, would be able 
to throw the same oppressive influence over American labor, and 
reduce it to the same condition. They would be able to tax the 
people of the United States just as much as they tax their own 
subjects, in the same way, and by the same means, because there 
would be no obstacle. Their own labor is already down to the 
lowest sufferable point, entirely subject to their control, and under 
a system of universal free trade, could and would be employed by 
them, as an agency, to reduce American labor to the same level. 
It is probably true, that, since the establishment of American inde- 
pendence, the American people, in consequence of the imperfect 
system of the American protective policy, have, indirectly, by the 
consumption of British manufactures, borne a burden of taxation, 
for the support of the British government and British institutions, 
not less than half the amount imposed on British subjects — all to 
the detriment of American interests. 

It is not true, therefore, that the people of the United States can 
safely go upon a platform of universal free trade, if all other nations 
would consent to adopt it. It might be true, if all other things 
were equal, if all other nations were equally free, and if none of 
them had superior advantages in the producing arts, already ac- 
quired, that would enable them, under such a system, to crush 
American establishments in a state of comparative infancy. But 
the inequality in these comprehensive particulars, and in all their 
diversified ramifications, is decided and great. Nor is there any 
immediate prospect, that it will be diminished. Labor is the pro- 
ducer of wealth, wealth is power, and the state of society in Europe 
is designed to secure the wealth, and consequently the power, to 
a few. 

Labor in Europe constitutes the power of its governments, by 
being kept under their control, and being forced to minister to theii 
purposes. It is one of their cares to keep labor under, by robbing 
it of its reward. On a platform of free trade with the United States, 


they would be able to use this power effectively against American 
labor. It would be absolutely necessary for them to do so, for the 
maintenance of their position. Under a system of free trade, either 
European labor, in such hands, and so employed, must enslave 
American labor, or the latter must emancipate the former. Such 
emancipation would be impossible, because American labor could 
not compete with European labor on European ground — certainly 
not in any degree sufficient to relieve its condition. It could not 
compete on its own ground. American labor, therefore, would be 
obliged to yield, to succumb — would be reduced and enslaved. 

If, then, it should be asked, why do not the European govern- 
ments all go for free trade ? it may be answered, first, it is con- 
tended by some, that they are going for it; and if so, this, doubtless, 
is the reason, and it is the thing, in such a case, most of all to be 
feared by the people of the United States, as they must be aimed 
at as victims of such a seductive example. But, secondly, it does 
not appear that the governments of Europe are tending that way, 
and so far as England has relaxed her system of imposts, it is shown 
in another part of this work, that it is done on the principle of pro- 
tection. Thirdly, the commercial systems of Europe, so far as 
they are framed by the governments, are old, and can not be easily 
modified. All changes in them must be very gradual and very 
slow, for their own safety. Fourthly, they were not framed in 
view of the United States, but chiefly in view of each other, or of 
all the world ; and though their commercial connexions with the 
United States have been constantly on the increase, they are not 
even yet sufficient to invoke a change in their policy. They are 
not likely to consent to a system of free trade, even if the United 
States should be unwise enough to ask for that which would be 
their ruin. There is probably no nation in the world, that would 
be injured so soon and so much, by a system of universal free 
trade, as the United States — simply because there is no nation 
where labor commands so fair a compensation. It is labor first 
and chiefly that realizes the benefit of the protective policy ; and 
labor would be the first victim of free trade. Not that all other 
interests are not concerned in it ; but labor has the greatest interest. 

It would, therefore, be fatal to the interests, and death to the 
freedom, of the United States, to enter into a compact for a uni- 
versal system of free trade, notwithstanding it has been supposed 
by some of the advocates of the protective policy, that it might be 
safely done. This, it is admitted, is a theory which has little chance 


of being reduced to practical operation, for the reason that univer- 
sal consent can never be obtained. Nevertheless, it is a view of 
the subject which adds great force to the argument for protection, 
and casts much light on the protective system, as applicable to the 
United States. It is going behind the usual purposes of the pro- 
tective policy, which are those of interest, and showing how it stands 
related to that most precious and most sacred of all American rio-hts 
— FREEDOM. It undoubtedly has a vital connexion with this boon. 
It is impossible to look at the spectacle of European power and 
authority over labor, and not have some sense of this relation. Will 
that power — that authority — willingly relinquish its advantages — 
abandon its position ? It has an iron grasp on the labor of a con- 
tinent, receiving more than a moiety of its reward, any fraction of 
which it can afford to part with for a season, in a conflict with 
American labor, with the view of ultimately realizing an equal por- 
tion of the latter's reward, and reducing it to the same condition 
with the victim of its own constant oppression. It is only by ex- 
tending the shield of protection over American labor, that it is saved 
from this doom. It is for this reason that the United States should 
indignantly reject, if they should receive, the offer of universal free 

But the main object now in view, is to exhibit Mr. Clay's doc • 
trines on the protective system. His dchut as a statesman, in this 
cause, was made in ISOS, at the age of twenty-five, in the legisla- 
ture of Kentucky, when he moved a resolution in that body, that 
the members, as an example to the people, and as an expression 
of patriotic duty in giving countenance and support to domestic 
manufactures, should clothe themselves, from head to foot, in arti- 
cles of domestic fabric and production. 

The first speech made by Mr. Clay in Congress on the protective 
policy, was in the senate, April 6, 1810, while in all the freshness 
of his youth as a statesman. The following is an extract : — 

" The opposition to manufacturing institutions recalls to my 
recollection the case of a gentleman, of whom I have heard. He 
had been in the habit of supplying his table from a neighboring 
cook and confectioner's shop, and proposed to his wife a reform, 
in this particular. She revolted at the idea. The sight of a scullion 
was dreadful, and her delicate nerves could not bear the clattering 
of kitchen furniture. The gentleman persisted in his design : his 
table was thenceforth cheaper and better supplied, and his neigh- 
bor, the confectioner, lost one of his best customers. In like 
manner. Dame Commerce will oppose domestic manufactures. 


She is a flirting, flippant, noisy jade, and if we are governed by 
bar fantasies, we shall never put off the muslins of India and the 
cloths of Europe. But I trust that the yeomanry of the country, 
the true and genuine landlords of this tenement, called the United 
States, disregarding her freaks, will persevere in reform, until the 
whole national family is furnished by itself with the clothing neces- 
sary for its own use. 

" It is a subject no less of curiosity than of interest, to trace the 
prejudices in favor of foreign fabrics. In our colonial condition, 
we were in a complete state of dependence on the parent-country, 
as it respected manufactures, as well as commerce. For many 
years after the war, such was the partiality for her productions, in 
this country, that a gentleman's head could not withstand the influ- 
ence of solar heat, unless covered with a London hat ; his feet 
could not bear the pebbles, or frost, unless protected by London 
shoes ; and the comfort or ornament of his person was only con- 
sulted when his coat was cut out by the shears of a tailor 'just 
from London.' At length, however, the wonderful discovery has 
been made, that it is not absolutely beyond the reach of American 
skill and ingenuity, to provide these articles, combining with equal 
elegance greater durability. And I entertain no doubt, that, in a 
short time, the no less important fact will be developed, that the 
domestic manufactories of the United States, fostered by govern- 
ment, and aided by household exertions, are fully competent to 
supply us with at least every necessary article of clothing. I there- 
fore, sir,yb?- one (to use the fashionable cant of the day), am in 
favor of encouraging them, not to the extent to which they are car- 
ried in England, but to such an extent as will redeem us entirelv 
from all dependence on foreign countries. There is a pleasure — 
a pride (if I may be allowed the expression, and I pity those who 
can not feel the sentiment) — in being clad in the productions of our 
own families. Others may prefer the cloths of Leeds and of Lon- 
don, but give me those of Humphreysville. 

" The three great subjects that claim the attention of the national 
legislature, are the interests of agriculture, commerce, and manu 
factures. We have had before us, a proposition to afford a manly 
protection to the rights of commerce, and how has it been treated? 
Rejected ! You have been solicited to promote agriculture, by 
increasing the facilities of internal communication, through the 
means of canals and roads, and what has been done? Postponed! 
We are now called upon to give a trifling support to our domestic 
manufactures, and shall we close the circle of congressional ineffi- 
ciency, by adding this also to the catalogue ?" 

The British colonial system, commonly so called, as it applies 
lo the Un'ted States, has been of serious consequence to the navi- 


gating interests of this country, over which the government is 
equally bound to extend its protection, as over other interests of 
the people. It is a branch of the protective policy. After the 
peace of Ghent, Great Britain adopted measures to exclude the 
navigation of the United States from the British West Indies and 
her other American colonies, comprehending a trade estimated at 
six millions of dollars ; but by a clause in the second article of the 
convention of London, the right of a countervailing policy was 
left open to the United States. On the basis of this right, an effort 
was made in Congress, in 1S16, and 1817, to exclude from the 
ports of the United States all foreign vessels, British or other, 
trading with those British possessions, from which American ves- 
sels were excluded, and Mr. Clay supported the measure on the 
principle of retaliation, with a view to force Great Britain to a reci- 
procity, and to recover those rights of navigation for American 
shipping. He said : — 

" The policy of Great Britain was deeply laid in selfish con- 
siderations — a policy which she had never relaxed, except in peri- 
ods of war, when it became her interest to do so. The question 
was. whether the total exclusion of our ships from the colonial 
ports of Great Britain, was such a measure as we ought to fold our 
arms and submit to"? The effect was to deprive us of the advan- 
tages, in the augmentation of our commerce, and in the increase 
of our seamen, which would result from the carriage of our own 
produce, to the amount of six millions of dollars. With regard 
to the importance of encouraging our own navigation, he said, he 
need not resort to argument. Some measure ought to be devised, 
by which the navigation of Great Britain should be prevented from 
enjoying peculiar advantages over us, in a trade wherein reciprocity 
had been solemnly promised by the convention of London." 

The measure, however, failed. In ISIS, a like attempt was 
more successful ; in 1820, the act of 1818 was superseded by a 
new one; and so again in 1823 — the design of each of which was 
to bring Great Britain to terms. Attempts at negotiation were 
made under the administration of Mr. John Q. Adams, but the 
death of the British prime minister, Mr. Canning, put the question 
into new hands, and deferred a settlement. In 1829, Mr. Louis 
McLane was sent to London by General Jackson, with instructions 
on this subject ; the question was claimed to be advantageously 
settled, and the transaction much lauded ; the practical operation 
of which, however, made it worse than it was before, and it has 
never yet been satisfactorily arranged. Nothing has proved more 


deceptive, or more injurious to the navigating interests of the IJpi- 
ted States, than those commercial treaties, professedly based on 
principles of reciprocity — a mock reciprocity. The great com- 
mercial nations, such as England, France, Russia, Sweden, Por- 
tugal, Holland, and Belgium, have taken good care not to be 
caught in the American trap, and have sprung it on the trappers, 
by loaning their own craft to the flags of the small and non-com- 
mercial stat-es, such as Denmark, Hamburgh, Bremen, Prussia, 
Brazil, Tuscany, Rome, and Greece, which had nothing to lose, 
and everything to gain, by arrangements of this kind, with the 
United States. Thus the larger commercial powers have stolen 
the benefit, and escaped from the obligation of reciprocity ! 

With this exception, the navigating interests of the country have 
received a very fair protection from the government. It is not, 
perhaps, commonly considered by those engaged in this pursuit, 
that if this protection were taken away, the American commercial 
marine would not only be chiefly driven from the seas by foreign 
competition, but even the coasting trade of the United States would 
be carried on by craft built and manned in the north of Europe, 
at about half the expense of American shipping, and at half the 
wages of American seamen. On the basis of free trade, it would 
be impossible for the navigation of the United States to compete 
with foreign craft. 

But the protection of domestic manufactures, and of other home 
'nterests, seems always to have proved one of the most difficult 
questions in the political economy of the United States, though it 
is in fact one of the simplest and plainest. 

The peace of Ghent left the manufactures of the United States, 
which had been reared during the war to answer the necessities of 
the country, and of which the war itself was a sufficient protection, 
in a defenceless condition. The products of British and other 
European manufacture, poured into the country at a rate to threaten 
the existence of American establi<?hments, and the ruin of the cur- 
rency, by the withdrawal of specie to pay for them. The tariff 
of 1816 was not enacted to go into operation till a year and a half 
after the peace ; and when it came, it proved equally inadequate to 
protect American manufactures, and to check the alarming balances 
of trade which were heaping up against the nation, by the influx 
of foreign products. Mr. Clay had labored faithfully in 1816 to 
get a tariff that would answer the necessities of the country ; but 
:n vain. The disappointment and distress which he predicted. 

Vol. H.— 10 


followed. As llie nation was constantly buying more than it sold, 
the money of the country was necessarily required to pay the 
balance ; and like a private individual who does the same thing, 
and precisely for the same reason, the country grew poorer and 
poorer, till it was compelled to stop payment by a general bank 
suspension — for that is the only mode in which a nation stops pay- 
ment, and to which it is necessarily compelled, when, for a length 
of time, beyond what it can bear, it continues to buy more than it 
sells. The balance is demanded in specie, which is drav/n from 
the banks, till, in self-defence, they close their vaults. And that 
is the insolvency of a commercial nation. Nor is it an abuse of 
the monetary system, as some aver. It is real poverty. The 
money is gone, and has to be made again, by living within means, 
and by hard work. 

The general distress consequent on the defects of the tariff of 
1816, led to an attempt in Congress to get up a new one in 1S20; 
and on the 22d of March, of that year, Mr. Baldwin, of Pennsyl- 
vania (afterward judge of the supreme court of the United States, 
and since deceased), reported a bill from the committee of the 
house on manufactures, to supply the deficiencies of the existing 
tariff. Justice Baldwin, in speaking of Mr. Clay's zeal and efforts 
for the passage of this bill, once said, that " he discharged the 
triple duties of a rank-and-file man, captain, and general-in-chief." 
The bill passed the house by a vote of 90 to 69, but was lost in 
the senate by 22 to 20. The following are extracts from a speech 
of Mr. Clay on that bill, in the house of representatives, April 20, 
1820 :— 

" Mr. Chairman, whatever may be the value of my opinions on 
the interesting subject now before us, they have not been hastily 
formed. It may possibly be recollected by some gentlemen, that 

^xnressed them when the existing tariff was adopted ; and that I 
then ^ed, that the period of the termination of the war, during 
which the manufacturing industry of the country had received a 
powerful spring, was precisely that period when government was 
alike impelled, by duty and interest, to protect it against the free 
admission of foreign fabrics, consequent upon a state of peace. I 
insisted, on that occasion, that a less measure of protection would 
prove more efficacious, at that time, than one of greater extent at 
a future day. My wishes prevailed only in part ; and we are now 
called upon to decide whether we will correct the error which, I 
think, we then committed. 

" In considering the subject, the first important inquiry that we 
should make is, whether it be desirable that such a portioD of the 


capital and labor of the country should be employed in the business 
of manufacturing, as v.'ould furnish a supply of our necessary 
wants ? Since the first colonization of America, the principal 
direction of the labor and capital of the inhabitants, has been to 
produce raw materials for the consumption or fabrication of foreign 
nations. We have always had, in great abundance, the means of 
subsistence, but we have derived chiefly from other countries, our 
clothes, and the instruments of defence. Except during those 
interruptions of commerce arising from a state of war, or from 
measures adopted for vindicating our commercial rights, we have 
experienced no very great inconvenience heretofore from this mode 
of supply. The limited amount of our surplus produce, resulting 
from the smallness of our numbers, and the long and arduous 
convulsions of Europe, secured us good markets for that surplus 
in her ports, or those of her colonies. But those convulsions 
have now ceased, and our population has reached nearly ten mil- 
lions. A new epoch has arisen ; and it becomes us deliberately to 
contemplate our own actual condition, and the relations which are 
likely to exist between us and the other parts of the world. The 
actual state of our population, and the ratio of its progressive in- 
crease, when compared with the ratio of the increase of the popu- 
lation of the countries which have hitherto consumed our raw pro- 
duce, seem, to me, alone to demonstrate the necessity of diverting 
some portion of our industry from its accustomed channel. We 
double our population in about the term of twenty-five years. If 
there be no change in the mode of exerting our industry, we shall 
double, during the same term, the amount of our exportable 
produce. Europe, including such of her colonies as we have free 
access to, taken altogether, does not duplicate her population in a 
shorter term, probably, than one hundred years. The ratio of the 
increase of her capacity of consumption, therefore, is, to that of 
our capacity of production, as one is to four. And it is manifest, 
from the simple exhibition of the powers of the consuming coun- 
tries, compared with those of the supplying country, that the 
former are inadequate to the latter. It is certainly true, that a por- 
tion of the mass of our raw produce, which we transmit to her 
reverts to us in a fabpicated form, and that this return augments 
with our increasing population. This is, however, a very incon- 
siderable addition to her actual ability to afford a market for the 
produce of our industry." 

The unsuccessful attempt to make a new tariff in 1S20, sup- 
ported so strongly as it was in the house of representatives — of 
which Mr. Clay was then speaker — but unfortunately lost in the 
senate, was a very important and eventful point in the political his- 
tory of the country. Its failure doomed the people to four years 
of incalculable loss, and great distress, from which they did not 


begin to emerg-e till they were rescued by the tariff of 1824. The 
position of Mr. Clay in the tariff bill of 1816, is recognised in the 
above extract. He then pcedicted what afterward came to pass, 
resulting from the defects of that law, and at this time, as Mr. Jus- 
tice Baldwin certifies, labored strenuously for an act that would 
enable the country, in some degree, to regain what it had lost, and 
to protect itself in future. The " new epoch" pointed out above, 
and the reasoning deduced therefrom, have been forcibly illustrated 
by subsequent events. 

The simplicity of the following citation will naturally produce 
its proper effect with all fair minds : — 

" The wants of man may be classed under three heads : food, 
raiment, and defence. They are felt alike in the state of barbarism 
and of civilization. He must be defended against the ferocious 
beasts of prey in the one condition, and against the ambition, vio- 
lence, and injustice, incident to the other. If he seeks to obtain a 
supply of these wants without giving an equivalent, he is a beggar 
or a robber ; if by promising an equivalent which he can not give, 
he is fraudulent ; and if by commerce, in which there is perfect 
freedom on his side, while he meets with nothing but restrictions 
on the other, he submits to an unjust and degrading inequality. 
What is true of individuals, is equally so of nations. The coun- 
try, then, which relies upon foreign nations for either of these great 
essentials, is not, in fact, independent. Nor is it any consolation 
for our dependence upon other nations, that they are also depend- 
ent upon us, even were it true. Every nation should anxiously 
endeavor to establish its absolute independence, and consequently 
be able to feed, and clothe, and defend itself. If it rely upon a 
foreign supply, that may be cut off by the caprice of the nation 
yielding it, by war with it, or even by war with other nations. It 
can not be independent. But it is not true, that any other nations 
depend upon us in a degree anything like equal to that of our de- 
pendence upon them, for the great necessaries to which I have re- 
ferred. Every other nation seeks to supply itself with them from 
its own resources ; and so strong is the desire which they feel to 
accomplish this purpose, that they exclude the cheaper foreign ar- 
ticle, for the dearer home production. Witness the English poli- 
cy in regard to corn. So selfish, in this respect, is the conduct of 
other powers, that, in some instances, they even prohibit the prod- 
uce of the industry of their oum colonies, when it comes into com- 
petition with the produce of the parent-country. All other coun- 
tries but our own, exclude by high duties, or al3solute prohibitions, 
whatever they can respectively produce within themselves. The 
truth is, and it is in vain to disguise it, that we are a sort of de- 
pendent colonies of England — politically free, commercially slaves. 


Gentlemen tell us of the advantages of a free exchange of the 
produce of the world. But they tell us of what has never existed, 
does not exist, and perhaps never will exist. They invoke us to 
give perfect freedom on our side, while, in the ports of every other 
nation, we are met wifh a code of odious restrictions, shutting out 
entirely a great part of our produce, and letting in only so much 
as they can not possibly do without. I will hereafter examine 
their favorite maxim, of leaving things to themselves, more partic- 
ularly. At present, I will only say that I too am a friend to free 
trade, but it must be a free trade of perfect reciprocity. If the 
governing consideration were cheapness ; if national independence 
were to weigh nothing ; if honor nothing ; why not subsidize for- 
eign powers to defend us '? Why not hire Swiss or Hessian mer- 
cenaries to protect us "? Why not get our arras of a'U kinds, 
as we do in part, the blankets and clothing of our soldiers, from 
abroad ?" 

That a governor of Kentucky should have furnished such an 
example, as the following, was not less honorable to himself, than 
a proud boast of her adopted citizen, who was pleading so great a 
cause in the American Congress : — 

"All society is an affair of mutual concession. If we expect 
to derive the benefits which are incident to it, we must sustain our 
reasonable share of burdens. The great interests which it is in- 
tended to guard and cherish, must be supported by their reciprocal 
action and reaction. The harmony of its parts is disturbed, the 
discipline which is necessary to its order is incomplete, when one 
of the three great and essential branches of its industry is aban- 
doned and unprotected. If you want to find an example of order, 
of freedom from debt, of economy, of expenditure falling below 
rather than exceeding income, you will go to the well-regulated 
family of a farmer. You will go to the house of such a man as 
Isaac Shelby ; you will not find him haunting taverns, engaged in 
broils, prosecuting angry lawsuits ; you will behold every member 
of his family clad with the produce of their own hands, and use- 
fjully employed — the spinning-wheel and the loom in motion by 
daybreak. With what pleasure will his wife carry you into her 
neat dairy, lead you into her storehouse, and point you to the 
tablecloths, the sheets, the counterpanes, which lie on this shelf for 
one daughtej-, or on that for another, all prepared in advance by 
her provident care for the day of their respective marriages. If 
you want to see an opposite example, go to the house of a man 
who manufactures nothing at home, whose family resorts to the 
store for everything they consume. You will find him perhaps in 
the tavern, or at the shop at the cross-roads. He is engaged, with 
the rum-grog on the table, taking depositions to make out s-vkie 


case of usury or fraud. Or perhaps he is furnishing to his law 
yer the materials to prepare a long bill of injunction in some 
intricate case. The sheriff is hovering about his farm to serve 
some new writ. On court-days — he never misses attending them 
— you will find him eagerly collecting his witnesses to defend him- 
self against the merchant and doctor's claims. Go to his house, 
and, after the short and giddy period that his wife and daughters 
have flirted about the country in their calico and muslin frocks, 
what a scene of discomfort and distress is presented to you there ! 
What (he individual family of Isaac Shelby is, I wish to see the 
nation in the aggregate become. But I fear we shall shortly have 
to contemplate its resemblance in the opposite picture. If states- 
men would carefully observe the conduct of private individuals in 
the management of their own affairs, they would have much surer 
guides in promoting the interests of the state, than the visionary 
speculations of theoretical writers." 

The projet of the following remarks, is one that claims profound 
consideration by American statesmen and American citizens : — 

" Let us proclaim to the people of the United States the incon- 
testable truth, that our foreign trade must be circumscribed by the 
altered state of the world ; and, leaving it in the possession of all 
the gains which it can now possibly make, let us present motives 
to the capital and labor of our country, to employ themselves in 
fabrication at home. There is no danger that, by a withdrawal of 
that portion which is unprofitably employed on other objects, and 
an application of it to fabrication, our agriculture would be too 
much cramped. The produ^ce of it will always come up to the 
foreign demand. Such are the superior allurements belonging to 
the cultivation of the soil to all other branches of industry, that it 
will always be preferred when it can profitably be followed. The 
foreign deiuand will, in any conceivable state of things, limit the 
amount of the exportable produce of agriculture. The amount 
of our exportations will form the measure of ou-r importations, and, 
whatever these may be, they will constitute the basis of the reve- 
nue derivable from customs. 

" The manufacturing system is favorable to the maintenance of 
peace. Foreign commerce is the great source of foreign wars. 
The eagerness with which we contend for every branch of it, the 
temptations which it offers, operating alike upon us and our for- 
eign competitors, produce constant collisions. No country on 
earth, by the extent of its superfices, the richness of its soil, the 
variety of its climate, contains within its own limits more abundant 
facilities for supplying all our rational wants than ours does. It is 
not necessary or desirable, however, to cut off all intercourse with 
foreign powers. But, after securing a supply, within ourselves, 
of all tne great essentials of life, there will be ample scope still left 


for preserving such an intercourse. If we had no intercourse with 
foreign states, if we adopted the policy of China, we should have 
no external wars. And in proportion as we diminish our depen- 
dence upon them, shall we lessen the danger of the recurrence of 
war. Our late war would not have existed if the counsels of the 
manufacturers in England had been listened to. They finally did 
prevail, in their steady and persevering effort to produce a repeal 
of the orders in council ; but it was too late to prevent the war. 
Those who attribute to the manufacturing system the burdens and 
misfortunes of that country, commit a great error. These were 
probably a joint result of the operation of the whole of her system, 
and the larger share of it was to be ascribed to her foreign com- 
merce, and to the ambition of her rulers, than to any other cause. 
The war of our revolution, in which that ambition displayed its 
monstrous arrogance and pretensions, laid the broad foundation of 
that enormous debt under which she now groans." 

The most suicidal principle of free trade, " laissez faire,^'' let 
things alone, or let foreign commerce take care of itself, is well 
treated by Mr. Clay, as follows : — 

" Gentlemen say, ' We agree with you ; you are right in your 
first proposition ; but, ' let things alone,' and they will come right 
in the end.' Now, I agree with them, that things would ultimately 
get right ; but not until after a long period of disorder and distress, 
terminating in the impoverishment, and perhaps ruin, of the coun- 
try. Dissolve government, reduce it to its primitive elements, 
and, without any general effort to reconstruct it, there would arise, 
out of the anarchy which would ensue, partial combinations for the 
purpose of individual protection, which would finally lead to a 
socia4 form, competent to the conservation of peace within, and 
the repulsion of force from without. Yet no one would say, in 
such a state of anarchy, ' let things alone' ! If gentlemen, by their 
favorite maxim, mean only that, within the bosom of the state, 
things are to be left alone, and each individual, and each branch 
of industry, allowed to pursue their respective interests, without 
giving a preference to either, I subscribe to it But if they give 
it a more comprehensive import ; if they require that things be left 
alone, in respect not only to interior action, but to exterior action 
also ; not only as regards the operation of our own government 
upon the mass of the interests of the state, but as it relates to th 
operation of foreign governments upon that mass, I dissent from it 

" This maxim, in this enlarged sense, is indeed everywhere 
proclaimed, but nowhere practised. It is truth in the books of 
European political economists. It is error in the practical code 
of every European state. It is not applied where it is most appli- 
cable ; it is attempted to be introduced here, where it is least appli- 
cable; and even here its friends propose to limit it to the single 


branch of manufacturing industry, while every other interest is 
encouraged and protected according to the poHcy of Europe." 

Again: "If it [free trade] be not everywhere observed, there 
will be, between the nation that does not, and the nation that does, 
conform to it, an inequality alike condemned by honor and by 
interest. If there be no reciprocity — if, on the one side, there is 
perfect freedom of trade, and on the other a code of odious restric- 
tions, will gentlemen still contend that we are to submit to such an 
unprofitable and degrading intercourse ? Will they require that 
we shall act upon the social system, while every other power acts 
upon the selfish ? Will they demand of us to throw widely open 
our ports to every nation, while all other nations entirely or partly 
exclude theirs against our productions"? It is, indeed, possible, 
that some pecuniary advantage might be enjoyed by our country in 
prosecuting the remnant of the trade which the contracted policy 
of other powers leaves to us. But what security is there for our 
continuing to enjoy even that ? And is national honor, is national 
independence, to count as nothing"? I will not enter into a detail 
of the restrictions with which we are everywhere presented in for- 
eign countries. I will content myself with asserting that they 
take nothing from us which they can produce themselves, upon 
even worse terms than we could supply them. Take, again, as 
an example, the English corn-laws. America presents the image 
of a fine, generous-hearted young fellow, who had just come to the 
possession of a rich estate — an estate, which, however, requires 
careful management. He makes nothing — he buys everytlwng. 
He is surrounded by a parcel of Jews, each holding out his hand 
with a packet of buttons or pins, or some other commodity, for 
sale. If he asks those Jews to buy anything which his estate pro- 
duces, they tell him, ' No — it is not for our interest — it is not for 
yours.' — ' Take this new book,' says one of them, ' on political 
economy, and you will there perceive it is for your interest to buy 
from us, and to let things alone in your own country.' " 

Here is the misfortune — the trick, as it might, with more pro- 
priety and truth, be called : Great Britain is the Jew, that has 
furnished other nations with books on political economy, to suit 
herself — not such as she follows, but such as she wishes them to 
follow ; and they are quoted in argument by American free-trade 
statesmen, who are, by this means, Jcived. 

After the most strenuous efforts for the passage of the tariff bill of 
1820, Mr. Clay concluded his remarks in committee as follows : — 

" Mr. Chairman, I frankly own that I feel great solicitude for the 
success of this bill. The entire independence of my country of 
all foreign states, as it respects a supply of our essential wants, 
has ever been with me a favorite object. The war of our revolu- 


tion effected our political emancipation. The last war coitributec 
greatly toward accomplishing our commercial freedom. But oui 
complete independence will only be consummated after the policy 
of this bill shall be recognised and adopted. We have, indeed, 
oreat difficulties to contend with — old habits, colonial usages, the 
obduracy of the colonial spirit, the enormous profits of a foreign 
trade, prosecuted under favorable circumstances, which no longer 
continue. I will not despair. The cause, I verily believe, is the 
cause of the country. It may be postponed ; it may be frustrated 
for the moment ; but it must finally prevail. Let us endeavor to 
acquire for the present Congress, the merit of having laid this solid 
foundation of the national prosperity." 

Notwithstanding the facts developed on this occasion, calling 
for the passage of this bill — notwithstanding the vigilance, solici- 
tude, and fidelity of this sentinel on the watchtower of the land — 
notwithstanding these laboss, these arguments, these entreaties — 
the bill, as before remarked, was doomed to defeat in the senate, 
and the country went on another four years to fill up the measure 
of its distress — to consummate the cycle of seven years of the 
greatest commercial embarrassment it had endured since the adop- 
tion of the federal constitution, as stated by Mr. Clay in 1832. 
If Mr. Clay, after having discharged his duties in the house, by 
aiding to pass the bill of 1S20, by a vote of 90 to 69, could have 
had his relations transferred to the senate for this occasion, it 
would doubtless have been carried there, and the country would 
have been benefited some hundreds of millions. For the loss to 
the country, in the loss of such a bill, is not to be estimated by the 
positive disadvantages alone, but by the additional consideration 
of what would have been gained by it ; and it can not be doubted, 
that the country would have been some hundreds of millions richer, 
as is demonstrated by statistical statements in another chapter. 

In 1824 the countrj' was ripe for ruin or rescue. It was im- 
possible, that the evils of the past should be longer endured. The 
tariff of 1816 had utterly failed to protect the great interests of the 
country. Mr. Clay foresaw, and foretold it. He labored at the 
time, in an agony of concern, to have it made adequate. Not less 
earnestly, as just seen, did he strive, at the late day of 1820, to 
rectify these evils, and to throw the shield of protection over his 
suffering country. Onward rolled time, and onward the car of 
commercial desolation. In 1824 most men had waked up, neces- 
sarily to the distress, and apparently to some sense of the perils, 


of die republic, whose very vitals were being consumed by the 
v'ulture-mavv of foreign policies and foreign factors. 

Mr. Clay had long looked upon these impending and thick- 
coming calamities with the most anxious solicitude, and labored 
to avert them. It is only in this view of previous events, and 
previous history, that one can fully appreciate the manner and sen- 
timents of the exordium to his speech in committee of the house 
of representatives, of March 30th and 31st, 1824, when the tariff 
of that year was under consideration : — 

" I am deeply sensible, Mr. Chairman, of the high responsibil- 
ity of my present situation. But that responsibility inspires me 
with no other apprehension than that I shall be unable to fulfil my 
duty — with no other solicitude than that I may, at least, in some 
small degree, contribute to recall my country from the pursuit of 
a fatal policy, which appears to me inevvtably to lead to its impov- 
erishment and ruin. I do feel most awfully this responsibility. 
And, if it were allowable for us, at the present day, to imitate an- 
cient e-xamples, I would invoke the aid of the Most High. I 
would anxiously and fervently implore his divine assistance, that 
he would be graciously pleased to shower on my country his 
richest blessings, and that he would sustain, on this interesting 
occasion, the humble individual who stands before him, and lend 
him the power, moral and physical, to perform the solemn duties 
which now belong to his public station." 

Four years of additional observation, four additional years of 
deep and profound sympathy with a suffering country, and four 
more years of thought and study on this great theme, since his 
labors in behalf of the tariff bill of 1820, had prepared Mr. Clay 
for one of the greatest and happiest efforts of his life, in his 
speech on the tariff bill of 1824. One is not so much surprised, 
in view of these facts, that he should, on this occasion, have left 
all his former efforts in the same cause out of si^ht — that he 
should seem to be doing the ne plus ultra of what he or any man 
was ever capable. But one is surprised to find the same man, on 
the same subject, eight years afterward (1832), in the senate of the 
United States, apparently going as much beyond what he did in 
1824, as in 1824 he left in the shade his own earlier exertions. 
But in 1832, the great question had put on new aspects, had in- 
volved new and momentous matters, roused to action a new set of 
feelings, and stood forth before the world in the forms of nullifica- 
tion and civil war ! Patriotism in 1832 had two things to look 
after — the preservation of the protective policy, and the salvation 


of the country from domestic strife and bloodshed. A compari- 
son, therefore, of these two mighty efforts of 1824 and 1832, 
properly to appreciate them, should be made in view of the differ- 
ent states of public affairs at these two points of time. On both 
occasions the theme was exhausted, as to all the materials of argu- 
ment then visible and tangible ; and it is remarkable, that no new 
idea on the subject, involving a principle, has at any time since, 
bv anybody, been advanced. New facts, indeed, have transpired, 
illustrating and establishing those principles, and the field of argu- 
ment, by reason of such facts, has been widely extended. By 
the aid of new facts, the subject can now be made more clear, and 
Mr. Clay's position has been thoroughly and impregnably fortified 
by time and events. That he should have been able so completely 
to survey the field for the time being, is a fit occasion, not less of 
admiration for his talents as a man and his abilities as a statesman, 
than of gratitude for his services and fidelity as an American pa- 

As nothing like justice to these gigantic efforts can be done, 
without copying the whole of them, and inasmuch as they have 
long been before the public in a variety of forms, it is only pro- 
posed to make a brief review of them here, and a few extracts. 

First, the speech, or speeches, of 1824. The following extract 
exhibits at the same time the most succinct and lucid statement of 
the diffeience of opinion on this subject, and an amiable example 
of charity toward opponents: — 

" Two classes of politicians divide the people of the United 
States. According to the system of one, the produce of foreign 
industry should be subjected to no other impost than such as may 
be necessary to provide a public revenue ; and the produce of 
American industry should be left to sustain itself, if it can, with no 
other than that incidental protection, in its competition, at home as 
well as abroad, with rival foreign articles. According to the system 
of the other class, while they agree that the imposts should be 
mainly, and may under any modification be safely, relied on as a 
fit and convenient source of public revenue, they would so adjust 
and arrange the duties on foreign fabrics as to afford a gradual but 
adequate protection to American industry, and lessen our depend- 
ence on foreign nations by securing a certain and ultimately a 
cheaper and better supply of our own wants from our own abun- 
dant resources. Both classes are equally sincere in their respeo 
tive Dpinions, equally honest, equally patriotic, and desirous of 
advancing the prosperity of the country. In the discussion and 
consideration of these opposite opinions, for the purpose of ascer- 


tainino- which has the support of truth and reason, we should, 
therefore, exercise every indulgence, and the greatest spirh of mu- 
tual moderation and forbearance. And, in our deliberations on 
this great question, we should look fearlessly and truly at the actual 
condition of the country, retrace the causes which have brought 
us into it, and snatch, if possible, a view of the future. We should, 
above all, consult experience — the experience of other nations, as 
well as our own — as our truest and most unerring guide." 

Then follows a glowing picture of the distress of the country; 
next, an inquiry into the cause, which need not here be told ; the 
changed aspects of the world, from a state of war to general peace, 
as they affect the interests and policies of nations, are consi-dered ; 
the necessity of providing a home market for agricultural produce, 
grows out of this view; the more rapid increase of population in 
the United States, than in European countries, and the consequent 
multiplication of producing power, come into the scale, and de- 
mand employment, which other countries will not give to it; for- 
eign consumption of the prockicts of American labor and the 
American soil, instead of increasing, and keeping pace with the 
ratio of increase of producing power, had fallen off, with the ex- J 
ception of cotton ; it was therefore necessary to create a home ' 
market; the foreign demand for American produce, in times of 
peace, must continue to decrease, in relation to the ratio of the i 
increase of population, here and elsewhere; such had been the • ' 
fact; and liberal quotations are made by Mr. Clay from public and 
other documents, to establish these positions. 

" We must then [said Mr. Clay] change somewhat our course, j 
We must give a new direction to some portion of our industry, il 
We must speedily adopt a genuine American policy. Still cher- '•■ 
ishing the foreign market, let us create also a home market, to give 
further scope to the consumption of the produce of American in- 
dustry. Let us counteract the policy of foreigners, and withdraw 
the support which we now give to their industry, and stimulate that 
of our own country. It should be a prominent object with wise 
legislators, to multiply the vocations and extend the business of 
society, as far as it can be done, by the protection of our interests 
at home, against the injurious effects of foreign legislation. Sup- 
pose we were a nation of fishermen, or of skippers, to the exclu- 
sion of every other occupation, and the legislature had the power 
to introduce the pursuits of agriculture and manufactures, would 
not our happiness be promoted by an exertion of its authority? 
All the existing employments of society — the learned professions — 
commerce — agriculture — are now overflowing. We stand in each 
other's way. Hence the want of employment. Hence the eager 


pursuit after public stations, which I have before glanced at. I 
have been again and again shocked, during this session, by instan- 
ces of solicitation for places, before the vacancies existed. The 
pulse of incumbents, who happen to be taken ill, is not marked 
with more anxiety by the attending physicians, than by those who 
desire to succeed them, though with very opposite feelings. Our 
old friend, the faithful sentinel, who has stood so long at our door, 
and the gallantry of whose patriotism deserves to be noticed, be- 
cause it was displayed when that virtue was most rare and most 
wanted, on a memorable occasion in this unfortunate city, became 
indisposed some weeks ago. The first intelligence which I had of 
his dangerous illness, was by an application for his unvacated place ! 
I hastened to assure myself of the extent of his danger, and was 
happy to find that the eagerness of succession outstripped the 
progress of disease. By creating a new and extensive business, 
then, we should not only give employment to those who want it, 
and augment the sum of national wealth, by all that this new busi- 
ness would create, but we should meliorate the condition of those 
who are now engaged in existing employments. In Europe, par- 
ticularly in Great Britain, their large standing armies, large navies, 
large even on their peace arrangement, their established church, 
afford to their population employments, which, in that respect, the 
happier constitution of our government does not tolerate but in a 
very limited degree. The peace establishments of our army and 
our navy, are extremely small, and I hope ever will be. We have 
no established church, and I trust never shall have. In proportion 
as the enterprise of our citizens in public employments is circum- 
scribed, should we excite and InvJgorate it in private pursuits. 

" Tbe creation of a home market is not only necessary to pro- 
cure for our agriculture a just reward of its labors, but it is indis- 
pensable to obtain a supply of our necessary wants. If we can not 
sell, we oan not buy. That portion of our population (and we 
have seen that it is not less than four fifths-) which makes compara- 
tively nothing that foreigners will buy, has nothing to make pur- 
chases with from foreigners. It is in vain that we are told of the 
amount of our e?s;ports supplied by the planting interest. They 
may enable the planting interest to supply all its wants ; but they 
bring no ability to the interests not planting ; unless, which can not 
be pretended, the planting interest was an adequate vent for the 
surplus produce of the labor of all other interests. It is in vain to 
tantalize us with the greater cheapness of foreign fabrics. There 
must be an ability to purchase, if an article be obtained, whatever 
may be the price, high or low, at which it is sold. And a cheap 
article is as much beyond the grasp of him who has no means to 
buy, as a high one. Even if it were true that the American man- 
ufacturer would supply consumption at dearer rates, it is better to 
have his fabrics than the unattainable foreign fabrics, because it is 


better to be ill-supplied than not supplied at all. A coarse coat, 
which will communicate warmth and cover nakedness, is better 
than no coat. The superiority of the home market results, first 
from its steadiness and comparative certainty at all times ; secondly, 
from the creation of reciprocal interest; thirdly, from its greater 
security ; and lastly, from an ultimate and not distant augmentation 
of consumption (and consequently of comfort), from increased 
quantity and reduced prices. But this home market, highly desi- 
rable as it is, can only be created and cherished by the protection 
of our own legislation against the inevitable prostration of our in- 
dustry, which must ensue from the action of foreign policy and 
legislation. The effect and the value of this domestic care of our 
own interests will be obvious from a kw facts and considerations. 
Let us suppose, that half a million of persons are now employed 
abroad in fabricating, for our consumption, those articles, of which, 
by the operation of this bill, a supply is intended to be provided 
within ourselves; that half a million of persons are, in effect, 
subsisted by us ; but their actual means of subsistence are drawn 
from foreign agriculture. If we could transport them to this coun- 
try, and incorporate them in the mass of our own population, there 
would instantly arise a demand for an amount of provisions equal 
to that which would be requisite for their subsistence throughout 
the whole year. That demand, in the article of flour alone, would 
not be less than the quantity of about nine hundred thousand bar- 
rels, beside a proportionate quantity of beef and pork, and other 
articles of subsistence. But nine hundred thousand barrels of 
flour, exceeds the entire quantity exported last year, by nearly 
one hundred an<l fifty thousand barrels. What activity w^ould 
not this give, what cheerfulness would it not communicate, 
to our now dispirited farming interest! But if, instead of these 
five hundred thousand artisans emigrating from abroad, we give by 
this bill employment to an equal number of our own citizens, now 
engaged in unprofitable agriculture, or idle, from the want of busi- 
ness, the beneficial effect upon the productions of our farming la- 
bor would be nearly doubled. The quantity would be diminished 
by a subtraction of the produce from the labor of all those who 
should be diverted from its pursuits to manufacturing industry, and 
the value of the resi<lii£ would be enhanced, both by that diminu- 
tion and the creation of the home market, to the extent supposed. 
And the honorable gendeman from \'irglnia may repress any ap- 
prehensions which he entertains, that the plough will be abandoned, 
and our fields remain unsown. For, under all the modifications of 
social industry, if you will secure to it a just reward, the greater 
attractions of agriculture will give to it that proud superiority 
which it has always maintained. If we suppose no actual aban- 
donment of farming, but, what is most likely, a gradual and imper- 
ceptible employment of population in the business of manufaciu- 


ring, instead of being compelled to resort to agriculture, the salu- 
tary effects would be nearly the same. Is any part of our com- 
mon country likely to be injured by a transfer of the theatre of 
fabrication, for our own consumption, from Europe to America? 
All that those parts, if any there be, which will not, and can not, 
engage in manufactures, should require, is, that their consumption 
should be well supplied; and if the objects of that consumption 
are produced in other parts of the Union, that can manufacture, 
far from having on that account any just cause of complaint, their 
patriotism will and ought to inculcate a cheerful acquiescence in 
what essentially contributes, and is indispensably necessary, to the 
prosperity of the common family." 

No one can fail to see, that, in the foregoing extract, Mr. 
Clay has laid out a comprehensive system of domestic political 

One of the greatest errors or oversights which American states- 
men, averse to the protective policy, have betrayed in political 
economy, is perhaps shutting their eyes to the importance of artifi- 
cial power in its positive influence in promoting a nation's wealth, 
and in its relative influence in enabling the United States to keep 
pace with rival nations, especially with Great Britain. Mr. Clay 
had occasion to notice, as long ago as 1S24, that some British 
authorities estimated the machine power of Great Britain as equal 
to two hundred millions of men. The number of operatives to 
apply this machinery has never yet amounted to one million. Here, 
then, is a nation, with a population of some twenty-five millions, 
with a producing power of two hundred millions. Its capabilities 
of producing wealth by artificial means, is so great, that its natural 
power is scarcely worthy of being brought into the account. To 
this cause chiefly is attributed her prowess in her struggles against 
the colossal power of Napoleon, and her ability at that period to 
afford such constant and essential aid to her continental allies. One 
man at home did the work of two hundred, less or more. With 
or without allies, she was able to contend against the power of 
France, till the victory of Waterloo gave her repose, if indeed she 
needed it. 

Setting aside, therefore, the considerations arising from the neces- 
sities of the protective system, as a part of political economy, na- 
tional pride, wealth, and greatness, are concerned in concerting and 
securing an equally rapid growth in power, for the great political 
ends of the United States in relation to rival nations. It is too 
late to question the advantages of art, and its potency in overooni- 


ing the obstacles of nature, in all the pursuits of individuals and of 
states. Science, which makes one man as powerful as two hun- 
dred, or a thousand, left to their natural powers, will and must 
prevail against numbers. That nation which cultivates the useful, 
mechanic, and manufacturing arts, all which have their foundation 
in science, and which excels in them, other things being equal, 
will excel in strength, and maintain a superiority. Great Brhaiii 
at this moment is probably ten to one stronger than the United 
States, by reason of these advantages. It is obvious, that, with a 
constant liability to war with that power, sound national policy 
would dictate the encouragement of those arts, even at expense 
and sacrifice, which so rapidly augment national strength. How. 
much more, when all the great interests of the commonwealth are 
shielded and promoted by the same means ? A nation, whose arts, 
in the present state of the world, are not adequate to supply its i 
own necessities, is poor, weak, and vulnerable. It will be despised, . 
and may be humbled. 

The following statistical argument, exhibited by Mr. Clay, in i 
his speech on the protective policy in 1824, is too instructive not : 
to be worthy of every American citizen's attention : — 

" If we look at the commerce of England, we shall perceive thai i 
its prosperous condition no less denotes the immensity of her riches. 
The average of three years' exports, ending in 17S9, was between * 
thirteen and fourteen millions. The average for the same term, 
ending in 1S22, was forty millions sterling. The average of the 
imports for three years, ending in 1789, was seventeen millions. 
The average for the same term, ending in 1822, was thirty-six 
millions, showing a favorable balance of four millions. Thus, in 
a period not longer than that which has elapsed since the establish- 
ment of our constitution, have the exports of that kingdom been 
tripled ; and this has mainly been the effect of the power of 
machinery. The total amount of the commerce of Great Britain 
is greater since the peace, by one fourth, than it was during tl>e 
war. The average of her tonnage, during the most flourishing 
period of the war, was two millions four hundred thousand tons. 
Its average, during the three years, 1819, 1820, and 1821, was 
two millions six hundred thousand, exhibiting an increase of two 
hundred thousand tons. If we glance at some of the more prom- 
inent articles of her manufactures, we shall be assisted in compre- 
hending; the true nature of the sources of her riches. The amount 
of cotton fabrics exported, in the most prosperous year of the war, 
was eighteen millions sterling. In the year 1820, it was sixteen 
millions six hundred thousand; in 1821, twenty millions five huu- 


dred thousand; in 1822, twenty-one millions six hundred and 
thirty-nine thousand pounds sterling ; presenting the astonishing 
increase in two years of upward of five millions. The total 
amount of imports in Great Britain, from all foreign parts, of the 
article of cotton wool, is five millions sterling. After supplying 
most abundantly the consumption of cotton fabrics within the 
country (and a people better fed aad clad and housed, are not to 
be found under the sun than the British nation), by means of her 
industry, she gives to this cotton wool a new value, which enables 
her to sell to foreign nations to the amount of twenty-one millions 
six hundred and thirty-nine thousand pounds, making a clear profit 
of upward of sixteen millions five hundred thousand pounds ster- 
ling! In 1821, the value of the export of woollen manufactures 
was four millions three hundred thousand pounds. In 1822, it 
was five millions five hundred thousand pounds. The success of 
her restrictive policy is strikingly illustrated in the article of silk. 
In the manufacture of that article she labors under great disadvan- 
tages, besides that of not producing the raw material. She has 
subdued them all, and the increase of the manufacture has been 
most rapid. Although she is still unable to maintain, in foreign 
countries, a successful competition with the silks of France, of 
India, and of Italy, and therefore exports but little, she gives to 
the two millions of the raw materials which she imports, in various 
forms, a value of ten millions, which chiefly enter into British con- 
sumption. Let us suppose that she was dependent upon foreign 
nations for these ten millions, what an injurious effect would it not 
have upon her commercial relations with them ? The average of 
the exports of British manufactures, during the peace, exceeds the 
average of the most productive years of the war. The amount of 
her wealth annually produced, is three hundred and fifty millions 
sterling, bearing a large proportion to all of her preexisting wealth. 
The agricultural portion of it is said, by the gentleman from Vir- 
ginia, to be greater than that created by any other branch of her in- 
dustry. But that flows mainly from a policy similar to that pro- 
posed by this bill. One third only of her population is engaged 
in agriculture ; the other two thirds furnishing a market for the 
produce of that third. Withdraw this market, and what becomes 
of her agriculture ? The power and the wealth of Great Britain 
can not be more strikingly illustrated than by a comparison of her 
population and revenue with those of other countries and with our 
own. [Here Mr. Clay exhibited the following table, made out 
from authentic materials.] 

Population. Taxes and public Taxation 

burdens. per capita. 

Russia in Europe 37,000,000 £18,000,000 9 9 

France, including Corsica 50,700,000 37,000,000 1 4 

Great Britain, exclusive of Ireland (the 
taxes computed according to the value 

ofmoneyon the European continent).. 14,500,000 40,000,000 2 1^ 

Vol. II.— 11 


Population. Taxes and public Taxation 

burdens per capita. 

Great Britain and Ireland collectively... 21,500,000 £44,000,000 2 

Eneiand alone 11,600,000 36,000,0Uu 3 2 

Spain 11,000,000 6,000,000 Oil 

Ireland 7,000,000 4,000,000 Oil 

The United States of America 10,000,000 4,500,000 9 

From this exhibit we must remark, that the wealth of Great Brit- 
ain, and consequently her power, is greater than that of any of the 
other nations witii which it is compared. The amount of the con- 
tributions which she draws from the pockets of her subjects, is not 
referred to for imitation, but as indicative of their wealth. The 
burden of taxation is always relative to the ability of the subjects 
of it. A poor nation can pay but little. And the heavier taxes of 
British subjects, for example, in consequence oftheir greater wealth, 
may be more easily borne than the much lighter taxes of Spanish 
subjects, in consequence of their extreme poverty. The object of 
wise governments should be, by sound legislation, so to protect the 
industry of their own citizens against the policy of foreign powers, 
as to give to it the most expansive force in the production of weal|h. 
Great Britain has ever acted, and still acts, on this policy. She 
has pushed her protection of British interest, further than any other 
nation has fostered its industry. The result is, gueater wealth 
among her subjects, and consequently greater ability to pay their 
public burdens. If their taxation is estimated by their natural 
labor alone, nominally it is greater than the taxation of the subjects 
of any other power. But, if on a scale of their natural and ar- 
tificial labor, compounded, it is less than the taxation of any other 
people. Estimating it on that scale, and assuming the aggregate 
of the natural and artificial labor of the united kingdom to be what 
I have already stated, two hundred and twenty-one millions five 
hundred thousand, the actual taxes paid by a British subject, are 
only about three and sevenpence sterling. Estimating our own 
taxes, on a similar scale — that is, supposing both descriptions of 
labor to be equal to that of twenty millions of able-bodied per- 
sons — the amount of tax paid by each soul in the United States is 
four shillings and sixpence sterling. 

'* The committee will observe, from this table, that the measure 
of the wealth of a nation is indicated by the measure of its pro- 
tection of its industry ; and that the measure of the poverty of a 
nation is marked by that of the degree in which it neglects and 
abandons the care of its own industry, leaving it exposed to the 
action of foreign powers. Great Britain protects most her indus- 
try, and the wealth of Great Britain is, consequently, the greatest. 
France is next in the degree of protection, and France is next in 
the order of wealth. Spain most neglects the duty of protecting 
the industry of her subjects, and Spain is one of the poorest of 
European nations. Unfortunate Ireland, disinherited or rendered 
in her industry subservient to England, is exactly in the same state 


of poverty with Spain, measured by the rule of taxation. And the 
United States are still poorer than either !" 

These are novel and startling views, even twenty years since 
they were first presented, and they are unanswerable. " And the 
United States are still poorer than either !" — poorer than poor 
Spain — poorer than oppressed Ireland ! Such was the state of 
things, comparatively, in 1824. The tariff of that year resuscitated 
the wealth and power of the country, till it was run down again 
under General Jackson and Mr. Van Buren. The tariff of 1S42 
is again augmenting the riches and reviving the energies of the na- 
tion. In the most prosperous periods of the country — it has never 
been prosperous except by the effects of a protective policy — it has 
not even approximated to that point of wealth and power of which it 
is capable. The policy of the United States has not for the most part 
been one that tends to secure the independence of a nation, but the 
contrary. During the European wars, the country relied much on 
the calamities of other nations — a species of dependence, not only 
precarious in its results, but most undesirable. Even that was dis- 
turbed and broken up by the British orders in councU and the 
French decrees, and the commerce of the country was almost an- 
nihilated. It was not independence. A general peace, which 
ought to be the best for any nation, was the worst of all for the 
United States, as the country had no protection in favor of its own 
products and its own labor. Its anomalous policy required war 
abroad, or war at home, for protection. The former could not be 
relied upon, and the latter was sure to run the government in debt, 
although it might afford business to the people, and the people in 
the end must pay the debts thus contracted. Mr. Clay was anxious 
to establish a system of policy that would make the nation inde- 
pendent in all circumstances, of war or peace — war at home, or 
war abroad — in a general or partial peace of the world. 

The tariff bill of 1824 was violently opposed — denounced. Mr. 
Clay asked : — 

" And what is this tariff? It seems to have been regarded as a 
sort of monster, huge and deformed — a wild beast, endowed with 
tremendous powers of destruction, about to be let loose among our 
people, if not to devour them, at least to consume their substance. 
But let us calm our passions, and deliberately survey this alarm- 
ing, this terrific being. The sole object of the tariff is to tax the 
produce of foreign industry, with the view of promoting Ameri- 
can industry. The tax is exclusively levelled at foreign industry. 
That is the avowed and the direct purpose of the tariff. If it sub- 


jects any part of American industry to burdens, that is an eftecl 
not intended, but is altogether incidental, and perfectly voluntary. 
" It has been treated as an imposition of burdens upon one part 
of the community by design, for the benefit of another — as if, in 
fact^ money were taken from the pockets of one portion of the 
people, and put into the pockets of another. But is that a fail 
representation of it? No man pays the duty assessed on the for 
eign article by compulsion, but voluntarily ; and this voluntary 
duty, if paid, goes into the common exchequer, for the common 
benefit of all. Consumption has four objects of choice. First, it 
may abstain from the use of the foreign article, and thus avoid the 
payment of the tax. Second, it may employ the rival American 
fabric. Third, it may engage in the business of manufacturing, 
which this bill is designed to foster. Fourth, or it may supply 
itself from the household manufactures." 

In this speech of 1824 — now more than twenty years since — 
Mr. Clay answered most triumphantly the objection of the cotton- 
planting interest, that the tariff would cut off the market for cotton, 
not only by showing a tacit compact between the cotton grower and 
the British manufacturer, which put the former in the power of the 
latter, but by the exhibition of the fact, as it then stood, that, out of 
the five millions sterling worth of the raw material bought by British 
manufacturers of American planters, after supplying the home con- 
sumption of the British empire with cotton fabrics, they sold to 
foreign parts to the amount of twenty-one millions and a half ster- 
ling, only one million and a half of which came to the United 
States. It was therefore absurd to suppose, that the British man- 
ufacturers would not continue their demand for the raw material, 
to the extent of their market for the manufactured products ; and 
if the American tariff should operate to supply the American de- 
mand, to the amount of a million and a half sterling, the raw ma- 
terial would of course come from the American planter, and the 
country would save the increased value of many to one, in the 
fabrics, in which the American planter would have his share. In 
confirmation of the validity of this argument, such, since that 
time, have been the results of actual experience. 

Mr. Clay shows very clearly, that navigation is second in the 
order of nature to agriculture and manufactures, and can only 
prosper as they do. 

" It is next contended [says Mr. Clay] that the effect of the 
measure [the proposed tariff] will be to diminish our foreign com- 
merce. The objection assumes, what I have endeavored to con- 
trovert, that there will be a reduction in the value of our exports 


Commerce is an exchange of commodities. Whatever will tend 
to augment the wealth of a nation must increase its capacity to 
make these exchanges. By new productions, or creating new val- 
ues in the fabricated forms which shall be given to old objects of 
our industry, we shall give to commerce a fresh spring, a new ali- 
ment. The foreign commerce of the country, from causes, some 
of which I have endeavored to point out, has been extended as 
far as it can be. And I think there can be but little doubt that the 
balance of trade is, and for some time past has been, against us. 
I was surprised to hear the learned gentleman from Massachusetts 
[Mr. Webster] rejecting, as a detected and exploded fallacy, the 
idea of a balance of trade. I have not time nor inclination now 
to discuss that topic. But I will observe, that all nations act upon 
the supposition of the reality of its existence, and seek to avoid a 
trade, the balance of which is unfavorable, and to foster that which 
presents a favorable balance. However the account be made up, 
whatever may be the items of a trade, commodities, fishing indus- 
try, marine labor, the carrying trade, all of which I admit should 
be comprehended, there can be no doubt, I think, that the totality 
of the exchanges of all descriptions made by one nation with an- 
other, or against the totality of the exchanges of all other nations 
together, may be such as to present the state of an unfavorable 
balance with the one or with all. It is true that, in the long run, 
the measures of these exchanges, that is, the totality in value of 
what is given and of what is received, must be equal to each 
other. But great distress may be felt long before the counterpoise 
can be effected. In the meantime, there will be an export of the 
precious metals, to the deep injury of internal trade, an unfavor- 
able state of exchange, an export of public securities, a resort to 
credit, debt, mortgages. Most of, if not all, these circumstances 
are believed now to be indicated by our country, in its foreign com- 
mercial relations. Wtat have we received, for example, for the 
public stocks sent to England ? Goods. But those stocks are 
our bond, which must be paid. Although the solidity of the 
credit of the English public securities is not surpassed by that of 
our own, strong as it justly is, when have we seen English stocks 
sold in our market, and regularly quoted in the prices current, as 
American stocks are in England ? An unfavorable balance with 
one nation, maij be made up by a favorable balance with other na- 
tions ; but the fact of the existence of that unfavorable balance is 
strong presumptive evidence against the trade. Commerce will 
regulate itself! Yes, and the extravagance of a spendthrift heir, 
who squanders the rich patrimony which has descended to him, 
will regulate itself ultimately. But it will be a regulation which 
will exhibit him in the end safely confined within the walls of a 
jail. Commerce will regulate itself! But is it not the duty of 
wise governments to watch its course, and, beforehand, to provide 


au^ainst even distant evils, by prudent legislation stimulating the 
industry of their own people, and checking the policy of foreign 
powers as it operates on them "? The supply, then, of the sub- 
jects of foreign commerce, no less than the supply of consump- 
tion at home, requires of us to give a portion of our labor such 
a direction as will enable us to produce them. That is the object 
of the measure under consideration, and I can not doubt that, if 
adopted, it will accomplish its object." 

Without pretending, but professedly declining, to discuss the 
subject of the balance of trade, which has been so much mystified 
by theorists, Mr. Clay, in the foregoing extract, has shed more j 
light upon it, by a few common-sense and practical remarks — 
which, in fact, comprehend the whole question — more, perhaps, 
than all the tomes which political economists, so called, have im- 
posed upon the world, too often to darken it. Mr. Clay nas 
clearly indicated what things are to be considered to determine 
the balance of trade. But to say, that there is no such thing, or 
that it is a " detected and exploded falkcy," is as false and as ab- 
surd, as to say, that two are equal to three, or more than three ; 
or that there can be no such thing as a balance due from one party 
to another. A nation that habitually buys more than it sells, is 
as truly a loser as an individual person that does the same thing, 
and will for the same reason get in trouble, and sooner or later be- 
come insolvent ; and the balance of trade between any one nation 
and all other nations, is precisely the same thing practically, as the 
showing of the books of a counting or a banking house, when all 
the proper items are considered. 

It is a singular fact, that ^Ir. Clay was obliged to show, that the 
tariff of 1824 would not diminish the revenue. The same objec- 
tion was made to the t-arifF of 1842 by the successful candidate for 
the presidency in 1844, and by others of the same school. Mr. 
l^olk, in his speech at Madison, Tennessee, 1843, is represented 
to have said : "It [the tariff of 1842] will not produce annually 
HALF the amount of revenue which would have been produced by 
the lower rates of the compromise act." These " lower rates," 
that is, for the condition of things, June 30, 1842, as shown in 
House Document No. 420, 1st session, 28th Congress, did not 
exceed S12,800,000 annually; and half of this, Mr. Polk's 
maximum gauge for the revenue under the tariff of 1842, would 
be 16,400,000 ; whereas, it has produced about four times a? 


Another objection earnestly brought against the tariff bill of 1824, 
was, that it would be a failure. Nature, it was contended, had in 
dicated the natural occupation of man in North America, to wit, a 
culture of the soil. As if nature had not given the same hints in 
other quarters of the world ; as if the countless rivers, streams, and 
waterfalls of the United States, bad given no advice on this point ; 
as if the lakes, bays, and other inland water-channels, did not invite 
trade, which could have no occupation without the arts ; as if this 
great continent, abounding in all the resources of nature, were to 
afford no other sustenance to the human family, but the milk of its 
own breasts ; as if all its tenants, like the aborigines, served by 
woman in slavery, were destined to vegetate on corn, and decay 
for want of employment ; as if the Anglo-Saxon race, transplanted 
to another and better country, would consent to fall behind the 
rest of the world, or allow their brethren of the original stock to 
outstrip them in art or enterprise ; as if that people, known to all 
the world as Americans, and who alone are thought of in Europe 
under this name, would willingly be de-pendent ; as if they would 
for ever sweat and toil in the field to supply the raw material for a 
more delicate and refined race, that would condescend to return 
them the wrought product, wrung in agony from their own slaves, 
at a cost five or ten times enhanced, and draw away all the earn- 
ings of the American laborer ; as if America were not a world in 
itself, and able by its ingenuity and skill to supply every luxury, 
as well as every necessity ; as if the lovers of freedom had turned 
their backs on the old world, to become greater slaves than they 
were before ; as if the powers of invention were native only to the 
European continent, or the Eastern world ; as if the moment a man 
crosses the sea from east to west, he is doomed to repress all the 
nobler faculties of his soul ; as if genius and art could not flourish 
in the western hemisphere ; as if, in short, America were fit only 
to be a dependent colony of Europe. 

The question involved is neither less nor more than that of de- 
pendence or independence — whether America can do without Eu- 
rope, or is to have connexions on fair terms, and equally honorable 
to both parties. A people without art are fit only to be slaves, and 
are easily made such. A nation that is only the producer of raw 
materials, can never claim equality with nations, which, by science 
and art, add many values to those materials, and send them back 
as a tax on those who consent to do such service. It is a state of 
dependence, and not of independence. 


Another form of argument employed by the opponents of the 
tariff bill of 1824 — one that is common at all times — was, that 
manufactures would rise of themselves, without the aid of pro- 

To this, Mr. Clay replied : — 

" If I am asked, why unprotected industry should not succeed 
in a struggle with protected industry, I answer, the fact has ever 
been so, and that is sufficient; I reply, that uniform experience 
evinces that it can not succeed in such an unequal contest, and 
that is sufficient. If we speculate on the causes of this universal 
truth, we may differ about them. Still the indisputable fact remains. 
And we should be as unwise in not availing ourselves of the guide 
which it furnishes, as a man would be, who should refuse to bask 
in the rays of the sun, because he could not agree with Judge 
Woodward as to the nature of the substance of that planet, to whicl 
we are indebted for heat and light. If I were to attempt to par- 
ticularize the causes which prevent the success of the manufactur- 
ing arts, without protection, I should say that they are, first, the 
obduracy of fixed habits. No nation, no individual, will easily 
change an established course of business, even if it be unprofita- 
ble ; and least of all is an agricultural people prone to innovation. 
With what reluctance do they not adopt improvements in the in- 
struments of husbandry, or in modes of cultivation ! If the farmer 
makes a good crop, and sells it badly, or makes a short crop, 
buoyed up by hope, he perseveres, and trusts that a favorable change 
of the market, or of the seasons, will enable him, in the succeed- 
ing year, to repair the misfortunes of the past. Secondly, the un- 
certainty, fluctuation, and unsteadiness of the home market, when 
liable to an unrestricted influx of fabrics from all foreign nations ; 
and thirdly, the superior advance of skill, and amount of capital, 
which foreign nations have obtained, by the protection of their own 
industry. From the latter, or from other causes, the unprotected 
manufactures of a country are exposed to the danger of being 
crushed in their infancy, either by the design, or from the neces- 
sities of foreign manufacturers. Gentlemen are incredulous as 
to the attempts of foreign merchants and manufacturers to accom- 
plish the destruction of ours. Why should they not make such 
attempts'? If the Scottish manufacturer, by surcharging our mar- 
ket, in one year, with the article of cotton bagging, for example, 
should so reduce the price as to discourage and put down the 
home manufacture, he would secure to himself the monopoly of 
the supply. And now, having the exclusive possession of the 
market, perhaps for a long term of years, he might be more than 
indemnifted for his first loss, in the subsequent rise in the price of 
the article. What have we not seen under our own eyes ! The 
rompetition for the transportation of the mail, between this place 


and Baltimore, became so excited, that to obtain it an individual 
offered, at great loss, to carry it a whole year for one dollar ! His 
calculation no doubt was, that, by driving his competitor off the 
road, and securing to himself t'he carriage of the mail, he would be 
afterward able to repair his original loss by new contracts with the 
department. But the necessities of foreign manufacturers, without 
imputing to them any sinister design, may oblige them to throw 
into our markets the fabrics which have accumulated on their 
hands, in consequence of obstruction in the ordinary vents, or from 
over-calculation ; and the forced sales, at losing prices, may pros- 
trate our establishments. From this view of the subject, it follows, 
that, if we would place the industry of our country upon a solid 
and unshakable foundation, we must adopt the protecting policy, 
which has everywhere succeeded, and reject that which would 
abandon it, which has everywhere failed." 

England commenced her war on American manufactures in 
1699, and continued it to the war of the Revolution. Lord Chat- 
ham said, in parliament, " He would not have the Americans make 
a hobnail.'''' Another noble lord added, " Nor a razor to shave 
their beards." Mr. Brougham, now Lord Brougham, said, in the 
house of commons, in 1S16, " It was well worth while, by this glut 
[excessive exports to America], to stijle m the cradle those rising 
manufactories in the United States, which the war had forced into 
existence." Mr. Robertson, another member, speaking of British 
policy, confessed, that it " was nothing more nor less than for us 
[the English] to get a monopoly of all markets for our manufac- 
tures, and to prevent other nations, one and all, from engaging in 
them." The London Spectator, in 1843, says : " More general 
considerations tend to show, that the trade between the two coun- 
tries most benefic'al to both, must be what is commonly called a 
colonial trade — the new-setded country importing the manufactures 
of the old, in exchange for its own raw produce. In all econom- 
ical relations, the United States still stand to England in the rela- 
tion of colony to mother-country.'''' Again : " Both England and 
the United States are suffering, because the colonial relation has 
been broken ; because the surplus capital of England does not find 
its way to America, along with the stragglers of its surplus popu- 
lation ; and because the raw produce of America, through the in- 
fluence of restrictive duties, and for want of that capital, can not 
find its way to England." 

This reasoning of British statesmen and British writers, is cer- 
tainly plain enough to be understood and appreciated on this side 


o** the Atlantic, and sufficiently evinces the correctness and valid- 
ity of Mr. Clay's argument on this point. Immediately after the 
war, as stated by Mr. Clay in another part of this speech, " the 
influx of the Scottish manufacture of cotton bagging, prostrated the 
American establishments. The consequence was, that the Scotch 
possessed a monopoly of the supply, and the price of it rose, and 
attained the year before last [1822] a price which amounted to 
more than an equivalent for ten years of protection of the Ameri- 
can manufacture." This tempted the American manufacturers to 
resuscitate their establishments, which reduced the price, and they 
would have fallen again in the competition, but for the protection 
of the tariff of 1824. This case is an exact picture of all others. 

The fallacy of what is called the incidental protection of a mere 
revenue tariff, was exposed by Mr. Clay at this time, and made 
obvious how it might be no protection at all, because inadequate. 

As now, so also in 1824, it was urged, that Great Britain was 
relaxing her prohibitory and restrictive policy. But Mr. Clay 
showed, that, in every case of fact adduced in evidence, she 
relaxed in one point, only to gain a greater advantage in another — 
CO extend and fortify her system ; and it is the same now as then. 
It was also urged, that the continental powers were relaxing, which 
proved to be equally true as what was alleged of Great Britain. 
Russia, it seems, tried the relaxing policy for a short season, but 
soon got sick of it ; and Mr. Clay quotes the following remarkable 
passages, put forth in 1822, by Count Nesselrode, Russian prime 
minister, as the result of their experience : — 

" ' To produce happy effects, the principles of commercial free- 
dom must be generally adopted. The state which adopts, while 
others reject them, must condemn its own industry and commerce, 
to pay a ruinous tribute to those of other nations. 

" ' From a circulation exempt from restraint, and the facility 
afforded by reciprocal exchanges, almost all the governments at 
first resolved to seek the means of repairing the evil which Europe 
had been doomed to suffer: but experience, and more correct cal- 
culations, because they were made from certain data, and upon the 
results already known of the peace that had just taken place, forced 
them soon to adhere to the prohibitory system. 

" ' England preserved hers. Austria remained faithful to the 
rule she had laid down, to guard herself against the rivalship of 
foreign industry. France, with the same views, adopted the most 
rigorous measures of precaution. And Prussia published a new 
tariff in October last, which proves that she found it impossibl'J 
not to follow the example of the rest of Europe. 


*' In proportion as the prohibitory system is extended and ren- 
dered perfect in other countries, that state which pursues the con- 
trary system, makes, from day to day, sacrifices more extensive 
and more considerable. * * * It offers a continual 

encouragement to the manufactures of other countries, and its own 
manufactures perish in the struggle which they are, as yet, unable 
to maintain. 

" It is with the most lively feeHngs of regret we acknowledge it 
is our own proper experience which enables us to trace this pic- 
ture. The evils which it details have been realized in Russia and 
Poland, since the conclusion of the act of the seventh and nine- 
teenth of December, 1818. Agriculture without a marT<et, indus- 
try without protection, langiiish and decline. Specie is exported, 
and the most solid commercial houses are shaken. The public 
prosperity would soon feel the wound inflicted on private fortunes, 
if new regulations did not promptly change the actual state of 

" ' Events have proved, that our agriculture and our commerce, 
as well as our manufacturing indtistry, are not only paralyzed, 
but brought to the hriuk of ruin.'' " 

The thousand-times-repeated charge of the tendencies of a man- 
ufacturing system to create an aristocracy, was dissolved by one 
sHght touch of the wand of Mr. Clay, and driven back to the 
shades whence it so often emerges. 

The following brilliant introduction by Mr. Clay, of a brilliant 
actor on the theatre of the world, studded by a preface of histori- 
cal gems as a vestibule of access, is not less worthy of a place 
here, than those condensed and sage remarks on the protective 
policy, reported from the lips of the exiled hero : — 

" The principle of the system under consideration, has the sanc- 
tion of some of the best and wisest men, in all ages, in foreign coun- 
tries as well as in our own — of the Edwardses, of Henry the Great, 
of Ehzabeth, of the Colberts, abroad ; of our Franklin, Jefferson, 
Madison, Hamilton, at home. But it comes recommended to us 
by a higher authority than any of these, illustrious as they unques- 
tionably are — by the master-spirit of the age — that extraordinary 
man, who has thrown the Alexanders and the Caesars infinitely 
further behind him than they stood in advance of the most eminent 
of their predecessors — that singular man, who, whether he was 
seated on his imperial throne, deciding the fate of nations and 
allotting kingdoms to the members of his family, with the same com- 
posure, if not with the same affection, as that with which a Virginia 
father divides his plantations among his children, or on the miser- 
able rock of St. Helena, to which he was condemned by the cru- 
elty and the injustice of his unworthy victors, is equally an object 


of tlie most intense admiration. He appears to have comprehended, 
with the rapidity of intuition, the true interests of a state, and to 
have been able, by the turn of a single expression, to develop the 
secret springs of the policy of cabinets. We find that Las Cases 
reports him to have said : — 

" ' He opposed the principles of economists, which he said 
were correct in theory, though erroneous in their application. 
The political constitution of different states, continued he, must 
render these principles defective ; local circumstances continually 
call for deviations from their uniformity. Duties, he said, which 
were so severely condemned by political economists, should not, 
it is true, be an object to the treasury ; they should be the guar- 
anty and protection of a nation, and should correspond with the 
nature and the objects of its trade. Holland, which is destitute 
of productions and manufactures, and which has a trade only of 
transit and commission, should be free of all fetters and barriers. 
France, on the contrary, which is rich in every sort of production 
and manufactures, should incessantly guard against the importa- 
tions of a rival, who might still continue superior to her, and also 
against the cupidity, egotism, and indifference, of mere brokers. 

" ' I have not fallen into the error of modern systematizers,' 
said the emperor, ' who imagine that all the wisdom of irations is 
centred in themselves. Experience is the true wisdom of nations. 
And what does all the reasoning of economists amount to ? They 
incessantly extol the prosperity of England, and hold her up as 
our model ; but the customhouse system is more burdensome and 
arbitrary in England than in any other country. They also con- 
demn prohibitions ; yet it was England set the example of prohi- 
bitions ; and they are in fact necessary with regard to certain 
objects. Duties can not adequately supply the place of prohi- 
bitions ; there will always be found means to defeat the object of 
the legislator. In France we are still very far behind on these 
delicate points, which are still unperceived or ill understood by 
the mass of society. Yet, what advancement have we not made ; 
what correctness of ideas has been introduced by my gradual clas- 
sification of agriculture, industry, and trade — objects so distinct in 
themselves, and which present so great and positive a graduation. 

" ' First: Agriculture — the soul, the first basis, of the empire. 

" ' Second : Industry — the comfort and happiness of the popu- 

" ' Third : Foreign trade — the superabundance, the proper ap- 
plication, of the surplus of agricultivre and industry. 

" ' Agriculture was continually improving during the whole 
course of the revolution. Foreigners thought it ruined in France. 
In 1814, however, the English were compelled to admit that we 
had little or nothing to learn from them. 

" ' Industry or manufactures, and internal trade, made immense 


p»<jgTes» durmg my reign. The application of chymistry tc the 
manutactures, caused them to advance with giant strides. I gave 
an impulse, the effect of which, extended throughout Europe. 

" * Foreign trade, which, in its resuhs, is infinitely inferior to 
agriculture, was an object of subordinate importance in my mind. 
Foreign trade is made for agriculture and home industry, and not 
the two latter for the former. The interests of these three funda- 
mental cases are diverging and frequently conflicting. 1 always 
promoted them in their natural gradation, but I could not and 
ought not to have ranked them all on an equality. Time wiJl 
unfold what I have done, the national resources which I created, 
and the ^mancipation from the English which I brought about. 
We have now the secret of the commercial treaty of 17S3. France 
still exclaims against its author ; but the English demanded it on 
pain of resuming the war. They wished to do the same after the 
treaty of Amiens, but I was then all-powerful ; I was a hundred 
cubits high. I replied, that if they were in possession of the 
heights of Montmartre, I would still refuse to sign the treaty. 
These words were echoed through Europe. 

" ' The English will now impose some such treaty on France, 
at least, if popular clamor and the opposition of the mass of the 
nation, do not force them to draw back. This thraldom would be 
an additional disgrace in the eyes of that nation, which is now 
beginning to acquire a just perception of her own interests. 

" ' When I came to the head of the government, the American 
ships, which were permitted to enter our ports on the score of 
their neutrality, brought us raw materials, and had the impudence 
to sail from Fraace without freight, for the purpose of taking in 
cargoes of English goods in London. They, moreover, had the 
insolence to make their payments, when they had any to make, by 
giving bills on persons in London. Hence the vast profits reaped 
by the English manufacturers and brokers, entirely to our preju- 
dice. I made a law that no American should import goods to any 
amount, without immediately exporting their exact equivalent. A 
loud outcry was raised against this : it was said that I had ruined 
trade. But what was the consequence ? Notwithstanding the 
closing of my ports, and in spue of the English, who ruled the 
seas, the Americans returned and submitted to my regulations. 
What might I not have done under more favorable circum- 

" ' Thus I naturalized in France the manufacture of cotton, 
which includes — 

*' ' First, spun cotton. We did not previouly spin it ourselves ; 
the English supplied us with it, as a sort of favor. 

" ' Secondly, the web. We did not yet make it ; it came to us 
from abroad. 

" ' Thirdly, tlte ■printing. This was the only part of the manufac- 


ure that we performed ourselves. I wished to naturalize the first 
two branches ; and I proposed to the council of state, that their 
importation should be prohibited. This excited great alarm. I 
sent for Oberkamp, and I conversed with him a long time. 1 
learned from him, that this prohibition would doubtless produce a 
shock, but that, after a year or two of perseverance, it would prove 
a tr'umph, whence we should derive immense advantages. Then 
I issued my decree in spite of all ; this was a true piece of states- 

" ' I at first confined myself merely to prohibiting the web ; 
then I extended the prohibition to spun cotton ; and we now pos 
sess, within ourselves, the three branches of the cotton manufac- 
ture, to the great benefit of our population, and the injury and 
regret of the English ; which proves that, in civil government, as 
well as in war, decision of character is often indispensable to suc- 

" I will trouble the committee [said 3Ir. Clay] with only one 
other quotation, which I shall make from Lowe ; and from hearing 
which, the committee must share with me in the mortification 
which I felt on perusing it. That author says : ' It is now above 
forty years since the United States of America were definitely 
separated from us, and since, their situation has afforded a proof 
that the benefit of mercantile intercourse may be retained, in all its 
extent, without the care of governing, or the expense of defend- 
ing, these once-regretted provinces.' Is there not too much truth 
in this observation ? By adhering to the foreign policy, which i 
have been discussing, do we not remain essentially British, in 
everything but the form of our government? Are not our inter- 
ests, our industry, our commerce, so modified as to swell British 
pride, and to increase British powder?" 

The above remark, cited by Mr. Clay from Lowe, a British 
authority, discloses a grave an-d momentous truth, that is indeed 
humiliating to an American citizen. So feeble was the protection 
of American industry previous to 1824, that the advantages which 
accrued to Great Britain from her trade with the United iStates, 
were regarded by British statesmen and economists as greater 
than if the colonies had never severed, but retained their connexion 
with the crown ! The American revolution and its results were 
regretted by the British government and people. They are now 
no longer regretted. And why ? Because they are saved the ex- 
pense of government, and still have the market on terms as favora- 
ble as if they had the entire control ! They could not legislate 
Detter for themselves, than the Americans have done ! They have 
discovered it, they avow it, they boast of it ! Such was the actual 


State of things down to 1824 — embracing nearly fifty years from 
the declaration of independence. From the peace of 1783, to the 
adoption of the constitution in 17S9, it was much better for Great 
Britain to have the United States independent of her poUtically, as 
she was able, in the absence of a protective system under the con- 
federated states, to make them entirely dependent upon her com- 
mercially. It was not her concern, that the United States thus 
consented to be ruined, and again enslaved. They were getting 
deeper and deeper in debt, and would soon have lost their political 
standing, if they had not adopted the new form of government un- 
der the constitution, to save themselves — the professed and main 
object of which was to establish a protective system, and rescue 
the country. But this was very imperfectly done, and still left to 
Great Britain and other foreign powers the greatest benefit. The 
European wars gave some chances to the United States, but no 
protection to home industry. And the pursuit of these chances 
brought them into a collision with the belligerents, and finally into 
a war with Great Britain, inducing with it a protracted period of 
suffering and sacrifice, ending with a national debt of one hundred 
and sixty-eight millions ! The war of 1812 was itself a protection 
to home industry, but purchased with the expenses and hazards 
of the contest. Peace came, but no protection. The nation was 
still in the power of Great Britain and of other nations. The tariff 
of 1816 came late, and when it did come, was inadequate. The 
tariff bill of 1820 failed, in the midst of great national distress ari- 
sing from the want of it. The nation was a victim of free trade. 
The tariff of 1824 brought relief and prosperity, which continued 
till the Jackson regime broke it all down again. 

During the whole history of the country, therefore, down to 1842, 
with only one breathing spell for a few years subsequent to 1824, 
the commercial connexions of Great Britain with the United States, 
excepting the brief period of the war, have been more advantageous 
to her, and more ruinous to them, than if she had retained them as 
dependent colonies. Compare the facts stated on pages 169, 
191, and 192, of this volume, with Lowe's statement as above. 
There never has been a time, since the establishment of independ- 
ence, when the United States were not in debt to Great Britain, 
and the debt was never so great as at this moment. But this could 
never be under a fair and equal commercial system. 

The tariff bill of 1824 became a law by a vote of 107 to 102 in 
the house, and 25 to 21 in the senate. 




The Opening of a New Era. — Control of Moral Causes over the Destiny of Na- 
tions. — General Jackson's Jealousy of Mr. Clay. — The Efl'ect of this Jealousy 
on the Protective Policy. — Nations Foot-Balls to Kings. — First Demonstration 
of an Attack on the Protective Policy. — Mr. Clay comes to the Rescue. — Pro- 
poses a Resolution in the Senate for the Reduction of Duties on Unprotected 
Articles. — Who responsible for the Tariff of 1828. — Parliamentary Advantage 
of Mr. Clay's Resolution. — Notice of his Speech upon it. — His Reply to Mr. 
Haynes, of South Carolina. — Two Great Cycles of National Poverty and Wealth. 
— One of the Greatest Efforts of Mr. Clay in defence of the Protective Policy. 

Notwithstanding the truly astonishing resuhs of the tariff of 
1824, in restoring the prosperity of the country, replenishing the 
national treasury, and enabling the government rapidly to liquidate 
the public debt, diffusing everywhere private happiness, along 
vpitli private thrift, hostility to the protective policy, seemed rather 
to augment than abate, and the astounding doctrine of nullification 
began to open its demonstrations on the public mind. Though 
President Jackson, by reason of a private feud, was by no means 
friendly to the great southern leader of nullification, his jealousy 
of the father of the American system was not less productive of a 
personal aversion in that quarter. He knew well by what means 
he had supplanted his hated rival, and what means were necessary 
to maintain his ascendency. Having succeeded, as developed in 
a former part of this work, in accumulating and concentrating pub- 
lic opprobrium, to a great extent, on the head of Mr. Clay, for a 
falsely-alleged attempt at bargain and corruption, in an official sta- 
tion, for other official honors, the glory which Mr. Clay was rapidly 
acquiring for the success of the protective policy, may, perhaps, 
without presumption, be supposed a sufficient motive to a mi<id 
that had done a former injustice, of such a flagrant character — 
and for the same reasons still existing in all their force, and even 
with greater energy — to endeavor to pluck these clustering plumes 
from the cap of his opponent. P is indeed not a very bright side 


of the destiny of states and nations, to be obliged to observe that 
they are in such ways liable to be made the sport of the bad pas- 
sions of prominent and influential individuals — that nations are 
footballs to kings, and that this class of persons is not confined 
to the denomination composed of the alphabetical elements — 
K — I — N — G — s ; but may be found under the various names of 
tribunes of the people, protectors of commonwealths, first-con- 
suls, and PRESIDENTS of repubhcs. But the true philosophy of 
history, in its most important, and sometimes momentous, epochs, 
can never be exposed, independent of the consideration of moral 
CAUSES. These are often the most influential, and most potent. 
There may, and doubtless will be a difference of opinion, in the 
passing, though not probably in a future age, in a case like that 
now under consideration, and each one will be at liberty to have 
his own. But such a remarkable state of things, the remarkable 
manner in which it was treated, and the remarkable results which 
were forced out of it, can not escape the scrutiny and the judg- 
ment of mankind ; and the rules of judgment will be those which 
are usually applied to men under given influences. 

There are the facts : a nation rescued from a long career of 
adversity, and established in an unexampled course of prosperity, 
by a system of measures chiefly devised by one mind, and put in 
operation chiefly by the influence of the same individual. As it 
can not be concealed, he will of course have the credit of it ; and 
where will the gratitude of the nation, so benefited, find scope to 
express itself, in honoring such a benefactor? Nothing is plainer : 
That policy must be blasted, or its author will be crowned with 
unfading laurels — and that too early for those who have long been, 
not unsuccessfully, engaged in supplanting him, and who are only 
half-way advanced, in their victorious career, to his complete sub- 
jection, and to their own uncontrolled supremacy in the state. 

Whatever may have been the motives — every man will judo-e 
for himself — it is certain, that General Jackson had scarcely warmed 
the seat of chief magistrate of the republic, before strong and de- 
cided symptoms were manifested in his own will, and in the coun- 
sels by which he was surrounded, to break down that beneficent 
system of policy, for the establishment of which Mr. Clay had 
consecrated his life, and bestowed, without remission his untiring 
energies, in which he was successful, and which had now begun 
to shower, over the length and breadth of the land, its manifold 

Vol. II.— 12 


At the opening of the twenty-second Congress, December, 
1831, the annual report of the secretary of the treasury clearly 
foreshadowed a coming storm — a new and great batde for and 
against the protective policy. The very success of the system 
was made the ground of its overthrow. It was no longer neces- 
sar}'' for the public treasury. It had made the people prosperous 
and rich ; it had paid the debts of the nation ; and therefore, it 
was now proposed to dispense with it ! 

Alarmed at these unequivocal symptoms, advised by past events 
of the inexorable will from whose promptings they emanated, not 
ignorant of the daring and reckless purposes which were gradually 
oeing developed in the same quarter, and aware of the irresistible 
power which from that point swayed the popular mind, Mr. Clay 
took up his position in the senate of the United States, and bur- 
nished up his armor anew for the approaching contest — a contest ' 
which never ended till the establishment of the tariff of 1 842 — 
which, indeed, seems not to have ended even with that. 

Anticipating the movements of the foe, and to gain all possible 
advantage by instituting preventive action, at an early period of 
the first session of the twenty-second Congress, Mr. Clay moved 
the following resolution : — 

" Resolved, that the existing duties upon articles imported from 
foreign countries, and not coming into competition with similar ar- 
ticles made or produced within the United States, ought to be 
forthwith abolished, except the duties upon wines and silks, and 
that those ought to be reduced. And that the committee on 
finance be instructed to report a bill accordingly." 

It should be recollected, that Mr. Clay, being secretary of state 
at the time, had no hand as a member of Congress, in the tariff 
of 1828, which has always been represented by the opponents of 
the protective policy, as a very obnoxious measure, and was called 
the black tariff. The most obnoxious features were introduced by 
/he opponents of the bill, for the purpose of defeating it, in which 
Mr. Van Buren and Mr. Wright, who were both from New 
York, were especially influential. But they were disappointed, 
and the bill notwithstanding passed, so that the tariff of 1828 was 
<n some particulars higher than that of 1824, and did not meet 
with the approbation of Mr. Clay. 

As the public debt was rapidly disappearing, and about to be 
entirely paid off, the time had come when the tariff might be , 
reduced, and still produce a revenue adequate to the support of I' i 


government. But the question was, whether its protective features 
should be invaded ; or whether the duties should be removed from 
articles which required no protection? Tlie object of Mr. Clay's 
resolution, as seen, was to preserve the protective policy ; whereas 
his opponents desired to reduce that branch of the tariff also, and 
more especially. Inasmuch as protection was popular, the sea- 
sonable introduction of this resolution was occupying strong 
ground, and it was much more difficult for Mr. Clay's opponents, 
without hazard, to remove it out of the way, than it would have 
been to march directly to their object, if it had not been in their 
path. Mr. Clay, by this resolution, had gained a decided parlia- 
mentary advantage. It came up for consideration on the 11th of 
January, 1832, when it was expected that he would explain and 
advocate his own resolution, and the senate galleries and floor 
were crowded to hear a voice, which had been wont, but which 
for six years had ceased, to be heard in the halls of legislation. 
His engagements as secretary of state had occupied him four 
years ; his preference of private life had kept him at Ashland two 
years more ; but he was persuaded, by the state of the country, 
and the impending perils of the protective policy, though with 
reluctance, to return to the former field of his labors. His remarks 
on this occasion were opened as follows : — 

" I have a few observations, Mr. President, and only a few, to 
submit to the senate, on the measure now before you, in doing 
which I have to ask all your indulgence. I am getting old : I feel 
but too sensibly and unaffectedly the effects of approaching age, 
and I have been for some years very little in the habit of address- 
ing deliberative assemblies. I am told that I havj been the cause 
— the most unwilling cause, if I have been — of exciting expecta- 
tions, the evidence of which is around us. I regret it ; for, how- 
ever the subject on which I am to speak, in other hands, might be 
treated, to gratify or to reward the presence and attention now 
given, in mine, I have nothing but a plain, unvarnished, and unam- 
bitious exposition to make. 

" It forms no part of my present purpose to enter into a con- 
sideration of the established •policy of protection. Strong in the 
convictions and deeply seated in the affections of a large majority 
of the people of the United States, it stands self-vindicated in the 
general prosperity, in the rich fruits which it has scattered over 
the land, in the experience of all prosperous and powerful nations, 
present and past, and now in that of our own. Nor do I think it 
necessary to discuss that policy on this resolution. Other gentle- 
men may think differently, and may choose to argue and assail it. 


If ihey do, I have no doubt that in all parts of the senate, mem- 
bers more competent than I am, will be ready to support and 
defend it. My object now is to limit myself to a presentation of 
certain views and principles connected with the present financial 
condhion of the country." 

Mr. Clay did confine himself to the limits here prescribed, 
embracing in his view the history and happy effects of the protect- 
ive policy, the unwelcome suggestions and proposals of the exec- 
utive, through the secretary of the treasury, throwing out some 
hints on the internal improvement and public-land policy, noticing 
briefly the frauds on the revenue committed by foreign factors, 
proposing a home valuation, and after explaining and advocating 
his resolution, concluded an unimpassioned matter-of-fact speech, 
with the following more sentimental words : — 

" I came here, sir, in a spirit of warm attachment to all parts 
of our beloved country, with a lively solicitude to restore and pre- 
serve its harmony, and with a firm determination to pour oil and 
balm into existing wounds, rather than further to lacerate them. 
For the truth and sincerity of these declarations, I appeal to Him 
whom none can deceive. I expected to be met by corresponding 
dispositions, and hoped that our deliberations, guided by fraternal 
sentiments and feelings, would terminate in diffusing contentment 
and satisfaction throughout the land. And that such may be the 
spirit presiding over them, and such their issue, I yet most fer- 
vently hope." 

But this " firm determination to pour oil and balm into existing 
wounds," was of no use. The war on the protective policy was 
resolved on, not less by the president and his counsellors — if 
counsellors he had — than by the nuUifiers of the south ; and the 
resolution offered by Mr. Clay, was made the occasion of the vigor- 
ous, not to say, violent contest, which occupied so much of this 
session, and which resulted in the passage of the tariff law of 
1832, on the principle of Mr. Clay's resolution. 

Mr. Clay, who, apparently from the quietness of his manner in the 
speech above noticed, seemed not to have anticipated very extended 
or very earnest debates, was at last roused, in replying chiefly to 
General Hayne, of South Carolina, to one of the greatest, most 
brilliant, and most effective efforts of his life, continued for three 
days, the 2d, 3d, and 6th of February, 1832. 

At this point of the history, and at this juncture of the affairs, 
©f the United States, Mr. Clay was well entitled to suppose, that 
he had fairly fought and won the battle for the protective policy, 


and that it would never again be disturbed. In ordinary circum- 
stances, and but for extraordinary causes, this conclusion would 
have been realized. How could a nation be blinded to such facts ? 
It had been in distress ; it was relieved ; and everybody knew the 
cause. Nobody can understand the great political game in hand 
at that time, without an eye on the moral causes which influ- 
enced and controlled results — without looking steadily at the facts, 
first, that General Jackson had gained his ascendency, and ob- 
tained power, by injustice to Mr. Clay; and next, that, to retain 
this position, it was necessary to obscure Mr. Clay's steadily-grow- 
ing fame, as it beamed out from the healthful and salutary opera- 
tion of the American system, by destroying the system itself! 
That being gone, with all its blessings, there would be nobody to 
thank for it, because nobody could see a thing that was not. Or, 
if it should only be partially destroyed — marred, fettered, embar- 
rassed, so as to fail of its legitimate and best results, questions 
might then be raised as to its merits, and a controversy might be 
maintained that should put the public mind in doubt, which party 
was right. So, in fact, was this system impaired by the onsets of 
power made at that time, and sustained for many years, that it was 
thrown more and more into the dark, till at last it was well nigh 
strangled. It obtained a new lease of life and breath — no one, 
perhaps, can tell how long — in 1842. 

But the man who, by a life of devotion to the cause, had so 
steadily fought, and so gloriously won, this great battle, in the so- 
cial and political confli-cts of the country, was, by the events al- 
ready recognised, doomed to fight it all over again, and to bequeath 
the rights of conquest and the rewards of triumph, to those who 
should come after him, if luckily victory should ever again be ac- 
quired. To behold him taking up his position, in the senate of 
the United States, in 1832, with this prospect before him, and 
under these recollections of the past, and opening by such words 
as these : " I feel but too sensibly and unaffectedly the effects of 
approaching age" — after having been forced from his retreat at 
Ashland, by the call of his friends and his country, for this express 
purpose — is a kind of spectacle that rarely occurs in the progress 
of human society. 

There he stands, and he begins on this wise :- 

" I stand here as the humble but zealous advocate, not of the 
interests of one state, or seven states only, but of the whole Union. 
And never before have I felt, more intensely, the overpowering 


weight of that share of responsibility which belongs to me in these 
deliberations. Never before have I had more occasion than I now 
have, to lament my want of those intellectual powers, the posses- 
sion of which might enable me to unfold to this senate, and to 
illustrate to this people, great truths, intimately connected with the 
lasting welfare of my country. I should, indeed, sink overwhelmed 
and subdued beneath the appalling magnitude of the task which 
lies before me, if I did not feel myself sustained and fortified by 
a thorough consciousness of the justness of the cause which I have 
espoused, and by a persuasion, I hope not presumptuous, that it 
has the approbation of that Providence who has so often smiled 
upon these United States. 

" Eight years ago, it was my painful duty to present to the other 
house of Congress an unexaggerated picture of the general dis- 
tress pervading the whole land. We must all yet remember some 
of its frightful features. We all know that the people were then 
oppressed, and borne down by an enormous load of debt ; that 
the value of property was at the lowest point of depression ; that 
ruinous sales and sacrifices were everywhere made of real estate ; 
that stop laws, and relief laws, and paper money, were adopted, to 
save the people from impending destruction ; that a deficit in the 
public revenue existed, which compelled government to seize upon, 
and divert from its legitimate object, the appropriations to the sink- 
ing fund, to redeem the national debt ; and that our commerce 
and navigation were threatened with a complete paralysis. In 
short, sir, if I were to select any term ofseve?i years since the adop- 
tion of the present constitulion which exhibited a scene of the most 
wide-spread dismay and desolation, it would he exactly that term 
of seven years tvhich immediately preceded the establishment of 
the tariff of 1S24. 

" I have now to perform the more pleasing task of exhibiting an 
imperfect sketch of the existing state of the unparalleled prosper- 
ity of the country. On a general survey, we behold cultivation 
extended, the arts flourishing, the face of the country improved, 
our people fully and profitably employed, and the public counte- 
nance exhibiting tranquillity, contentment, and happiness. And if 
we descend into particulars, we have the agreeable contemplation 
of a people out of debt ; land rising slowly in value, but in a se- 
cure and salutary degree ; a ready though not extravagant market 
for all the surplus productions of our industry ; innumerable flocks 
and herds browsing and gambofing on ten thousand hills and 
plains, covered with rich and verdant grasses ; our cities expanded, 
and whole villages springing up, as it were, by enchantment ; our 
exports and imports increased and increasing ; our tonnage, foreign 
and coastwise, swelling and fully occupied ; the rivers of our in- 
terior animated by the perpetual thunder and lightning of count- 
ess steamboats; the currency sound and abundant; the public 


debt of two wars nearly redeemed ; and, to crown all, the public 
treasury overflowing, embarrassing Congress, not to find subjects 
of taxation, but to select the objects whicJi shall be liberated from 
the impost. If the term of seven years were to be selected, of the 
greatest prosperity which this people have enjoyed since the estab- 
lishme7it of their present constitution, it would be exactly that period 
of seven years which immediately followed the passage of the 
tariff of^ 1824. 

" This transformation of the condition of the country from 
gloom and distress to brightness and prosperity, has been mainly 
the work of American legislation, fostering American industry, in- 
stead of allowing it to be controlled by foreign legislation, cherish- 
ing foreign industry. The foes of the American system, in 1824, 
with great boldness and confidence, predicted, first, the ruin of the 
public revenue, and the creation of a necessity to resort to direct 
taxation — the gentleman from South Carolina [General Hayne], 
I beheve, thought that the tariff of 1824 would operate a reduc- 
tion of revenue to the large amount of eight millions of dollars ; 
secondly, the destruction of our navigation ; thirdly, the desola- 
tion of commercial cities ; and, fourthly, the augmentation of the 
price of objects of consumption, and further decline in that of the 
articles of our exports. Every prediction which they made has 
failed — utterly f;iiled. Instead of the ruin of the public revenue, 
with which they then sought to deter us from the adoption of the 
American system, we are now threatened with its subversion, by 
the vast amount of the public revenue produced by that system. 
Every branch of our navigation has increased." 

That it should be necessary to defend a system of policy, which 
had produced such decidedly beneficial, such magical, such stu- 
pendous effects on all the great and minor interests of the country, 
public and private — effects which everybody knew, everybody 
saw — is indeed a just subject of wonder, and can only be account- 
ed for by that unreasonable, unnatural hostility, armed with power, 
which was arrayed against it, for reasons and feelings personal 
in the breast of the chief magistrate of the nation, toward the au- 
thor of this system, to maintain a position gained at the expense 
of this public benefactor ! 

It is possible that the cotton planter's opposition should hav 
been the result of honest convictions ; for many have not even ye. 
discovered, that the more rapid growth of the north in wealth, is 
owing to its exemption from slavery ; that where all men work, 
all must thrive ; and that where the iew depend on the involunta- 
ry labor of the many, they must look for the causes of slow-paced 
-hrift, or apparent decline, not in national laws, but in local insti- 


tutions. Protection is equally necessary, and equally beneficial, 
to one part of the coun-try as to another, and that which makes the 
nation rich, can not make a fraction of it poor. They who occu- 
py a narrow sphere, are liable to contracted views ; but he whose 
duty as a statesman, is to survey the whola field, can not be ex- 
cused, if he looks at only a part, and judges from that part. It 
was not possible for those who administered the government of the 
United States in 1832, if they had the first qualification for their 
position, to be ignorant of the prosperity and wealth, which the 
protective policy was then pouring into the coffers of the nation, 
and dispensing with bountiful hand to every class of the indus- 
trious and frugal. It is therefore impossible to find an apology in 
that quarter for hostility to the system — for a fixed and settled 
plan to undermine and destroy it. 

One can not but feel an interest in the position of Mr. Clay at 
that time. He could not say what may be incumbent on an histo- 
rian, in his exposhion of moral causes, to suggest ; but he was 
obliged to face the storm, and confront the assailants of his long- 
cherished policy, organized in the government, as if the onset had 
sprung from the most patriotic and praiseworthy views. The op- 
position of those not connected with the government, was a differ- 
ent thing. It was fair, and could not be judged severely. That 
which emanated from the federal administration, for such reasons 
as have been supposed, also required a respectful treatment. It 
was impossible to dive into the heart, and expose the secret springs 
of this hostility. The president was high in popular favor ; his 
will was law, and his wishes had only to be expressed, to be exe- 

It was in this state of things, that Mr. Clay returned to Con- 
gress as a senator, in 1831, to encounter an administration plan for 
the destruction of the protective policy — not, indeed, by open, but 
insidious action. The influences brought to bear from that quar- 
ter, were prodigious — overwhelming. Added to these were the 
feelings of the south — an agency managed on its own account — 
ripening into the alarming designs of nullification. It is only in 
view of these facts, that the position of Mr. Clay at that time can 
be appreciated, not alone as one of anxious concern to himself, 
but as one of momentous consequence to the country. 

After Mr. Clay had opened his argument, of February 2, 1832, 
as noticed in a foregoing extract, he proceeds to the exhibition of 


some facts in answer to the predictions of the opponents of the 
tariff of 1S24, that it would desolate commercial cities, be the 
ruin of internal trade, &c. 

"I have in my hands," said Mr. Clay, "the assessed value of 
real estate in the 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, commencing with 1S17, 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, fifty-seven millions seven hundred 
and ninety-nine thousand, four hundred and thirty-five dollars, and, 
after various fluctuations in the intermediate period, it settled down 
at fifty-two millions nineteen thousand seven hundred and thirty 
dollars, exhibiting a decrease, in seven years, of five millions seven 
hundred and seventy-nine thousand seven hundred and five dollars. 
During the first year, of 1825, after the passage of the tariff, it 
rose, and, gradually ascending throughout the whole of the latter 
period of seven years, it finally, in lS-31, reached the astonishing 
height of ninety-five millions seven hundred and sixteen thousand 
four hundred and eighty-five dollars ! Now, if it be said, that this 
rapid growth of the city of New York was the effect o[ foreign 
commerce, then it was not correctly predicted, in 1824, that the 
tariff would destroy foreign commerce, and desolate our commer- 
cial cities. If, on the contrary, it be the effect of internal trade, 
then internal trade can not be justly chargeable with the evil con- 
sequences imputed to it. The truth is, it is the joint effect of both 
principles, the domestic industry nourishing the foreign trade, and 
the foreign commerce in turn nourishing the domestic industry. 
Nowhere more than in New York is the combination of both prin- 
ciples so completely developed. In the progress of my argument, 
[ will consider the effect upon the price of commodities produced 
by the American system, and show that the very reverse of the 
prediction of its foes, in 1824, actually happened. 

" While we thus behold the entire failure of all that was fore- 
old against the system, it is a subject of just felicitation to hs 
friends, that all their anticipations of its benefits have been fulfilled, 
or are in progress of fulfilment." 

Speaking of the variety and extent of interests comprehended in 
the protective policy, Mr. Clay says : — 

"Why, sir, there is scarcely an interest, scarcely a vocation in 
society, which is not embraced by the beneficence of this system. 

"It comprehends our coasting tonnage and trade, from which 
all foreign tonnage is absolutely excluded. 

" It includes all our foreign tonnage, with the inconsiderable ex- 
ception made by treaties of reciprocity with a few foreign powers 


'* It embraces our fisheries, and all our hardy and enterprising 

" It extends to almost every mechanic art — to tanners, cordwain- 
ers, tailors, cabinet-makers, hatters, tinners, brass-workers, clock- 
makers, coach-makers, tallow-chandlers, trace-makers, rope-makers, 
cork-cutters, 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-farmers, blacksmiths, type-founders, musical instrument-ma- 
kers, basket-makers, milliners, pott-ers, chocolate-makers, floor- 
cloth-makers, bonnet-makers, hair-cloth-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 enumerated enjoy a measure of protection adapted 
to their several conditions, varying from twenty to fifty per cent. 
The extent and importance of some of thes3 artisans, may be es- 
timated by a few particulars. The tanners, curriers, boot and 
shoe makers, and other workers in hides, skins, and leather, pro- 
duce 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 female sex, lace, artificial flowers, 
combs, and so forth, seven millions ; and the manufacturers of gkss, 
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 gradual conquest, as now to be deprived of the protecting 
duty upon its great staple. 

" It affects the cotton-planter himself, and the tobacco-planter, 
both of whom enjoy protection. 

" The total amount of the capital vested in sheep, the land to 
sustain them, wool, woollen manufactures, and woollen fabrics, 
and the subsistence 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 persons at one hundred and fifty thousand. 

" The value of iron, considered as a raw material, and of its 
manufactures, is estimated at twenty-six millions of dollars per 
annum. Cotton goods, exclusive of the capital vested in the man- 
ufacture, and of the cost of the raw material, are believed to 
iimount, annually, to about twenty millions of dollars." 

Of course, it will be observed, that all these interests have 
greatly enlarged, since 1S32. 

" Such," says Mr. Ckiy, " are some of the items of this vast 
Bystem of protection, which it is now proposed to abandon. We 


might ^ell pause and contemplate, if human imagination could 
conceive the extent of mischief and ruin from its total over- 
throw, before we proceed to the work of destruction. Its dura- 
tion 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 of 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 
corner-stone of the whole system. That there might be no mis- 
take about the matter, it was then solemnly proclaimed to the 
American people and to the world, that it was necessary for ' the 
encouragement and protection of manufactures,' that duties should 
be laid. It is in vain to urge the small amount of the measure of 
the protection then extended. The great principle was then es- 
tablished by the fathers of the constitution, with the father of his 
country at their head. And it can not now be questioned, that, if 
the government had not then been new and the subject untried, a 
greater measure of protection would have been applied, if it had 
been supposed necessary. Shortly after, the master minds of Jef- 
ferson and Hamilton were brought to act on this interesting sub- 
ject. Taking views of it appertaining to the departments of for- 
eign 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. Jefferson argued that foreign restric- 
tions, foreign prohibitions, and foreign high duties, ought to be met 
at home by American restrictions, American prohibitions, and 
American high duties. Mr. Hamilton, surveying the entire 
ground, and looking at the inherent nature of the subject, treated 
it with an ability, which, if ever equalled, has not been surpassed, 
and earnestly recommended protection." 

Mr. Clay notices the transient seductive influences of the great 
P'rench revolution on the commercial enterprise of the country, 
while the United States realized all the benefits of a neutral posi- 
tion, which, for a season, diverted attention from domestic manu- 
factures, and checked their growth. 

" Then came the edicts of Napoleon, and the British orders in 
council ; and our embargo, non-intercourse, non-importation, and 
war, followed in rapid succession. These national measures, 
amounting to a total suspension, for the period of their duration, 
of our foreign commerce, afforded the most efficacious encourage- 
ment to American manufactures ; and accordingly they everywhere 
sprung up. While these measures of restriction and this state of 
war continued, the manufacturers were stimulated in their enter- 
piise by every assurance of support, by public sentiment, and by 
legislative resolves. It was about that period [1808] that South 


Carolina bore her high testimony to the wisdom of the poUcy, in 
an act of her legislature, the preamble of which, now before me, 
reads : — 

" ' Whereas, the establishment and e^icouragement of domestic 
manufactures, is conducive to the interests of a state, by adding 
new incentives to industry, and as being the means of disposing to 
advantage the surplus productions o{ the agriculturist; and whereas, 
in the present unexampled state of the world, their establishment 
in our country is not only expedient, but politic, in rendering us 
iiidependent of foreign nations.' " 

This surely, was a remarkable and instructive position for South 
Carolina to occupy, compared with that of 1832. 

" Peace, under the treaty of Ghent, 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 burden- 
ing, almost all the productions of our agriculture, and our rivals 
in manufactures, in navigation, and in commerce. It found our 
country, in short, in a situation totally different from all the past — 
new and untried. It became necessary to adapt our laws and es- 
pecially our laws of impost, to the new circumstances in which we 
found ourselves. * * * It has been said, that the tariff of 
1816 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 tiie 
war be reduced ? Now, also, the question is, on what articles 
shall the duties be reduced so as to subject the amounts of the fu- 
ture 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 encour- 
ao-ement to our domestic industry. That this was a leading object 
in the arrangement of the tariff of 1816, I well remember, and it 
is demonstrated by the language of Mr. Dallas. He says, in his 
report : * There are few, if any governments, which do not regard 
the establishment of domestic manufactures as a chief object of 
oublic policy. The United States have alivaijs so regarded it.' 
The mcasiire of protection which he proposed was not adopted, in 
reo-ard to some leading articles, and there was great difficulty in 
ascertaining what it ought to have been. But the principle was 
then distinctly asserted, and fully sanctioned. 

" The subject of the American system was again brought up in 
1820, by the bill reported by the chairman of the committee of 
manufactures, now a member of the bench of the supreme court 
of the United States, and the principle was successfully maintained 


by the representatives of the people ; but the bill which they passed 
was defeated in the senate. Tt was revived in 1824, the whole 
ground carefully and deliberately explored, and the bill then intro- 
duced, receiving all the sanctions of the constitution, became the 
law of the land. An amendment of the system was proposed in 
1828, to the history of which I refer whh no agreeable recollec- 
tions. The bill of that year, in some of its provisions, was framed 
on principles directly adverse to the declared wishes of the friends 
of the policy of protection. I have heard, without vouching for 
the fttct, that it was so framed, upon the advice of a prominent cit- 
izen, now abroad [Mr. Van Buren], with the view of ultimately 
defeating; the bill, and with assurances that, being altogether unac- 
ceptable to the friends of the American system, the bill would be 
lost. Be that as it may, the most exceptionable features of the 
bill were stamped upon it, against the earnest remonstrances of the 
friends of the system, by the votes of southern members, upon a 
principle, I think, as unsound in legislation as it is reprehensible 
in ethics. The bill was passed, notwithstanding, it having been 
deemed better to take the bad along with the good which it con- 
tained, than reject it altogether. Subsequent legislation has cor- 
rected the error then perpetrated, but still that measure is vehe- 
mently denounced by gentlemen who contributed to make it what 
it was. 

" Thus, sir, has this great system of protection been gradually 
built, stone upon stone, and step by step, from the 4th of July, 
1789, down to the present period. In every stage of its progress 
it has received the deliberate sanction of Congress. A vast major- 
ity 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 name ; and, however the opinions of the exist- 
ing president are interpreted south of Mason and Dixon's line, on 
the north they are at least understood to favor the establishment of 
z judicious tariff." 

There was something very sarcastic in these words, " under- 
stood," "judicious." 

" The question, therefore, which we are now called upon to de- 
termine, is not, whether we shall establish a new and doubtful 
system of policy, just proposed, and for the first time presented to 
our consideration ; but whether we shall break down and destroy a 
long-established system, patiently and carefully built up and sanc- 
tioned, during a series of years, again and again, by the nation and 
its highest and most revered authorities? And are we not bound 
deliberately to consider 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 pro- 


tecting their industry against foreign legislation and foreign indus- 
try, was fully settled, not by a single act, but by repeated and de- 
liberate acts of government, performed at distant and frequent 
intervals. In full confidence that the policy was firmly and un- 
changeably fixed, thousands upon thousands have invested their 
capital, purchased a vast amount of real and other estate, made 
permanent establishments, and accommodated their industry. 
Can we expose to utter and irretrievable ruin this countless multi- 
tude, without justly incurring the reproach of violating the national 
faith ? 

" When gentlemen have succeeded in their design of an imme- 
diate or gradual destruction of the American system, what is their 
substitute ? Free trade ? Free trade ! The call for free trade is 
as unavailing, 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 pro- 
ductions, 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 all barriers to free trade on our part, but the 
work will not be complete, until foreign powers shall have removed 
theirs. There would be freedom on one side, and restrictions, 
prohibitions, and exclusions, on the other. The bolts, and the bars, 
and the chains, of all other nations will remain undisturbed. It is, 
indeed, possible, that our industry and commerce would accommo- 
date themselves to this unequal and unjust state of things ; for such 
is the flexibility of our nature, that it bends itself to all circumstan- 
ces. The wretched prisoner, incarcerated in a jail, after a long 
time, becomes reconciled to his solitude, and regularly notches 
down the passing days of his confinement. 

" Gentlemen deceive themselves. It is not free trade that they 
are recommending to our acceptance. It is, in effect, the British 
colonial system that we are invited to adopt ; and, if their policy 
prevail, it will lead substantially to the recolonization of these 
states, under the commercial dominion of Great Britain." 

The opponents of Mr. Clay were much addicted to quote for- 
eign authorities, especially British, in support of the doctrine of 
IVee trade. Whereupon Mr. Clay flung back in their face the fol- 
lowing citation from a speech of a member of parhament : — 

" ' It was idle for us to endeavor to -persuade other nations to join 
with us in adopting the jmnciples of tvhat ivas called \free trade.'' 
Other nations knew, as well as the noble lord opposite, and those 
who acted with him, tvhat we meant by "-free trade,'' was nothing 
more nor less than, bi^ means of the great advantagts wc enjoyed, to 


get a monopoly of all their markets for our manufactures, and to 
prevent them, one and all, from ever becoming manufacturing nation)^ 
When the system of reciprocity and free trade had been proposed 
to a French ambassador, his remark was, that the plan was excel- 
lent in theory, but, to make it fair in practice, it would be neces- 
sary to defer the attempt to put it in execution for half a century, 
until France should be on the same footing with Great Britain, in 
marine, in manufactures, in capital, and the many other peculiar 
advantages which it now enjoyed. The policy that France acted 
on, was that of encouraging its native manufactures, and it was a 
wise policy ; because, if it were freely to admit our manufactures, 
it would speedily be reduced to the rank of an agricultural nation; 
and therefore, a poor nation, as all must be that depend exclusively 
upon agriculture. America acted, too, upon the same principle 
with France. America legislated for futurity — legislated for an 
increasing population. America, too, was prospering under this 
system. In twenty years, America would be independent of Eng- 
land for manufactures altogether. * * * g^^ since the peace, 
France, Germany, America, and all the ofher countries of the 
world, had proceeded upon the principle of mcouraging and pro- 
tecting native manufactures.' " 

I Mr. Clay aJso edified his opponents, and all whom it might con- 
cern, with some curious and instructive citations t'-om the work of 
Joshua Gee, published in 1750, setting forth lovr the British col- 
onies ought to be treated, under the following heads : — 

" 'First, that manufactures, in American colonies, should be dis- 
couraged, or prohibited. * * * We ought always to keep a 
watchful eye over our colonies, to restrain them from setting up 
any of the manufactures which are carried on in Great Britain ; 
and any such attempts should be crushed in the beginning; for if 
they are suffered to grow up to maturity, it will be (iifficult to sup- 
press them. 

"' 'Our colonies are much in the same state Ireland was in, when 
they began the woollen manufactory, and as their numbers increase, 
will fall upon manufactures for clothing themselves, if due care be 
not taken to find employment for them, in raising such productions 
as may enable them to furnish themselves with all their necessaries 
from us. ****** 

" 'Secondly, 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 own profit; for out of all 
that comes here, they only carry back clothings and other acommo- 
dations for their families, all of which is of the merchandise and 
manufacture of this kingdom.' 


" After showing how this system tends to concentrate all th? sur- 
plus of acquisition over absolute expenditure in England, he says : — 

" ' All these advantages we receive by the plantations, besides the 
morU'-ao-es on the planters' 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 
planters be not put under too inany difficulties, but encouraged to 
go on cheerfully. 

'• 'New England and the northern colonies have not commodities 
and products enough to send us, in return, for purchasing their 
necessary clothing, but are under very great difficulties, and there- 
fore any ordinary sort sells with them. And when they have grown 
out oi' fashion with us, they are new-fashioned enough there.' " 

After having made liberal citations of this kind from this author, 
Mr. Clay says: — 

" Sir, 1 can not 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 enero-ies and faculties of one people should be kept down, and 
rendered subservient to the pride and the pomp and the power of 
another? The system then proposed differs only from that which 
is now recommended in one particular — that was intended to be 
enforced by power; this would not be less effectually executed by 
the force of circumstances." 

Coincident with these citations made by Mr. Clay from British 
authorities, the following historical facts are derived from Pitkin's 
Statistical View : In 1699, the British parliament prohibited the col- 
onies from exporting wool, yarn, or woollen fabrics, and from carry- 
ino- them coastwise from one colony and place to another. In 1719, 
parliament declared, that the erection of manufactories in the colo- 
nies tended to lessen their dependence on the mother-country ; and 
the Eno-lish manufacturers memorialized parliament, that the colo- 
nies were carrying on trade, and erecting manufactories, with a 
view to obtain legislation to arrest it. In 1731, the board of trade 
were instructed to inquire as to the colonial laws made to encour- 
age manufactures, as to manufactories set up, and as to the trade 
carried on in the colonies, and to report thereon. In 1732, they 
reported, that Massachusetts had passed a law to encourage manu- 
factures ; that the people of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, 
and Maryland, had fallen into the manufacture of woollen, and linen, 
ior the use of their own families, and of flax and hemp into coarse 
bags and halters — all which interfered with the profit of British mer- ^ 
chants. The board reconnnended, that the minds of the people ^ 




of those colonies should be immediately diverted, and a stop be 
put to it, or the practice would be extended. The same year par- 
liament prohibited the exportation of hats from the colonies, and 
trading in them from one colony to another, by ships, carts, or 
horses. No hatter should set up business who had not served 
seven years, nor have more than two apprentices, and no black 
person should work at the trade. Iron mills for slitting and rolling, 
and plating-forges, were prohibited, under a penalty of five hundred 
pounds. This system of prohibition and restriction continued to 
increase, till the colonies rebelled, and declared independence in 

To return to Mr. Clay. In answer to the objections to the pro- 
tective policy, from the cotton-planting interest, Mr. Clay said : — 

"It is alleged, that the system operates prejudicially to the cotton 
planter, by diminishing the foreign demand for his staple ; that we 
can not sell to Great Britain unless we buy from her ; that the im- 
port duty is equivalent to an export duty, and falls upon the cot- 
ton-grower; that South Carolina pays a disproportionate quota of 
the public revenue; that an abandonment of the protective policv 
would lead to an augmentation of our exports, of an amount not 
less than one hundred and fifty millions of dollars; and, finally, 
that the south can not partake of the advantages of manufacturing, 
if there be any. Let us examine these various propositions in 
detail. First, that the foreign demand for cotton is diminished ^ 
and that we can not sell to Great Britain unless we buy from her. 
The demand of both 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 greater, and 
is, therefore, constantly in advance of the power of consumption. 
A single fact will illustrate. The average produce of laborers en- 
gaged in the cultivation of cotton, may be estimated at five bales, 
or fifteen hundred weight to the hand. Supposing the annual 
average consumption of each individual who uses cotton cloth, to 
be five pounds, one hand can produce enough of the raw material 
to clothe three hundred. 

"The argument comprehends two errors, one of fact and the 
ether 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 very few articles which it is thought sound policy re- 
quires that we should manufacture at home, and on these the tariff 
operates. But, with respect to all the rest, and much the larger 
number of articles of taste, fashion, and utility, they are subject tc 
DO other than revenue duties, and are freely introduced. I hav€ 
before me from the treasury a statement of our imports from Eng- 

Vol. II.— 13 


land, Scotland, and Ireland, including ten years, preceding the 
last, and three quarters of the last year, from which it will appear 
that, although there are some fluctuations in the amount of the dif- 
ferent 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. 

'• \ow, if it be admitted that there is a less amount of the pro- 
tected articles imported from Great Britain, she may be, and prob- 
ably is, compensated for the deficiency, by the increased consump- 
tion in America of the articles of her industry not falling within 
the scope of the policy of our protection. The establishment of 
manufactures among us excites the creation of wealth, and this 
gives new powers of consumption, which are gratified by the pur- 
chase of foreign objects. A poor nation can never be a greak con- 
suming nation. Its poverty will limit its consumption to bare sub- 

" The erroneous principle which the argument includes, is, that 
It devolves on us the duty of taking care that Great Britain shall 
be enabled to purchase from us without exacting from Great Brit- 
ain 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 must be true on both sides of the Atlantic. And this 
reciprocal obligation ought to be emphatically regarded toward the 
nation supplying the raw material, by the manufacturing nation, 
because the industry of the latter gives four or five values to what 
had been produced by the industry of the former. 

"But, does Great Britain practise toward us upon the principles 
which we are now required to observe in regard to her? The 
exports to the united kingdom, as appears from the same treasury 
statement just adverted to, during eleven years, from J 821 to 1831, 
and exclusive of the fourth quarter of the last year, fall short of 
the amount of imports by upward of forty-six millions of dollars, 
and the total amount, when the returns of that quarter are received, 
will exceed 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 unfavorable bal- 
ance had not been 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 countries. 
Our imports from that single power are nearly one third of the en- 
tire amount of our importations from all foreign countries together. 
Great Britain constantly acts on the maxim of buying only what 
she wants and can not produce, and selling to foreign nadons the 
utmost amount she can. In conformity with this maxim, she ex- 
cludes articles of prime necessity produced by us, equally if not 
more necessary than any of her industry which we tax, although 


ihe admission of those articles would increase our ability to pur- 
chase from her, according to the argument 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 Carolina 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, whicii she annually sells ? Of that 
amount the United States do not purchase five per centum. What 
becomes of the other ninety-five per centum ? 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 material from us, to supply those 
markets '? Would she be guilty of the folly of depriving herself 
of markets to the amount of upward of one hundred and fifty mil- 
lions 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 cot- 
ton equal to the loss of a market for the tew 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 
cotton-grower, it is the totality of the demand, and not its distri- 
hit'ion, which affects his interests. If any system of policy will 
augment the aggregate of the demand, that system is favorable 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 Britain continuing to receive 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 in- 
creased 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 injurious to the cotton-grower"? 
Is it not better for him ? Is it not better to have a market at home, 
unaffected by war, or other foreign causes, for that amount of his 
staple ? 

-'If the establishment of American manufactures, therefore, had 
the sole effect of creating a new and an American demand for cot- 
ton, exactly to the same extent in which it lessened the British de- 
mand, there would be no just cause of complaint against the tariti'. 
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 cot- 
ton-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 during the last year near one hundred 
and ten thousand bales. The amount is annually increasing. 
The raw material of that two hundred thousand bales is worth sis 
millions, and there is an additional value conferred by the manu- 
facturer of eighteen millions ; it being generally calculated that, in 
such cotton fabrics as we are in the habit of making, the manufac- 
ture constitutes three fourths of the value of the ardcle. If, there- 
fore, these twenty-four millions worth of cotton fabrics were not 
made in the United States, but were manufactured in Great Brit- 
ain, in order 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. Great 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 manu- 
facture, 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 are embraced within it the productions of 
their respective industry. The cotton-grower sells the raw mate- 
rial to the manufacturer ; he buys the iron, the bread, the meal, 
the coal, and the countless number of objects of his consumption 
from his fellow-citizens, and they in turn purchase his fabrics. 
Putting it upon the ground merely of supplying those with neces- 
sary 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 increased by the home manufacture ? The main argument of 
gentlemen is founded upon the idea of mutual ability resulting from 
mutual exchanges. They would furnish an ability to foreign na- 
tions by purchasing from them, and I, to our own people, by ex- 
changes at home. If the American manufacture were discontin- 
ued, and that of England were to take its 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 im- 
practicable. To other foreign nations '( She has already pushed 
her supplies to them to the utmost extent. The ultimate conse- 
quence v/ould then be, to diminish the total consumption of cot- 


ton, tD say nothing now of the reduction 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." 

It should be observed, that many of the statistics of 1832, in 
amount and relative bearings, have very much changed since that 
time. For example, as stated in the above extract, Mr. Clay 
puts the annual consumption of raw cotton by the manufactories 
of the United States at two hundred thousand bales. In 1844 it 
was four hundred thousand, and in 1845 was expected to reach 
five hundred thousand — one fourth of the entire average product. 
In political economy, this is an item of great importance, and 
greatly enhances the force of Mr. Clay's argument, as is the effect 
of other changes of time. The home consumption of raw cotton 
— all worth counting — began in 1816 ; in 1825, it was one hun- 
dred thousand bales ; and its subsequent increase as above. In 
1825, the exports of American cotton manufactures, amounted to 
S2,85S,000 ; in 1840, to $3,549,000 ; and is annually on the 

If the reader's risibles are not affected when he comes to the 
argumentum ad ahsitrdum, which Mr. Clay, in the following ex- 
tract, thrusts on his opponents, he must want perception : — 

" Second, that the import duty is equivalent to an export duty, 
and falls on the producer of cotton. 

"The framers of our constitution, by granting the power to 
Congress 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 can not 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 deduction to the exporter from the price of the ar 
tide. But an import duty on a foreign article leaves the exportei 
of the domestic article free, first, to import specie ; secondly, goods 
which are free from the protecting duty ; or, thirdly, such goods 
as, being chargeable with the protecting duty, he can sell at home, 
and throw the duty on the customer. 

*' But it is confidently argued that the import duty falls upon the 
grower of cotton ; and the case has been put in debate, and again 
and again in conversation, of the South Carolina planter, who 
exports one hundred bales of cotton to Liverpool, exchanges them 
for one hundred bales of merchandise, and when he brings them 


home, being compelled to leave at the customhouse forty bales b 
the form of duties. The argument is founded on the assumption 
that a dutv of forty per centum amounts to a subtraction of forty 
from the one hundred bales of merchandise. The first objectix)n 
to it is, that it supposes a case of barter, which never occurs. If 
it be replied, that it nevertheless occurs in the operations of com- 
merce, the answer would be that, since the export of Carolina cot- 
ton is chiefly made by New York or foreign merchants, the loss 
stated, it 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 centum, shoiild he 
one hundred and fifty, which is asserted to be the duty in some cases. 
Then, the planter xvould not only lose the whole hundred hales of 
mercJiandise, which he had gotten for his hundred bales of cotton, 
but he would have to jmrchase, with other means, an additional fifty 
bales, 171 order to enable him to pay the duties accruing on the pro- 
ceeds of the cotton! Another answer is, that if the producer of cot- 
ton in America exchanged against English fabrics, pays the duty, 
the producer of those fabrics also pays it, and then it is twice 
'paid! Such must be the consequence, unless the principle is true on 
one side of the Atlantic, 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 mer- 
chandise as, when brought home, he can sell with a fair profit ; 
and, consequently, the consumer would pay the original cost and 
charges, and profit." 

The following, too, is an astounding answer : — 

" Third. The next objection to the American system is, that 
jt subjects South Carolina to the payment of an undue proportion 
of the public revenue. The basis of this objection is the assump- 
tion shown to have been erroneous, that the producer of the ex- 
ports from this country 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 precisely ascertained. It depends upon her 
consumption of articles paying duties, and we may make an ap- 
proximation sufficient for all practical 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, abc^^^- one fourth, from seven to eight lauidrtd 
dollars, may be laid out in articles paying the protective duty ; the 


residue is disbursed for provisions, mules, horses, oxen, wages of 
overseer, &c. Estimating the exports of South CaroUna at eight 
milHons, one third is two milHons six hundred and sixty-six thou- 
sand six hundred and sixty-six dollars; of ichich one fourth will he 
six hundred and sixty-six thousand six hundred and sixty-six and, 
two thirds dollars. Now supposing the protecting duty to be fifty 
per centum, and that it all enters into the price of the article, the 
amount jjaid by South CaroUna would only he 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 standard, whether of wealth or population, be adopted, 
would be aboitt one million. Of course, on this view of the sub- 
ject, she actually pays only about one third 9/" her fair and legiti- 
mate share. I repeat that, I have no personal knowledge of the 
habits of actual expenditure in South Carolina ; they may be 
greater than I have stated, in respect 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. 

" Fourth. An abandonment of the American system, it is urged, 
would lead to 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 communicated, in the manufactured lorm, than that 
which our industry imparts. Now, sir, where would markets be 
found for this vast addition 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, 
seek for new and unknown races of mortals, to consume this im- 
mense increase of cotton fabrics ! 

[General Hayne said, that he did not mean that the increase 
of one hundred and fifty millions to the amount of our exports 
would be of cotton alone, but of other articles.] 

" What other articles^ Agricultural produce — bread-stuffs, 
beef and pork, and so forth ? Where shall we find markets for 
them? Whither 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 imaginary purpose of advancing 
the cotton-planting interest, and you inflict a positive injury, with- 
out the smallest practical benefit to the cotton-planter. Could 
Charleston, or the whole south, when all other markets are pros- 
trated, or shut against the reception of the surplus of our farmers, 
receive that surplus ? Would they buy more than they might 
want for their own consumption ? Could they find markets which 


Other pans of the Union could not? Would gentlemen force the 
freemen of all north of James river, east and west, like the miser- 
able slave, on the sabbath-day, to repair to Charleston, with a 
turkey 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'' for a bit of flannel to cover his naked wife and children ! 
No ! I am sure that I do no more than justice to their hearts, when 
I believe that they would reject what I believe to be the inevitable 
effects of their policy. 

" Fifth. But it is contended, in the last place, that the south 
can not, from physical and other causes, engage in the manufac- 
turing arts. I deny the premises, and I deny the conclusion. I 
deny the fact of inability ; and, if it existed, I deny the conclusion, 
that we must, therefore, break down our manufactures, and nourish 
those of foreign countries. The south possesses, in an extraordi- 
nary degree, two of the most important elements of manufacturing 
industry — water-power and labor. * * * * Let it be 
supposed, however, that the south can not manufacture : must 
those parts of the Union which can, be therefore prevented ? 
Must we support those of foreign countries ? I am sure that in- 
justice would be done to the generous and patriotic nature of 
South Carolina, if it were believed that she envied or repined at 
the success of other portions of the Union in branches of industry 
to which she might happen not to be adapted. Throughout he/ 

whole career she has been liberal, national, high-minded. 


" I pass 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 country to be contented 
and satisfied with the system, unless the second proposition, which 
1 mean presently also to consider, is unfounded ? And that is, that 
the tendency of the system is to sustain, and that it has upheld, the 
prices of all our agricultural and other produce, including cotton. 

" And is the fact not indisputable, that all essential objects of 
consumption affected by the tariff, are cheaper and better since the 
act of 1824, than they were for several years prior to that law ? T 
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 better 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? * * * I plant myself upon this fact, of 
cheapness and superiority, as upon impregnable ground. Gen- 


ileijen may tax their ingenuity, and produce a thousand specula- 
tive solutions of the fact, but the fact itself will remain undisturbed. 

" I take this to be a true principle, that if our country is pro- 
ducing a raw material of prime necessity, and with reasonable pro- 
tection, can produce it in sufficient quantity to supply our wants, 
that raw materal 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 shipbuilder 
will ask 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. 

" Now the duty of the statesman is, to elevate himself above 
these petty conflicts — calmly to survey all the various interests, 
and deliberately to proportion the measures of protection to each, 
according to its nature and to the general wants of society. * * * 
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 success- 
ful competition with them. There has been a gradual increase of 
the exports of this article, which is sent to Mexico and the South 
American republics, to the Mediterranean, and even to Asia. The 
remarkable fact was lately communicated to me, that the same in- 
dividual, who twenty-five years ago was engaged in the importation 
of cotton cloth from Asia for American consumption, is now en- 
gaged in the exportation of coarse American cottons to Asia, for 
Asiatic consumption ! And my honorable friend from Massachu- 
setts, now in my eye [Mr. Silsbee], informed me, that on his 
departure from home, among the last orders which he gave, one 
was for the exportation of coarse cottons to Sumatra, in the vicin- 
ity of Calcutta ! I hold in my hand 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 1819 at twenty-one cents, in 1821 at nineteen and a 
half cents, in 1823 at seventeen cents, in 1825 at fourteen 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 1829 was one 
of some suffering to this branch of industry, probably owing to the 
principle of competition being pushed too far. Hence we observe 
a small rise in the article of the next two years. The introduction 


of calico-printing into the United vStates, constitutes an important 
era in our manufacturing industry. It commenced about the year 
lS2o, and has since made such astonishing advances, that the 
whole quantity now annually printed is but little short of forty mill- 
ions of yards — about two thirds of our whole consumption. It is 
a beautiful manufacture, combining great mechanical skill witi. 
scientific discoveries in chymistry. The engraved cylinders fOi 
making the impression require much taste, and put in requisition 
the genius of the fine arts of design and engraving. Are the fine 
graceful forms of our fair countrywomen less lovely when envel- 
oped in the chintzes and calicoes produced by native industry, 
than when clothed in the tinsel of foreign drapery ? 

" Gentlemen are no doubt surprised at these facts. They 
should not underrate the energies, the enterprise, and the skill of 
our fellow-citizens. I have no doubt they are every way compe- 
tent to accomplish whatever can be effected by any other people, 
if encouraged and protected by the fostering care of our own gov- 
ernment. Will gentlemen believe the fact, which I am authorized 
now to state, that the United States, at this time, manufacture one 
half the quantity of cotton which Great Britain did in 1S16 ! We 
possess three great advantages : first, the raw material ; second, 
water-power instead of that of steam, generally used in England ; 
and, third, 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 superintend the power-loom. And can there 
be any employment more appropriate? Who has not been de- 
lighted with contemplating the clockwork regularity of a large cot- 
ton manufactory? I have often visited them at Cincinnati and 
other places, and always with increased admiration. The women, 
separated from the other sex, work in apartments, large, airy, well 
warmed, and spacious. Neatly dressed, with ruddy complexions, 
and happy countenances, they watch the work before them, mend 
the broken threads, and replace the exhausted balls or broaches. 
At stated hours they are called to their meals, and go and return 
with light and cheerful step. At night they separate, and repair 
to their respective houses, under the care of a mother, guardian, 
or friend. * * * In respect to woollens, every gentleman's 
own observation and experience 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 partic- 
ular benefit of the farming interest. But, without going into par- 
ticular details, I shall limit myself to inviting the attention of the 
senate to a single article of general and necessary use. The pro- 
tection given to fiannels in 182S was fully adequate. It has ena- 
bled the American manufacturer to obtain complete possession ot 
the American market ; and now, let us look at the effect I have 


before me a statement from a highly respectable mercantile house 
Bhovving the price of four descriptions of flannel during six years. 
The average price oi" thenx, in 1826, was thirty-eight cents and 
three quarters; 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. 1 
have before me another statement of a practical and respectable 
man, well versed in the flannel manufacture in America and Eng- 
land, demonstrating that the cost of manufacture is precisely the 
same in both countries ; and that, although a yard of flannel whi<;h 
would sell in England at fifteen cents, would command here twen- 
ty-two, the difference of seven cents is the exact difference between 
the cost in the two countries, of 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, ei^ht by ten, prior to the tariff" of 
1824, sold at twelve or thirteen dollars per hundred feet; it now 

sells for three dollars and seventy-five cents. 


" Of all human powers operating on the affairs of mankind, none 
isi greater than that of competition. It is action and reaction. It 
operates between individuals in the same nation, and between dif- 
ferent nations. It resembles the meeting of the mountain torrent, 
grooving, by its precipitous motion, its own channel, and ocean's 
tide. Unopposed, it sweeps everything before it ; but, counter- 
poised, 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 
perfection. By the American system this vast power has been ex- 
cited in America, and brought into being to act in co-operation or 
collision with European industry. Europe acts within itself, and 
with America; and America acts within itself, and with Europe. 
The consequence is the reduction of prices in both hemispheres. 
Nor is it fair to argue from the reduction of prices in Europe, to 
her own presumed skill and labor exclusively. We aff'ect her 
prices, and she affects ours. This must always be the case, at 
least in reference to any articles as to which there is not a total 
non-intercourse ; and if our industry, 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 reduction to her 
ingenuity, instead of placing it to the credit of our own skill and 
tacited industry. 


" Practical men understand %'ery well this state of the case, 
tvhet'her 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 op- 
eration of the tariff of 182S, on the articles to which it applies, 
some of which he had imported, and that his purchases having 
been made in England, before the passage of that tariff was known, 
it produced such an effect upon the English market, that the arti- 
cles could not be resold without loss. He adds : ' For it really 
appears, that, when additional duties are laid upon an article, it 
then becomes lower instead o( higher.' This would not probably 
happen, where the supply of the foreign article did not exceed 
the home demand, unless upon the supposition of the increased 
duty having excited or stimulated the measure of the home pro- 

"The great law of p-?cg is determined by supply and demand. 
Whatever affects either, affects the price. If the supply is in- 
creased, the demand remaining the same, the price declines ; if 
the demand is increased, the supply remaining 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, there- 
fore, a great error to suppose that an existing or new duty necessa- 
rily becomes a component element 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 affected to the extent of that variation. But the 
duty never becomes an integral part of the price, except in the in- 
stances where the demand and the supply remain, after the duty is 
imposed, precisely what they were before, or the demand is in- 
creased, and the supply remains stationary. 

" Competition, therefore, wherever existing, whether at home 
or abroad, is the parent cause of cheapness. If a high duty ex- 
cites production 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 fact stated by a sen- 
ator from Missouri. Three cents were laid as a duty upon a pound 
of lead, by the act of 1828. The price at Galena, and the othei 
lead mines, afterward 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 twice the amount of the price. What produced the 
fall ? It was stimulated production at home, excited by the temp- 
tation of the exclusive possession of the home market. This state 
of thin2:3 could not last. Men would not continue an unprofitable 
pursuit : some abandoned the business, or the total quantity pro 
duced was diminished, and living prices have been the consequence. 
But break down the domestic supply, place us again in a state of 



dependence on the foreign source, and can it be doubted that we 
should uhimately have to supply ourselves at dearer rates ? It is 
not fair to credit the foreign market with the depression of prices 
produced there by the influence of our competition. Let the com- 
petition be withdrawn, and their prices would instantly rise. On 
this subject, great mistakes are committed. * * * * It is not, 
therefore, those who, by keeping on duties, keep down prices, thai 
tax the people ; but those who, by repealing duties, would raise 
prices, that really impose burdens upon the people. 

" But it is argued, that if, by the skill, experience, and perfec- 
tion, 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 V And why should we '? Assuming the truth of the 
supposition, the foreign article would not be introduced in the reg- 
ular 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 foreicfn article be imported in vast quantities, to glut our 
markets, break down our estabhshments, and uhimately to enable 
the foreigner to monopolize the 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 bankrupt there, its storehouses are emptied, 
and the goods are shipped to America, where, in consequence of 
our auctions, and our customhouse credits, the greatest facilities 
are afforded in the sale of them. Combinations among manufac- 
turers might take place, or even the operations of foreign govern- 
ments might be directed to the destruction 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 for- 
eigner would leisurely look about to indemnify himself in the in- 
creased prices which he would be enabled to command by his 
monopoly of the supply of our consumption. What American 
citizen, after the government had displayed this vacillating policy, 
would be again tempted to place the smallest confidence in the 
public faith, 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 con- 
dition of constant alarm and insecurity. Nothing is more prejudi- 
cial TO tne great interests of a nation than unsettled and varying 
policy. Altnough every appeal to the national legislature has bee.i 
re&ponded to in conformity with the wishes and sentiments of the 


great majority of the people, measures of protection have only b3«a > 
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, the degree of perfection in 
the arts, which it will exhibit, will be greater than that which has 
been presented, astonishing as our progress 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 different from the short ])eriod which is allotted 
for the duration of individual life. The honorable gentleman from 
South Carolina well and eloquently said, in 1S24 : ' No great in- 
terest 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; everything, indeed, great or good, is matured 
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 Prov- 
idence, that powers gradually developed, shall alone attain perma- 
nency and perfection. Thus must it be with our national institu- 
tions, and national cliaracter itself.' 

*** ***** 

" I have now to consider the remaining of the two propositions 
which I have already announced. That is, that, under the opera- 
tion of the American system, the products of our agriculture com- 
mand a higher price than they would do without it, by the creation 
of a home market, and by the augmentation of wealth produced 
by manufacturing industry, which enlarges our powers of consump- 
tion, both of domestic and foreign articles. The importance of the 
home market is among the established maxims which are univer- 
sally recognised by all writers and all men. Howev^er some may 
differ as to the relative advantages of the foreign and the home 
market, none deny to the latter great value and high consideration. 
It is nearer to us, beyond the control of foreign legislation, and 
undisturbed by those vicissitudes to which all international inter- 
course 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, wnion 
connects their farms with some great capital. If the pursuits of ai. 
men were perfecdy the same, although they would be in possession 
of the greatest abundance of the particular produce of their indus- 
try, they might, at the same time, be in extreme want of ot'ier 
necessary ardcles of human subsistence. The uniformity oi th*' 
general occupation would preclude all exchanges, all commerce. 
It is only in the diversity of the vocations cf the members of' a 



i.omn unity, that the means can be found for those saiutarv ex 
changes which conduce to the general prosperity. And the greate- 
that diversity, the more extensive and the more animating is the 
circle of exchange. Even if foreign markets were freely and widelv 
open to the reception of our agricultural produce, from its oulky 
nature, and the distance of the interior, and the dangers of the 
ocean, large portions of it could never profitably reach the foreio-n 
market. But let us quit this field of theory, 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 annu- 
ally increased. Does not this fact, however, demonstrate that the 
cultivation of it could not have been so very unprofitable ? If the 
business were ruinous, would more and more have annuallv en- 
gaged in it"? The quantity in 1S16, was eighty-one millions of 
pounds ; in 1S26, 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 operation of three causes, by which the con- 
sumption of cotton fabrics has been greatly extended, in conse- 
quence of their reduced prices : first, competition ; second, the 
improvement of labor-saving machinery ; and, thirdly, the low 
price of the raw material. The crop of 1S19, amounting to eighty- 
eight millions of pounds, produced twenty-one millions of dollars ; 
the crop of 1823, when the amount was swelled to one hundred 
and seventy four millions (almost double that of 1819), produced 
a less sum by more than half a million of dollars ; and the crop 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 be any foundation for the established law of price, 
supply 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 necessary to look beyond that single fact to the tariff, to the 
diminished price of the mines furnishing the precious metals, or to 
any other cause, for the solution ■? * * * If there be any truth 
in the facts and principles which I have before stated, and endeav- 
ored to illustrate, it can not be doubted that the existence of Amer- 
ican manufactures has tended to increase the demand, and extend 
the copsutnption of the raw material ; and that, but for this in- 
creased demand, the price of the article would have fallen, possibly 
one half lower than it now is. The error of the opposite argument 
is. in assuming one thing, which being denied, the whole fails; 
that is, it assumes that the ivhole labor of the United States would 
oe profitably employed without manufactures. Now, the truth is, 
tiint the system excites and creates labor, and this labor creates 


wealth, and this new weahh communicates additional ability to 
consume, which acts on all the objects contributing to human 
com*in and enjoyment. The amount of cotton imported into the 
twc .orts of Boston and Providence alone during the last year 
(and it w^as imported exclusively for the home manufacture), was 
one hundred and nine thousand five hundred and seventeen bales. 

•• On passing from that article to others of our agricultural pro- 
duction, we shall find not less gratifying facts. The total quantity 
of Hour imported into Boston, during the same year, was two hun- 
dred and eighty-four thousand five hundred and four barrels, and 
three thousand nine hundred and fifty-five half barrels ; of which, 
there were from Virginia, Georgetown, and Alexandria, one huu 
dred and fourteen thousand two hundred and twenty-two barrels ; 
of Indian corn, six hundred and eighty-one thousand one hundrec 
and thirty-one bushels ; of oats, two hundred and thirty-nine thou- 
sand eight hundred and nine bushels ; of rye, about fifty thousand 
bushels ; and of shorts, thirty-three thousand four hundred and 
eighty-nine bushels ; into the port of Providence, seventy-one 
thousand three hundred and sixty-nine barrels of flour ; two hun- 
dred and sixteen thousand six hundred and sixty-two bushels of 
Indian corn, and seven thousand seven hundred and seventy-two 
bushels of rye. And there were discharged at the port of Phila- 
delphia, four hundred and twenty thousand three hundred and fifty- 
three bushels of Indian corn ; two hundred and one thousand 
eight hundred and seventy-eight bushels of wheat, and one hun- 
dred and ten thousand five hundred and fifty-seven bushels of rye 
and barley. There were slaughtered in Boston during the same 
year, 1831 (the only northern city from which I have obtained re- 
turns), thirty-three thousand 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 thou- 
sand eight hundred and seventy-one swine. It is confidently be- 
lieved, that there is not a less quantity of southern flour consumed 
at the north than eight hundred thousand barrels, a greater amount, 
probably, than is shipped to all the foreign markets of the world 

" What would be the condition of the farming country of the 
United States — of all that portion which lies north, east, and west 
of James river, including a large part of North Carolina — if a 
home market did not exist for this immense amount of agricultu- 
ral produce? Without that market, where could it be sold"? In 
foreign markets ? If their restrictive laws did not exist, their ca- 
pacity would not enable them to purchase and consume this vast 
addition to their present supplies, which must be thrown in, or 
thrown awav, but for the home market. But their laws exclude 
us from their markets. I shall content myself by calling the at- 
tention of the senate to Great Britain only. The duties in nw i 


ports of the united kingdom on bread-stuffs are prohibitory, ex 
cept in times of dearth. On rice, the duty is fifteen shillings 
sterling per hundred weight, being more than one hundred per 
centum. On manufactured tobacco it is nine shillings sterling per 
pound, or about two thousand per centum. Of leaf toba<^co 
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 centum more than on similar articles im- 
ported from British colonies. In the British West Indies the duty 
oa beef, pork, hams, and bacon, is twelve shillings sterling per 
hundred, more than one hundred per centum on the first cost of 
beef and pork in the western states. And yet Great Britain is the 
power in whose behalf we are called upon to legislate, so that ive 
may enable her to purchase our cotton ! — Great Britain, that 
thinks only of herself in her own legislation ! When have we 
experienced justice, much less favor, at her hands ? When did 
she shape her legislation in reference to the interests of any for- 
eign power ? She is a great, opulent, and powerful nation ; but 
haughty, arrogant, and supercilious — not more separated from the 
rest of the world by the sea that girts her island, than she is sep- 
arated in feeling, sympathy, or friendly consideration of their wel- 
fare. Gentlemen, in supposing it impracticable that we should 
successfully compete with her in manufactures, do injustice to the 
skill and enterprise of their own country. Gallant as Great Brit- 
ain undoubtedly is, we have gloriously contended with her, man 
to man, gun to gun, ship to ship, fleet to fleet, and army to army. 
And T have no doubt we are destined to achieve equal success in 
the more useful, if not nobler contest for superiority 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 — for which a demand is 
created in the home market by the operation of the American sys- 
tem ; but I should exhaust the patience of the senate. Where, 
irhcrc should we find a market for all these articles, if it did not 
exist at home ? What would be the condition of the largest por- 
tion of otir people, and of the territory, if this home market were 
annihilated ? How could they be supplied with objects of prime 
necessity ? What would not be the certain and inevhable decline 
in the price of all these articles, but for die 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 this 
system, none are equally so with those which border the Chesa- 
peake bay, the lower parts of North Carolina, Virginia, and the 
two shores of Maryland. Their facilities of transportation, and 
proximity to the north, give them decided advantages. 

" But if all this reasoning were totally fallacious ; if the price 
of manufactured articles were really higher, under the AmericaB 

Vol. IL— 14 


system, than without it; I should still argue that high or low 
prices were themselves relative — relative to the ability to pay 
them. It is in vain to tempt, to tantalize us with the lower prices 
of European fabrics than our own, if we have nothing wherewith 
to purchase them. If, by the home exchanges, we can be sup- 
plied with necessary, even if they are dearer and worse articles 
of American production than the foreign, it is better than not to 
be supplied at all. And how would the large portion of our 
country, which I have described, be supplied, but for the home 
exchanges ? A poor people, destitute of wealth or of exchangeable 
commodities, has nothing to purchase foreign fabrics with. To 
them they are equally beyond their reach, whether their cost be a 
dollar or a guinea. It is in this view of the matter that Great Brit- 
ain, by her vast wealth, her excited and protected industry, is enabled 
to bear a burden of taxation, which, when compared to that of 
other nations, appears enormous ; but which, when her immense 
riches are compared to theirs, is light and trivial. The gentle- 
man from 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 com- 
mercial people. I agree with him. We differ only as to the 
means. He would cherish the foreign, and neglect the internal 
trade. I would foster both. What is navigation without ships, 
or ships without cargoes '? By penetrating the bosoms of our 
mountains, and extracting from them their precious treasures ; by 
cultivating the earth, and securing a home 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 
commerce, 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, so soon, the privations to which not merely our 
orave soldiers and our gallant tars were subjected, but the whole 
community, during the last war, for the want of absolute necessa- 
ries ? To what an enormous price they rose ! And how inade- 
quate the supply was, at any price ! The statesman who justly 
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 exigences which may arise in 
the republic. Taking this comprehensive range, it would be easy 
to show that die higher prices of peace, if prices ivere higher in 
peace, were more than compensated by the lower prices of war, 
during which, supplies of all essential articles are indispensable to 
its vigorous, effectual, and glorious prosecution. I conclude this 



part of the argument with the hope that my humble exertions have 
no-t been ahogether unsuccessful in showing : — 

"First, that the policy which we have been considering ought 
to continue to be regarded as the genuine American system. 

" Secondly, that the free-trade system, which is proposed as its 
substitute, ought really to be considered as the British colonial 

" Thirdly, that the American system is beneficial to all parts of 
the Union, and absolutely necessary to much the larger portion. 

"Fourthly, that the price of the great staple of cotton and of all 
our chief productions of agriculture, has been sustained and up- 
held, and a decline averted, by the protective system. 

" Fifthly, that if the foreign demand for cotton has been at all 
diminished, by the operation of that system, the diminution has 
been more than compensated, in the additional demand created at 

" Sixthly, that the constant tendency of the system, by creating 
competition among ourselves, and between American and Euro- 
pean industry, reciprocally acting upon each other, is to reduce 
prices of manufactured articles. 

" Seventhly, that, in point of fact, articles within the scope of 
the policy of protection, have greatly fallen in price. 

" Eighthly, that if, in a season of peace, these benefits are ex- 
perienced, in a season of war, when the foreign supply might be 
cut off, they would be much more extensively felt. 

" Ninthly, and finally, that the substitution of the British colo- 
nial system for the American system, without benefiting any sec- 
tion of the Union, by subjecting us to a foreign legislation, regu- 
lated by foreign interests, would lead to the prostration of our 
manufactories, general impoverishment, and ultimate ruin." 

Thus was Mr. Clay obliged, in 1832, to fight over again the 
battles of former years, when the protective policy was supposed 
to have been for ever settled and established in the country. A 
new political era was opened in the ascendency of Andrew Jack- 
son to power, and to maintain that ascendency, it was necessary 
to break up that system of national policy, which Mr. Clay, more 
than any other man — which Mr. Clay as leader — had been the in- 
strument in originating, organizing, and establishing. The pro- 
tective policy was indeed but one part of that system ; but it was 
a fundamental and vital part. Mr. Clay's soul as a patriot, was 
embarked in it, and his fame as a statesman was, in a great meas- 
ure, staked upon it. After a protracted and painful struggle, he 
and his coadjutors had succeeded in 1824, in rescuing the coun- 
try from ruin, and it had gone on for a series of years, in a ca- 


reer of prosperity, unparalleled before or since. Notwithstanding 
the public odiunn which had been brought upon Mr. Clay, by the 
temporary success of the conspiracy to accuse him of " bargain 
and corruption," in the election of Mr. Adams, he was rising again 
to eclipse his foes, by the beneficent operation of his plan of public 
policy. To assail it directly and openly, on its merits, would not 
do ; to let it live, and flourish, and bless the land, was to let him 
live and flourish, his fame being identified therewith. It must 
therefore be undermined by indirection — broken up — overthrown. 
The wisdom of his policy must be confounded, by confounding and 
annihilating its results. 

No person, having read the foregoing argument of Mr. Clay on 
the protective policy, extracted from his matchless efforts of 1832, 
if that person is at all interested in understanding the subject, would 
consent that it should be abridged. Considered only as a speci- 
men of eloquent, logical, unanswerable reasoning, it is unsurpassed ; 
but as an exposition and defence of the protective system, it may, 
without fear of contradiction, be pronounced coinjpletc in the most 
essential attributes of all argument — clearness, fact, and logical 
deduction. It was the peril of the cause that put him to the task, 
and his own fitness for the duty that enabled him to discharge it 
with such brilliant and triumphant success, so far as its convincing 
power is concerned, in its influence on unprejudiced minds. And 
the argument is not more remarkable for its irresistible force, and 
for its consummate structure, than for its beauties. While it re- 
mains, the cause is defended, and there is no answer that can be 
made to it. Amplifications there may be on new facts, and fresh 
developments of history ; but the germ and full maturity of the 
policy are there, comprehending equally the past, the present, and 
the future, 





Mr. Clay's Views of Public Policy in a Letter to the Hon. J. S. Johnston. — Con- 
troversy between the President and Vice-President, General Jackson and Mr. 
Calhoun. — Pilate and Herod agree in one Thing. — Nullification. — General 
Jackson attempts to kill two Birds at one Throw. — Fails to kill either. — 
Publication of the Ordinance of Nullification. — General Jackson's Proclama- 
tion. — Governor Hayne's Counter Proclamation. — South Carolina in a State of 
Rebellion. — Mr. Clay's Opinion of General Jackson's Proclamation in a Private 
Letter. — The Proclamation a Failure. — General Jackson misses his Game. — 
Mr. Clay on the Alert to save the Protective Policy. — Difficulties of his Posi- 
tion. — Matures his Plan. — Proposes the Compromise. — Explains it to the Sen- 
ate. — Analysis of the Bill. — Its favorable Reception. — The Administration 
(Mr. Verplanck's) Bill under Par. — A Private Letter from Mr. Clay of this 

The following extract from a private letter of Mr. Clay to his 
particular friend, the Hon. J. S. Johnston, U. S. senator from 
Louisiana, will disclose some of his views of public policy, before 
he returned to the senate, in 1831. It is dated at Harrodsburg 
(Kentucky), July 23, 1831 :— 

" Of the events at Washington, which have occurred since I saw 
you, I need say but little. Every one, fond of his country, must 
have seen them with mortification and regret. The only consola- 
tion deducible from them is, that they may contribute to dispel the 
delusion which placed those in power, who have occasioned them. 

"You request, and I have pleasure in communicating, my views 
of the policy which ought to be observed by the general govern- 
ment, in respect to the tariff, after the payment of the public debt. 

" 1. I think the principle of protection, both in theory, and its 
practical application, must be preserved. 

" 2. That, as the wants of the government, supposing the con- 
tinuance of peace, will not then require more than about twelve 
millions of dollars, duties of impost ought to be reduced or totally 
repealed, upon articles of foreign growth, not competing with the 
productions of domestic industry, to such an amount as will leave 
the revenue about that sum. This, I believe, can be effected 
without touching any of the leading or essential articles which are 
now protected. 


"3. As for internal improvement?, I never would lay one cent 
of tax or duty for their prosecution ; but, from time to time, as 
surpluses of revenue accumulate, tiiey should be applied to the 
object of their promotion. 

"4, The renewal of the charter of the bank of the United 
States, with any modifications which may have been suggested by 

" These are the general principles. Details are unnecessary. 
You will at once see their application. You will also perceive the 
expediency of your considering this communication confidential. 
The country is at present so much excited, on most of the above 
subjects, that neither party is prepared impartially to consider any 
proposition which does not comprehend all it asks, in whatever 
spirit of extravagance. Any publication of my views would prob- 
ably expose me to misconception with both parties. And I do not 
think, on the other hand, that, during the contest now existing, any 
opinions of mine should be put forth, which might be construed 
into an appeal, on my part, to the public." 

A FEW historical reminiscences here, as between General Jack- 
son and Mr. Calhoun, will perhaps cast some light on events now 
rapidly maturing to a crisis. These two eminent individuals, the 
former as president, and the latter as vice-president, had gone on 
with tolerable harmony — possibly in sincere friendship — till some 
third persons had forced upon the president's notice the facts, that 
Mr. Calhoun, as secretary of war, under Mr. Monroe, had not 
only taken the ground, in cabinet counsel, that General Jackson 
had transcended his orders, in the Seminole war, by occupying the 
Spanish posts; but that he was in favor of censure — of punish- 
ment. It is not material to the present object, who hoped to profit 
by stirring up these ashes ; but the coals touched the president to 
the quick, and he immediately called on the vice-president, by a 
note, transmitting a newly-discovered document as the ground of 
his action, for an explanation. Whereupon the vice-president, 
very properly, threw himself back on his reserved rights, and de- 
clined to answer a private inquiry into his official conduct. The 
president wrote back, that it was unnecessary to say more; and 
from that moment the personal feud between them commenced, the 
consequences of which were very important and momentous. It 
is one of the instructive lessons of history to observe how such 
personal matters among men of exalted station and great influence, 
affect states and nations. Mr. Calhoun, by this event, was cut 
off from his chances of the succession. It is remarkable, that before 


General Jackson was installed for his second term, South Carolina 
nullification burst forth upon the land! 

The opposition of some portions of the south to the protective 
policy, was not in itself sufficient to shake its foundations, and 
menace it with overthrow. It was the junction of that force witl 
the personal feelings of the president in another direction fronr. 
Mr. Calhoun, that made both formidable, and precipitated the 
country into a new and unexpected crisis. It was not material that 
these two agencies, these two wills — that of General Jackson and 
that of Mr. Calhoun — should have the same ultimate design, so long 
as they could act together in removing an obstacle which lay in the 
path of both. They might hate each other as much as each hated 
their common opponent, and yet unite for the destruction of the 
latter. That there was a moral affinity of this kind between the 
head of the national administration and the leader of nullification, 
though in a deadly quarrel with each other, it is supposed, will 
not be questioned. 

South Carolina, led on by Mr. Calhoun, had already made some 
strong and decided demonstrations of her purpose, when Mr. 
Clay was engaged in this debate in the senate of the United States, 
in February, 1832. It was impossible, therefore, that this state of 
things in that quarter should be disregarded on such an occasion. 
In allusion to it, Mr. Clay said: — 

" With respect to this Union, Mr. President, the truth can not be 
too generally proclaimed, nor too strongly inculcated, that it is ne- 
cessary to the whole and to all the jparts — necessary to those parts, 
indeed, in different degrees, but vitally necessary to eacA— and 
that threats to disturb or dissolve it, coming from any of the 
parts, would be quite as indiscreet and improper 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 majority ought 
to govern wisely, equitably, moderately, and constitutionally, but 
govern k must, subject only to that terrible appeal. If ever one or 
several states, being a minority, can, by menacing a dissolution 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! Entertain- 
ing these deliberate opinions, I would entreat the patriotic people 
of South Carolina — the land of Marion, Sumpter, and Pickens — 
of Rutledge. Laurens, the Pinckneys and Lowndes — of living and 


present names, whicli I would mention if they were not living 
or present — to pause, solemnlv pause! and contemplate the fright- 
ful precipice which lies directly before them ! To retreat may be 
painful and mortifying to their gallantry and pride, but it is to re- 
treat to the Union, to safety, and to those brethren with whom, or 
with whose ancestors, they, or their ancestors, have won, on fields 
of glory, imperishable renown. To advance, is to rush on certain 
and inevhable disgrace and destruction. 

" The danger to our Union does not lie on the side of persist- 
ence in the iVmerican system, but on that of its abandonment. If, 
as I have supposed and believe, the inhabitants of all north and 
east of James river, and all west of the mountains, including 
Louisiana, are deeply interested in the preservation of that system, 
would they be reconciled to its overthrow? Can it be expected 
that two thirds, if not three fourths, of the people of the United 
States, would consent to the destruction of a policy, believed to 
be indispensably necessary to their prosperity ? — when, too, the 
sacrifice is made at the instance of a single interest, which they 
verily believe will not be promoted by it ? In estimating the de- 
gree of peril which may be incident to two opposhe 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 operation. He 
should lift himself up to the contemplation of those greater and 
more certain dangers which might inevitably attend the adoption 
of the alternative course. What would be the condition of this 
Union, if Pennsylvania and New York, those mammoth members 
of our confederacy, were firmly persuaded that their industry was 
paralyzed, 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 welfare, and feeling a salutary and rapid circulation of the 
products of home mauufactures and home inckistry, throughout all 
their great arteries. But let that be checked — let them feel that 
a foreign system is to predominate, and the sources of their sub- 
sistence 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 favorable change, and then indeed we might tremble for the 
continuance and safety of this Union ! 

" And need I remind you, sir, that this dereliction of the duty 
of j)rotecting our domestic industry, and abandonment of it to the 
fate of foreign legislauon, would be directly at war with leading 
considerations which prompted the adoption of the present consti- 
tution? The states respectively surrendered to the general gov- 
ernment the whole power of laying imposts on foreign goods 


Tliey stripped themselves of all power to protect their own manu- 
factures, by the most efficacious means of encouragement — the 
imposition of duties on rival foreign fabrics. Did they create that 
great trust, did they voluntarily subject themselves to this self- 
restriction, that the power should remain in the federal government 
inactive, unexecuted, and lifeless ? Mr. Madison, at the com- 
mencement 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 ^ fraud'' upon the northern states, 
to which may now be added the middle and western states. 

" Gentlemen are greatly deceived as to the hold which this sys- 
tem has in the affections of the people of the United States. They 
represent that it is the policy of New England, and that she is 
most benefited by it. If there be any part of this 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 Eng- 
land"? New England came reluctantly into the policy. In 1824, 
a majority of her delegation was opposed to it. From the largest 
state of New England there was but a solitary vote in favor of the 
Dill. That enterprising people can readily accommodate their 
industry to any policy, provided it be settled. They supposed this 
was fixed, and they submitted to the decrees of government. And 
the progress of pubHc 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 favor 
of the system. In 1S24, all Maryland was against it ; now the ma- 
jority is for it. Then, Louisiana, with one exception, was opposed 
to it ; now, without any exception, she is in favor of it. The 
march of public sentiment is to the south. Virginia will be the 
next convert ; and in less than seven years, if there be no obsta- 
cles from political causes, or prejudices, industriously instilled, the 
majority of eastern Virginia will be, as the majority of western 
Virginia now is, in favor of the American system. North Carolina 
will follow later, but not less certainly. Eastern Tennessee is 
now in favor of the system. And, finally, its doctrines will per- 
vade the whole Union, and the wonder will be, that they ever 
should have been opposed. 

" For one, I am delighted to see the condition of the poor 
attracting the consideration of the opponents of the tariff. It is for 
the great body of the people, and especially for the poor, that I 
have ever supported the American system. It affords them prof- 
itable employment, and supplies the means of comfortable subsist- 
ence. It secures to them, certainly, necessaries of life, manufac- 
tured at home and places within their reach, and enables them to 
acquire a reasonable share of foreign luxuries ; while the system 


of gentlemen promises them necessaries made in foreign countries, 
and which are beyond their power, and denies to them luxuries, 
which they would possess no means to purchase. * * * 

" Let us then adopt the measure before us, which will benefit 
all classes — the farmer, the professional man, the merchant, the 
manufacturer, the mechanic — and the cotton-planter more than all." 

During the recess between the first and second session of the 
twenty-second Congress, the cloud which had risen in the south, 
threatening a dissolution of the Union, had not passed over, but 
seemed waiting to discharge its contents in a desolating storm. 
The resolution which Mr. Clay had introduced in the early part 
of the first session, and which was the subject of such protracted 
and earnest debate, had assumed the shape of a bill, passed both 
houses, and became a law, by the approval of the executive, the 
fourteenth of July, since called the tariff of 1832. It was made 
an additional element of the fire kindling in the south ; and before 
the second session of Congress had opened, the convention of 
South Carolina had passed its nullifying ordinance, which took its 
place in the statute-book as a part of fundamental law ; tiie legis- 
lature had assembled, and, in hot speed, were making provisions 
for the conflict. The ordinance of nullification was passed the 
24th of November, and signed with all due solemnity by James 
Hamilton, jr., president, and by 07ie hundred and forty members, 
in some such manner as theDeclaration of American Independence 
wa's ratified. An address to the people of South Carolina went 
out from this convention — also an address to the people of the 
United States — of all and several of the other members of the 
confederacy. All measures necessary for a state of perfect inde- 
pendence were taken, by acts of legislation ; an oath of allegiance 
was prescribed to all ofiicers, civil, military, and judicial ; and 
preparations were made for sustaining the state in this position by 
force of arms ! The whole continijent levies amounted to twelve 
thousand men. 

On the 10th of December, 1S32, the president of the United 
States issued his proclamation, denouncing this movement of South 
Carolina as treason, warning the people of that state of the con- 
sequences, and calling them back to duty and obedience. On the 
20th of December, ten days afterward. Governor Hayne, of South 
Carolina, issued a counter proclamation, enjoining obedience to 
the act of nullification. 

It was in this state of things, that the second session 


iwenty-second Congress was opened. The position of Mr. Cal- 
houn at this moment, as the leader — father of nullification — was 
peculiar. Having resigned the vice-presidency, in consequence 
of his feud with the president, he was again in the senate of the 
United States. Though the recognised leader of nullification, it 
does not appear, that he was so far technically implicated, as to 
constitute a ground of impeachment or indictment. 

It can not be denied, that President Jackson's proclamation 
was a fine opportunity — for he had both right and power on his 
side — to humble, perhaps cripple a formidable adversary, with 
whom he had recently picked a quarrel. But the effect of the 
proclamation on the public mind evinced, that it had been dictated 
more by personal feelings, than by that moderation and considerate 
policy, which best became the chief magistrate of the nation. 

In a private letter of Mr. Clay to Judge Brooke, dated Wash- 
ington, December 12, 1832, he says : — 

"You ask, what is to be done with nullification? I must 
refer you to the president's proclamation. One short week pro- 
duced the message and the proclamation — the former ultra on the 
side of state-rights — the latter ultra on the side of consolidation. 
How they are to be reconciled, I must leave to our Virginia friends. 
As to the proclamation, although there are good things in it, espe- 
cially what relates to the judiciary, there are some entirely too ul- 
tra for me, and which I can not stomach. A proclamation ought 
to have been issued weeks ago ; but I think it should have been a 
very different paper from the present, which, I apprehend, will ir- 
ritate, instead of allaying excited feeling. Congress has not been 
called upon, and I sincerely hope it may not be necessary to call 
upon it, in this unfortunate affair." 

It was not expected of General Jackson, that he would recede ; 
but it was sufficiently manifest, by the general dissatisfaction with 
this rash proceeding, that he would be obliged to make a shift. 
While, therefore, he maintained the appearance of occupying firmly, 
and with resolute purpose, the ground of the proclamation, he was 
concocting, and preparing to have introduced into the house of 
representatives, a new tariff bill, for the total destruction of the 
protective policy ! If, by this double game, he should not be able 
to kill two birds with one stone, he might at least hope to kill one, 
and clip the wings of the other. While the South Carolina defi- 
ance of federal authority, represented in the person of Andrew 
Jackson, was an additional provocation to his hatred of Mr. Cal- 
houn, in whom was represented the nullifying power, it might be 


some gratification to have scotched that snake, under an appear- 
ance of brave fight, if, after having done it, he could turn round 
and destroy his old and more formidable opponent. It is mani- 
fest, that these two cards were in General Jackson's hand ; nor 
is it less evident, that they were well played, though, fortunately 
for the country, the game did not entirely succeed. 

Was it to be supposed, that Mr. Clay, observing all this, and 
aware of his position and his responsibilities, would be asleep, 
or idle? He knew very well, that General Jackson was fright- 
ened at his own proclamation, and would be glad, if he could, with 
credit, to get out of the difficulty ; that the nation was averse to 
such a severe and perilous remedy, as a resort to arms, in a do- 
mestic controversy ; that any tolerable alternative proposed, would 
be more acceptable ; that General Jackson had all power in his 
hands ; and tha*t the new tariff bill, emanating from that quarter, 
in the garb of a peace-ofFering, without the offer of a substitute, 
would not only pass, but be the grave of the protective policy. 
It was no longer a question, in such circumstances, whether that 
policy could be saved entire ; it was impossible ; but, whether a 
part of it could be saved, and the principle be vindicated, till a 
more auspicious day should dawn upon the country. Such was 
the position, such the peril of the protective policy, at that mo- 

There was another difficulty to encounter. As a tariff bill is 
regarded as a revenue measure, and all legislation on this subject 
was understood as required by the constitution to originate in the 
house of representatives, it seemed at least irregular to make the 
first, or even a contemporaneous, movement in the senate. But 
in extraordinary emergencies, forms are sometimes dispensed with, 
by common consent ; and as the majority of each branch of Con- 
gress was yet unwilling to sacrifice the protective policy, the inde- 
pendent action of the senate might perhaps be connived at by the 
house, and afterward be adopted as its own. The administration 
measure, Mr. Verplanck's bill, had already been reported to the 
house, and was in progress, when Mr. Clay, February 11, 1333, 
gave notice in the senate, that he should the next day ask leave to 
introduce a bill to modify the various acts imposmg duties on im- 
ports. Mr. Clay, on this occasion, opened his remarks as fol- 
lows : — 

"I yesterdty, sir, gave notice that I should ask leave to intri>- 
duce a bill to n^-ii'V the various acts imposing duties on imports 


[ at the same time added, that I should, with the permission of 
the senate, offer an explanation of the principle on which that bill 
is founded. I owe, sir, an apology to the senate for this course 
of action, because, although strictly parliamentary, it is, neverthe- 
less, 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 inter- 
esting 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 such hum- 
ble powers as I may possess. It is sincerely my purpose to pre- 
sent a plain, unadorned, and naked statement of facts connected 
with the measure which I shall have the honor to propose, and 
with the condition of the country. When I survey, sir, the whole 
face of our country, I behold all around me evidences of the most 
gratifying prosperity, a prospect which would seem to be without 
a cloud upon it, were it not that through all parts of the country 
there exist great dissensions a/id unhappy distinctions, which, if 
they can possibly be relieved and reconciled by any broad scheme 
of legislation adapted to all interests, and regarding the feelings of 
all sections, ought to be quieted ; and leading to which object an} 
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 
object looks to the tariff. I am compelled to express the opin- 
ion, formed after tha 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 du- 
ring this session, it must fall at the next session. By what cir- 
cumstances, 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 impres- 
sions which my mind has received upon this point. Owing, how- 
ever, to a variety of concurrent causes, the tariff, as it now exists, 
is in imminent danger, and if the system 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 indi- 
viduals 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 can not contemplate any evil equal to the sudden overthrow of 
all those interests. History can produce no parallel to the extent 
of the mischief which would be produced by such a disaster. 


The repeal of the edict of Nantes itself was nothing in comparison 
with it. That condemned to exile and brought to ruin a great 
number of persons. The most respectable portion of the popu- 
lation of France was condemned to exile and ruin by that meas- 
ure. But, in my opinion, sir, the sudden repeal of the tariff pol- 
icy would bring ruin and destruction on the whole people of this 
country. There is no evil, in my opinion, equal to the conse- 
quences which would result from such a catastrophe." 

It would doubtless be unnessary to say, that the measure pro- 
posed by 'Mr. Clay on this occasion, has since been known as the 
COMPROMISE TARIFF ACT OF 1833. He saw, that, between Gen. 
Jackson on the one hand, and South Carolina nullification on the 
other, the system of protective policy, as established, was in im- 
minent peril — that it was in danger of utter annihilation. What 
could be done in such an emergency? The agitations of thp 
Missouri question, thirteen years previous, which seemed to give 
little hope for peace and the Union, had been hushed by a healing 
measure. No one supposed, when only a year before, the land 
question was thrust upon Mr. Clay for liie purpose of embarras- 
sing him, that he would come forth from the ordeal in soundness 
and vigor. He seemed to indulge apprehensions for himself. 
But the countenance of his opponents was covered with dismay, 
when he brought in his report and bill. It was impossible to as- 
sail it. It triumphed, though pending at thrs very moment, and 
was only strangled in General Jackson's pocket, by robbing the 
legislative branch of the government, of their rights. 

But there were difficulties in adjusting this compromise tariff, 
which seemed above any human power to surmount. The light- 
nings had already burst from the stormy cloud in the south, and 
the thunders were heard in the distance. The president of the 
U'nited States seemed not reluctant to embrace the opportunity to 
make peace with the angry blood he had stirred up by his pre- 
cipitancy and his too earnest endeavor to put Mr. Calhoun in a 
BAD EMINENCE — where traitors are put. He had killed him po- 
litically. That might satisfy. In the grave of the protective pol- 
icy, would perchance be buried its earliest advocate and constant 
defender. What objection to hav^e him also out of the way? 
Not that the policy was bad, but its advocate was obnoxious. 
How many things were to be considered in devl">ing a measure, 
that would pass safely through such an ordeal ! How could a cap- 
tive hope to run a gauntlet under a thousand uplifted tomahaw'cs. 


without being hit ! The strong and serried ranks of party were 
to be broken up ; friends were to be lost, and enemies won ; all 
were >o be taken by surprise, and carried by surprise — even the 
nresident himself; or rather, the majority were to be put in such 
a position, by the suitableness and fairness of the proposal, that 
they could not object to it ; and it must be of a character, too, 
from which the executive could not escape. And such it proved 
to be. 

The bill was denominated, " An act to modify the act of the four- 
teenth of July, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, and aK 
other acts imposing duties on imports," and was in substance as 
follows : That, on the 31st of December, 1833, all ad-valorem 
duties of more than 20 per cent., shall be roduced one tenth ; on 
the 31st of December, 18-35, there shall be another reduction of 
one tenth on duties of the same class ; another equal reduction, 
on the same class and same principle, the 31st of December, 
1837 ; another oo., do., December 31, 1839 ; on the 31st of De- 
cember, 1841, one half of the residue of such excess, to be taken 
off; and from and after the 31st of June, 1842, the remaining 
half of such excess to be taken off, leaving a maximum of 20 
per cent. 

Two principles of great practical importance were introduced 
ii:to this bill, to take effect from and after the 31st of June, 1842, 
firet the abolition of credit for duties ; and next, home valuation, 
or the assessment of the value of imports at the ports of entry. 
By the first, foreign factors would be prevented from flooding and 
glutting the American market by speculation, without being 
obliged to pay duties till the goods were sold. This evil had 
proved to be of immense magnitude. By the second, the power 
of assessing value, in other words of legislating in the case, as to 
the amount of duties, would be taken from foreign governments 
and foreign factors, and restored to the rightful authority, the gov- 
ernment of the United States. When imports are graduated by 
the export value, in foreign countries, frauds, on an immense 
scale, are practised, first by the operation of the policy of foreign 
governments, and next, by false invoices and perjury of foreign 
factors, thereby defrauding the American government, American 
manufacturers, and injuring American merchants. 

On this subject of home valuation, Mr. Clay, in his speech in 
the senate, of March 1, 1842, on a general project ot national 
noHcy, which he then submitted, says : — 


" As things now stand, we lay the duty, but foreignerii fix the 
value of the goods. Give me but the power of fixing the value 
of the goods, and I care little, in comparison, what may be the 
rate of duty you impose. It is evident that on the ad-valorem 
principle, it is the foreigner who vij-tually fixes the actual amount 
of the duty paid. It is the foreigner who, by fixing that value, 
virtually legislates for us — and that in a case where his interest is 
directly opposed to that of our revenue. I say, therefore, that in- 
dependently of all considerations of protection, independently of 
all ends or motives but the prevention of those infamous frauds 
which have been the disgrace of our customhouse — frauds in 
which the foreigner, with his double and triple and quadruple in- 
voices, ready to be produced as circumstances may require, fixes 
the value of the merchandise taxed — every consideration of na- 
tional dignity, justice, and independence, demands the substitution 
of home valuation in the place of foreign." 

There were sundry details of this bill in qualifying clauses, ex- 
ceptions, contingencies, special regulations for specified articles, 
within the range of the leading rules of the act for the reduction 
of duties; and the door was left open for alterations and amend- 
ments of the act in i3articular items, not inconsistent widi the ina-. 
,»lied faith of the measure, and in the contingency either of excess 
or deficiency of revenue — one of the recognised and avowed ob- 
jects of the bill, on the general principle, being to raise such a 
revenue as might be necessary to an economical administration of 
the government. 

But Mr. Clay himself had occasion to explain this bill as late 
as 1842, when he introduced his resolutions of general policy, 
above referred to, as follows : — 

" But it is necessary now to consider what the principles of the 
compromise act really are. 

" The first principle is, that there should be a fixed rate of ad- 
valorem duty, and discriminations below it. 

" Second, that the excess of duty beyond twenty per centum 
should, by a gradual process, commencing on the thirty-jfirst of 
December, 1833, be reduced, so that by the thirtieth of June, 
1842, it should be brought down to twenty per centum. 

" Third, that after that day, such duties should be laid for the 
purpose of raising such revenue as might be necessary for an eco- 
nomical administration of the government ; consequently exclu- 
rling all resort to internal taxation, or to the proceeds of the pub- 
lic lands. For, contemporaneously with the pendency of the com-i 
promise act, a bill was pending for the distribution of those pro-'! 
oeeds ' 


j xi " Fourth, that after the thirtieth of June, 1842, all duties 
' should be paid in ready money, to the exclusion of all credits. 
"Fifth, that, after the same day, the assessment of the value of 
all imports should be made at home and not abroad. 

" Sixth, that after the same day, a list of articles specified and 
enumerated in the act, should be admitted free of duty, for the 
benefit of the manufacturing interest. 

" These are the principles, and all the principles of the com- 
promise act. An impression has been taken up most erroneously, 
that the rate of duty was never to exceed twenty per centum. 
There is no such limitation in the act. I admit that, at the time 
of the passage of the act, a hope was entertained that a rate of 
duty not exceeding twenty per centum would supply an adequate 
revenue to an economical administration of the government. Then 
I we were threatened with that overflow of revenue with which the 
treasury was subsequently inundated ; and the difficulty was to 
find articles which should be liberated from duty and thrown into 
the free class. Hence, wines, silks, and other luxuries, were ren- 
dered free. But neither the act, nor any part of the act, when 
fairly interpreted, limits Congress to the iron rule of adhering for 
ever, and under all circumstances, to a fixed and unalterable rate 
af twenty-per-centum duty." 

It would be impossible for any one to examine, if he could un- 
derstand, this bill, in all its relations and bearings to so many inter- 
ests, sectional and other, and in its adaptation to the critical con- 
dition of the country at that moment, and not be struck with 
admiration, not less of the consummate statesmanship which it 
demonstrates, than of its impartial kindness toward all parties, and 
of that comprehensive, lofty, disinterested patriotism, which Mr. 
Clay has so often displayed in great and critical emergencies— 
which never fails him when his country calls. 

The very proposal of the bill was a triumph, which everybody 
saw, and which its author no doubt felt with satisfaction. But it 
had its difficulties to encounter. Friends were disturbed, and in 
danger of going off into opposition to it. Some did. But what 
was lost on that side, was more than made up by the yielding of 
opponents. The various, and somewhat complicated aspects of 
the measure, burst upon the senate, upon Congress, upon tho 
country, like the sudden advent of a stranger, whose character, 
standing, and mien, claimed universal attention and respect. 
There were many who could not comprehend it, some were vexed, 
all admired. Mr. Verplanck's bill, put forward, if not at the insti- 
gation, at least with the sanction of the president, and which struck 

Vol. II.— 15 


at the roots of the protective poHcy, having been for six weeks 
under consideration in the house — it was reported the 2Sth of 
December — could not escape comparison with that proposed by 
Mr. Clay, and was instantly lowered to the condition of being in 
poor request. It was dead the moment this new-born child began 
to breathe. 

But, to the difficulties. They were not inconsiderable. All 
had been anticipated, and all, as far as possible, were provided 
against in the bill. But the dissatisfactions must have vent, and 
the objections must be answered. When INIr. Clay introduced the 
bill, before objections had been heard, his chief duty was to ex- 
plain it. On that occasion he said: — 

" What, sir, are the complaints which unhappily divide the peo- 
ple of this great country'? On the one hand it is said, by those 
who are opposed to the tariff, that it unjustly taxes a portion of the 
people, and paralyzes their industry ; that it is to be a perpetual 
operation; that there is to be 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 support the tariff"? 
It is, that the policy of the government is vacillating and uncer- 
tain, and that there is no stability in our legislation. Before one 
set of books is 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. Before the present law has gone into opera- 
tion — 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 ef- 
fects, and even before it commences its operations — we are re- 
quired to repeal it. On one side we are urged to repeal a system 
which is fraught with ruin ; on the other side, the check now im- 
posed on enterprise, and the state of alarm in which the public 
mind has been thrown, renders all prudent men desirous, looking 
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 practica- 
ble, both parties — to increase the stability of our legislation, and 
at some distant day — but not too distant — when we take into view 
the magnitude 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 for a length cf time, which, compared 


with the length of human Hfe, is very long, biu which is short, in 
proportion to the legitimate discretion 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." 

The difficulties of Mr. Clay's position, in the proposal of the 
compromise bill, were numerous and peculiar. In the first place, 
it was a great responsibility to step forward boldly and alone, with 
a measure in hand, to plant himself in the centre of such conflict- 
ing elements, to oppose their rage, and allay the storm. There 
was the president on the one hand, who had lately killed the bank, 
suppressed the land bill, and who, at this moment, was meditating 
the act of seizing on the public purse. His hostility to the tariff 
was fully revealed ; and his own measure to destroy protection was 
already in the house of representatives, in the form of a bill making 
progress, with every prospect of success, if not that session, at the 
next. His proclamation to suppress nullification by force of arms, 
if necessary, was before the world. 

Not the least of the difficulties was to bring forward a proposal 
that should satisfy the advocates of protection, if it aimed at the 
same time to disarm the hostile attitude of the president toward 
that policy, and the discontents of the south. The project seemed 
a miracle, and that wing of both houses of Congress, which repre- 
sented the manufacturing districts of the country, was predisposed 
to be alarmed, and to take a stand against it at once, as necessarily 
vvrons;, and destructive of the interests of their constituents. 

In the midst of these warring elements, Mr. Clay was obliged to 
take up his stand, first, to turn away their blows from each other, 
and next, as far as possible, to ward them from hghting down on 
his own head. It was inevitably a risk to himself, while it pre- 
sented only a slender hope of effecting a conciliation. 

The following are some of Mr. Clay's remarks on the different 
modes of protection : — 

" First, the absolute prohibition of rival foreign articles which 
is totally unattempted by the bill ; but it is competent to the wis- 
dom 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 naid so much less of the debt. Sometimes we 


have to trench on the sinking fund. Now we have no public deb< 
to absorb the surphis revenue, and no motive for continuing the 
duties. No man can look at the condition of the country, and sav 
that we can carry on this system with accumulating revenue, and 
no practical way of expending it. The third mode was attempted 
last session, in a resolution which I had the honor to submit last 
year, and which in fact ultimately formed the basis of the act which 
finally passed both houses. 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 I regret most deeply that the greater part of the 
country will not suffer this principle to prevail. It ought to prevail ; 
and the day, in my opinion, will come, when it will be adopted as 
the permanent policy of the country. Shall we legislate for our 
own wants or those of a foreign country? To protect our own 
interests in opposition to foreign legislation was the basis of this 
system. The fourth mode in which protection can be afforded to 
domestic industry, is to admit free of duty every article which aided 
he operations of the manufacturers. These are the four modes 
for protecting our industry; and to those who say that the bill 
abandons the power of protection, I reply, that it does not touch 
that power ; and that the fourth mode, so far from being abandoned, 
is extended and upheld by the bill. The most that can be ob- 
jected to the bill by those with whom I co-operate to support the 
protective system, is, that, in consideration of nine and a half years 
of peace, certainty, and stability, the manufacturers relinquished 
some advantages which they now enjoy. What is the principle 
which has always been contended for in this and in the other 
house? After the accumulation of capital and skill, the manufac- 
turers will stand alone, unaided by the government, in competition 
with the imported articles from any quarter. Now give us time ; 
cease all fluctuations and agitations, for nine years, and the manu- 
facturers in every branch will sustain 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 fate next session, the coun- 
try 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 not in this 
perpetual turmoil. Let us have peace, and become once more 
united as a band of brothers. * * * The confederacy is an 
excellent contrivance, but it must be managed with delicacy and 
skill. There are an infinite variety of prejudices and local inter- 
ests to be regarded, but all should be made to yield to the Union." 
Again : "If the system proposed can not be continued, let us try 
some intermediate system, before we think of any other dreadful al- 
ternative. Sir, it will be said, on the other hand — for the objections 


are made by the friends of protection, principally — that the time i» 
too long ; that the intermediate reductions are too inconsiderable 
and that there is no guaranty that, at the end of the time stipulated 
the reduction proposed would be allowed to take effect. In the 
first place should be recollected the diversified interests of the coun- 
try ; the measures of the government which preceded the establish 
ment of manufactures ; the public faith in some degree pledged for 
their security ; and the 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 maintained that the public faith is pledged for 
the protection of manufactures ; but there are other pledges which 
men of honor are bound by, besides those of which the law can 
take cognizance." 

It is clear that the compromise was no otherwise unalterable, 
than that, in common good faith, it should not be essentially dis- 
turbed within its own limits as to time, except for cause which might 
gain the assent of the party that would naturally object. The will 
and discretion of the legislature would of course remain as free as 
ever, on this subject, as well as on others. But men of honor 
would not violate an understanding, effected by a mutual concession 
of dissentients, whereby a controversy, alike dangerous to all par- 
ties, had been adjusted. No doubt there were a great deal of fkith 
and weighty consequent moral obligations, embodied in the com- 
promise ; but its own terms prescribed the modes in which, and 
specified the contingencies on which, a most satisfactory freedom 
might be exercised. It is true, indeed, that this understanding was 
afterward broken, and that attempts were made to disappoint it ut- 
terly — not, however, by Mr. Clay or his friends. It was broken 
instantly by the president, in withholding the land bill, and return- 
ing it with his objections to the next Congress. The provisions 
of that bill were a part of the understanding — an essential part, 
without which the compromise could not be fairly sustained toward 
all parties ; and if there had been any doubt of its receiving the 
sanction of the president, who had himself in substance recom- 
mended it, it would have been incorporated with the compromise 
act, and passed. During its entire term, it was the subject of con- 
stant attack, and was materially impaired, in its bearings on protec- 
tion, to abate it, by the agents in whose hands its administration was 
mtrusted. The beneficence of the measure, therefore, was in a 
great measure defeated, for want of good faith in the parties tc the 

But it was impossible to shield the great interests of the country 


ao-ainst the potent assaults made upon them by the administration 
of the government, for a protracted period, in the demoHtion of the 
currency system, in the suppression of the land bill, in the removal 
of the deposites, in such unscrupulous violations of the compromise 
law, and in various other like modes of action in the federal author- 
ities. A man, in the position of Mr. Clay, all this while, might 
risk, as he often did — might even sacrifice himself, as he was al- 
ways ready to do — but he could not save the country. The over- 
whelming waters had burst all barriers, and must spread themselves 
out, to be absorbed in the earth, in the sea, and in the air. 

But the principle of protection was rescued by the compromise, 
to be reincorporated, as it finally was, in the tariff act of 1S42. It 
is no less true, that a degree of protection, adequate for the most 
important interests of the country, was secured by the compromise 
act, if it had been faithfully carried out, and if hostile measures, 
such as those mentioned above, and others, had not been intro- 
duced, to circumvent its beneficent purposes — beneficent to the full 
extent that was practicable in existing circumstances. He who 
prevents an overwhelming flood of evil, of calamity, impending 
the community, is no less a public benefactor, than he who secures 
the same amount of positive good — he does, in fact, by that very 
act, secure positive good, that was threatened with annihilation. 

For those who contended, that protection was abandoned by the 
compromise bill, it was sufficient to reply, that they could not pos- 
sibly maintain, that it was more than suspended. The power was 
in the constitution, as none could deny. The history of that in- 
strument shows, that protection w'as the chief object of its adoption. 
If there were sufficient reasons for suspending the use of that power 
for a season, no reasonable man could say, like Mr. Secretary Ta- 
ney, in the removal of the deposites, that, having the power, they 
were bound to "ea-ercwe" it. Every power of the constitution is 
conferred to be used, or not used, at discretion, and some of them 
have lain dormant to this day. But no one, for that reason, can 
truly say, they are not there, or that they may not be used when 
occasion requires. 

But protection was not abandoned by the compromise, as the 
ferms of the law demonstrate. The scale of diminishing duties 
was designed for protection, present and future — present, in that 
the duties were not to be reduced at once, without some time to 
prepare for it ; and future, in that the reduction was to be gradual, 
and therefore easy, and therefore tolerable, and therefore it wai 


prolectioi:. As s. compromise, which supposes mutual concession 
and sacrifice, all that might be desired by either party, could not 
be expected. The recognition of the principle of protection was 
stamped on every feature of the bill, and pervaded its structure 
It was hoped it would afford sufficient protection — and there is 
reason to suppose that this hope would have been very satisfacto- 
rily realized, if the law had not been undermined and violated in 
the manner already noticed. Who can provide against vice of 
administration, when the executive power is absolute, and will not 
respect either law or principle ? 

Mr. Clay confessed, that the attitude taken by South Carolina, 
in her nullifying ordinance, had made him pause, and that he had 
" felt a disposition to hurl defiance back again, and to impress upon 
her the necessity of the performance of her duty as a member of 
the Union." But more recent intelligence had softened this feel- 
ing. The first of February had passed, and the execution of her 
ordinance had been postponed to the fourth of March, and he did 
not doubt that it would be indefinitely postponed. Her hostile 
array had already melted down into the declaration of a purpose 
to try an experiment in the courts of law, as Ohio and Virginia 
had done before, and both had failed. It was true, that South Car- 
olina was most offensive in the mode she had chosen to adopt. 

But Mr. Clay had another and very weighty reason for acting on 
this measure without delay : " I would repeat," he said, " that, un- 
der all the circumstances of the case, the condition of South Car- 
olina 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 country." 
This " combination," for the utter subversion of the protective 
policy, has already been noticed. 

In the conclusion of his speech on the introduction of the bill, 
Mr. Clay said : — 

" South Carolina must perceive the embarrassments of her sit- 
uation. She must be desirous — it is unnatural to suppose that she 
is not — to remain in the Union. What ! a state whose heroes in 
its gallant ancestry fought so many glorious battles along with the 
other states of this Union — a state with which this confederacy is 
linked by bonds of such a powerful character ! I have sometimes 
*ancied 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 conse- 
quence ? She is an independent power. What then does she do f 


She must have armies and fleets, and an expensive government, 
have foreign missions ; 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 have no force, no navy to protect her, she would be 
exposed to piratical incursions. 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 conse- 
quence, an inevitable one : she has a certain description of persons 
recognised as property south of the Potomac, and west of the 
Mississippi, which would be no longer recognised as such, except 
within their own limits. This species of property would sink to 
one half of its present value, for it is Louisiana and the southwestern 
states which are her great market. 

" If there be 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 foreign, no 
human sight is competent to foresee when, or how, or where it is 
to terminate. But when a civil war shall be lighted up in the bo- 
som of our own happy land, and armies are march-ing, and com- 
manders are winning 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 our institutions be left ? In what state our lib- 
erties? I want no war ; above all, no war at home. 

" Sir, I repeat, that I think South Carolina has been rash, in- 
temperate, 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 con- 
■ederacy which constitutes our political sun ; still less do I wish to 
see it blotted out, and its light obliterated for ever. Has not the 
state of South Carolina been one of the members of this Union 
in ' days that tried men's souls?' Have not her ancestors fought 
slongside our ancestors ? 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 terminate ? Whenever it should have 
terminated, what would be her condition ? If she should ev&r 
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 posterity will mingle with hers, for ages 
and centuries to come, in the united defence of liberty, and for the 
nonor and glory of the Union. I do not wish to see her degraded 
or defaced as a member of this confederacy. 


" In conclusion, allow me to entreat and implore each individual 
member of this body to bring into the consideration of this meas- 
ure, 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 cf 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 suppress, for one moment, 
party feelings and party causes — and, as I stand here before my 
God, I declare I have looked beyond these 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 consideration of this bill, and heal, 
before they are yet bleeding, the wounds of our distracted country." 

The following extract from a private letter of Mr. Clay to Judge 
Brooke, of February 14th, 1833, is applicable here: — 

" I had foreborne to communicate to you the plan of accommo- 
dation which I intended to submit, because, although I had long 
since settled in my miad the principle of the plan, I had not finally 
arranged the details. That work was only completed a few days 
ago. You will see in the papers, that I have presented it to the 
senate in the shape of a bill. I was fully aware of all the personal 
consequences, and personal risks, to which I exposed myself. 
The measure has been well received. Still, every contrivance 
will be resorted to by the Van Buren men, and by some of the 
administration party, to frustrate or defeat the project. That, you 
Know^, I anticipated. What will be the final issue of the plan, I 
can not certainly say. I hope for success." 

That there should have been loss and gain in the compromise, 
resulted from the nature of the measure : it ivas a compromise. 
But the design and tendency of the act, by a faithful execution, 
was, that this loss and gain should be distributed among citizens 
of the same great republic. It was based on a principle that lies 
at the foundation of the government and institutions of the country, 
viz., mutual concession for general good — a principle, "which," as 
Mr. Clay said, on that occasion, " gave birth to the constitution 
itself, and which has continued to regulate us in our onward march, 
and conducted the nation to glory and renown. If the measure 
should be carried by the common consent of both parties, we shall 
have all security ; history will faithfully record the transaction ; 
narrate under what circumstances the bill passed ; that it was a 
pacifying measure ; that it was as oil poured from tbe vessel of thb 
Union, to restore peace and harmony to the country." 




Mr. Clay's Reply to Objections. — The Perilous Position of the Protective PcUct 
at the Moment. — Triumph of the Compromise. — Its Immediate Effect. — The 
Compromise Act not carried out by General Jackson. — Partially Defeated by 
Strangling the Land Bill. — Mr. Clay's later Statements on the Subject. — His 
Reply to Mr. Calhoun, in 1840.— The Grand Result.— Hon. John M. Clayton's 
Account of the Compromise Debate. — Mr. Dallas's Motion in the Senate, and 
Mr. Polk's Statement in Tennessee. — Letter from Mr. Clav to the Hon. John 
M. Clayton. — Mr. Clay, and Mr. Randolph. 

On the 25th of February, 1833, about two weeks after the in- 
troduction of the compromise tariff bill, Mr. Clay rose to reply to 
some objections it had encountered. Inasmuch as there were dif- 
ferences of opinion among his political friends at the time, and in- 
asmuch as it has to some extent been a subject of debate from that 
time to the present, it seems obviously proper to introduce here the 
substance of his reasoning after the objections had been stated : — 

" I have long, with pleasure and pride, co-operated in the pub- 
lic service with the senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Webster], 
and I have found him faithful, enlightened, and patriotic. I have 
not a particle of doubt as to the pure and elevated motives which 
actuate him. Under these circumstances, it gives me deep and 
/asting 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 find- 
ing myself, on this occasion, in the midst of friends with whom I 
have long acted, in peace and in war, and especially with the hon- 
orable 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 com 
promise of the Missouri question was .effected. Then the dark 
clouds that hung over our beloved count&y were dispersed ; and 
now the thunders from others, not less threatening, and which have 
been longer accumulating, will, I hope, roll over us harmless and 
without injury. 


'' The senator from Massachusetts objects to the bill under con- 
sideration, on various grounds. He argues, that it imposes unjus- 
lifiable restra nts on the power of fut.ure legislation ; that it aban- 
dons the protective policy, and that the details of the bill are 
practically defective. 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 admits, in conformity with numerous precedents 
on our statute-book. He does not object so 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 will then find itself under inconvenient 
shackles, imposed by our indiscretion. In the first place, I would 
remark, that the bill contains no obligatory pledg-es — it could 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 
discretion, applied to the state of the whole country, and estimating 
fairly the consequences of the repeal, both upon the general har- 
mony and the common interests. Then the bill is founded in a 
spirit of compromise. Now, in all compromises there must be 
mutual concessions. 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 not 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 accomplished. 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 be- 
yond that period, including the chance of war, the restoration of 
concord, and along with it a conviction common to all, of the util- 
ity of protection ; and in consideration of it, if, in 1842, of 
these contingences shall have been realized, we are willing to sub- 
mit, as long as Congress may think proper, to a maximum rate of 
twenty per centum, with the power of discrimination below t, cash 
duties, home valuations, and a liberal list of free articles for the 
benefit of the manufacturing interest. To these condiri ns the 
opponents of protection are ready to accede. The megure is 
what it professes to be, a compromise ; but it imposes, ai d could 
impose, no restriction upon the will or power of a future Congress. 
Doubtless great respect will be paid, as it ought to be p&i 1, to the 
serious condition of the country that has prompted the jv^sage of 


this bill. 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 far from the object of those who support this bill, to 
abandon or surrender the policy of protecting American industry. 
Its protection or encouragement may be accomplished in various 
^•ays — first, by bounties, as far as they are within the constitutional 
power of Congress to offer them ; second, by prohibitions, totally 
excluding the foreign rival article ; third, by high duties, without 
regard to the aggregate amount of revenue which they produce ; 
fourth, by discriminating duties, so adjusted as to limit the revenue 
to the economical wants of government : and, fifth, by the admis- 
sion of the raw material, and articles essential to manufactures, 
free of duty ; to w^hich may be added, cash duties, home valua- 
tions, and the regulation of auctions. A perfect system of {Wotec- 
tion would comprehend most, if not all these modes of affording it. 
There might be at this time a prohibition of certain articles (ardent 
spirits and coarse cottons, for example) to pr.-l)lic advantage. If 
there were not inveterate prejudices and conflicting opinions pre- 
vailing (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 
surrenders the protective policy, gentlemen should understand per- 
fectly 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 pledge whatever, express or implied, as to bounties, 
prohibitions, or auctions; it does not touch the power of Congress 
in regard to them, arwl Congress is perfectly free to exercise that 
power at any time ; it expressly recognises 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 manufacturing 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 fron) Mas- 
sachusetts contends that the policy of protection was settled in 
IS16, and that it has ever since been maintained. Sir, it was set- 
tled long before 1816. It is coeval with the present consthution, 
and it will continue, under some of its various aspects, during the 
existence of the government. No nation can exist, no nation per- 
haps ever existed, without protection in some form, and to some 
extent, being applied to its own industry. The direct and neces- 
sary conseauence of abandoning the protection of its own industry, 
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, 
and the safety of the republic, may require the modification ot a 


epecific mode of protection, but it must be preserved in some other 
more accepti.ble shape. 

" All that was settled in 1816, in 1824, and in 1828, was, that 
protection should be afforded by high duties, without regard, to the 
amount of the revenue which they might yield. During that whole 
period, we had a public debt which absorbed all the surpluses 
oeyond the ordinary wants of government. Between 1816 and 
1824, the revenue was liable to the greatest fluctuations, 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 was 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 
s«t apart as a sinking fund, to extinguish 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 unsettles that spe- 
cific form of protection. Nobody supposes, or proposes, that we 
should continue to levy, by means of high duties, a large annual 
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 du- 
ties, and with the other sources of revenue, at six millions annu- 
ally. An annual accumulation at that rate, would, in a few years, 
bring into the treasury the whole currency of the country, to lie 
there inactive and dormant. 

" This view of the condition of the country has impressed every 
public man with the necessity of some modification of the princi- 
ples of protection, so far as it depends upon high duties. The 
senator from Massachusetts feels it ; and hence, in the resolutions 
which he submitted, he proposes to reduce the duties, so as to limit 
the amount of the revenue to the wants of the government. With 
him revenue is the principal, protection the subordinate object. If 
protection can not be enjoyed after such a reduction of duties as 
he thinks ought to be made, it is not to be extended. He says, 
specific duties and the power of discrimination, are preserved by 
his resolutions. So they may be under the. o;ieration of the bill. 
The only difference between the two schemes is, that the bill, in 
the maximum which it provides, suggests a certain limit, while his 
resolutions lay down none. Below that maximum, the principle 
of discrimination 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 


•he revenue standard in five or six years. Now, Mr. President, I 
prefer, and I think the manufacturing interest will prefer, nine 
years of adequate protection, home valuations, and twenty per 
centu-m, to the plan of the senator from Pennsylvania. 

" Mr. President, I want to be perfectly understood as to the 
motives which have prompted me to offer this measure. I repeat 
H'hat I said on the introduction of it, that they are, first, to preserve 
the manufacturing interest, and, secondly, to quiet the country. I 
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 next. I heard with surprise, my friend from 
Massachusetts say, that nothing had occurred within the last six 
months to increase its hazard. I entreat him to review that opin- 
ion. Is it correct? Is the issue of numerous elections, includino; 
that of the highest officer of the government, nothing? Is the 
explicit recommendation of that officer, in his message, at the 
opening of the session, sustained, as he is, by a recent triumphant 
election, nothing? Is his declaration in his proclamation, that the 
burdens of the south ought to be relieved, nothing ? Is the intro- 
duction of a bill into the house of representatives, during this ses- 
sion, sanctioned by the head of the treasury and the administration, 
prostrating the greater part of the manufactures of the country, 
nothing? Are the increasing discontents, nothing? Is the ten- 
dency of recent events to unite the whole south, nothing? What 
have we not witnessed in this chamber? Friends of the adminis- 
tration, bursting all the ties which seemed indissolubly to unite 
them to its chief, and, with few exceptions south of the Potomac, 
opposing, and vehemently opposing, a favorite measure of that 
administration, which three short months ago they contributed to 
establish ? Let us not deceive ourselves. Now is the time to ad- 
just 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 with the entire south. 


" I have been represented as the father of this system, and I am 
charged with an unnatural abandonment of my own offspring. I 
have never arrogated 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, wheie it may grow and 
strengthen, and become acceptable to the whole people. I behold 
a torch about being applied to a favorite edifice, and I would save 
it if possible before it is wrapt in flames, or at least preserve the 
precious furniture which it contains. I wish to see the tariff sep 


arated 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 issue of elections, as it 
were on the hazards of the die." 

It can not but be seen, that it is due to let Mr. Clay speak for 
himself on a subject of such moment at the time, and in which his 
reputation is so much concerned ; for, to this day, there are some, 
among his political friends, who seem not to be fully convinced, 
that his course in bringing forward that great measure, and in avail- 
ing himself of his influence to secure its adoption, was wise and 
beneficial. Such persons might well be asked, in all the hght which 
time and events have cast upon the subject, what better could he 
have done ? If this question could not easily be answered now, 
it is, doubtless, a very strong vindication of Mr. Clay. For, he 
who did best, having no other guide than future contingencies, ari- 
sing out of the probabilities of the present, as determined by that 
future when surveyed as past, has realized the highest possible 
sanction of his conduct. There was also a very high sanction at 
the time in the approval of the great majority of the American peo- 
ple of all parties. Although it took the nation by surprise, yet, 
when the people had time to reflect upon it, Mr. Clay was triumph- 
antly sustained. These impressions on the common sense of the 
people are of great weight as evidence. In Mr. Clay's eastern 
tour, in the autumn of 1833, it will be found, that nothing in his 
whole history so much recommended him to the gratitude of the 
people as this measure — that everywhere it was the constant theme 
of enthusiastic praise among all classes. This, as can not be de- 
nied, is a strong test. It also continued to be the subject of popu 
lar approbation, and has never ceased to be so, down to this time, 
under all the calamities through which the country has been doomed 
to pass. That same good sense which at first discovered the pro- 
priety, expediency, wisdom, and beneficence of the measure, was 
able to discern the causes in the administration of tiie government, 
and in the hostile measures of the national executive, which barred 
the best eff"ects of the compromise law, and subverted its designs. 
The people did not, for such reasons, undervalue the services of 
Mr. Clay in originating the bill, and securing its adoption. They 
saw that the country had been saved from civil war ; that every- 
thing had been done that could be done, in such circumstances, 
to rescue the protective system from hostile hands ; that a favora- 
ble lease had been procured for it ; that the compromise law had 


very important conservative powers in it ; and that the high rega) 
prerogatives employed by General Jackson to disappoint its design, 
b^- violating its terms, by suppressing the land bill, breaking down 
the currency, and in various other ways, were the cause of all the 
evil that came upon the country, notwithstanding the existence of 
this beneficent measure. Mr. Clay, apparently, never lost any of 
the credit that was due to him for his efforts on that occasion, and 
for their immediate result. 

That they who first opposed the measure, should still pretend 
to be as wise as they supposed they were then, is not perhaps 
very strange. Pride of opinion is a powerful principle, and men, 
especially statesmen, are usually reluctant to admit they have been 
in error. It was a risk of this kind, to wit, the probabihty of being 
obliged to encounter the opposition of friends, which Mr. Clay 
knew and predicted would be his misfortune, in bringing forward 
the compromise. It has, however, stood the test of time, and 
been sustained by the public voice, notwithstanding all the disad- 
vantages it had to contend with, from the temper and course of the 
administration, during the term for which it was enacted. 

Mr. Clay was no doubt much influenced by some significant 
symptoms of the time. He indeed confessed it openly in the sen- 
ate. The elections of 1S32 were regarded as sufficient to sustain 
General Jackson in anything he should please to do. He had 
proclaimed war against nullification, and would doubtless have per- 
sisted in subduing it; but he at the same time acliuowledged that 
the south had been wronged, and that its wrongs ought to be re- 
dressed. Though South Carolina was alone in its ultra measures, 
she was sustained by a general sympathy in that quarter of the 
Union. Even the Old Dominion was ready to make common 
cause in a legitimate war on the tariff, and had deputed one of her 
most distinguished citizens to a conference with the authorities of 
South Carolina, with instructions to advise that state to suspend 
her opposition to the federal laws, no doubt with the understanding, 
that Virginia would join her in all lawful measures of opposition to 
the protective policy. Such was the general feeling of the south. 
It is remarkable also, that, in the zenith of General Jackson's pop- 
ularity, this sympathy seemed to be extending itself over the Union, 
even in the north and east. The president would probably have 
s-ucceeded, if driven to it, in putting down South Carolina by force, 
riiough it was an alternative of fearful import, if not of doubtful 
issue. But in that event, the atonement must in some measure 


correspond with the severity of the course ; and having clearly in^ 
timated, in his official communications to Congress and to the pub- 
lic, that the wrongs which the south complained of, ought to be 
redressed, it is not to be supposed, that anything less than a com- 
plete prostration of the protective system would have followed — a 
prostration from which it could hardly, if it could ever, recover. 
When would the nation be willing to re-enact a system of policy, 
which had cost a civil war ? A sore spot it must have remained 
for ever. The evidence was abundant, that the tariff, as a protective 
measure, could not hve another year, if left in the hands of the ad- 
ministration, and the nullifiers preferred to settle their difficulties 
with the friends of protection, rather than with General Jackson. 

Are not such reasons of great force ? It is evident that Mr. 
Clay felt, for he uttered them. Actuated by such powerful con- 
siderations, he almost plunged into the fire, to save a doomed vic- 
tim. He at least risked much, and lost much — lost for the occa- 
sion, friends whom he loved, in bringing to his side heartless 
opponents, who, as soon as they found their own necks safe, would 
seek the first opportunity to turn against him ; and so they did. 
All this he foresaw — knew ; and yet he did not pause. The pro- 
tective system, the country, demanded the risk, and, if need be, 
the sacrifice. 

But, said Mr. Clay : — 

" The objections of the honorable senator from Massachu- 
setts are principally directed to the period 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 thirty-first of Decem- 
ber, 1841, were permanent ; or if the bill were even silent beyond 
that period, it would command the cordial and unanimous concur- 
rence of the friends of the policy. What then divides, what alarms 
us ? It is what may possibly be the state of things in the year one 
thousand eight hundred and forty-two, or subsequently ! Now, 
sir, even if that should be as bad as the most vivid imagination, ojr 
the most eloquent tongue could depict it, if we have intermediate 
safety and security, it does not seem to me wise to rush upon cer- 
tain and present evils, because of those which, admitting their pos- 
sibility, are very remote and contingent. What ! shall we not 
extinguish the flame which is bursting through the roof that covers 
us, because, at some future and distant day, we may be again 
threatened with conflagration ? 

" I do not admit that this bill abandons or fails, by its provisions, 
Vol. II.— 16 


to secure reasonable protection beyond 1S42. I can not know, I 
pretend not to know, what will then be the actual condition of this 
country, and of the manufacturing arts, and their relative condition 
to the rest of the world. I would as soon confide in the forecast 
of the honorable senator from Massachusetts, as in that of any other 
man in this senate, or in this country ; but neither he, nor any one 
else, can tell what that condition will then be. The degree of 
protection which will be required for domestic industry beyond 
1S42, depends upon the reduction of wages, the accumulation of 
capital, the improvement in skill, the protection of machinery, and 
the cheapening of the price, at home, of essential articles, such as 
fuel, iron, and so forth. I do not think that the honorable senator 
can throw himself forward to 1842, and tell us what, in all these 
particulars, will be the state of this country, and its relative state 
to other countries. We know that, in all human probability, our 
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 augmented, our skill 
improved ; and we know that great progress has been made, and 
is making, in machinery. * There is a constant tendency to de- 
crease 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 cooking, will have 
great effect. 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 cot- 
ton interest ; and that house is strongly inclined to think that twenty 
per centum, 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 far 
from desiring them, that our country may profit by their occurrence. 
Her greatness and glory rest, I hope, upon a more solid and more 
generous basis. But we can not shut our eyes to the fact, that 
our greatest manufacturing, as well as commercial competitor, is 
undergoing a momentous political experiment, 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 toward 
us in the manufacturing arts? 

" Suppose, in the progress of gradual descent toward the revenue 
standard for which this bill provides, it should some years hence 
become evident that further protection, beyond 1842, than that 
which it contemplates may be necessary, can it be doubted that 
in some form or other, it will be applied? Our misfortune has 
been, and yet is, that the public mind has been constantly kept in 
a state of feverish excitement, in respect to this system of policy. 
Conventions, elections, Congress, the public press, have been for 


jears all acting upon the tariff, and the tariff acting upon them all. 
Prejudices have been excited, passions kindled, and mutual irrita- 
tions carried to the highest pitch of exasperadon, insomuch that 
good feelings have been almost extinguished, and the voice of 
reason and experience silenced, among the members of the confed- 
eracy. 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 demonstrate 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 tranquillity, 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 restoraUon 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 disposition 
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 1S42. 
The people of the United States are brethren, made to love and 
respect each other. Momentary causes may seem to alienate 
them, but, like family differences, they will terminate in a closer 
and more affectionate union than ever. And how much more 
estimable will be a system of protection, based on common con- 
viction and common consent, and planted in the bosoms of all, 
than one wrenched by power from reluctant and protesting 
weakness ? 

" That such a system will be adopted, if it should be necessary 
for the period of time subsequent to 1842, I will not doubt. But, 
in the scheme which I originally proposed, I did not rely exclu- 
sively, great as my reliance is, upon the operation of fraternal 
feelings, the return of reason, and a sense of justice. The scheme 
contained an appeal to the interests of the south. According to it, 
unmanufactured cotton was to be a free article after 1S42. Gentle- 
men from that quarter have agaiui and again asserted that they 
were indifferent to the duty of three cents per pound on cotton, 
and that they feared no foreign competition. I have thought 
otherwise ; but I was willing, by way of experiment, to take them 
at their word; not that I was opposed to the protection of cotton, 
but I believed that a few cargoes of foreign cotton introduced into 
our northern ports, free of duty, would hasten our southern friends 
to come here and ask that protection for their great staple, which is 
wanted in other sections for their interests. That feature in the 
scheme was stricken out in the select committee, but not by the 


consent of my friend from Delaware [Mr. Clayton] or myself. 
Still, after 1S42, the south may want protection for sugar, for to- 
bacco, for Virginia coal, perhaps for cotton and other articles, while 
other quarters may need it for wool, woollens, iron, and cotton fab- 
rics ; and these mutual wants, if they should exist, will lead, 1 hope, 
to some amicable adjustment of a tariff for that distant period, satis- 
factory to all. The theory of protection supposes, too, that after a 
certain time, the protected arts will have acquired such strength and 
perfection 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 protec- 
tion to the few articles which may then require it." 

It may be observed, that the remark of Mr. Clay above, as to 
what "the theory of protection supposes," is apparently in conflict 
with the doctrine announced at the opening of chapter six, of this 
volume, to wit, that universal free trade, by general consent of all 
nations, including the United States, w^ould be destructive of Amer- 
ican freedom. Mr. Clay may be right, if he meant all he appears 
to say in that sentence, and the author may be wrong in the doc- 
trine he has advanced, and endeavored to explain, in the place re- 
ferred to. Or, possibly, Mr. Clay intends merely to announce a 
common opinion, or a proposition usually taken for granted, with- 
out being responsible for it. It doubtless has been a prevalent 
opinion, and is so yet. The question involved in it, as presented 
by the author, has in fact, as he supposes, never been debated ; 
but, as he sincerely believes in the doctrine he has ventured to 
propound, and regards it as one which, at a future time, will be- 
come of great practical importance, he has thought proper to state 
it- He indeed thinks it of great importance now, and that, if it 
were understood, it would at once and for ever settle the contro- 
versy regarding the protective policy in the United States. 

It will be recognised, the moment it is mentioned, that many 
persons have dwelt on the facts, and on those relations which com- 
bine the elements of this doctrine, and in speaking of them, have 
maintained, that freedom was concerned in the protective policy. 
Statesmen have seen it, felt it, and talked about it eloquently ; and 
yet it does not appear, that the doctrine has been reduced to form 
— that the pivot on which it rests has been pointed out. It lies in 
the difference between that state of political society which secures 
to labor a fair compensation, and that which robs labor of its fair 
reward. The doctrine which grows out of this difference is, that 


the labor of the former state of society must be protected against 
the effects of the labor of the latter, considered as it is wielded by 
those who deprive it of compensation, and appropriate it to them- 
selves. This labor, thus wronged, is employed by its oppressors, 
as a power — a tremendous agent to enslave the masses of mankind. 
This is the reason why American labor will for ever require pro- 
tection against such an agency, so long as the present state of soci- 
ety exists in Europe, or in other parts of the world, with which 
the United States have commercial intercourse. The theory of 
protection, therefore, as above stated by Mr. Clay, and as usually 
stated, to wit, that, " after a certain time, the protected arts will 
have acquired such strength and perfection as will enable them 
subsequendy, unaided, to stand up against foreign competition," is 
obviously in conflict with this doctrine. If this doctrine is sound ? 
this theory is unsound. In other words, although the theory may 
answer a temporary purpose, or be innocent, the time must come 
when it will be insufficient — when it will be found, that American 
labor nmst be protected under any circumstances, or freedom 
be lost. 

It can not but be observed, that the debate on the protective 
policy has often approached this point, touched it, handled it, al- 
though, possibly, it did not distinctly understand what it was 
handling. Instinct often arrives at truth before reason does, and 
independent of reason. " The pauper labor of Europe," has been 
in everybody's mouth, and that, as opposed to American labor, 
involving the relation of the two, suggests and comprehends the 
doctrine which the author has thought incumbent on him to pro- 
pound. And he thinks there is an advantage in it, because it re- 
duces the question regarding the protective policy to a point, from 
which, when it shall be understood, there will be no possibility of 
escape, and which will operate with irresistible energy on the 
masses of the American people. When once they shall see, that 
freedom is at stake on the free trade platform ; that, by going upon 
that, they put themselves in the power of European and other for- 
eign oppressors, who live and riot on the enslaved condition of 
human labor, it will no longer be difficult to secure their suffrages 
for those who understand their rights, and will protect them. 

The fact, that the substance of this doctrine has been, for so 
many years and so often, used in argument, by politicians and 
statesmen — and the fact, that the idea that " the pauper labor of 
Europe," brought into competition with American labor, invades 


nnd impairs the rights of the latter — have taken so strong a hold of 
a very large portion of the laboring classes of the United States 
and are instinctively felt by them, as matters in which they are 
deeply concerned — are strong presumptive evidence, that the doc- 
tiine is not without foundation. It is manifest, that politicians and 
statesman have long had this idea in their heads, though perhaps 
not in a definite shape. It is not less maviifest, that no inconsid- 
erable fraction of the common mind is possessed of it. It only re- 
mains that the doctrine should be made palpable — that the plainest 
man should be able, forced to see, that " the pauper labor of Eu- 
rope," and of other foreign parts, as an agency in the hands of 
oppressors, is hostile to the labor of American freemen ; that the 
two things can never subsist together on the same platform ; that, 
on the principles of free trade, one must yield to the other ; that, 
in such a conflict, American labor will inevitably be deprived of its 
rights ; and then the whole controversy, as a political question, is 
for ever decided. 

The power of foreign pauper labor over the labor of American 
freemen, is not vested in itself, but in the arm of its oppressors. 
It is a mere agent of the latter. Nor can that power be abated, 
except by a change of political society in those quarters, for the 
emancipation of labor. So long as political society is the same 
there, and the same here, there can never be a time when " the 
protected arts" in the United States, "shall have acquired such 
strength and perfection as will enable them subsequently, unaided, 
to stand up against foreign competition." No matter what strength, 
no matter what perfection, they may acquire, they will never be 
strong enough, never perfect enough, to employ free labor at a fair 
price, in a field of competition with the same arts worked by forced 
labor at a price which barely supports existence. 

But to return to the position occupied by Mr. Clay, in the sup- 
port of the compromise tariff. It was objected to by the advocates 
of the protective policy, because it was obtaining the concurrence 
of the opponents of that policy, Mr. Calhoun and others. What 
was the use of a compromise — how could any measure be of that 
character — if it did not tend to bring those who occupied extremes 
nearer together — on common ground ? It was impossible that 
both parties should occupy their respective positions, and yet come 
together. Mutual concessions were necessarily implied in a com- 
promise. The objection was founded on a fact, which ought to 
remove all objections, so that the concessions were fairly made 


by each party. It should not have been surprising, if the nullifi- 
ers, whose heads, under the proclamation of General Jackson, were 
not safe on their shoulders, had sought protection under any com- 
promise, having sufficient appearances of concession from their 
opponents to justify their own self-respect. That they were willing 
to come over, to unite in a healing measure, was rather a subject 
of gratulation, than a just occasion of opposition. Mr. Clay very 
justly remarked, that the proposed measure should rather be judged 
by its nature, than by those who might happen to vote for it. 

The bill to enforce the federal laws in South Carolina, had 
passed, whereby the rights of the general government, and its posi- 
tion in this matter, were duly asserted. The government having 
taken this ground, was it not due to the Union, and to humanity, 
to hold out the olive branch ? The contingent prospects and re- 
sults of a collision, were fearful to contemplate. The enforcing 
bill vindicated authority ; the compromise extended the hand of 

Mr. Clay concluded his speech on this occasion, as follows : — 

" There are some who say, let the tariff go down ; let our man- 
ufactures be prostrated, if such be the pleasure, at another session, 
of those to whose hands the government of this country is con- 
fided ; let bankruptcy and ruin be spread over the land ; and let 
resistance to the laws, at all hazards, be subdued. Sir, they take 
counsel from their passions. They anticipate a terrible reaction 
from the downfall of the tariff, which would ultimately re-estab- 
lish it upon a firmer basis than ever. But it is these very agita- 
tions, these mutual irritations between brethren of the same fam- 
ily, it is the individual distress and general ruin that would neces- 
sarily 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 measures heretofore ? 
But suppose, after a long and embittered struggle, it should come, 
in what relative condition would it find the parts of this confed- 
eracy ■? In what state our ruined manufactures "? When they 
should be laid low, who, amid the fragments of the general 
wreck, scattered over the face of the land, would have courage to 
engage in fresh enterprises, under a new pledge of the violated 
faith of the government? If w^e adjourn, without passing this 
bill, having intrusted 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 modification of the tariff, in con- 
formitv ^vith 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 destruction. Statesmen 
should regulate their conduct and adapt their measures to the ex- 
igencies of the times in which they live. They can not, indeed, 
transcend the limits of the constitutional rule ; but wuth respect to 
those symptoms of policy which fall within its scope, they should 
arrange them according to the interests, the wants, and the preju- 
dices 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 difference between the friends and the foes of the compro- 
mise, under consideration, is, that they would, in the enforcing 
act, send forth alone a flaming 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! 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 mild- 
ness, and of power tempered with mercy. They, 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 
smoking ruins, no streams of American blood shed by American 
arms ! 

" I have been accused of ambition in presenting this measure. 
Ambition ! inordinate ambition ! If 1 had thought of myself only, 
1 should have never brought it forward. I know well the perils to 
which I expose myself: the risk of alienating faithful and valued 
friends, with but litde prospect of making new ones, if any new 
ones could compensate 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, cal- 
culating, and prudential policy, I would have stood still and un- 
moved. I might even iiave silently gazed on the raging storm, 
enjoyed its loudest thunders, and left those who are charged with 
the care of die vessel of state, to conduct it as they could. I 
have been heretofore often unjustly accused of ambition. Low, 
grovelling souls, who are utterly incapable of elevating themselves 
to the higher and nobler duties of pure patriotism — beings, who, 
for ev-er keeping their own selfish aims in view, decide all public 
measures by their presumed influence on their aggrandizement — 
judge me by the venal rule which they prescribe to th'jmselves. 


I have given to the winds these false accusations, as I consign 
that which now impeaches my motives. I have no desire for of- 
fice, not even the highest. The most exalted is but a prison, in 
which the incarcerated incumbent daily receives his cold, heartless 
visitants, marks his weary hours, and is cut off from the practical 
enjoyment of all the blessings of genuine freedom. I am no can- 
didate for any office in the gift of the people of these states, united 
or separated ; I never wish, never expect to be. Pass this bill, 
tranquillize the country, restore confidence and affection in the 
union, and I am willing to go home to Ashland, and renounce 
public service for ever. I should there find, in its groves, under 
its shades, on its lawns, amid 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 Providence, to reconcile a di- 
vided people — once more to revive concord and harmony in a dis- 
tracted land — the pleasing ambition of contemplating the glorious 
spectacle of a free, united, prosperous, and fraternal people !" 

If any reasonable man looks at the position of the protective 
policy at the moment of this debate, between the fires of nullifica- 
tion in the south and the aims of the administration bill then pend- 
ing in the house of representatives — if he considers the exaspera- 
ting proclamation of the president, from which he was the last 
man to retreat, and yet must atone for it by concessions on the tar- 
iff, or plunge the whole country in a civil war — if it be borne in 
mind, that the force bill, to suppress nullification, had already be- 
come a law — that the whole country, and all parties concerned, 
were in a state of perilous excitement, in the midst of magazines 
which one spark might explode, who can say, that the man who 
boldly walked up to quench the lighted matches, to throw oil on 
this troubled sea, and compose it to a calm, was not deserving of 
a nation's gratitude ? Who could claim, that he should save all, 
when all was on the brink of ruin "? Who could fairly demand, 
that he should restore things as they were ? All he pretended, 
or offered, was a healing compromise ; and who does not know, 
that a compromise is not the settlement of a difference all in favor 
of one party ? 

This bill was passed by the astonishing majority — astonishing 
for the relative strength of parties — of 120 to 84 in the house, and 
29 to 16 in the senate, was approved by the president, and the 
country was pacified. From the verge of civil war and a dissolu- 
tion of the Union, it was brought back, tnd re-established firml) 


on the platform of tlie constitution, and the protective policy, 
which could never, in any human probability, have lived through 
another sesssion of Congress, was saved. 

In justice to Mr. Clay, it is required to be noticed, so far as re- 
spects the subsequent operation of the compromise act, that one 
essential element and substantive part of his plan, in the device 
and formation of this measure, was the public land bill then pend- 
ing, which was expected to pass, and did pass both houses of 
Congress, and which was not expected to meet with any obstacle 
from the president, as his faith was virtually pledged to sanction 
it in his previous annual message. The violation of that pledge 
in pocketing the bill, and returning it to the next Congress a dead 
letter, disarmed the compromise act of one important element of its 
efficacy and power. If the proceeds of the public lands had been 
pledged to the states, as that bill contemplated, the diversion of 
that amount from the national treasury, from that time, with its 
prospective influences, would have brought the principles of the 
compromise law to act more efficiently on the general government, 
forcing it, under a proper sense of its responsibility, to provide an 
adequate revenue, in the manner prescribed by the compromise, 
and thereby more effectually to maintain the protective policy. 
The failure of this was not the fault of Mr. Clay — for it was as 
much a part of his plan, as if it had been a part of the compro- 
mise act ; and it would no doubt have been incorporated with that 
bill, if there had been the least suspicion of General Jackson's 
want of fidelity. It was also hoped, that the federal government 
would return at an earlier period to a proper care of the interests 
of the great commonwealth, and not let the currency be dried up, 
by drying up its sources, till the pockets of the people, and the 
treasury of the nation, were all empty. But this failing of duty 
on the part of government, and its obstinate perseverance in a ru- 
inous policy, forcing the compromise act to go halting to the end 
of its term without the aid of the land bill, only proves, that a 
part of the plan of Mr. Clay, in being compelled to discharge the 
functions of the whole as well as it could, was all the more im- 
portant as the sole stay and shield of the protective policy. 

Mr. Clay, in his first speech on the sub-treasury, of September 
25, 18157, alludes to this feature in the history of the operation o( 
the compromise act, as follows : — 

" A subordinate, but not unimportant cause of the evils which 
at present encompass us, has been the course of the late adminis- 


|| tration [General Jackson's] toward the compromise act. The 
great principle of that act, in respect to our domestic industry, was 
its stability. It was intended and hoped, that, by withdrawing the 
tariff from their annual discussions in Congress, of which it had 
been the fruitful topic, our manufactures would have a certainty, 
for a long period, as to the measure of protection extended to them 
by its provisions, which would compensate any reduction in the 
amount contained in prior acts. For a year or two after it was 
adopted, the late administration manifested a disposition to respect 
it, as an arrangement which was to be inviolable. But for some 
time past it has been constantly threatened from that quarter, and 
a settled purpose has been displayed to disregard its conditions." 

Also : " If the land bill had been allowed to go into operation, 

it would have distributed generally and regularly among the several 

states the proceeds of the public lands, as they would have been 

Ij 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 fructifying the whole country. 

Lj There would have been no vast surplus to embarrass the govern- 

f! ment — 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 secretary of the treasury to lash the deposite banks 

into the grant of inordinate accommodations, and possibly there 

would have been no suspension of specie payments. But that bill 

was suppressed by a most extraordinary and dangerous exercise 

of executive power." 

When Mr. Clay was taunted by Mr. Calhoun, on the floor of 
the senate, in 1S40, as having been laid " flat on his back" by him 
(Mr. Calhoun), in the matter of the compromise, and "robbed by 
another senator and the president," Mr. Clay said : — 

" Sir, what was the case ? I introduced the compromise in spite 
of the opposition of the gentleman who is said to have robbed me 
of the manufactures. It met his uncompromising opposition. That 
measure had, on my part, nothing personal in it. But I saw the 
condition of the senator from South Carolina and his friends. They 
had reduced South Carolina by that unwise measure (of nullifica- 
tion), to a state of war, and I, therefore, wished to save the effu- 
sion of human blood, and especially the blood of our fellow-citizens. 
That was one motive with me ; and another was a regard for that 
very interest which the senator says I helped to destroy. I saw 
that this great interest had so got in the power of the chief magis- 
trate, that it was evident, that, at the next session of Congress, the 
whole protective system would be swept by the board. I therefore 


desired to give it, at least, a lease of years ; and for that purpose, 
1, in concert with others, brought forward that measure, which was 
necessary to save that interest from total annihilation." 

But the grand result is the best of all vindications. What hu- 
man eye could see through the difficulties the country was placed 
in, when the compromise bill was brought forward V What Amer- 
ican patriot, before the adjustment of that controversy, could gaze 
on the dubious prospect, and not be dismayed ? But, behold, 
what a charm was wrought ! 

The extracts, in the note below, from a speech of the Hon. John 
M. Clayton, delivered at Wilmington, Delaware, June 15, 1844, 
are deemed pertinent here.* 

• " I was in the senate at the time of the passage of the compromise act, was a 
member of the committee which reported it, and had the best possible opportunity 
of knowing the motives and objects of Mr. Clay, in the introduction and passage 
of that measure. His aim was not only to prevent a civil war and the dissolutioa 
of the Union, but to save the protective policy. I am convinced that, but for the 
passage of that act, the protective system would have been substantially repealed, 
more than ten years ago, and every manufacturer in the country dependent upon 
it stricken down. ••»•*• «• 

" It is quite a common error, that the act itself proposes a horizontal tariff of 20 
per cent, on all articles of importation, as the maximum rate of duties, and the 
final resting-place at which the reduction of duties proposed by the act shall 
cease, and stand unchanged and unchangeable for ever. At this day, gentlemen 
of intelligence, professing to understand and discuss the legal effect of this, often 
speak of it as a law, the great object of which was, by a system of gradual dimi 
nution, to reduce the duties as they stood under the act of 1832, to a universal 
levy of 20 per cent, at the expiration of nine years and four months. In other 
words, they regarded the compromise act as fixing one rate for all dutiable articles 
from and after the 30tli of June, 1842 — that rate beini 20 per cent, ad valorem — 
and as containing certain binding stipulations or pledaes on the part of the authors 
of that law, that no higher rate of duty should ever after that day be collected by 
the general government. This supposition, preposterous as it is, you have doubt- 
less observed, is an opinion quite commonly expressed, and that, too, not unfre- 
quently by grave legislators on the floor of Congress. That the enemies of iVIr. 
Clay should have so expressed themselves, is matter to be regretted ; but when 
the friends of the tariff, and the very men who profess the utmost confidence in 
the rectitude and consistency of that great statesman, fall into the same error, it 
is high time the mistake should be corrected. 

" It is perfectly true, that the first section of the act fixes 20 per cent, ad valo- 
rem, as the highest rate at which dutiable articles should be admitted, after the 30th 
of June, 1842; but the third section of the act provides that, from and after that 
day, ' duties upon imports shall be laid for the purpose of raising such revenue as 
mav be necessarv to an economical administration of the government;' and also 
that such duties shall be assessed on the home valuation and payable in cash. The 
leading principles established by the act were, first, that after the 30th of June, 
1842, a suflicient revenue should be raised from the import duties alone to defray 
the expenses of the government ; secondly, that no more revenue should be so 
collected than should be demanded by an economical administration of the govern- 
ment ; thirdly, that the best possible guards against frauds on the tariff should be 
established by the adoption of the new system of assessing the duties on the home, 
instead of the foreis;n value, and making those duties payable in cash. Whether 
these duties, from which all the revenue for the support of government was to be 
derived, should be fixed at 20 per cent., or at 50 per cent., or at any other rate, 
was, of course, a subject left for the future consideration and action of Congress, 
whenever it should be discovered that the maximum rate of 20 per cent., adopted 
by the first section of the bill, was insufficient for the support of government. 
Nothing was further from the intention of those who passed this law than to at- 


The following extracts from Niles's Register, vol. xliv., page 
6, are a species of independent evidence, from a reporter in Con- 
gress, as to the position and objects of Mr. Clay, in originating and 
sustaining the compromise act : — 

" Mr. Dallas then moved to amend the amendment, as made in 
committee of the whole, in the third section, by striking out the 

tempt to prevent future legislation, discriminating with a view to protect home la- 
bor, in the contingency of a defect of revenue from duties of 20 per cent. I have 
ever regarded the tariff passed by the Congress of 1842, as a substantial compli- 
ance, in most respects, with this pledge in the compromise act, with this exception 
only : that law, while it levies duties on imports to support the government, looks 
to the proceeds of the sales of the public lands as an auxiliary for that purpose; 
while the compromise act gave to me, as I thought when I voted for it, and to ev- 
ery friend of the protective system, at the same time a solemn assurance, that, af- 
ter the 30th of June, 1842, the land fund should cease to be regarded as a source 
of revenue, and that all the real wants of the government should be supplied ex- 
clusively from duties on imports, assessed so as to prevent frauds, and payable in 

" To understand this subject, as it was really understood by those friends with 
whom I acted in the passage of the compromise act, it is necessary to recur to some 
other proceedings cotemporaneous with it. Mr. Clay's bill to distribute the pro- 
ceeds of the sales of the public lands among the states, which passed both houses 
of Congress about the same time with the compromise itself, was by us regarded 
as part and parcel of one great revenue and financial system, which we desired to 
establish for the benefit of the whole country. AVhile temporarily surrendering 
the land fund to the states, to which it rightfully belonged, in the judgment of the 
Congress of 1833, we provided, in the compromise act, that there should be a day 
fixed, at which, in accordance with a suggestion previously made by General Jack- 
son himself, the land fund should for ever cease to be regarded as a source of rev- 
enue by the general government. It is true, that we should have acted more 
wisely, as the event proved, by incorporating the provisions of a distribution bill 
in the compromise itself. But who could have supposed, at that day, that Presi- 
dent Jackson would have vetoed a bill which carried out his own suggestion ? 
Nevertheless, he defeated that great and salutary measure of distribution, by 
means which no end can ever justify. He refused to return the bill with his ob- 
jections to the house in which it originated — unquestionably because he had rea- 
son to believe, that, had he complied with this, his constitutional duty, each branch 
of Congress stood ready, by a vote of two thirds, to make the bill a law, in spite 
of his veto. 

" I have said, that the tariff of 1842 is, in my view, a substantial compliance, in 
most respects, with the principles of the compromise act, and the pledges given in 
that act on the subject of the regulation of duties from and after the 30th of June, 
1842. But it was not a compliance in all respects. In my humble judgment, had 
the tariff of 1842 been passed strictly in the spirit of tlie compromise itself, it 
would have been a better tariff for protection than the law now in force. It would 
have better guarded the revenue against frauds in the foreign valuation ; and it 
would more effectually have checked excessive importation, which is one of the 
greatest curses of our country. The distribution of the land fund amons the 
states, contemplated by the compromise, and temporarily provided for by the land 
bill, \v\)uld have put an end to the agitation of the question of protection for ever ; 
and the principle avowed and sustained by Mr. Clay, that, in laying duties for 
revenue, discrimination should always be made in favor of protection, as an inci- 
dent to revenue, would have been the settled doctrine of the country. 

'• To show that this opinion is well founded, let us suppose that Congress, on 
the 30th of June, 1842, had resolved to make a tariff strictly in pursuance of the 
compromise. The latter directed, that, after that day, and not until after that 
day, duties should descend by a rapid reduction, not of 10 per cent., but of the last 
half of the whole excess above 20 per cent, left after the 31st of December, 1839, 
and that reduction be 20 per cent, on the home value of the imports, unless at 
that time, the revenue from that rate of duty should be inadequate to support the 
administration of the government. Now how stood the facts on that day ? We 


words which suggest the point to which the duties shall be ultimately 
reduced, to be the ' revenue necessary to an economical adminis- 
tration of the government.' 

" A discussion took place on this motion, in which it was con- 
had actually incurred a national debt of more than $20,000,000, at that verj- time, 
under the operation of a higher tariff than 20 per cent., and that, too, with the 
aid of all the land fund, and bank stocks and bank dividends besides. Our reve- 
nue had sunk so low that the credit of the nation was, at that very moment, in the 
most deplorable condition. We had borrowed on that credit till foreigners would 
not lend us another dollar, and in our own market the six per cent, certificates of 
the loan redeemable in twenty years, could not be sold to any considerable amount 
for anything like their par value. \Ve had approached the very verge of national 
bankruptcy. The depressed state of public credit was one of the contingencies 
anticipated by the friends of Mr. Clay, at the passage of the compromise, and we 
now k)iow we were right. We foresaw that the duties never could descend to 20 
per cent., if that pledge to raise the duties to the standard of the wants of the 
government, given in the act, should be fulfilled ; and our hope — our belief was 
that before they could descend, by the operation of the law, to 20 per cent., men 
of all parties, seeing that the government could not be supported on that princi- 
ple, would confess old errors, and join witli us, under happier auspices, in so ad- 
justing the tariff, as that, while the wants of government would be supplied from 
import duties, ample protection, as incident to the revenue, would be freely ac- 
corded to us without further strife. If, then, Congress had, at that time, raised 
the duties to the standard then fixed by the compromise, we should have had a 
tariff which would more effectually have protected home labor than the act of 
1842; because, although the duties would have been for revenue, with only inci- 
dental protection (the very principle of the act of 1833), yet those duties, without 
the aid of other sources of revenue, would have been still higher than those of 1842, 
and their collection far better guarded against frauds. 

" But the compromise act caused a gradual reduction of duties until the 30th of 
June, 1842, and the question remains to be answered. Why did the friends of pro- 
lection to home labor consent to such a reduction even for a limited period? 

" The answer might be a very short one. Under the circumstances in which 
we were then placed, it was palpable to the minds of those who voted for the com- 
promise that, unless we accepted that, we should have to submit to the speedy de- 
struction of the whole manufacturing interest. But it is due to the subject, that, 
in answer to this question, the circumstances to which I have alluded should be 
briefly explained. At the time of the passage of this law, the violent opposition 
of many of our fellow-citizens in the south, and of not a few elsewhere, to the 
whole protective policy, was unparalleled in the history of this country. South 
Carolina, by her ordinance of nullification, had openly defied the general govern- 
ment, and had resolved that no duties should be collected within her limits. It is 
easy, at this day, after the storm has passed over, to speak of her resistance as a 
thing which could have been easily crushed by the exhibition of a little firmness. 
I never doubted, nor do I believe that Mr. Clay or any of his friends ever doubted, 
that the power of this government was amply sufficient to enforce for the time the 
collection of the duties on imports, in despite of all the threatened hostility of 
South Carolina, and all other enemies of the protective policy. But it is due to 
truth to say, that at that time South Carolina had many sympathizers, and not a 
few adherents, in other parts of the country. We were every day in danger of a 
collision which might terminate in bloodshed; and in that event any man, tolera- 
bly acquainted with the American character, could anticipate, quite as well as I 
can now describe, the imminent danger of a protracted and bloody contest, which, 
if it did not endanger the Union, as I firmly believe it would have done, must 
have rendered the protective system hateful to our countrymen, as the exciting 
cause of a civil war, and incapable of being maintained, except by the butchery 
of American citizens by American hands. I never did, and do not now, believe 
that any sucli system can be long maintained in a government like ours, if it can 
not be upheld without a civil war. The friends of the compromise, in the firm 
belief that the protective policy was entitled to the confidence and support of the 
American people, and would grow up and establish itself in their afl'ections, if a 
violent civil strife could be avoided, desired, of all things, time — time for reason (o 
resume her empire — time for the violent passions of men, then inflamed to the very 


tended by Messrs. Webster, Dallas, Dickerson, and Buckner, that 
these words, although not so intended, might be construed by 
SOUTHERN gentlemen, in 1842, as an abandonment of the protective 
principle, and a design on the part of those who had introduced 

verge of insanity, to subside; and they consented to a gradual reduction of duties 
for a limited period, with a view to the ultimate safety of the protective principle 
itself, as well as to avert the horrors of a civil conflict, and to save the excited 
tnd deluded men who were rushing into these extremities, from the consequences 
of their own folly. In the midst of all these considerations, then pressing upon 
the attention of the friends of protection, there was another staring us in the face 
which is too often forgotten or overlooked. At the very commencement of the 
session of that Congress which passed the act. President Jackson, in his annual 
message, threw ofi" the cloak of a 'judicious tariff,' and openly arrayed the whole 
power of the executive against the protective system. Then, for the first time, we 
heard from him the declaration, that, ' experience, our best guide on this as on 
other subjects, made it doubtful whether the advantages of this system are not 
counterbalanced by many evils, and whether it did not tend to beget, in the minds 
of a large portion of our countrymen, a spirit of discontent and jealousy, danger- 
ous to the stability of the Union ;' that ' a tarifl' designed for perpetual protection 
had entered into the minds of but lew of our statesmen, and that the most they 
had anticipated was a temporary protection;' and that 'those who took an en- 
larged view of the condition of our country, must be satisfied that the policy of 
protection must be ultimately limited to those articles of domestic manufacture 
which are indispensable to our safety in time of war.' 

" These and many other declarations against the existing tariff, in the president's 
annual message, almost instantaneously arrayed the mass of his party against the 
protective policy throughout the whole country. It required no gifted seer to 
predict its fate, if some conciliatory measure were not speedily adopted by its 
friends to allay the existing excitement. The president's message against the 
tariff was communicated to Congress, at that session, on the fourth of December ; 
and with such expedition did his party in the house of representatives act on that 
occasion, in pursuance of his suggestions, that on the 28th of the same month, 
the committee of ways and means reported a bill to repeal the existing tariff, and 
in lieu thereof, to collect a revenue of but $12,500,000 by all imposts on foreign 
merchandise, the average duty on which, as proposed by the bill, was about 15 per 
per cent., and that, to be assessed on the foreign valuation. This bill, which has 
sometimes been called Mr. Verplanck's bill, but which was really a measure ema- 
nating from the executive, was actually far advanced on its passage in the house, 
at the time the compromise was under consideration in the senate, and its final 
passage in the house was no longer problematical. It was a measure which, if 
successful, could not fail to prove an immediate death-blow to the whole protective 
policy. Its passage had been forced through the committee of the whole on the 
state of the Union, after an ineffectual effort by the friends of American industry 
to impede its progress ; when, on the 23d of February, 1833, the friends of pro- 
tection in the senate made the last effort in their power to arrest its downward 
tendency, and to stay, for as long a time as possible, the hand which was extended 
for its destruction. At that critical moment, the question for them to consider was 
not merely how much protection was necessary for home labor, but how much of it 
could be saved. The bill in the house, backed as it was by the power of the exec- 
utive, and the public sentiment in its favor daily increasing, in consequence of the 
president's denunciations of the then existing tariff, might be temporarily arrested 
by the action of a few senators ; but those very few senators saw, that unless 
some compromise could be effected, while they retained their slender and very 
precarious majority in the senate, the ultimate triumph of the destructive system, 
and that, too, at no distant day, was inevitable. 

" Time can never efface my vivid remembrance of the anxious responsibility 
felt by myself, and those who acted with me at that moment. • • « 

I then thought, and still think, that the mighty eflbrt of Mr. Clay on that occa- 
sion to save his favorite measure from the danger which threatened it from every 
quarter, was the most triump\ant act of his life. 

" After a most exciting debate on the merits of the bill, a great part of which 
was never published, in consequence of the feeling into which friends had been 
betrayed, who had always, before that, acted together on this subject, the question 


this bill, to make revenue alone the standard of all future duties :n 

" Mr. Clayton and Mr. Clay regarded the language as author- 
izing NO SUCH CONSTRUCTION, and denied that any one would 

was taken on the engrossment of the bill, on the ni^ht of Saturday, the 23d of 
February, 1833, and it was ordered to a third reading in the senate by an over- 
■whelming majority. At this stasre, we arrested further proceedinss in the senate, 
in consequence of the constitutional difficulty of originating a revenue bill in that 
body. But we had secured our object, by thus indicating to the house the meas 
ure'to which we were disposed to accede. On the Monday foUowin?, being the 
25th of February, a successful motion was made in the house to strike out the 
whole of Mr. Verplanck's bill, and substitute the compromise in lieu of it. The 
bill thus amended was ordered to be engrossed fur a third reading on the same 
day, and shortly after became the law of the land. 

'• It is too late now, after the experience tiie nation has had of General Jack- 
son's influence while president, to pretend that it was not in his power in 1833 to 
have crushed the protective policy. His ])arty was in the zenith of its power. He 
vetoed the bank bill in July, 1832, and, within six months after that, he made war 
on the tariff. Can any reasonable man doubt what would have been its fate, if 
Henry Clay, with all the aflection of a parent for the protective policy, had not 
rescued it from destruction by the compromise act of the 2d of March, 1833 ? But 
for the interposition of Mr. Clay, the passage of the bill reported by the com- 
mittee of wavs and means in the house, would, at no very distant day, have been 
inevitable. What might have been the fate of the Union, I leave others to con- 
jecture. Mv business now is with the tariff alone, and I confine myself to that. 

"Henry Clay was at the head of the committee whicli reported the compromise 
act. James K.' Polk, of Tennessee, was at the tail of the committee of ways and 
means in the house, which reported the bill to which I have referred. To under- 
stand Mr. Polk, it is now necessary to understand that bill. Althousrh he was the 
last-named member on that committee, and in the rear of the column which at- 
tacked the tariti', there was no more thorough-going, no more denunciatory enemy 
of the protective policy, than James K. Polk. But let us try him by the bill 
which he and his coUeasues on that cooMnittee reported, and by his votes, as 
they stand recorded on the journals of Congress asainst the protective policy. 
This bill, which will be found to be the 14th document in the volume of reports 
of committees, at the second session of the twenty-second Congress, reduces the 
duties on the 2d March, 1835, as follows— all assessable, be it remembered, or; Uip. 
foreign valuatimi : On wool lens, to 15 per cent.; on all not exceeding 35 cents 
the square yard, 5 per cent. ; on worsted stuti' goods of all kinds, 19 per cent.; 
on worsted and woollen hosiery, gloves, nets, bindings, and stockinets, 10 per 
cent.; on all other cloths, merino shawls, flannels, baizes and cassimeres, carpet- 
ings and rugs of all kinds, 20 per cent. ; on clothing, ready made, of all descrip- 
tions, 20 per cent. ; on all cotton goods, 20 per cent., except Nankins from India, 
on which Mr. Polk's duty was 15 percent. ; and cotton hosiery, gloves, mitts, and 
stockinets, on which his duty was 10 per cent. ; as well as upon cotton twist, yarn, 
and thread; on all manufactures of Jlax and hemp, or sail-duck and cotton-bag.- 
gins, 15 per cent.; on all manufactures of tin, japanning, gilt, plated, brass, and 
polished steel, 20 per cent. ; on common saddlery, 10 per cent.; on earthen and 
stone ware, 20 per cent. ; on all side and fire arms, rifles and muskets, 20 per 
cent. ; bridle-bits and glass-ware, 20 per cent. ; on manufactures of iron and steel 
generally, a duty of 20 per cent. ; on salt and coal, 5 per cent. : on everything 
produced by the farmer in the middle and northern states, Mr. Polk, who is a cot- 
ton-grower, recommended, in this bill, one unvarying standard of only 15 per 
cent!; 15 per cent, on potatoes; 15 pet cent, on oats; 15 per cent, on wheat and 
wheat-flour, butter, bacon, beef, and pork. 

"Such was the character of that bill, from the passage of which Henry Clay 
saved the country by the adoption of the compromise. Had a tornado passed over 
all the manufacturing establishments of the co\intry at that time, it would scarcely 
have proved a greater cnr^e than that measure, w hich had the earnest support of 
Mr. James K. Polk, of Tennessee. By reducing t> e duty on wool to 15 per cent., 
it put the knife to the throat of every sheep in the country. By a duty of 20 per 
cent, on ready-made clothing of all descriptions, it struck down a whole class of 
the most industrious and useful mechanics of the nation. If it had been a bill j 


be justified in inferring that there was to be any abandonment of 
the system of protection. It was insisJed by Mr. Clayton, that the 
govej-nment could not be kept together, if the principle of protection 
were to be discarded in our policy ; and he declared that he 

purposely designed to set fire to most of the mechanic shops in the countrj, it 
would hardly have had a worse efl'ect upon the laboring classes. It would have 
fed us on potatoes from Ireland ; and, at those periods when the farmers of the 
middle and northern states were sutiering most from the pressure of the times, 
our bread-stulis would have been grown on the borders of the Baltic and the 
Black sea, instead of on our own soil. 

" Search the records of Congress, and you will find that, in every instance 
where the American system was attacked, while he was in Congress, he was its 
assailant, its constant and uncompromising foe. On the 23d of June, 1832, he 
voted for the motion of Mr. McDuffie, of South Carolina, to reduce the duty on 
cotton goods, costing not exceeding fifteen cents the square yard, to 12^ per cent, 
ad valorem. On the same day, he voted for Mr. McDuffie's motion to abolish the 
duty of $30 per ton on rolled iron. On the previous day, he voted to reduce the 
duty on salt to 5 cents on 56 lbs., and voted against the duty on boots and bootees, 
on cabinet wares, hats and caps, whips, bridles, saddles, carriages and parts of 
carriages, blank books, earthen and stonewares, and manufactures of marble; 
and also against the duty on wool. 

" On the 28th day of February, 1834, wHhin one year after the passage of the 
compromise, Mr. Hall, of North (Carolina, in the house of representatives of the 
United States, introduced a resolution, the object of which was to procure from 
the committee of ways and means a report of a plan, accompanied by a bill to re- 
peal the protection guarantied by the compromise, under the pretext of immedi- 
ately reducing the revenue to the necessary expenses of the government ; and 
James K. Polk, of Tennessee, who was at that time the chairman of that very 
committee of ways and means, voted for that resolution. There were 69 yeas 
in favor of that resolution, and 115 nays against it. In voting for the resolution, 
the deliberate design of which was to violate all the pledges given in the compro- 
mise, Mr. Polk was backed by six of the nine members of that same committee, 
and by all the nullifiers and ultra anti-tariff men in the house. This movement 
shows the dissatisfaction with the compromise cherished at an early period by the 
enemies of protection. They were sensible that Mr. Clay had triumphed, by the 
salvation of his favorite policy ; and the strength of the vote against the resolu 
tion, shows how great that triumph was- But one year previous to the introduc- 
tion of Mr. Hall's resolution, it would have passed the house by an overwhelming 
majority. The votes on Mr. Verplanck's bill at that time, proved that conclu- 
sively. But the fact is, that the evil spirit of the storm — the spirit of disunion — 
which had been raised by nullification, had been subdued by that master spirit, 
which, for thirty years, had exercised so great an influence in our public councils. 
That same master spirit had quelled the same demon, at the great crisis of the 
Missouri compromise. On both occasions, Henry Clay saved the Union; and, in 
the judgment of many, in each of them, he saved the Union at its last gasj). 

" But the vote of James K. Polk and his allies in the war on domestic industry, 
was not the first exhibition of their hostiliiy to the compromise. Within six weeks 
after the passage of the act, the executive of the United States began to violate 
its true spirit and its legitimate construction, for the purpose of breakin? down 
our American policy. On the 20th of April, 1833, the secretary of the treasury 
under President Jackson, issued his famous treasury circular to all the officers of 
the customs in the United States. That circular contained an executive decree, ab- 
rogating all the specific duties and the whole system of minimums in the existing 
tariff laws. Under a pretext as foreign from the views of all the men with whom 
I acted in the passage of that law, as anything the most remote, this arbitrary 
edict declared, without one syllable in the act to support it, that it was our inten- 
tion, in passing it, to repeal these specific duties and minimums. It is scarcely 
possible that any human being could have been so ignorant as not to know that a 
specific duty could at any time be as well ascertained as an ad-valorem duty, and 
that these duties were convertible. By the compromise, we simply provided, that 
all existing duties (whether specific or ad valorem) should be reduced according 
to a fixed ratio. This outrage on the law, which, because the executive, whose 
piovince it was to collect the duties, had perpetrated it, was utterly without rem- 

VoL. IL— 17 



James K. Polk, in an address to the people of Tennessee, pub- 
lisiied at Columbia, bis place of residence, under his own super- 

edy, proved of great injury to all those manufactures which depended for protec- 
tion upon the minimums and specific duties. 

'•The injury inflicted on the manufacturing interest did not admit of legal re- 
dress, for the friends of protection could not by any possibility bring the question 
before any judicial tribunal, while the executive officers refused to sue for or col- 
lect the duties in pursuance of their instructions. Nothing remained for us to do 
but to submit in silence, until the returning sense of justice to the country should 
induce the people to drive the enemies of domestic industry from the high places 
of the republic. * • • Although they continued in power from the passage 
of that law [compromise act] until the year 1841, they never attempted, in a sin- 
gle instance, to provide, either by prosjiective legislation or by any executive reg- 
ulation, for any mode of assessing duties on the home valuation; nor did they at- 
tempt to pass a law raising the duties, prospectively, after the 30th of June, 1842, 
to the real wants of the government; although they knew, as well throush the 
whole session of Congress of 1840-'41, as we know now, one or both of these 
measures ought to be prospectively adopted, to save the government from the dan- 
ger of bankruptcy. The principle of the home valuation was a sine qua non, at 
the time of the passage of the act, with many of those who, like myself, voted for 
it for the purpose avowed by me at the time, of saving the protective policy. We 
considered that a vote for the duties fixed by the act, to be assessed on this princi- 
ple, was essentially, to all intents and purposes, a vote for protection ; and we de- 
termined, therefore, to compel Mr. Calhoun and his peculiar friends in the senate 
to record their votes, in the most unequivocal form, on the journal in favor of that 
principle. And here I can not help complaining of the conduct of Mr. Calhoun, 
after the passage of this law, and especially after the period when most of us 
friendly to the protective policy, who had voted with him for its passage, had left 
the senate of the United States. How well his conduct comported with that feel- 
ing which a man, who had received at our hands a shelter from the storm which 
threatened to annihilate him, should exhibit, I leave for him and others who are 
in the same category to determine. To explain his conduct I must refer to a few 

" While the motion was pending to amend the bill by directing the assessment 
of the duties on the home value, a debate sprung up, in the course of which Mr. 
Calhoun repeatedly argued that the amendment was unconstitutional, and declared 
that it was impossible for him to vote for it. A number of tariff' senators, friendly 
to the compromise act, with whom I was acting in concert, includin?, amon? oth- 
ers, Samuel Bell, of New Hampshire, A. Naudain, of Delaware, Samuel Foote, 
of Connecticut, and John Holmes, of Maine, had resolved to compel all the anti- 
protectionists in the senate to vote for that amendment, in every stage of its pas- 
sage, or to defeat the bill by laying it on the table. We foresaw all the objections 
which have been since made to the adoption of that mode of preventing evasions 
of the law, and frauds on the revenue; and we knew that the amendment neces- 
sarily carried with it protection to American industry. It was an unpleasant pre- 
scription for Mr. Calhoun ; but it was not ill-adapted to the peculiar disease un- 
der which he labored. After he had frequently announced his unalterable deter- 
mination to vote against the amendment, which he as often said it would be 
a violation of the constitution, and against his conscience to support, a motion was 
made — and by myself — to lay the whole bill on the table ; and, on the part of 
friends, I avowed our determination not to suffer it to be called up again during 
the session. At the request of a n\illifyin? senator, I withdrew that motion, to 
give himself and his friends time to reflect further; but, at the same time, they 
were distinctly given to understand, that, unless they agreed to vote for the amend- 
ment, at every stage of its passage, the motion should be renewed, and the bill 
nailed to the table ; in which event, they must fight it out with the general gov- 
ernment. Those who are curious to consult the debates in Congress at that day, 
■will see, by recurring to them, that, on the next day, when the bill was taken up 
again, every man among them, every enemy of the tariff' in the senate, includinj; 


vision, and dated April 3, 1839, when he was a candidate for 
governor, employs the following language, in allusion to the com- 
promise act, thereby indicating the object contemplated by the 
measure : — 

" The great results of General Jackson's administration be- 
long to the history of the country, and can be but briefly 
sketched or alluded to in an address like this. In repeated in- 
stances, he recom^neiided modifications and reductions of the tariff, 


AND UNJUST SYSTEM. So effectual were these recommendations, 
and. so rapid the change of public opinion, that the friends of the 
tariff, and even Mr. Clay, its reputed father, seized on a 

TION, BY A TIMELY COMPROMISE. It was the defence of Mr. 
Clay with his friends at the north, that, by yielding a part, he 
continued and devoted support of him, the northern capitalists have 
shown that they are grateful for the fortunate rescue." 

The following letter from Mr. Clay, to the Hon. John M. Clay- 
ton, is especially pertinent here : — 

" Blue Licks, August 22, 1844. 

" My dear sir: Your supposition is right as to the oppressive 
extent of my correspondence. It is utterly impossible to answer 
all the letters which I receive. I am afraid that I can not reply to 
many that deserve it. Mr. Madison once remarked to me, that 
Mr. Jefferson's correspondents were killing him ; but they were 
furnished by a population of about ten millions. Mine are supplied 
by a population of near twenty millions. * * * 

" I request you to attribute to the above cause, my omission to 
express to you before the satisfaction I derived from the perusal 
of your admirable speech on the compromise law. No man knew 
better the motives and considerations which prompted its passage 
than you did, and you have ably and truly exposed them. We 

the honorable John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, voted for the amendment ! 
His vote for the home valuation stands recorded on the journals of the senate, at 
every stage of the passage of the bill; and he contented himself at the time, 
as he declared, during the passage of the tariff of 1842 (when this vote was 
invoked in judgment against him by a tarift' senator), by saying that he voted 
for it UNDER AN ORAL PROTEST ! It is truc, that promises made under the fear 
of death, are not binding in law; but it would be utterly inadmissible to suppose 
that Mr. Calhoun acted under duress ; and it would be equally inadmissible to 
suppose that his vote was given with a view to procure the votes of others, then 
necessary for his own safety — because such a vote would have been a palpable 
fraud upon them, if, at the time, he meditated an evasion of the pledge given in 
the amendment. 

" Two days after the passage of this bill. Congress adjourned ; and, in less 
than three months, we learned, to our perfect astonishment, from the public 
prints, that Mr. Calhoun was, in South Carolina, exulting among his followers on 
account of what he called his triumph over Henry Clay !" 


were upon terms of the most confidential intimacy and friendship. 
You daily, in the senate, sat near me. You knew of my consulta- 
tions with the practical manufacturers, and their coincidence in 
opinion with us. I believe it was upon your invitation, that the 
lamented Dupont came from Delaware, and conferred with us. 
Upon more occasions than one, while gazing upon the careworn 
countenances and haggard looks of some of the delegation in 
Congress from South Carolina, you said to me : ' Clay, these are 
fine fellows. It won't do to let old Jackson hang them. We 
must save them.' You lived in a mess of some seven or eight 
senators, and it was your mess that insisted upon the home valua- 
tion, as a sine qua non. Mr. Calhoun opposed it. Your mess 
persevered. The fate of the bill was threatened ; but he, at the 
last moment, withdrew his opposition, and the bill finally passed. 

" I have again and again asserted, on the floor of the senate, that 
two objects were aimed to be accomplished. One was to avert the 
civil war ; the other was to preserve the policy of protection. It 
was threatened by INIr. Verplanck's bill with total subversion ; and 
I believed then, and believe now, that, if the compromise had not 
passed, at the next session of Congress all traces of that poUcy 
would have been effaced from the statute-book. 

" You and I both maintained, that the measure of the protection 
preserved by the compromise would be sufficient until about 1842. 
But we were taunted by our opponents, to know what would be its 
condition when that period arrived. We replied, there were the 
home valuation, cash duties, a long list of free articles, &c. But 
I said, also : ' Let us take care of ourselves now ; the people of 1842 
may be trusted to take care of themselves. Public opinion, in the 
meantime, may become more enlightened, and the wisdom of the 
protective policy may be demonstrated.' I have not been disap- 
pointed ; my predictions have been fulfilled. The people of 1842 
— the whigs, at least, everywiiere, and many of the democrats — 
are now fully persuaded that the industry of this great country 
ousht not to be prostrated at the feet of foreign powers. Every- 
where the cry is for a tariff for revenue, with discriminations for 
protection. Everywhere the preservation of the tariff of 1842, 
which has worked so well, and is delivering us from embarrass- 
ments, is loudly demanded. 

" The circumstances which led to, or attended, the enactment 
of the compromise, may be curious and interesting as matters of 
history ; but, in respect to the policy of protection, the great, prac- 
tical, absorbing question is, shall the tariff of 1842 be preserved 
or repealed? That question is to be solved in November next. I 
have repeatedly expressed my opinion luuquivocidly in favor of it. 

" I thought we achieved a great triumph in placing the protective 
policy, by the compromise act, without the reach and beyond the 
term of General Jackson's administration. And we availed our- 


selves of the fact, that the South Carolina delegation were much 
more anxious that the difficulty should be settled by us than by 
General Jackson. 

" You tell me that I am accused of having abandoned the pro- 
tective policy. That would distress me exceedingly, if I were not 
accused of all sorts of crimes and misdemeanors. I believe I have 
been charged with every crime enumerated in the decalogue. I 
laugh at the straits to which my opponents are driven. They arfi 
to be pitied. Shrinking from all the issues, arising out of the great 
questions of national policy, which have hitherto divided the coun- 
try, they have no other refuge left, but in personal abuse, detrac- 
tion, and defamation. I have lived down these attacks heretofore, 
and, with the blessing of Providence, 1 hope to survive those which 
they are now directing against me. Most certainly, my surprise at 
the attempt to make me out a friend of free trade with foreign 
countries, and an opponent of the protective policy, ought not to 
to be greater than that of my competitor at the effort to establish 
his friendship to the protective policy. 

" I remain, always truly and faithfully, your friend, 

" Henry Clay. 

" Hon. J. M. Clayton." 

It will now be seen — 1, that the compromise law saved th« 
protective policy ; 2, that the land bill, pocketed and strangled 
by General Jackson, was a hona fide part of the compromise act, 
and indispensable to make the law fully effective ; 3, that, in the 
administration of this law, the federal executive greatly impaired 
it, in several essential particulars, and, in some instances, violated 
it ; 4, that several attempts were made, in bad faith, during the 
term of its existence, to disturb it, and break it down ; 5, and 
consequently, that, in the observance of good faith, on the part of 
the national executive and other parties, this law would, in all prob- 
ability, have proved amply sufficient, throughout the period for 
which it was enacted ; 6, that, since this law, thus impaired, thus 
violated, and thus assailed, did, notwithstanding, actually save the 
protective policy, its power to accomplish its intended objects, and 
consequently its beneficence, are fully demonstrated. 

The importance of this measure as an item of political history, 
and Mr. Clay's relations to it, seemed to impose imperative claims 
for the full exposition of the subject, which has been attempted in 
the foregoing pages. 

It was during the debate on the compromise, that a reconcilia- 
tion took place between Mr. Clay and Mr. Randolph, on the floor 


of the senate-chamber, when Mr. Randolph was in a very \o\f 
state of health, the fact and circumstances of which are pleasant to 

In a private letter to Judge Brooke, dated Washington, April 
19, 1826, after Mr. Clay's duel with Mr. Randolph, he says: — 

" Prior to my going out on that affair, the only letter J wrote 
about it, was addressed to you, and put into the hands of General 
Harrison, to be forwarded, on a contingency which did not hap- 
pen. In that letter, which he still retains, I briefly assigned the 
reasons which determined me on the course I took. The circum- 
stance which most embarrassed me, was the opinion which is 
entertained by some, as to the state of Mr. Randolph's mind. 
But I thought I ought not to be governed by that opinion, which 
was opposed by the recent act of my native state electing him to 
the senate." 

In another private letter to Judge Brooke, dated Washington, 
March 11, 1833, Mr. Clay makes allusion to his reconciliation to 
Mr. Randolph, as follows : — 

" You ask how amity was restored between Mr. Randolph and 
me V There was no explanation, no intervention. Observing him 
in the senate one night, feeble, and looking as if he were not long 
for this world, and being myself engaged in a work of peace [the 
compromise tariff], with corresponding feelings, I shook hands 
with him. The salutation was cordial on both sides. I afterward 
left a card at his lodgings, where, I understand, he has been con- 
fined by sickness." 

The following anecdote doubtless relates to the time of this 
reconciliation. Mr. Randolph was carried to the senate chamber, 
by his own request, though very feeble, during the debate on the 
compromise bill, when Mr. Clay was expected to speak. As Mr. 
Clay rose to address the senate, Mr. Randolph said to a friend 
that stood by him : " Help me up — help me up. I came here to 
hear that voice." 

Charles James Faulkner, Esq., of Martinsburg, Virginia, in a 
speech at Gerardstown, ascribed to Mr. Randolph the following 
sentiments, uttered in Buckingham county, in an address to the 
public, during the pendency of nullification: — 

" ' Gentlemen, I am filled with the most gloomy apprehensions 
for the fate of the Union. I can not express to you how deeply I 
am penetrated with a sense of the danger which at this moment 
threatens its existence. If Madison filled the executive chair, he 
might be bullied into some compromise. If Monroe was in power, 


he might be coaxed into some adjustment of the difficulty. But 
Jackson is obstinate, headstrong, and fond of fight. 1 fear matters 
must come to an open rupture. If so, this Union is gone.' Then 
pausing for near a minute, raising his finger in that emphatic man- 
ner so pecuUar to his action as a speaker, and seeming, as it were, 
to breathe more freely, he continued : ' There is one man, and one 
man only, ivho can save this Union. That man is Henry Clay. 
I know he has the 'power — I believe he will be found to have the 'pa- 
triotism andjirmncss equal to the occasion.'' "* 

* When the Missouri question was pending, in 1821, at the moment of the great- 
est excitement in Congress, Mr. Randolph and a few others from the slaveholding 
states, had conceived the project of the whole of the representation from those 
states formally retiring in a body from the house, and leaving it in the exclusive 
possession of the members from the free states. One evening, after candlelight, 
and after a day of great excitement in debate, — Mr. Clay having temporarily left 
the chair, in consequence of the sudden illness of Gen. Mercer of Virginia, — Mr. 
Randolph accosted Mr. Clay, and said: — "Mr. Speaker, I wish you would leave 
the chair, and I will follow you to Kentucky, or anywhere else in the world." 
Mr. Clay, who understood the allusion to be to that project, replied, " Mr. Ran- 
dolph, that is a very serious proposal, deserving of the gravest consideration. I 
have not time now to converse with you about it ; but if you will call to-morrow 
morning, at the speaker's room, we will talk it over." He accordingly called, and 
an hour's interview took place between them. Mr. R. insisted that " there ought 
to be no compromise ; that the south was right, and the north wrong ; that slaveiy 
would sooner or later break up the Union ; that we might as well meet the ques- 
tion now ; and that, if it led to a dissolution of the Union, the north alone would 
be responsible for that event." Mr. Clay, concurring with Mr. R. in opinion, 
that " no restriction ought to be imposed on the state of Missouri, but that, like 
the other states, she ought to be lel't free to decide for herself the question of 
slavery, difi'ered entirely from him on the subject of a compromise. He insisted 
that the Union was of too vital importance to all the states, to be hazarded, if it 
could possibly be preserved ; that, if the question could be compromised, without 
any sacrifice of principle, it ought to be done ; that he hoped such a compromise 
could yet be effected; and that, as the northern members were too firmly commit- 
ted against the unconditional admission of Missouri, to yield, without some ground 
being given them to stand upon, he was in favor of such an arrangement of the 
subject, as was proposed by the committee of thirteen, according to which, in his 
opinion, no principle was violated." 

The two gentlemen separated, each retaining his own views, and both accord- 
ingly so acted throughout the wJiole of that great and unexampled trial. The re- 
port of the committee of thirteen was defeated by the vote of Mr. Randolph and 
two or three other southern gentlemen, who concurred with him. When the joint 
committee, which was subsequently appointed, assembled, Mr. Randolph raised 
the question, whether the chairman of the senate or of the house committee should 
preside ? Mr. Clay, who had no idea that a great subject should be affected by a 
mere point of form or etiquette, obviated the difficulty at once, by proposing that 
the joint committee should act together, but that the chairman of each should pre- 
side over his own ; and that, when a proposition was submitted, it should be pro- 
pounded to each committee by its proper chairman ; and if agreed to by both, it 
should be reported to the two houses. This course was agreed to. 

When the proposal was made, which was adopted by the joint committee, Mr. 
Clay, who knew that its success in the house, depended on its obtaining the sup- 
port of a certain number of the members of the committee from the free states, in- 
terrogated them severally — " Will you vote for the proposition in the house, if it 
be reported ?" — and a number sufficient to insure its success, having answered in 
the affirmative, it was accordingly reported. 

Throughout the session of the joint committee, Mr. Clay displayed the greatest 
calmness, solicitude, dignity, and practical ability. Mr. Barbour, of "Virginia (not 
a warm personal friend of Mr. Clay), afterward a judge of the supreme court of 
the United States, uniformly testified to the masterly manner in which Mr. Clay 
carried the measure of compromise through the committee. 


It is pleasant to observe the happy state of feeling under which 
the relations of these two men terminated. It is even a scene de- 
lightful to contemplate, variegated, and in no small degree touch- 
iiigly dramatic in its character. Mr. Randolph's eccentricity seemed 
often to border on insanity. If he had his faults, he also had re- 
deeming qualities.* It can hardly be supposed he was himself in 
seeking a hostile encounter with Mr Clay, in 1S26. Their meet- 
ing on that occasion, and Mr. Clay's engagement in a like affair 
with Humphry Marshall, some twenty years before, are events to 
be deplored. That Mr. Clay should have been accused of having 
a hand in Cilley's death, when he sincerely sought to prevent it, by 
dictating a note for the very purpose of opening a door to pacifica- 
tion, which had been closed, like other calumnies, through which 
he has been doomed to pass, originated in wicked designs, and has 
been sustained by a like perversity. 

• Mr. Randolph often found or made difficulty with Mr. Clay, as speaker of the 
nouse of representatives, and, being in the wrong, it worked hard on his undisci- 
plined temper and habits. Mr. Clay was once obliged, or thought proper, to de- 
fend himself in the National Intelligencer, for one of his decisions as speaker, of 
which Mr. Randolph had complained in a public address to his constituents. At 
the end of the interview on the Missouri question, Mr. Clay took occasion to ex- 
press his regret, for the unpleasant occurrences on the floor of the house, between 
himself, as speaker, and Mr. Randolph, and remonstrated against his (Mr. R.'s) 
language in that place, as the speaker could not reply. Mr. Randolph said : " I 
think you sometimes refuse to listen to me, when I am addressing the chair, and 
turn away to ask for a pinch of snuff." — Mr. Clay said: "You are mistaken. I 
can repeat as much of any of your late speeches, as you can yourself, good as I 
know your memory to be." — " Well," said Mr. R., " perhaps I am mistaken. Let 
us shake hands, and be friends." 

At another time, Mr. Randolph was threatened with a rude assault, out of 
doors, for a remark he had made — itself rude — and he came for advice to the 
speaker (Mr. Clay), who suggested, whether the man were sane ? Mr. R. had 
his doubts. Mr. Clay said, perhaps it would not be best to trouble the house with 
it ; but he would order the officers to keep an eye on the person, and arrest him, 
if they thought it expedient. 




Doctrine of the NuUifiers. — Its Absurdities. — The Teachings of a Sotitliem 
Planter contrasted with the Doctrines of Nullification. 

It remains to notice briefly the argument set up in South Car- 
olina at the time of the compromise in 1832-'33, which was used 
oefore, and is still employed ; though it ought to be allowed, that 
Mr. Clay has fully answered it, in the extracts already made from 
his speeches. The attention of the reader was particularly called, 
in a previous chapter, to Mr. Clay's statement of the argumentiim 
ad absurdum on this point, which is a standing and irrefragable 
answer. Nevertheless, some respect is due to the feelings of those 
who still believe in that fallacy. So long as people think they 
have grievances, and complain, they are entitled to be heard. If, 
indeed, there is no just foundation for this complaint, the last ves- 
tige of objection to the protective policy is demolished. 

There were several public documents sent forth under the state 
authorities of South Carolina on that occasion, exhibiting the views 
of her leading men on this subject. The following is an extract 
from the report of the convention which enacted the nullifying 
ordinance : — 

" The laws [of the tariff] have been so framed as to give a di- 
rect pecuniary benefit to a sectional majority, in maintaining a grand 
system by which taxes are in effect imposed upon the few for the 
benefit of the many ; and imposed, too, by a system of indirect 
taxation, so artfully contrived as to escape the vigilance of the 
common eye, and masked under such ingenious devices as to make 
it extremely difficult to expose their true character. Thus, under 
the pretext of imposing duties for the payment of the public debt, 
and providing for the common defence and general welfare (powers 
expressly conferred on the federal government by the constitution), 
acts are passed containing provisions designed exclusively and 
avowedly for the purpose of securing to the American manufactu- 


rers a monopoly in our markets, to the great and manifest preju- 
dice of those who furnish the agricultural productions which are 
exchan"-ed in foreign markets for the very articles which it is the 
avowed object of these laws to exclude. 

" If the sixteen millions of dollars now annually levied in du 
ties on the foreign goods received in exchange for southern pro- 
ductions, were allowed to remain in the pockets of the people, or, 
by some just and equal system of appropriation, could be restored 
to them, the condition of the plantation states would unquestiona- 
bly be one of unexampled prosperity and happiness. Such was 
our condition under a system of free trade, and such would soon 
be again our enviable lot. Of the results which would thereby be 
produced, some faint concepdon may be formed by imagining 
what would be the effect upon the interests of the people of our 
own state, if the SS, 000, 000 of foreign goods now annually re- 
ceived in exchange for our productions, and paying duties to the 
amount of upward of three millions of dollars, could be obtained 
by us duty free, or the duties thus levied were expended within 
our own limits. Is it not obvious, that several millions per annum 
would thereby be added to the available industry of South Caro- 
lina? &c. . . . We present this strong view of the subject to show 
the manifest justice of the claims of South Carolina," &c. 

The following extract is from the address of the convention to 
the people of the United States : — 

" Under a system of free trade, the aggregate crop of South 
Carolina would be exchanged for a larger quantity of manufactures, 
by at least one third, than it can be exchanged for under the pro- 
tecting system. It is no less evident, that the value of the crop is 
diminished by the protecting system very nearly, if not precisely, 
to the extent that the aggregate quantity of manufactures that is 
obtained for it, is diminished. It is indeed stiictly and philosoph- 
ically true, that the quantity of consumable commodities, which 
can be obtained for the cotton and rice annually produced by the 
industry of the state, is the precise measure of their aggregate 
value. But for the prevalent and habitual error of confounding 
the money price with the exchangeable value of our agricultural 
staples, these propositions would be regarded as self-evident. If 
the protecting duties were repealed, one hundred bales of cotton, 
or one hundred barrels of rice, would purchase as large a quantity 
of manufactures as one hundred and fifty will now purchase. The 
annual income of the state, its means of purchasing and consu- 
ming the necessaries and comforts and luxuries of life, would be 
increased in a corresponding degree. Almost the entire crop of 
South Carolina, amounting annually to more than six millions of 
dollais, is ultimately exchanged, either for foreign manufactures 
subject to protecting duties, or for similar domestic manufactures. 


The natural value of that crop would be all the manufacture? 
which we could obtain for it under a sys-tem of unrestricted com- 
merce. The artificial value produced by the unjust and uncon- 
stitutional legislation of Congress, is only such part of these man- 
iiiactures as will remain after paying a duty of 50 per cent, to the 
government ; or, to speak with more precision, to the northern 
manufacturers. . . . The inevitable result is, that the manufactures 
thus lawfully acquired by the honest industry of South Carolina, 
are worth annually three millions of dollars less to her citizens, 
than the very same quantity, of the very same description, of man- 
ufactures is worth to the citizens of a manufacturing state — a dif- 
ference of value produced exclusively by the operation of the pro- 
tecting system. ?S'0 ingenuity can either evade or refute this prop- 
osition. The very axioms of geometry are not more self-evident. 
. . . We confidently appeal to our confederated states, and to the 
whole world, to decide whether the annals of human legislation 
furnish a parallel instance of injustice and oppression perpetrated 
in the form of free government. However it may be disguised by 
the complexity of the process by which it is effected, it is nothing 
less than the monstrous outrage of taking three millions of dollars 
annually from the value of die productions of South Carolina, and 
transferring it to the people of other and distant communities." 

The first thought that will naturally strike one, in reading the 
above extracts, is a concession, made, indeed, under the form of a 
libel, that the system of taxation complained of, is " so artfully 
contrived as to escape the vigilance of the common eye, and 
masked under such ingenious devices, as to make it extremelxj dif- 
ficult to expose their true character.^'' It was no doubt an " ex- 
tremely difficult" task to prove what was necessary to maintain 
their ground. But it will be observed, that the whole of their 
ground falls from under their feet by the proofs elsewhere given in 
this work, that the protective policy cheapens the prices of articles 
protected, instead of enhancing them ; and consequently, that the 
claim of South Carolina for indemnification or relief from a bur- 
den, is, on the principle of their own argument, converted into a 
debt of gratitude at least. The controversy is settled by the set- 
tlement of the question, whether protective duties are a tax. It 
has been shown by Mr. Clay — and is proved in chapter XII. of this 
volume — that they do not so operate ; or, if there are exceptions, 
that such is not their tendency, but the contrary. When the duties 
do not amount to prohibition, they not only extend the range of 
competition, but they bring foreign and domestic products in com- 
petition, and the uniform experience is a reduction of prices. 


But there are some incorrect statements in these documents, 
which are of material consequence in their bearings on the contro- 
versy. They complain that " acts are passed containing provisions 
designed exclusively and avowedly to secure to American manu- 
facturers a MONOPOLY in our markets, to the great and manifest 
prejudice of those who furnish the agricultural productions which 
are exchanged in foreign markets for the very articles which it is 
the avowed object of these laws to exclude." The self-contra- 
diction of this statement, which speaks of the " very articles" be- 
ing received in exchange, which are in the same sentence repre- 
sented as excluded by prohibitory duties, might be a sufficient an- 
swer to itself. But, it is vi^ell known, that these duties were not 
intended to be prohibitory, except perhaps in regard to a few arti- 
cles, and that they did not operate as such. So far, therefore, 
from securing to the American manufacturers a monopoly, they 
only opened the widest possible door for competition, and conse- 
quently for obtaining the articles at a lower price, as was in fact 
the result. A correct statement would have taken away all ground 
of argument, as it must have exhibited the reasons why their argu- 
ment had no solid foundation. A misnomer of terms, in a contro- 
versy, if designed to conceal the truth, or to gain advantage by 
exciting popular prejudice, is a species of fraud, which will not 
be tolerated, certainly not practised, by fair minds. The term, 
monopoly, is very odious ; and the reason why the tariff com- 
plained of did not give a monopoly, but widened the field of com- 
petition, was the reason why the prices of the articles must neces- 
sarily be reduced, and thus take away all ground of objection. 
Experience shows, that even prohibitory duties, the effect of 
which is to rear domestic establishments, provide for the public 
cheaper and better articles, as soon as domestic competition has 
fairly begun, though at first the prices may occasionally be somewhat 
enhanced. It is well known, that American iron is better than foreign, 
and there is no article of iron manufacture in extensive use, that will 
not be afforded cheaper by domestic than foreign factories, as soon 
as the protection is felt to be sufficiently stable for the srife invest- 
ment of capital in domestic establishments on a scale that will cre- 
ate competition. Most articles of iron manufacture, are already 
cheapened, and none are so high as they would be, if foreign fac- 
tories had the monopoly, a>* they would have, without adequate 
protection to home manufactures. 

But there is another item of incorrectness in a statement of the 



report of the convention of South Carolina, leading to momentous 
results on the supposition of its being fair ; and it is no wonder 
that the people of that state, receiving it as correct, were excited, 
and ready to plunge into a civil war for a remedy. It is true the 
report does not positively affirm to it as a fact, but it clearly con- 
veys the idea, and such must have been the impression made — 
that the tariff robbed that state of three millions of dollars annu- 
ally^ as stated in one form, and several millions as stated in an- 
other form ; whereas, according to their own theory, that duties 
are taxes, their proportion of the tax, as a state, could only have 
been three hundred and thirty-three thousand, three hundred and 
thirty-three dollars, as shown in a calculation presented by Mr. 
Clay. That they meant to be so understood, appears from what 
they say at the conclusion of the statement : " We present this 
strong view of the subject," &c. It was undeniably a " strong 
view." What state of the Union would not rebel, to deliver 
itself from being wronged out of three millions, or several millions, 
annually? It certainly was not quite fair to bring to a fallacious 
theory, an incorrect statement of facts, to aggravate the hypothet- 
ical consequences of that theory — those consequences being repre- 
sented as facts. 

In the extract from the address to the people of the United 
States, the peculiar theory of the South-Carolinians is distinctly 
brought out. They assume, as an element of reasoning, the bar- 
ter principle, as if it were practically applied in the disposal of 
their products, which is not a fact. They go into the market like 
anything else, at the cash price. Barter, or the exchange of one 
commodity for another, neither being money, is not practised in 
the commerce of civilized communities, but is confined to barba- 
rians. A home trade has much in it that is tantamount to barter, 
and that is the beauty and superior advantage of domestic ex- 
changes, while cash is always the medium-gauge of prices, and 
may be used, if required by either party. But in foreign trade 
and exchanges, there is no such thing as barter. The precious 
metals, weighed in scales, are the sole medium of foreign com- 
merce, and all balances are settled by that rule. 

Pursuing this barter principle, the South-Carolinians next as- 
sume, that their products would yield them at least one third more, 
if the tariff were out of the way, which imposes about one third 
ad-valorem duties. In this assumption is implied the element, 
that duties are taxes • whereas it is fully shown, that they reduce 


prices. Consequently, on the barter principle, as assumed, in- 
stead of having received in exchange one third less than the value 
of their products, they have received a fraction more — one third, 
more or less, in excess of what was due to them on their own 
principle. Their proposition, therefore, of a one-third diminution 
in the value of their crop, by the protecting system, should be 
reversed to something like a one-third increase. There can be no 
difference of opinion about the following proposition laid down by 
them, although tliey seemed to suppose it was or would be con- 
troverted : '• It is indeed strictly and philosophically true, that the 
quantity of consumable commodities, which can be obtained for 
the cotton and rice annually produced by the industry of the stale, 
is the precise measure of their aggregate value." If they had 
claimed the rights of barter according to this rule, they would no 
doubt have had as much business as they could do, not to say at 
a great loss. But, like wise men, they have preferred " the money 
price," as they call it, in distinction from " exchangeable value," 
alias barter. 

The following palpable form of their theory can not but arrest 
attention : " If the protecting duties were repealed, one hundred 
bales of cotton, or one hundred barrels of rice, would purchase 
as large a quantity of manufactures as one hundred and fifty now 
purchase." This is what is commonly called " the forty-bale the- 
ory," in this case, assuming 50 per cent, as the duty, it is a fifty- 
bale theory. The theory is illustrated by its authors thus : " The 
South-Carolina planter exports one hundred bales of cotton to 
Liverpool, exchanges them for one hundred bales of merchandise, 
and when he brings them home, is compelled to leave at the cus- 
tomhouse forty bales in the form of duties." Mr. Clay's answer 
to this, is as follows : " To test the correctness of the hypothet- 
ical case, let us suppose that the duty, instead of forty per centum, 
should be one hundred and fifty, 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 cotton." When an absurdity 
like this is made out, it ought to be quite sufficient. But there is 
another answer : It is not the South-Carolina planter who carries 
on this exchange — he sells for cash — but his broker at New York 
in the first stage, and the importer in the second. If the importer 


should divide the proceeds of one hundred bales of cotton into 
the same number of bales of merchandise, he can afford to leave 
forty bales, or whatever be the duty, at the customhouse, and make 
a satisfactory profit in his business. Such is the practical oper- 
ation, and the fact. If the South-Carolina planter should choose 
to do this business himself, and if he should do it with equal 
skill, he would acquire the profits of the trade, in addition to the 
full and fair price for his cotton, which he always gets. The the- 
ory is fallacious, and one of the elements of its fallacy, is the as- 
sumption of the barter principle, which is never practised ; anoth- 
er, that import duties are equivalent to export duties. It would 
be equally true to say, that the British manufacturer, whose fab- 
rics are bought with the proceeds of the cotton, pays the duties 
collected on them in the United States, as that the planter, the 
avails of whose product are used as the means of purchase, pays 
them, " unless," as Mr. Clay says, " the principle is true on one 
side of the Atlantic, and false on the other." 

The South-Carolinians make a distinction between the natural 
and artificial value of their crops, thus: "The natural value of 
that crop would be all the manufactures which we could obtain for 
it, under a system of unrestricted commerce. The artificial value 
produced by the unjust and unconstitutional legislation of Congress 
is only such part of those manufactures as will remain after paying 
a duty of fifty per cent, to the government." Since it is proved — 
very unexpectedly to them — that the ^'■artificial value" is greater 
than the '■^natural value," they can not complain; and if they 
choose, they are free to carry out their principle of barter, and 
have all the profits of the business. Since they annually consume 
only from six to seven hundred thousand dollars' worth of the pro- 
tected articles, iheir advantage is limited to the reduction of prices 
on this amount. It would not be a bad speculation for them to do 
all the trading, and receive the balance of profits arising from the 
'artificial value" of eight millions, the amount of their products. 
As to the annual sacrifice of three millions of dollars to the state, 
that, of course, is all done away with, by the unexpected operation 
of the tariff in their favor, in the reduction of prices. 

Mr. Clay has clearly shown, that the American manufacture of 
cotton, growing out of the protective policy, instead of diminish- 
ing, as averred by the South-Carolina doctrine, has increased the 
demand for the raw material. As early as 1832, Great Britain had 
a foreign market for her cotton manufactures, amounting annually 


to one hundred and sixty millions of dollars, more than three 
fourths of which was a positive value added by British industry and 
art to the raw material, purchased chiefly of the American planter, 
only five per cent, of which then came to the United States. If 
Great Britain had been excluded from the American markets, she 
still had a market in other p^rts of the world, for the remaining 
ninety-five per cent., constantly on the increase, and must have the 
raw material to supply it. But she has not been driven from the 
American market, except in coarse fabrics ; and the demand of the 
American manufactories for the raw material is far beyond the five 
per cent., also constantly increasing; so that the cotton planter has 
not only the advantage of a new and home market, but wider and 
more rapidly-augmenting demand for his product. It is absurd to 
suppose, that British manufacturers would not continue their de- 
mand for the raw material, for the full supply of their growing 
trade in other parts of the world, which, by American competition, 
would naturally be pushed with greater vigor; and the American 
demand for the raw material may perhaps be put down for nearly 
if not quite all clear gain to the cotton planter. It has been shown 
by the Hon. Mr. Simmons, of the United States senate, that the 
American market for raw cotton, is by far belter for the planter, 
than the British or any other foreign market. It is certain that the 
demand for raw cotton has not been diminished by the existence 
and growth of American manufactures, because the supposition 
involves an absurdity. It is not less certain, that the causes which 
prevent diminution, must operate to produce augmentation; and as 
price is always governed by demand, the greater demand must be 
favorable to prices. 

Some sections of the Union, and some local or individual inter- 
ests, unless a tariff is carefully and fairly adjusted, may be bene- 
fited more than others; but, as a general rule, none can be injured 
by the protective policy- The cause of the more sluggish pros- 
perity of the south, will probably be found in that which makes 
the difference in the results of involuntary and voluntary labor. It 
should not be matter of surprise, that there is greater thrift in 
a state of society, where all the people work, and each man works 
for himself, than in a society that is sustained by involuntary 

It is certainly remarkable, tliat the people of South Carolina 
should have been persuaded, by a fallacy, that they were taxed 
three millions of dollars a year for other people and other states. 


when, on the fundamental principle of the argument of their pre- 
ceptors, they could only have been taxed to the amount of the duties 
on the protected articles which they consumed, to wit, some three 
hundred and thirty-three thousand, three hundred and thirty-three 
dollars; and when, after all, it appears, that even this alleged tax 
proves to be a bonus ; that, because they had the good fortune to 
find a market for eight millions of their agricultural products, not 
in the way of barter, but for cash, they should imagine this cash 
was reduced one half after they had got it in hand, which, if it had 
so happened, must have been their own fault, or a species of magic 
for which man ought not to be held accountable ; that because a 
merchant traded as well as he could with the proceeds of their 
cotton and rice, after they had come fairly into his hands by pur- 
chase, and brought home such goods in exchange as he could 
make most profit on, duties or no duties, they should think that 
theij paid duties on goods with which they had no concern ; that 
they should be made to believe, that import duties are equivalent 
to export duties; that when a New- York importer pays duties on 
British or other foreign products, South-Carolinians pay them also, 
because they sell cotton and rice to a New- York broker, for the 
markets from which those imports come ; and that they are verv 
much oppressed by a tariff which has supplied them annually with 
some six or seven hundred thousand dollars' worth of manufactured 
articles — the amount of their consumption of such as come under 
protection — cheaper than they could otherwise have obtained them ! 

It is worthy of remark, that some portions of the south, at least, 
are in the transit state of being converted from the doctrines so 
strenuously maintained by South Carolina. It was credibly stated 
to the author of this work, that one of the United States senators, 
from one of the greatest cotton-growing states, who had always 
opposed the protective policy, and voted against the tariff of 1842, 
after having observed the practical operation of that measure, said: 
"I have no more to say. The tariff of 1842 has destroyed our 

But the most remarkable fact of all recent events of this kind, 
is a work lately published, entitled, "Notes on Political 
Economy, as applicable to the United States, by a 
Southern Planter. New York: Leavitt, Trow, & Co., 
1844." In his preface, the writer invokes especially the attention 
of " die southern states, with which he stands identified by birth and 

Vol. tl.— 18 


interest ;" and in the body of the work, while giving statistics ap 
pertaining to the economy of a plantation, as evidence of his 
knowledge of the subject, he says : " The writer speaks from ex- 
perience ; for he is a planter of cotton, and owns slaves." That 
such a voice should come forth from that quarter, was perhaps un- 
expected. It can not be denied, that the teachings of this work — 
they are very strong — are worthy of special regard on account of 
this origin; nor can it well be averred, that the evidence is less 
credible. To give a taste of it, so far as it treats of the protective 
policy, as well as to have the advantage of some of its luminous 
and effective concentrations of thought, the author of this work 
has obtained leave from the publishers to make a few extracts. 
He had thought of introducing them in the form of a note. But 
they are really so spirited, so vigorous, so replete with information, 
and withal so striking a contrast to the foregoing doctrines of the 
South Carolina nullifiers, coming as they do from the same quar- 
ter, that the author has been induced to put them one over against 
the other, for the effect they are naturally calculated to produce. 
They are also so rich and valuable, that these few pages could not 
be better employed in elucidating this important subject. They 
are selected from thirty-three chapters of a handsome volume, 
which will account for the frequent and abrupt changes of topic, 
and the chasms actually leaped to give, in a limited space, a gen- 
eral idea of the work, every part of which is equally worthy of 
attention. For the statistical information and facts contained in 
these citations, the author of this work can not be responsible ; but 
he presumes they are worthy of respect : — 

" In all modifications of the tariff; in all propositions to promote 
agriculture, commerce, or manufactures ; in all laws or arrange- 
n)ents that go to affect labor, or change the order of things, the 
only question should be. do the circumstances of the country 
favor it — or, do the interests of the nation require it ? — is a case 
made out to fit or call for the measure in question '? — and what is 
the real condition of things in reference to the proposition ? — not 
what did Adam Smith or Mr. Say write or lay down 9 * * » 
The policy of protection is too manifest in many cases to be ques- 
tioned by any political economist, and the practice has prevailed 
more or less in all ages and in all nations. Taunt me not, then, 
with the quaint argument that ' the let-alone system is the best.' 
Tell me not that, under all circumstances, individuals will not only 
find out the most profitable lines of industry and business, but exe- 
cute them, and realize the profits incident thereto ; that no action 
of the government is necessary in any case — no protection or 


tiounty required. * * * Every production, the result of 
protection, in this country, has been brought cheaper and better 
into the market than before such protection. * * * There is 
something fascinating, but deceptive, in the idea of free trade. It 
seizes upon the unthinking, and takes with all that do not reflect ; 
because it seems to be a sort of adjunct or corollary of liberty, in 
its broad and unrestrained sense. The demagogues and designing 
politicians catch at popularity by using this popular term, and ring 
upon it all the changes to suit their purposes. * * * ]Vations 
must be similarly circumstanced, stand on the same footing, 
and have all advantages and circumstances equal, in order to in- 
sure the principles of free trade working mutually beneficial to all. 
Any difference in their condition ; any advantage ; any engross- 
ing of skill, capital, tonnage, or seamen ; any long-established 
organization, would give to a nation possessing them the vantage- 
ground, and enable it to put all others under contribution, unless 
countervailed. Old nations would, through it, subsidize young 
ones. A high degree of manufacturing skill and refinement would 
enable the nation having it to keep a hold on all the world. * * * 
Whenever free trade hereafter be sus^g-ested, it will either be from 
old advanced nations, based on interest, or from designing poli- 
ticians expecting to make capital out of the idea by humbugging 
the ignorant. I feel assured that the idea in this country has 
nothing to do with patriotism. * * * Make trade free, let 
mankind buy where they can the cheapest, and a few nations will 
master all, and absorb the capital of the whole world. # * * 
England, with her advantages and capital, may well cry aloud for 
free trade, for she will profit most by it. She may well put argu- 
ments into her customers' mouths, and even write tracts and dis- 
tribute them among ignorant people, who are waking up to their 
own interests, to the reality of their situation, and would fain arrest 
the impoverishing process before it be too late. England, lately, 
when she had got all the capital or money of the United States for 
goods that they ought to have made at home, and finding the thing 
growing slack, gave her credit for a year or two of supply ahead. 
She even loaned the states two hundred millions of dollars to stim- 
ulate them to do any sort of things, for England knew that if that 
money should be wasted there, it would nevertheless find its way 
back to her, as an ability to buy more goods, which it did in the 
most hteral and absolute way. * * * Free trade, therefore, 
would be gain and great wealth to some few nations, but poverty 

and death to most of them. 


" To deprive a nation of the right to encourage her industry 
and her arts, to develop all or any of her resources, or to meet 
other nations on equal terms, would cripple her very existence. 
This doctrine would strike at her vitals, and throw her bound hand 


and foot into the power of her enemies. * » * jf ^yg were to 
make the ten miUioi dollnrs^ worth of cotton goods that we now 
import, it would only require about sixty thousand bales more of 
our cotton, out of a crop of two million bales, which would not 
much impair our export of the article, and would leave us enough 
to put Europe under contribution, for they must have it. When 
I say that Europe must have our raw cotton, I mean that it is her 
interest to take it, because it will be the cheapest and best. We 
will continue to grow it cheaper than any other people, and such 
will be the compethion among the spinners of Europe, that no one 
will dare to give a bounty for cotton, or pay more for it than their 
neighbor, or lay a tax upon it. Every pound of the raw cotton 
that we might spin under a proper protection will be our own ; and 
were we to impart the Jive additional values to the raw which the 
wrought amounts to, it would be all that clear, and done by a 
population that would be otherwise idle and producing nothing. 
* * * The raw materal of iron is without limit also in this 
country, and stands in value perhaps even ahead of cotton. Iron 
is the right hand of human operations, and a sine qua non in fact 
in all the arts, comforts, and even luxuries of man. Did we not 
ourselves show the instance, I would have said no nation on earth 
is, or could be, inconsiderate enough, or so wanting to her own 
interests and independence as to import this indispensable article 
of human necessity. * # * The reason that we do not work 
iron up to our want, without protection, is, the large capital it 
requires for furnaces, blasts, ore-beds, fuel, and much machinery 
of a complicated and particular sort, and the want of skill neces- 
sary to the operation. 


" As things now stand, we give all possible facility to the intro- 
duction of foreign goods that we ought to make ourselves ; and 
not only invite them by low duties to our shores, but diffuse them 
to every part in a certain and cheap way. W"e have taxed our- 
selves hundreds of millions to make these canals and railroads, to 
let strangers enjoy them, and through them to paralyze our indus- 
try and draw from our very bowels our last cent. We have been 
working for others — have been straining our credit, making debts 
and loans enough to both disgrace us and grind down our posterity 
into the very dust for the benefit of other nations. Instead of our 
own articles and goods being carried on them, we open them to 
strangers, whom we meet in the remotest interior, not only availing 
themselves of our works to prostrate our industry with their goods, 
but laughing at our simplicity, insulting our forbearance, and 
claimino; to have us for eternal customers. The debts the states 
liave contracted abroad, unless counteracted by encouraging our 
own industry at home, will reduce us to mere colonies of England 
for the next age. Paying twelve or fifteen millions interest abroad 



annually will take all our surplus money, and leave nothing for an 
increased wealth or comfort. Fifty millions paid and expended at 
home would not be half as much felt, nor produce half the stag- 
nation and privation. In such payments there is no remead — no 
return made of the money thus gone for ever : it doubles not back 
upon the exhausted country, and touches no new springs of indus- 
try to atone for the loss — unlike the home expenditures, no matter 
how heavy, which are still in the country and a part of its wealth. 
Our works, therefore, doubly injure us unless we protect our own 
industry ; first, by letting our enemy, a very viper, into our bosom 
to flood us with worthless manufactures ; secondly, by having cre- 
ated this two hundred millions of foreign debt to sap our resources 
for ages, and disgrace us in the bargain. 

* ♦ * ♦ # * # 

" Why should any general law giving protection, or even a 
bounty, be regarded as partial, and taxing one, even temporarily, 
for the benefit of another ? The law is open to all, and every in- 
dividual in the community has an equal right to enter the lists and 
profit by it. If he does not avail himself of it, there is no cause 
for complaint ; it is a proof that he waives his right and gives way 
to others. Our politicians in this country show a great deal of 
dishonesty and unfairness in cases like this, and try to pervert and 
strain facts to make the ignorant believe they are oppressed, that 
they may make political capital out of it. The idea of monopoly 
is widely different from this, made of sterner stuff, and intended to 
favor an individual, or company, at the expense of the community. 

" So that a thing is made and supphed at home, it matters but 
little whether it costs more or less. This is broad ground and 
needs some illustration, because if true it does away all the objec- 
tions that can be offered to a protecUng tariff. It makes all the 
difference to the country, taking in its rounds and interchanges of 
labor, and its capital, whether a dollar is laid out at home or abroad, 
in buying an article. When it goes to a foreign country to buy 
the thing, it is gone for ever, and becomes the capital or the dol- 
lar of that country, after it makes one operation only. Whereas 
if you lay out that dollar at home, in the neighborhood, or next 
village, or next state, or district, for an article, it remains in the 
country, and is still a part of the capital of the country. It does 
infinitely more than that, because it circulates and repeats its oper- 
ation of buying an article perhaps one hundred times, possibly a 
thousand times, and in its rounds serves the purposes of a hundred 
or a thousand dollars, as the case may be. In the grand rounds 
of its circulation, it touches as many springs of industry as it does 
hands, and is all the time doing good. When it shall have done 
all this, or while it is doing all this — for the thing never ends — 
it is still a dollar, and counted properly among the dollars or the 


-capital of the country. Figures can't calculate the different, e, 
therefore, in expendincf a dollar at home or abroad ; even the geo- 
metrical ratio can't accumulate fast enough to realize this differ- 
ence. It outstrips everything but the human imagination in its 
progress. This vast difference has never occurred to our wisest 
politicians, much less our demagogues. Now if the article should 
cost ten per cent, more than the foreign, it is ten times made up 
in this "-rand round we have alluded to, by the rapid repetition of 
the thing. It is again made up in the way that prices tally or 
adapt themselves to one another. If the seller of the article gets 
a little more, he in his turn pays a little more to the laborers, and 
they a litde more to the farmers, they a little more to the hands, 
and so on all around the circle, until a perfect equilibrium is not 
only restored, but kept up between all, and all prices quadrate into 
a perfect system, that in the rounds can't make the least difference 
as to the cost or difference of price. I would go so far as to 
allege and boldly say, that if a country bought all at home, and 
had nothing to do with foreign markets, it would make no differ- 
ence to it in the aggregate, or nationally speaking, what an article 
costs in reason. It would neither add to nor impair her wealth or 
resources. The above point of view is worth much to political 
economy, and, if understood, would do away the slang and every- 
day arguments of ' tax not one portion of the people for the benefit 
of the others.' It does not operate so at all, even when a difference 
does seem apparent. On the other principle, too, the argument 
fails, as we have seen in a former chapter ; that is to say, in the 
operation of skill and competition upon prices, when they shall 
have had time to act. On both the above principles, then, there 
can be no danger, no loss nor tax in a protecting tariff. The 
country is sure to retain its capital, and have the price reasonable 
too, or so graduated as not to be felt. 

" A part of the same argument is the slang expression of ' buy- 
ing where we can the cheapest.' This argument never looks be- 
yond its nose, never once calculates the general effect of things, or 
takes in the resources, labor, independence, or capital of a coun- 
try. It overlooks all those sacred duties that would go to give 
employment to all laborers, develop and bring into action new 
resources within reach, and save to a nation its capital or income, 
instead of wasting it in expenditures abroad. # * * The 
prices of things, not only in manufactures but agriculture, are not 
governed, as old writers say, and regulated by the cost of produc- 
tion, or the quantity of labor necessary to make them or produce 
them, but by the demand for them. All the vibrations in the 
markets, the ups and downs of prices, are pretty much the result 
of a greater or less demand for the productions in question among 
the consumers. An overdone or clogged market is always a bad 
one, and prices fall in consequence thereof. * * * Th^^ 


Strongest case in illustration of the principle, that nations who buy 
their supplies from abroad never accumulate capital, and all the 
time remain poor, is found in the history of these United States. 
We have had a valuable agricultural product all the time, inclu- 
ding our staples, and have annually expended it abroad, in buying 
such things as we should have made at home, and have saved 
but little capital ; because it took our whole ability to supply our- 
selves with necessaries and luxuries from abroad, which are con- 
sumed, leaving not a wreck behind. Our effort has been to make 
the two ends of the year meet, and prevent balances against us. 
Have we done this ? The worst is to come ; and when our pres- 
ent circumstances speak, will show a sad case of debt and thral- 
dom, worse than the spendthrift, who, after using up his income, 
finds himself in the hands of the Jews and usurers. England, 
after finding that we had not only spent our income with her, and 
anticipated it by one or two years, and that we had gotten into such 
an extravagant way as to want more — ten times more, if we could 
get it — met this want up to all the available credit that we had 
after our means were exhausted. The evil did not stop there. 
She agreed to take, and required us to transfer, all the stocks that 
were available, and promised some dividend to her, including our 
national, state, corporation, and the one thousand banks that we 
had started. When all this was done, and the dividends gone 
from us for ever, as well as the principal, and we still wanted 
more ! cried aloud for more ! must have more ! the plan was then 
hit on to call up the states, these sovereignties that stood behind 
the crowd, and urge them on to useless and empty consumption, 
and get them to borrow millions under the semblance that they 
could expend them in developing the country. These sovereign- 
ties, urged by demagogues who knew that they would have the 
handling of the money, came forward and put their sign-manual to 
loans amounting to two hundred million dollars, and issued, with 
much parade, bonds and stock to that amount, bearing on an aver- 
age six per cent., payable semi-annually, or quarterly even, in 
England, if required. This money reached this country princi- 
pally in the shape of trashy goods, at two prices, and such things 
as we either did not need or ought to have made at home, but 
which we consumed and sunk for ever. That two hundred mil- 
lion gave us that much more ability to buy and consume English 
goods, which she very well knew, and every cent of it returned 
rapidly to Europe, principally to England, sure enough, after more 
goods. So rapidly did it hurry back, that it made no improve- 
ments in the country in the shape of cities, farms, schools, and 
substantial comforts ; merelj half dug out some canals and ways 
for roads, and built some board shantees in which to sell liquors 
and English goods to the laborers, who pretended to be making 
great works. 


*' What are the facts now ? We wake up to debts enough to 
wein-h down our industry for the next fifty years. The states 
owe in their sovereign capacity two hundred millions ; half of it not 
even paying interest from sheer inability, ten millions of it repu- 
diated, and disgracing in both cases our free institutions and na- 
tion. Of bank and corporation and national stocks, besides, two 
hundred millions held in England, and the individual indebtedness, 
amounting abroad to fifty millions, making in all the enormous 
sum of four hundred and fifty million dollars owed abroad, and 
for wiiat? such things as we might and ought to have made at 
home. Half of the works aimed at are not finished ; such as are 
completed subserve Europe perhaps nearly as much as ourselves, 
by letting her into the very bosom of our country, to poison and 
corrupt still more our very principle of action. We are now pay- 
ing to England, in the shape of interest and dividends, not less 
than fifteen million dollars annually, which will keep us poor for 
an age to come. The expending, or rather paying for it, is now 
not even an outlay ; fifteen million dollars abroad hurts us worse, 
prostrates us more, than paying to one another one hundred mil- 
lions would ; for then the money is still in the country, and a part 
of our capital ; in the other case it is gone for ever. 

" There is no calculating such differences ; they appal when run 
out into their details. I would lay it down, then, as a plain prin- 
ciple, and a case proved, that a nation that supplies itself with 
articles of necessity or even luxury from abroad, will never accu- 
mulate capital or get rich, can only hope to meet the balance annu- 
ally. 1 will further assert, and appeal to experience in support of 
the fact, that they do not meet their balances, but are invariably 
in debt abroad. I will also assert, and prove it, too, that all 
mcrease of capital, all issue of stocks, or loans made by a nation 
thus circumstanced, is death to her ; for all this, too, travels abroad 
for goods. I will finally assert, that these operations indefinitely 
postpone the time when such nation will supply itself, and give to 
it so much discredit and such innumerable bad habits and factitious 
wants, that she can scarcely ever be available for practical and 
economical purposes, and stands mortgaged and bound for ages to 
her successful and laughing masters and rivals. 


" It is bad enough to depend on foreign countries for luxuries, 
or such things as our country can not produce; but wo to that 
nation that buys its necessaries abroad ! * * * To save sixty 
million dollars a year, which is tantamount to making it, would 
enrich this nation very fast, and leave us a completely comforta 

ble people. 


" It is contended and used as an objection to the protecting 
tariff, that ' if we make our own supplies up to the full, Europe, 


and England in particular, would not take our raw materials.' 
They pretend that she does that on the principles of reciprocal 
trade, and takes our raw things, as far as w^e take her goods. This 
is not true ; for they take no more of our things, at any rate, than 
they want, and must have. The idea of mutual interest never 
entered into their calculations. They shut their ports against our 
provisions and corn, and against all of our manufactures, by such 
high duties, that none scarcely go in, and yet clamor if we attempt 
to supply our own wants. This is reciprocity with a vengeance 
History could not furnish an instance of more selfishness than Eng 
land manifests, or more arrogating injustice. We have the mean- 
ness, too, of not only not countervailing it, but actually contributing 
to keep up that one-sided state of trade. Our anti-tariff politicians, 
are as much playing into the hands of the English, in all their 
measures, as if the words were put into their mouths by England, 
and our laws penned by her, too. It is strangely inconsistent that 
a party should exist in this free country, in one breath abusing 
England with fixed hatred, and in the next moment contributing 
to all her injustice, and even preferring her interests to New 
England, as to manufactures. I have witnessed cases v^here 
English goods of a worse quality, and dearer, were preferred to 
better goods from New England. England goes on the principle 
of buying nothing but raw materials, or such tropical or southern 
luxuries as she can't produce, and buys them invariably where she 
can the cheapest. * * * Is it not surprising, and past all 
belief, that our greatest men from the south, and many of the 
leatlers of party, should have risked their reputation for thought, 
and character, and consistency, so far as to have asserted, on the 
floor of Congress, that ' unless we take our supplies of goods from 
England, she will not take our raw cotton V And further, that 
' because the export of cotton gives us most of our export value, it 
must pay and does pay one half of all the imposts' — that ' the 
growers of it do to that extent,' they say, ' pay the taxes of this 
government.' * * * We send to Europe about 1,700,000 
bales of cotton now, and take back in the shape of cotton goods of 
all sorts, from every nation, only 60.000 bales in all. 1 prove this in 
this way : our customhouse furnishes the data that we are now im- 
porting but eight million dollars' worth of cotton goods from the 
whole world. Now, by casting our data upon the difference of the 
raw and wrought value of cotton, we can come at the fact. The 
wrought value of such fine goods as we take from Europe, is six 
times the rav/. Now, if eight million dollars buy the wrought, 
by the inverse rule of three, what must the raw, entering in it as 
one to five, cost ? The answer is, about 60,000 bales. This fac* 
would have astonished those great politicians referred to, if they 
had ever extended their minds so far, or if their prejudices would 
have suffered it. Were our custom, therefore, withdrawn from 


England, it would not be felt much. This fact bears du'ectly on 
the idea, that England will not take our cotton unless we t«ke her 
goods, and shows its emptiness. England wants our raw cotton 
for her other customers and her own consumption, and must have 
it. She is now consuming 30,000 bales a week, and must have 
all of 1,500,000 bales to make up her quota and prevent htr spin- 
dles stopping, which would be spasms and death to her in these 
times of general thrift. 

" Let us now calculate what cotton can be grown for, when 
prices get down to a mere support for master and slave. With 
the proper economy, by the owner living on his place, deriving 
his household and table expenses from it, and clothing and feed- 
ing his own slaves, his annual expenses, counting salt, iron, medi- 
cines, taxes, wrapping for his cotton, and overseer's wages, do not 
exceed two cents a pound on the product or crop ; all over that is 
profit in their sense, that is, over and above annual expenses. I 
will give the details to make this clear. A plantation of fifty hands, 
makes the average of seven bales to the hand, weighing four hun- 
dred and fifty pounds ; this is three hundred and fifty bales. Sup- 
pose two cents for expenses ; this amounts to S3, 150 on the crop. 
This crop, say, sells for four cents a pound net, and, clear of 
charges for transportation, insurance, and commissions for selling, 
leaves $3,150 profit for the luxuries of the owner, who gets his 
necessaries out of the plantation by living on it. This is a very 
pretty sum ; and half of it would be ample for him, which would 
reduce cotton to three cents. As to insurance, unfortunately, the 
slaves not only insure themselves, but give a large increase, which 
grows up with the owner's children, and furnishes them with out- 
fits by the time they need them. Now I will go into a calculation 
to show that two cents a pound cover the annual expense. Here 
follow the items, taking a plantation of fifty hands as a basis : for 
overseer, $500 ; for salt, $20 ; iron, $30 ; medicines, $20 ; doc- 
tor's bill, $100, for you can contract by the year, and it is often 
done at two dollars a head ; bagging and rope to wrap it, at twelve 
and a half cents for the one, and five cents for the other, amount 
to $300 ; taxes, $100 ; sundry small things, $100, all told. (The 
writer speaks from experience, for he is a planter of cotton and 
owns slaves.) All this amounts to $1,170, much below the allow- 
ance of two cents a pound, amounting, as we have seen, to $3,150. 
I only wish to show that we can grow cotton at three ce/its a jwitnd, 
and have a living j)roJit. * * * The cotton culture then is 
sure to go on in this country, at any price, from three cents up, 
that the market warrants, and with increased energies. These 
facts warrant us in asserting, which we do broadly and unquali- 
fiedly, that we can grow cotton cheaper than any other people on 
earth, not even excepting the Hindoos. The consequence ol 


this will be, that we will take the market of the whole world, and 
keep it supplied with cotton. * * * I am not speaking hypo- 
thetically, when I say the United States can grow all the cotton 
wanted — have slaves and land enough to do it, and even overdo 
it. This country can raise three million bales, just as easily as 
it now does two millions, when that much is wanted, and then 
keep ahead of the consumption far enough to prevent ajiy advance 
in the price. * * * If we keep cotton down, not to its min- 
imum price, but to five or six cents, it will cease to come around 
the cape of Good Hope, and the United States have the market 
of the world just as certainly as at three cents. * * * ghe 
[England] dare not decline taking our cotton, for it is cheapest, 
and because she has built up her manufactories on the minimum 
price of the raw material, and buys it wherever cheapest, and has 
conformed all prices of labor and goods to that principle. Eng- 
land has in France and Germany, as well as in us, rivals to her 
cotton manufactures, and such skilful rivals, too, that she dare not 
pay more for the raw material than they do. If she were to pay 
two cents a pound more for cotton than we do, or than the conti- 
nent of Europe does, she would lose her hold on the cotton man- 
ufacture, and her opponents would take her markets. The half- 
penny-a-pound duty now levied in England, ivill have to give way 
to insure her success. * * * According to the opinions of our 
most deserving and most skilful commission merchants and fac- 
tors, our own spinners are now worth fully two cents a pound to 
the cotton market each and every year, by the competition they 
create with the Europeans. * * * Fears have been expressed, 
that ' should we get under way by the stimulus of a protecting 
tariff, we would not only pass the dead point, but go ahead beyond 
our own consumption, so as to aim at supplying the whole world 
with manufactures.' * * * Such arguments cut like two- 
edged swords, and show how much might be done under protec- 

" Five hundred thousand laborers put to work, with all the aids 
of machinery, could, according to estimates well established from 
facts in England, produce two hundred million dollars' worth of 
goods. If we went up to the consumption of the country only, 
less than one half of this sum would produce much wealth and 
prosperity, and work wonders upon this nation. If we went beyond 
the home supply, the overplus would be the means of a vast bar- 
ter or trade with South America, the West Indies, the Levant, and 
China. We would use the foreign market then as England now 
does, that is, to vent surplus manufactures upon. Our home mar- 
ket would increase much and rapidly from the increased ability all 
this would give, and the thousand springs of industry that would 
be touched by the operation, including its transportations, storages, 


commissions, agencies, and all concerned in such extended trans- 
actions. * * * There is no interest that ought to hail the 
establishment of manufactures louder than this [cotton], both in 
reference to its supplies and markets ; yet nearly all the growers of 
this o-reat staple are extremely hostile to manufactures. It is dis- 
couraging to a patriot and a political economist to see this hos- 
tility from so enlightened a source — to see that prejudices and 
party do carry on blindly a whole people to the most suicidal acts, 
without giving them time to think and calculate their own interests. 
The shelves of every merchant would convince them, if they would 
look, that all their supplies are already cheaper, and better in 
quality, and better fitted for their purposes, than they were for- 
merly ; and this brought about by a partial or very imperfect 
carrying on of manufactures. Their own factors tell them that 
the Americian L-pinners. by their competition, are worth annually 
two cents to the cotton market. Reason, too, tells us that a great 
deal more cotton is used now by the circumstance of the Ameri- 
cans making coarse goods, weighing heavier, and out of our own 
cotton, than would be if we got those things from England, be- 
cause she would make them much lighter and out of the worthless 
Surats. Our taking the coarse-goods market from England will 
banish altogether these Surats, because they will not do for fine 
goods such as then would be left to England to make. * # * 
Nothing has led me so much to despair of this country and its 
institutions, as the want of thought and the right understanding of 
their interests that these otherwise enlightened and independent 
cotton-growers have manifested, and their disposition, in the most 
reckless way, to throw all to the four winds, and their own inter- 
ests among them. Manufactures can not fail to benefit all raw mate- 
rials. An increased consumption of cotton in any part of the globe, 
in the present free and enterprising intercourse, will be useful, be- 
cause markets find their level ; and let a vacuum or demand be cre- 
ated in any quarter of the globe, the article would rush in to fill it. 
"We have extra labor enough to grow all the silk that England 
and the north of Europe need, cheaper, and of a better quality 
than Italy and France can furnish. The sort of labor that we 
are putting to the silk culture, consists of women and children, 
such as will not be missed from our agricultural operations. 

* * * The first duty of all good government is to look to its 
labor — insure it not only full occupation, but the greatest product- 
iveness. Political economy abhors idleness worse, if possible, 
than nature does a vacuum. It is worse than a vacuum, because 
gravity rushes forth to fill the vacuum ; but idleness is a grave 
where lies dead and buried the creative genius of man — the means 
given to him by the God of nature to improve his condition. 

• * * It would appear to one dropped from another world, 
unacquainted with all our interests and resources, that our whole 


Congress or national legislature were taken or subsidized by Eu- 
rope to favor all their productions or operations exclusively — even 
to the total disregarding of those of this country. It would seem 
to such that Great Britain sat enthroned in all our legislative halls, 
and dictated all their enactments regulating industry and a tariti'; 
and if told otherwise, could not be made to believe that some laws 
and most important regulations were not the results of bribes on the 
body politic by the superior wealth and foresight of older and wiser 
nations. Every idle finger will be pointed some day against those 
short-sighted and unpatriotic legislators, who left it in sloth, and to 
vice, and mischief, instead of stimulating it to proper action and 
usefulness. * * * Capital, when not permanently invested, 
merely seeking interest annually, is almost sure to do more harm 
than good, because those branches most depressed and in debt, are 
the first to come forward to take offered loans, to pay theu" old 
debts, under a hope their business will revive so as to justify the 
transaction. Alas ! soon they become convinced that the capital- 
ist will absorb all and end in a break-up for both. * * * This 
country, like a young giant, knows not its strength or its resources, 
because it has never exerted the one or examined the other. 
Nothing is wanted to bring forth all this, but a permanent policy, 
a certainty of protection, a security of the home market. All 
would then come forth and show themselves — capital, labor, raw 
materials, a market, wealth, comfort, elegance, taste, and indepen- 
dence. As soon as confidence was established, they would flash 
forth, as the gas-lights when touched by a match. No country is 
underlaid so universally with valuable minerals ; and they lie in 
its extended fletz or secondary formation in horizontal strata, that 
can be followed into the thousands of hills and ridges, and, lying 
above the valleys, can be poured forth, without shafts or drainings, 
to the fertile plains, water powers, and navigations, that are there 
found. Had this young giant, with its free limbs, hold of these 
mines of wealth, in the real skilful way, he could glut or monop- 
olize all markets, both in the raw and wrought state. These hid- 
den treasures need a protecting tariff to uncover them — its induce- 
ment to make them available, and wiser statesmen than we yet 
have, to put all in train, and on the certainty of the reality. * * * 
The raw materials give much more support to lines of intercom- 
munication, than the wrought goods that a country needs. In the 
carrying of raw materials and agricultural supplies to our manufac- 
turers, and interchanging with them for their goods, the whole 
operation is American, and as gratifying as profitable to Americans. 
When, however, a selfish foreigner uses them to start along his 
flimsy dry goods, perhaps half smuggled in, too light and useless 
to pay much toll, yet valuable enough to greatly tax our industry, 
if bought and used, the scene becomes changed, and the patriot 
feels that such great works are prostituted to unworthy purposes. 


for which they should not be constructed or hitended. The inter- 
chan'^es that would go on between the agriculturists and manufac- 
turers, and the growers or producers of the raw materials, and 
those who give to them available shapes, or ship them off to a for- 
eio-n market, would be great, and offer a most pleasing picture of 
prosperity. » * * Commerce has as deep an interest in se- 
curing the home market and supply as manufactures can have — 
they are both taken up in supplying it, par nobile sororum. * * * 
Commerce has no patriotism in it, whc/i based upoji foreign supplies. 
* * * Had we not seen and felt the truth of the fact, we never, 
a priori, would have believed for a moment, that any nation 
would, by a brave and bold effort, establish liberty and indepen- 
dence, without immediately, as a first principle, looking to and 
insuring, by proper laws and protection, the production of all 
things necessary lo the daily wants of the people, and the indepen- 
dence and defences of its government. These United States have 
too truly shown a case to the contrary of all this ; and, after a 
struggle that called down the applause of all the world upon them, 
have slouched on in their productions and consumptions, as it 
were by accident, regardless of any system that covered their 
wants, secured their independence, and guarantied wealth. When 
we did awake to these things, we found our hands manacled by 
foreign ties and bonds, and domestic party spirit, in such a way 
that we could not act. 

" We, or rather our politicians, or, more properly still, our 
demagogues, have always been too busy studying party interests, 
and too much under the influence of party spirit, to think enough 
about the great relations of commerce and manufactures, to under- 
stand them, or know anything about their bearings. Hence our 
manufacturing interests are a foot-ball, continually band©d about, 
and up and down, until no one knows on what to count. * * * 
When the fulcrum is furnished by nature's God to this young Ar- 
chimedes [the United States], it still fails to move the commercial 
world. Our commerce, if we demanded it, might double with 
Eugland around the great capes of South America and Africa, 
and sweep the bays of Bengal and Bombay, scour with her the 
West Indies, run with her through all her various colonies, and in 
every port, place, colony, or mother-country, be a part of herself 
as to facilities secured by treaty. No nation could gainsay us, for 
we would be in possession of all seas. iVo nation could war upon 
us, for we would be full of resources and wealth. No nation 
could countervail us, for we would control all the productions 
necessary to her existence. We would stand on high and envia- 
ble ground, placed there by our own wisdom, that made use of 
natural advantaji^es and resources too valuable to nations to be 
placed on any doubtful footing. This young He'-cules, that strau- 


gled not the serpent in its early grasp, will fall like Laocoon in 
the foldings of its wrath. 


" One third part of the people who produce a raw material, 
cotton, wool, iron, hemp, silk, tobacco, flax, or any other such 
things, can and do work them up, and impart to them, by the 
operation. Jive values. In plain mathematics, one manufacturer 
produces in value, or money, five times as much as the one en- 
gaged in raising the raw material. * * » ^jj jjjg profits of 
commerce are incidental, and have reference to its basis and sup- 
port. Like the light of a satellite, the profits of commerce are 
borrowed and reflected, not inherent as the centre sun of business, 
not creative as the producers are. » * * England has, for 
instance, four hundred millions of money spinning cotton, and 
makes jijiy millions of 'profit. 

" England stands at the head of the list, both for wealth and 
manufactures. She lives in wealth and luxury, and has capital 
enough to buy the world, if offered for sale. In other words, she 
has as much money as all Europe besides. The question natu- 
rally arises, how did she acquire it ? Not by her agriculture, for 
the utmost that it ever did was to feed and support her, and now 
does not do that much. Not by her fisheries, for they barely sup- 
ply her with the luxuries and products of the ocean. Not by 
working gold, silver, and diamond mines, for she has none of 
them. It is the fruit of her labor, her manufacturing labor and 
skill, and the commerce that is based upon it. * * * Eng- 
land, her writers say, has a clear income in money, after supply- 
ing herself every year, of two hundred millions to add to her cap- 
ital ; whereas we have not one cent, and often fall in debt and 
behind, after supplying and buying what we ought to make at 
home. * * * 'Let us have our workshops abroad,' said the 
worst politician [General Jackson] that ever a nation was cursed 
with. We have them abroad, by his influence mainly, and our 
masters are there, too ; for we have been all the time dependent 
on them for our necessaries. As well might we say, let our cap- 
ital be abroad — let our liberty, our independence, be in foreign 
keeping. Had he lived to the age of a patriarch, under full pen- 
itence, he could not have atoned for all the mischief he entailed 
on this nation, and the disappointment the friends of liberty, the 
world over, felt, and are destined to feel, from his visionary act> 
and policies. 


" The staples produced in this country by slaves, say cotton, 
sugar, rice, tobacco, and hemp, that would have had no existence 
without them, for the last fifty years, have averaged fifty million 
dollars a year, which, in the fifty years, amounts to the enormous 


sum of twenty-five hundred million:?. This sum has been realized, 
and constituted nearly the whole of our ability with which to pur- 
chase supplies abroad. Foreign nations, England more than all 
the others, have got, enjoyed, and realized, in the shape of capital, 
this twenty-five hundred million dollars, and we have consumed 
it, and not a vestige of it left behind. * * * This people 
never would have remained inefficient had they not been flattered 
and lulled by the proceeds of this slave labor. It employed our 
shipping and commerce so much that, by the aid of our merchants, 
the slaveholders have governed the country, and kept back every 
other great interest. The country is now, or will be, in a situa- 
tion like an annuitant, who, depending literally on the annuity, 
finds, by some revolution, that suddenly stopped. * * * 
Our active statesmen have turned demagogues, and are serving 
their own base purposes by the meanest and most unprincipled 
intrio^ues and corruption, instead of studying the true policies of 
the country and carrying them into effect. 

" Had we not a scouring trade with other portions of the world, 
that brought in some profit, or a balance in our favor, our trade 
with England would ruin us in a few years. It now not only 
takes our precious gains elsewhere, but all the spare cash we have 
besides, to keep it up. It is an unpleasant idea, that our active, 
enterprising whalemen and traders have to put in requisition all 
the seas, all the climates, and encounter dangers, disease, and in- 
tense labor, not to enrich us, but to meet this English balance that 
is swallowing up all thus raked together, as well as all at home. 
* ♦ * Had we saved for fifty years the annual balance Eng- 
land enjoyed against us, it would have amounted to Jive hundred 
millions, which, realized at home, would have much enriched us, 
and might have put quite another face on our circumstances. 

It is of little consequence, though the foregoing extracts, selected 
from a work of three hundred pages, are thrown out, as a sower 
scatters seed from his hand over the field. It is sowing light and 
information that few can fail to profit by. It is a new and hopeful 
symptom, when " a southern planter, who raises cotton, and owns 
slaves," can make such an argument as this. It is a light shining 
in a dark place, and may tend, not a little, to dissipate the shades, 
which have so long brooded over that wide region of the Ameri- 
can mind. He speaks from experience, and is evidently a man 
that understands his subject. It is an impressive contrast, from 
the same quarter, to the argument of nullification in 1832-'33. 
He speaks " right on ;" and he is " a southern planter." 




Opinion of Presidents in Messages to Congress. — General Jackson's Letter to 
Doctor Coleman. — Opinion of the Tammany Society, in 1819. — Opinion of the 
Framers of the Constitution — of the First Convention at Annapolis, 1786 — and 
of the First Congress under the Constitution. 

In the debate of the compromise tariff, Mr. Webster said, that 
the protective policy began with the tariff of 1816. Mr. Clay 
said, that it began with the adoption of the federal constitution. 
Both were correct, taken as they meant. Mr. Webster intended 
to say, that the then present system of tariff legislation began with 
the tariff of 1816, as in fact, it was the first tariff for protection in 
the history of the country. Mr. Clay agreed ; but for the purposes 
of his argument, was entitled to call attention to the chief political 
design of the constitution, which was to lay a platform on which 
to build the protective policy, and to the fact that the first Congress 
under the constitution made it their first business to leijislate on 
the subject. 

The following are extracts from messages of presidents of the 
United States on this topic : — 

'' The advancement of agriculture, commerce, dmd tna?itcfactures^ 
by all 'projier means, will not, I trust, iieed recommendation ; but 
I can not forbear intimating to you the expediency of giving effec- 
tual encouragement, as well to the introduction of new and useful 
inventions from abroad, as to the exertions of skill and genius Si 
producing them at home." — fVnshingto?i^s Awmal Address. 

" Congress has repeatedly, and not without siiccess, directed thei 
attention to the c7icouragement of manvfa,ctures. The object is of 
too much consequence not to insure a continuance of their efforts in 
every way which shall appear eligible.'''' — Washington'' s Last An- 
nual Address. 

" To cultivate peace, and maintain commerce and navigation in 
ail their lawful enterprises ; to foster our fisheries, as nurseries of 

Vol. IL— 19 


navigation and for the nurture of man, and to protect the manufac- 
tures adapted to our circumstances — these, fellow-citizens, are the 
landmarks by which we are to ^-uide ourselves in all our proceed- 
ings." — Jefferson's 2d Annual Message. 

" The situation into which we have been forced has impelled us 
to apply a portion of our industry and capital to national manufac- 
tures and improvements. The extent of conversion is daily in- 
creasing-, and little doubt remains that the establishments formed 
and forming, will, under the auspices of cheaper materials and sub- 
sistence, the freedom of labor from taxation with us, and of pro- 
tecting didies and prohibitions, become permanent^ — Jefferson^s 8th 
Annual Message. 

" We have experienced what we did not then believe, that there 
exists both profligacy and power enough to exclude us from the 
field of interchanges with other nations ; that to be independent for 
the comforts of life, we must fabricate them ourselves. We must 
now place our manufacturers by the side of the agriculturist. 
The former question is now suppressed, or rather assumes a new 
form. The grand inquiry now is, shall we make our own com- 
forts, or go without them at the will of a foreign nation ? He, 
therefore, who is now against domestic manufactures, must be for 
reducing us either to a dependence upon that nation, or be clothed 
in skins, and live like beasts in dens and caverns. I am proud to 
my that I am not one of these. Experience has taught me that 
manufactures are now as necessary to our independence as to our 
comfort.''' — Jeffersoji's Letter to Benj. Austin, Esq., Boston, 1S16. 

" The revision of our commercial laws, proper to adapt them to 
the arrangement which has taken place with Great Britain, will 
doubtless engage the early attention of Congress. It will be wor- 
thy at the same time of iheir just and provident care, to make such 
further alterations in the laws as will more especially protect and 
foster the several branches of manufacture which have been recently 
instituted or extended by the laudable exertion of our citizens." — 
Madison's Special Message, May 23, 1S09. 

" I recommend also, as a more effectual safeguard, and as an 
encourgement to our growing manullactures, that tne additional du- 
ties on imports which are to expire at the end of one year alter a 
peace with Great Britain, be prolonged to the end of two years 
after that event." — Madison's Special Message, May 31, 1814. 

" But there is no subject which can enter with greater force and 
merit into the deliberations of Congress, than a consideration of 
the means to preserve and promote the manufactures which have 
sprung into existence, and attained unparalleled maturity throughout 
the United States during the period of the European wars. This 
source of national independence and wealth I anxiously recommend 
to the prompt and constant guardianship of Congress." — Madison's 
Special Message, February 29, 1815. 


" In adjustirig the duties on imports to the object of revenue, the 
injiticnce of the tariff on manvfactures will necessarily present itself 
for consideration. However wise the theory may be which leaves 
to the sagacity and interest of individuals the apphcation of their 
industry and resources, there are in this, as in other cases, excep- 
tions to the general rule. Besides the consideration which the 
theory itself implies of a reciprocal adoption by other nations, ex- 
perience teaches that so many circumstances must occur in intro- 
ducing and maturing manufacturing establishments, especially of a 
more complicated kind, that a country may remain long without 
them, although sufficiently advanced, and in some respects pecu- 
liarly fitted for carrying them on with success. Under circum- 
stances giving a powerful impulse to manufacturing industry, it has 
made among us a progress, and exhibited an efficiency, which jus- 
tify the belief that, with a protection not more than is due to the 
enterprising citizens whose interests are now at stake, it will become, 
at an early day, not only safe against occasional competition from 
abroad, but a source of domestic wealth and external commerce. 
In selecting the branches more especially entitled to public patron- 
age, a preference is obviously claimed by such as will release the 
United States from a dependence on foreign supplies, ever subject 
to casual failures, for articles necessary for the public defence, or 
connected with the primary wants of individuals. It will be an 
additional recommendation of particular manufactures, where the 
materials for them are extensively drawn fiom our agriculture, and 
consequently impart and insure to that great fund of national pros- 
perity and independence, an encouragement which can not fail to 
be rewarded." — MadisoTi's 1th Annual Message. 

" Our manufactures ivill likewise require the systematic and fos- 
tering care of the government. Possessing, as ive do, all the raw 
materials, the fruit of our own soil arid ind^ustry, we ought not to 
depend, in the degree we have done, on supplies from other countries. 
While we are thus dependent, the sudden event of war, unsought 
and unexpected, can not fail to plunge us into the most serious 
difficulties. It is important, too, that the capital which nourishes 
our manufactures should be domestic, as its influence in that case, 
instead of exhausting, as it must do in foreign hands, would be 
felt advantageously on agriculture, and every other branch of in- 
dustry. Equally important is it to provide at home a market for 
our raw materials ; as, by extending the competition, it will enhance 
the price, and protect the cultivator against the casualties incident 
to foreign markets.''^ — Monroe^s Inaugural Address. 

''Uniformity in the demand and price of an article, is highly de- 
sirable to the domestic manufacturer. It is deemed of great im- 
portance to give encouragement to our domestic manufactures.'''' — • 
Monroe^ s 3d Annual Message. 

"It can not be doubted that the more complete our internal 


resources, and the less dependent we are on foreign powers for 
every national as well as domestic purpose, the greater and more 
stahle will be the public felicity. By the increase of domestic 
manufactures, will the demand for the rude materials at home be 
increased ; and thus will the dependence of the several parts of 
the Union on each other, and the strength of the Union itself, be 
proportionally augmented." — Monroe's 6th Annual Message. 

" Satisfied am I, whatever may be the abstract doctrine in favor 
of unrestricted commerce, provided all nations would concur in it, 
and it was not liable to be interrupted by war, which has never 
occurred, and can not be expected, that there are other strong 
reasons applicable to our situation and relations with other coun- 
tries, which impose on us the obligation to cherish and sustain our 
manufactures." — Mo?iroe''s 6th Anmtal Message. 

" The great interests of an agricultural, commercial, and manu- 
facturing nation, are so linked in union together, that no perma- 
nent cause of prosperity to one of them can operate without ex- 
tending its influence to the other. All these are alike under the 
protecting power of legislative authority, and the duties of the 
representative bodies are to conciliate them in harmony together. 

"Is the self-protecting energy of this nation so helpless that 
there exists in the political institudons of our country no power to 
counteract the bias of foreign legislation ; that the growers of grain 
must submit to the exclusion from the foreign markets of their 
produce ; that the shippers must dismantle their ships, the trade 
of the north stagnate at the wharves, and the manufacturers starve 
at their looms, while the whole people shall pay tribute to foreign 
industry, to be clad in foreign garbs ; that the Congress of the 
Union are impotent to restore the balance in favor of native indus- 
try destroyed by the statutes of any realm "?" — Adams' ^th An- 
nual Message. 

" The power to impose duties upon imports originally belonged 
to the several states. The right to adjust these duties, with a view 
to the encouragement of domesdc branches of industry, is so com- 
pletely identical with that power, that it is difficult to suppose the 
existence of the one without the other. The states have delegated 
their whole authority over imports to the general government, with- 
out limitation or restriction, saving the very inconsiderable reserva- 
tion relating to the inspection laws. This authority having thus 
entirely passed from the states, the right to exercise it for the pur- 
pose of protection does not exist in them ; and, consquently, if it 
be not possessed by the general government, it must be extinct. 
Our political system would thus present the anomaly of a people 
stripped of the right to foster their own industry, and to counteract 
the most selfish and destructive policy which might be adopted by 
foreign nations. This surely can not be the case ; this indispensa- 
ble power, thus surrendered by the states, must be within the scope 


of authority on the subject expressly delegated to Congress. In 
this conclusion I am confirmed, as well by the opinions of Presi- 
dents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, who have 
each repeatedly recommended this right under the constitution, as 
by the uniform practice of Congress, the continued acquiescence 
of the states, and the general understanding of the people."- 
JacJcson^s 2d Annual Message. 

The following is an extract from a letter of Genera. Jackson, to 
Dr. L. H. Coleman, N. C, dated Washington City, August 26, 
1824 :— 

* * * * " Heaven smiled upon and gave us liberty and inde- 
pendence. The same Providence has blessed us with the means 
of national independence and national defence. If we omit or 
refuse to use the gifts which he has extended to us, we deserve 
not the continuance of his blessing. He has filled our mountains 
and our plains with minerals — with lead, iron, and copper — and 
given us a climate and soil, for the growing of hemp and wool. 
These being the great materials of our national defence, they ought 
to have extended to them adequate and fair protection, that our 
manufacturers and laborers may be placed in a fair competition with 
those of Europe, and that we may have within our country a sup- 
ply of these leading and important articles so essential to war. 

"I will ask, what is the real situation of the agriculturist? 
Where has the American farmer a market for his surplus produce ? 
Except for cotton, he has neither a foreign, nor a home market. 
Does not this clearly prove, when there is no market at home, or 
abroad, that there is too much labor employed in agriculture ? 
Common sense at once points out the remedy : Take from agri- 
culture in the United States six hundred thousand men, women, 
and children, and you will at once give a market for more bread 
stuffs than all Europe now furnishes us with. 

" In short, sir, we have been too long subject to the policy of 
British merchants. It is time we should become a little more 
Americanized, and instead of feeding paupers and laborers of 
England, feed our own; or else, in a short time, by continuing 
our present policy, we shall be paupers ourselves. 

" It is therefore my opinion, that a careful and judicious tariff 
is much wanted, to pay our national debt, and to afford us the 
means of that defence within ourselves, on which the safety of 
our country and liberties depends ; and last, though not least, 
give a proper distribution of our labor, which must prove beneficial 
to the happiness, wealth, and independence, of the community. 
" I am very respectfully, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" Andrew Jackson." 


In the history of 'popular opinion on this subject, the most re- 
markable item is to be found in the " Address of the Society 
OF Tammany, or Columbian Order, to its absent members, 


THE United States, New York, 1S19." Such is the title of 
the document. It was ushered upon the public under a solemnity 
and sanction of previous official action, the record of which, as a 
preface to the address, is as follows : — 


" August 30, 1819. 

" Resolved, That a committee be appointed to take into consid- 
eration the subjects of National Economy and Domestic Manufac- 
tvrcs, and that the said committee draught an address and report the 
same to this society, enforcing the necessity of encouraging such 
desirable objects, and that the said address be directed through the 
public prirKs to the several branches of this society throughout the 

" October 4, 1S19. 

" The address on the subjects of National Economy and Domestic 
Manufactures, draughted by Brother Woodward, and reported by 
him from the committee of seven members of this society, having 
been twice distinctly read, at two several weekly meetings, and de- 
liberately considered and discussed as to all its parts and conse- 
quences at four several weekly meetings, the members having been 
previously notified of the said meetings respectively through the 
medium of the public prints, it was, on motion, 

''Resolved, That the said address be adopted, and that it be 
signed by the grand sachem and secretary. 

''Resolved, That a committee of correspondence be appointed, 
whose duty shall be to cause as many copies as they may think 
proper of the said address to be printed in a neat pamphlet form, 
at the expense of the society, and distributed in such manner as to 
them may seem fit, and that they also countersign the same, and 
have general powers of correspondence on all subjects embraced 
therein, and connected with the good of this society." 

The following are extracts from the address itself: — 

" Brothers : A deep shadow has passed over our land : a 
commercial and individual gloom has created a universal stillness. 
In our remotest villages the hammer is not heard, and in our larger 
cities the din and bustle of thrifty industry have ceased. The phi- 
lanthropist, the philosopher, the statesman, the patriot, and the good 
man of every description, anxiously inquire the cause. 

" The cause, it is believed, is not inhcnnt in the nation ; for, 
thanks to the Almighty Dispenser of good gifts, our country pos- 


sesses the germs of interminable progression, the sources of mex- 
haustible wealth and prosperity. But it is justly to be feared, that 
the ca7(sc is seated in the abuse of those inestimable sfifts. And if 
this should be found to be the truth, sound reflection, and the 
timous and prudent adoption of means, may turn our subjects of 
complaint into partial and transient evils, and their effects into a 
radical and perennial good. * * * Perhaps a proportion of 
even the present embarrassments may be traced from the first re- 
strictive measure down to the termination of the late war, owing 
to the restraint of remittances and outward cargoes, and the em- 
barrassments in procuring foreign receipts. This cause, so far as 
it is defined and not abused, is hallowed at the shrine of patriot- 
ism ; it grew out of a principle of national necessity and right, to 
which every citizen is bound to bend with alacrity, and which the 
bright column of character and glory which arose out of the war 
casts entirely in the shade. ♦ * * ^]^q ^q^^ cause of distress 
is the sudden introduction of inordinate quantities of all species of 
foreign production, arising from false peace calculations, which 
have either deadened on the hands of our merchants, or paralyzed 
other operations ; which have produced large balances against 
them, and extended in their effects to the immediate or indirect 
dealers in the remotest corners of the community. * * « ^he 
evil is within the scope of legislation, and a remedy, although sim- 
ple in its character, would be universal in its effects upon the wealth 
and morals of the community. 

" As to the inundation of the country by foreign goods, that is 
a subject of wide magnitude, and most radical interest to the Amer- 
ican people. A remedy for this evil would be precious as rubies 
to him who values the institutions of his country, and glories in its 
indigenous greatness. It is true that the false peace calculations 
constitute but a partial evil, which will in the event remedy itself, 
so far as the nation is concerned. And it is equally true, that 
each individual should import no more than he may think he can 
sell to advantage. But after all, it will be found, that the importa- 
tions on most occasions will be far beyond our wants, which, to- 
gether with false calculations and unfortunate enterprises, will 
create a balance against us. The remedy for all this is one most 
grateful to the American ear, and nearest to the American heart. 
It is the encouragement of our own manufactures. One objection 
to manufactures is, that they are established and nourished by a 
prohibition of the articles manufactured from foreign countries, and 
that the government will lose some of its impost. * * * Better 
to encourage a more limited commerce, and to an extent just com- 
mensurate to our wants, after the most magnanimous scope had 
been given to our domestic resources. Suppose a material pro- 
oortion of the articles now imported were the staple manufacture 


of the country, we would then always know the exact stock on 
hand, and capable of being produced, and graduate our transac- 
tions accordingly. In despite of the abstract reasoning of the ene- 
mies to manufactures in the United States, it will, upon close ex- 
amination, be found, that for cheap living and cheap labor, the 
United States may in a short time be rivalled by no country on 
the globe. * • * "phe eastern states present many strong in- 
ducements to manufacture. Even the slave population of the south- 
ern states would be a facility to manufactures ; and its easy and 
profitable occupation in this way, from the now useless child to the 
grown man, might advance the cause of humanity, greatly aid con- 
ditional laws of emancipation, and at last remove the greatest objec- 
tion to the freedom of that unfortunate race of people, the inordi- 
nances which they might commit by coming as a deluge upon the 
country. • * * The mines of subterranean wealth and material 
which the country contains, can best be imagined from the infallible 
evidences which the experience of every year brings forth. The 
institution and wide spread of manufactures will be the strong lever 
to disturb their hoary slumbers, subject them to the analysis of 
science, and convert them to the most practical purposes of domes- 
tic comfort, while it will administer a kind of national wealth which 
will never forsake us. The country might then exclaim, that that 
government was wrong, which, fastidious of popularity and some 
factitious system of finance, would neglect advantages so incalcu- 
lable ; that that nation was unwise, which, from false delicacy to 
the people, and the fear of a few direct taxes as substitutes for what 
is indirectly paid, should suffer so beautiful a fabric of internal 
polity and resource to be lost to the present and coming genera- 
tions. * * * 'phe almost total absence of our own fabrics has 
caused the introduction of those of the most spurious kind from 
other countries ; and it is a notorious fact, that articles to a serious 
amount are manufactured abroad for the express purpose of being 
sold at auction in the United States. By this our manufacturer is 
undersold, and, what is as mortifying, he is a sufferer from the 
frauds of strangers. The remedy against our being surcharged 
with foreign goods, and the means of introducing manufactures, is to 
forbid entirely the importation of articles which can be on any tol- 
erable terms manufactured by ourselves. This would not only apply 
the cure, but, from the identity and stamps of the domestic fabrics, 
prevent its being evaded by smuggling. Congress should not be 
afraid of their too-much-favored system of indirect taxatioii upon 
the consumer, by impost and tonnage. It is often a golden pill to 
the people, and destroys the responsibility of government. This 
revenue, from changes in the objects of commerce, would soon find 
ita wonted level, and, if it did not for a few years, let the public 
lands supply the deficiency. Those lands were not intended to 
put so many dollars into the treasury, but to administer to the na 


Jon solid and permanent wealth — a wealth which the latest poster- 
ity will feel, and which the American patriot should be proud to 
bestow. All governments should remember a maxim in finance, 
more precious than diamonds, that, * when the cottage is wealthy, 
the treasury is full.' That narrow policy, which sees all objects 
through the medium of the precious metals, and is limited to the 
taste or fame oiihe fiscal offi,cer, and ihe profits of the coming year, 
is beneath the American politician. 


" Such is the extent and variegations of our territory — such the 
cheapness and generosity of the soil — such the facility with which 
sites for manufacturing buildings can be obtained, and such the aid 
which those sites would receive from the extensive application of 
steam — such the low prices of living in those places where manu- 
factories will eventually rise, and the consequent moderate terms 
on which labor could be afforded — such the increasing economy 
with which tuition is brought to the doors of our citizens — so sin- 
uous and diversified their enterprise — so high the inducement for 
the manufacturing species of emigration — and so little the necessity 
of affecting health, as in England and the European continent, by 
crowding numbers together — and withal, so free and equal our 
laws — that the society can not but believe, that the visions of the 
theorists, and, what is more to be feared, the insinuations of the 
interested and designing on the points oi practicability , morals, and 
health, may be made to fall before the more rational and patriotic 
spirit of manufacture. * * * As to the owners of the establish- 
ments, it can never be feared, in a country like ours, where agri- 
culture must for ages be so decisively predominant, and where 
commerce and the mechanic interests would so equably keep them 
in check, that they would ever become, by overweening influence, 
obnoxious to our free institutions. But perhaps the contrary would 
result, from the strong necessity, which for centuries will exist, of, 
in some slight degree, counterpoising the colossal weight of the 
agricultural influence, by counteractive interests. 

" To divide and conquer, is the maxim of our constitutional 
enemy. The encouragement of our domestic resources will make 
us a united people. This nation will become one great family, giv- 
ing and taking from each other. Let us, then, treasure up the 
maxim of wisdom, that concert is stro?iger than ntimbers. Another 
benefit, and not among the least which would arise from the en- 
couragement of domestic manufactures, would be the exclusion of 
all foreign agents, whether Scotch, English, French, or German. 
This species of cormorant character holds in its hand the capital 
of some man abroad, who never intends to step his foot upon our 
shores, and with this capital extracts from the country the profits 
of its traffic, on a perfect conmercial equality with the American 


citizen. This is continued until he accumulates a giv^en heap of 
riches for himself and hi:« patron, and then, after oppressing all 
around him to mind ?/p his affairs, he modestly returns to his for- 
eign home, and, retiring in opulence, contributes to the wealth and 
resources of that nation which might next declare war against us. 
This is, in fact, furnishing the sinews of war to other nations, for 
it would be American profits on which this agent would live in his 
own country. The truth is, that we have progressed so far, that 
we want no population, and should receive none, except those who 
intend to spend their lives and increase their posterity among us. 
As the United States are inhabited by more foreign agents than 
any nation on earth, in proportion to their population, it will appear, 
upon calculation, that this is a very improvident mode of parting 
with the national treasure. Banish the foreign goods as far as our 
manufactures, under the magnanimous care of Congress, can ban- 
ish them, and the visits of those vultures would soon cease. In 
their place would stand the honest manufacturer, receiving a fair 
profit for the fabric of his own hand. But the picture of evil, 
arising from these foreign agents, has not been sufficiendy ex- 
tended. Their transactions with our citizens are often insidious 
and oppressive. They have not the sympathies of country or na- 
tional fellow-feeling to mehorate their cupidity. In their indul- 
gences they are actuated by interest alone, and in their enforcement 
of debts they are restrained by no principles. They are at this 
moment to be seen in swarms, in their visits to the interior of our 
country, and our remotest western waters. And such is the preju- 
dice with which they are viewed by the honest, but embarrassed 
debtors in those places, that they have entailed upon themselves 
the name of that gloomy bird which hovers over and lives upon 
the carrion of the desert. 
*#*#■#*#*■♦ « 

" But on this subject of great foreign importations, let us always 
keep in remembrance, that even our wealth, as a nation, wull not 
so much depend upon what we may receive from others, as u[X)n 
what we can call cxdvsivclij our own. The farmer and landholder 
•may also be reminded, that Manufacture is the handmaid of Agri- 
culture. The increased value of the soil over our vast interior, 
would soon be felt in the rise of villages and extensive establish- 
ments, which this active and thrifty internal system never fails to 
produce. * * * As this society solemnly believe that the 
welfare of this republic is strongly connected with the encourage- 
ment of manufactures, it is fervently recommended to each mem- 
ber to give them a 'preference, even at sacrifice, should it be neces- 
sary, whenever opportunity offers. And this society can not here 
refrain from expressing its opinion of the very high and honorable 
effect it would have upon the people at large, were the officers of 
government, fiom the highest to the lowest, to be foremost in set- 


ting this example. Those who are friends to commerce need not 
fear that it will essentialli/ suffer from the encouragement of manu- 
factures. The commercial capital would shift to other objects of 
direct or circuitous commerce, not affected by manufacture, and 
much increased by our becoming carriers ; and a portion of our 
merchants, who have been tossed on the precarious ocean of for- 
eign commerce, might be glad of an opportunity, sanctioned by the 
jfutronage of the government, of vesting their capital in manufactur- 
ing institutions. It would seem, too, that the progressive and rapid 
population of our agricultural territories would furnish ample ven* 
for our domestic manufactures ; for, if the difference of price be- 
tween foreign and domestic articles be not infinitely greater than 
despair itself would anticipate, the reciprocities of internal inter- 
course, the distance from foreign market, and the laudable pride 
of the country, when seconded by the patriotism of Congress, 
would insure an almost exclusive domestic consumption. Indeed, 
there is one flattering aspect in which this subject, of the preserva- 
tion of commerce as consistent with the full extent of our manu- 
factures, may be viewed. And it is this : that our country seems 
to be in itself almost an epitome of a world, as to the various objects 
of commerce and intercourse it may afford. This arises from the 
unexampled variety of our climates, productions, habits, and popu- 
lation, and also from the happy and magnificent indentation of the 
whole country by water-courses, both great and small, affording, 
with comparatively little assistance of art, a trading intercourse 
commensurate to all the substantial, and ?nost of the sanguine wants 
of its inhabitants. Indeed, such is the figure and variety of this 
nation, that it would seem to possess all the elements of universal 
polity and wealth. For, strike out of existence every other coun- 
try, and we should find within ourselves an ample field for agricul- 
ture, science, mechanics, commerce, and the arts. This indeed 
gives us the power, if we choose to cultivate it, of becoming truly 
independejit of other nations : for in war we are a defensive nation ; 
.ind this state of things, realized by the wise regulations of our 
government, would enable us at all times to stand still, with the least 
possible pr^j'vdice, and ivait for our enemies. The want of reci- 
procity — or rather the wise internal policy of other nations as to 
the rights of foreign agents — the consumption of foreign productions, 
and the encouragement of foreign manufactures, are to us loud 
warnings to draw to ourselves, and cherish the indigenous strength 
v/ith which Providence has blessed us. * * * It would be 
found that the encouragement of domestic manufactures in the 
modes above pointed out, would essentially lead to habits of econo- 
my, both in the yeople and the government, as such. For when 
this highly simple and American system shall have begun to ope- 
rate, many roncomitant habits, partaking of its character, will be 
seen in its train. 


" We recommend to you, brethren, to be examples of modera 
tion and firmness to your fellow-citizens, and to hold fast of those 
stern revolutionary principles which gave, and which alone can 
preserve, your independence. 

" Clarkson Crolius, Grand Sachem. 

" James S. Martin, Secretary. 

" Countersigned by — 

• John Woodward, 

" Clarkson Crolius, 

" Joseph P. Simpson, ^ • r n 

,. T o i\T I Lommittee of Cor- 
" James b. Martin, }- j.„„. 

" Benjamin Romaine, 

*' Matthew L. Davis, 

*' William Mooney, 

" New York, October 4, 1819." 


" Resolutions of the Society of Tammany, or Columbian Order. 

" Passed October 11, 1819. 

" Resolved, That, as friends to our country, we recommend to 
our brethren of the different societies of Tammany, or Columbian 
Order, the necessity, as well as moral duty, to our country, our- 
selves, and posterity, of refraining from every species of useless 
extravagance in our mode of living ; especially in furniture, dress, 
the table, ostentatious equipage, and expensive amusements. 

" Resolved, That we will discountenance the importation and 
use in our families of every species of foreign manufacture or pro- 
duction, which can, or may be reasonably substituted by the fabrics 
or productions of the United States. 

" Resolved, That, as ' economy is wealth,' we seriously recom- 
mend to our brethren throughout the United States, a strict and 
rigid observance of this great moral duty in their families and social 

It will perhaps be obvious, that these extracts from the records 
of the Tammany society, are not made for their perfections of 
style, but to indicate the former position of the party which gov- 
erned the country under the Jackson regime, but which afterward 
surrendered their judgment to their chief, and went off into the 
opposite extreme of free trade. 

To the history of opinion, presented in the foregoing cita- 
tions from official and popular sources, might be added the main 
subject of the deliberations of the first convention of delegates from 
the states under the confederation, at Annapolis, Maryland, ia 
1786, which was the protective policy; of the convention o( 


1787, 10 form the federal constitution ; of the constitution itself, 
adopted in 1789, with powers to carry that policy into effect ; and 
of the second act of the first Congress under the constitution, '•'■for 
the encouragement and 'protection of domestic manufactures,''^ &c., 
by duties on imports — General Washington, the president, ap- 
pearing in a " domestic suit." Fifteen members of that Congress 
were also members of the convention that formed the constitution, 
and were of course well acquainted with the great purpose of that 
instrument, to wit, protection of American labor, industry, and 
arts, against foreign labor and arts. The citations already made 
from executive state papers, are a continued echo of the same 
opinion, down to 1830, excepting the elder Adams. 

But the "Address of the Society of Tammany," and Genera. 
Jackson's letter to Dr. Coleman, are worthy of special notice. 
When this address was published, in 1819, the " Society of Tam- 
many," as stated in the document, had been in existence thirty 
years, is still existing, and has ever been at the head of that polit- 
ical organization in the United States, which supported General 
Jackson, and followed his lead in 1833, in that violent crusade 
against the protective policy, which was shielded at the time only 
by the passage of Mr. Clay's compromise bill, and which both 
General Jackson and they had previously and so earnestly advo- 
cated. It was the main object of the " Address of the Society of 
Tammany," in 1819, to advocate this policy. Taking the forego- 
ing extracts from their address of 1819, as a sample, it can not be 
denied, that they have instructed the public by the clearness and 
force of their reasoning, that they have furnished a laudable in- 
stance of zeal in a great and good cause, and an edifying example 
of patriotism. The only exception that can be taken to it, is, 
that they stood more than erect, were a little more than ortho- 
dox, on this subject. The sense of suffering and public wrong, 
felt at that time, by the grievous evils of free trade, are their apol- 
ogy for this excess of zeal. They advocated a prohibitory 
tariff, and proposed that the United States should retire within 
themselves, and constitute their own world ! 

From the date of General Jackson's letter to Dr. Coleman, it 
will be seen, that he was not satisfied with the tariff of 1816, nor 
even with that of 1824, and that, by " a judicious tariff" — this 
is the origin of the phrase — he meant something more than either. 
He reasons like a man, talks like a patriot, in deep sympathy for 
the condition of the country, which then had not begun to feel the 


restorative effects of the tariff of that year — 1824. Why he should 
afterward have apostatized from this faith, and led off the men 
of " Tammany," in a war of extermination against this policy, is 
a problem for history, and is at least partly solved in other parts 
of this work. 

General Jackson s proposal in this letter, which he calls the 
" remedy of common sense," viz., " take from agriculture in the 
United States six hundred thousand men, women, and children" — 
that they might be put to manufactures and other useful arts — has 
been executed ; and his prediction, that it would " at once give a 
market for more bread stuffs, than all Europe now furnishes us 
with," has also been much more than realized. 

Taking the annual report of Mr. Ellsworth, commissioner of 
patents, for January, 1S45, as to the quantity of agricultural prod- 
ucts of the United States for 1S44, and reducing them to the 
prices current of 1845, it will be found, that the aggregate value 
of the products of 1S44, in round numbers, was $500,000,000 ; 
and that the aggregate value of the following articles, to wit, corn, 
wheat, cotton, hay, oats, potatoes, sugar, tobacco, and rice, by the 
same rule, is $400,000,000. The annual average exports of the 
United States may be assumed to be about $100,000,000, of which 
the products of the soil are about $75,000,000, or one scventii of 
all the agricultural products. Of these exports, somewhat over 
two thirds is cotton. For the year ending 30th of June, 1S44, 
the exports of cotton amounted in value to $54,063,501. The 
honorable Charles Hudson — a gentleman of reliable accuracy — 
stated on the floor of Congress, in 1842, that the consumption of 
Massachusetts alone, of the products of other states, in one year, 
ivas as follows : — 

Cotton, 185,000 bales $7,000,000 

Flour, 620,000 barrels 4,000,000 

Corn and other sjrain, 8,730,000 bushels 2,800,000 

Coal, 175,000 tons 1,300,000 

Wood, 189,000 cords 1,300,000 

Wool, 8,000,000 pounds 3,200.000 

Lumber of all kinds 7,fi00,000 

Beef, pork, hams, lard, butter, cheese, horses, cattle, pig lead, 
tar, pitch, iron, sugar, molasses, rice, staves, and other 
articles 14,800,000 

Total $42,000,000 

The rest of New England is supposed to consume annually of the 
products of the states west and south, about $50,000,000. New 
Engknd alone, therefore, in consequence of her manufactures- me- 


chanic and other arts, affords a better market for the proaucis of 
the country, chiefly agricuhural, and including cotton, than all the 
world foreign to the United States. The market of all the other 
states, created by the same cause, is probably equal to that of New 
England, and throughout the Union this home consumption is an- 
nually and rapidly increasing. In 1S32, home manufactures con- 
sumed two hundred thousand bales of cotton ; in lS-44, four hun- 
dred thousand. The present (1S45) home consumption of raw 
cotton, is estimated at one fourth of the entire product of two 
millions of bales, by which the wrought value, which is four or 
five times the value of the raw material, and all the costs of ex- 
port and import, are saved to the country, besides the market and 
other business which the factories afford to agricultural and other 

This plan of General Jackson, therefore, in his letter to Dr. 
Coleman, in 1S24, has been accomplished on a scale far beyond 
his conception at the time, and the happy consequences then pre- 
dicted by him, have followed, though not by his instrumentality — 
followed in spite of all his subsequent hostile influence, armed 
whh the power of the chief executive of the nation. 

The effect of General Jackson's influence, as derived from 
the means of his elevation, and from his power as chief magistrate, 
was, that it robbed the nation of its sound judgment, and charged 
it with prejudices, by appealing to the lowest passions, and setting 
the poor at war with the rich — a state of feeling which will probably 
take half a century to rectify, if it is ever done. How else could 
the " Society of Tammany," and the party they controlled, have 
been driven so entirely from the ground they occupied in 1819? 
The true policy of the country was never stated better, or more 
distinctly developed, or more boldly advocated, than by them at 
that time. Their good sense, untrammelled by extraneous influ- 
ences, moulded into shape, and stimulated to action, by the com- 
mon and wide-spread calamities of the country, hit upon the true 
policy, marked it out, and put it forward more boldly than any 
form in which it was ever presented by a statesman. It was a 
movement of the people, which is not addicted to the cautious lan- 
guage of statesmen. General Jackson, in his letter to Dr. Cole- 
man, echoed the same policy. But a few years afterward, occu- 
pying a favorable position, he seized the mind of his great and tri- 
umphant party, snatched from its deep foundations this wholesome 
and sound doctrine, which had grown up there in its primitive 


and natural bed, and scattered it to the winds of heaven. Instead 
of being guided by their own judgment, the people were thence- 
forth, for a protracted period, swayed by the will of a leader, till 
they lost sight of the landmarks which they themselves had set 
up. "Democracy" was then transformed, imbibed an unwonted 
spirit, to be led and governed, instead of leading and governing — 
was fashioned into a tool. 

But it ought not to be assumed, that the public mind can never 
DC brought back to that geuidnt democratic feeling and indepen- 
dence of judgment, which characterized the eloquent and vigorous 
" Address of the Society of Tammany," in 1819. When this 
personal influence of one man shall have died away, when the 
prejudices he infused into the popular mind, so utterly subversive 
of common judgment, shall have subsided — unless other equally 
fatal influences shall come in to prevent — it may be hoped thai 
reason will resume her seat, and common sense her empire. As 
the "Society of Tammany," with the whole country, had been 
taught by sad experience, when their address of 1819 was sent 
forth, there has also been experience enough since that time, to re- 
inculcate the same lesson, and restore sanity to the public mind. 
Let the same party that was thus led astray, read their own words, 
and let them have a chance to reimbibe their own spirit, of former 
years, and their own democratic pride and self-respect will carry 
them back to that solid foundation, on which they once stood. 

The design of this chapter, was not to go over the wide field 
which the head of it might seem to promise ; but, first, to exhibit 
some of the authorities on this subject in the public history of the 
country ; and next, to show, from an authority which can not be 
controverted, the position on the protective policy, which, in theii 
early history, was occupied by the party who supported General 
Jackson in his attempts to break it down, and who, since he led 
them astray from that sound doctrine, so ably vindicated by them 
in 1819, have been so violently opposed to it. This history is 
instructive, and shows, that they were led off by authority, and not 
by reason. General Jackson, as will have been seen, at the same 
time, occupied the same ground of fidelity to the protective prin- 
ciple, which also proves, that, if he had good reasons for maintain- 
ing that position then, he had not afterward any good reason lor 
abandoning it. The causes of this change have been exposed in 
other parts of this work. 




Protective Duties not a Tax, but a Rescue from Taxation. — A Sketch of Taxa- 
tion in Great Britain. — Adequate Protection saves tiie Country fifty per cent, 
in the Cost of Articles protected. — The Parties who Realize this Saving. — 
How the Protective Policy distributes its Benefits to all Classes. — Meaning of 
the Balance of Trade. — History of its Results against the United States. — Its 
Results in Favor of Great Britain. — Effects of the Tariff of 1842. — Importance 
of Domestic Commerce. — The Protective Policy necessary to countervail the 
Machine Power of Great Britain. — Necessarj' to the Capital of Labor. — How 
the Nation ran in Debt. — Relative Position of European Capital and Labor to 
American Capital and Labor. — The Laissez-Faire Principle. — Great Britain 
not returning to Free Trade. — The only Way to have a Sound and Adequate 

It is not proposed, under the lead of the general head of this 
chapter, to plunge into the entire range of political economy, but 
only so far as it comprehends the protective policy, and grows out 
of the long debate which Mr. Clay has, during his public life, 
maintained, on his part, before the country. 

Vast as is the field that has been surveyed under his guidance, 
and overwhelming as are the facts and reasonings adduced by him 
in vindication and support of his views on this subject, there are 
yet other considerations and other facts, appertaining to this policy, 
which may deserve some notice — not, indeed, as indicating defect 
in the arguments of Mr. Clay, but as mere accretions to the nucleus 
which he has formed, such as time and events have suggested and 
brought to light. Some of them, indeed, are points which he has 
noticed, but for want of opportunity, has not so much elaborated. 

The importance of the question, whether protective duties are 
a tax on the consumers of articles protected, is vital to the con- 
troversy — is, in fact, to a great extent, the controversy. And 
yet it is assumed by one side, that they are a tax, and this is the 
ground of objection. It has also, to a great extent, been conceded 
by the other side, and the batde has been chiefly fought on false 
issues, or issues superfluous, embarrassing, and tending to per- 
plexity, in diverting the parties from the true ground of debate. 

Vol. II.— 20 


Mr. Clay has with great candor admitted, in a part of his speecn 
of February 12, 1S33, that " in general it may be taken as a rule, 
that the duty upon an article forms a portion of its price." But 
this was an incidental remark, candidly rendered, in connexion 
with a showing of an unwarrantable, because uncertain and unre- 
liable, conclusion arrived at by the secretary of the treasury, as 
part of the basis of his estimates. It is on account of the falla- 
cious character of this technical proposition — which may be al- 
lowed to be technically correct, though practically deceptive — that 
this part of the estimate of the secretary, based on the assumed 
principle, that duties are parts of prices, was justly arraigned by 
Mr. Clay ; and if it had occurred to him at the moment, or been 
thought necessary, he would probably have shown the fallacy or 
deceptive character of the rule. That he so regarded it, is plain 
from his own words : " Now no calculation can be more uncertain 
than that." But the proposition, as a technicality in political sci- 
ence, is applied alike when the consumer gets the article cheaper 
in consequence of the duty, as when he pays more. But Mr, 
Clay has proved abundantly, that the operation and effect of the 
protective policy in this country has generally been to cheapen the 
articles protected, by extending the range of competition, and in- 
creasing supply relative to demand. In the early history of infant 
establishments, protected by duties on imports, prices of the arti- 
cles thus protected may, in some, perhaps in most cases, be, for a 
time, enhanced ; but it does not follow, that even then they are a tax 
to the consumers. The consumers may be benefited in finding a 
market for their own products, in consequence of this protection, 
to a greater amount than the increased prices on these articles. 
This is a sound doctrine of political economy, and is the invari- 
able operation of the protective policy. The benefit may not fall 
precisely, and in exact measure, where it is due ; but sooner or 
later, directly or indirectly, in one form or another, all consumers 
of protected articles, thus enhanced in price, will get their equiva- 
lent. How much more are the consumers of protected articles 
benefited, when these articles are cheapened in consequence of 
protection ? 

The technical proposition, therefore, that duties form parts of 
prices, seems to lead to practical error. It can not, except in cer- 
tain cases, be true, as for example, it is not true when the duties 
are greater than the prices. Mr. Clay mentions an instance when 
duties on lead were two to one of the price. It is absurd to sup- 


pose that such duties enter into the price. On unprotected arti- 
cles, when imposed for revenue, generally, this rule applies, 
though it is not a certain and exact measure. On protected arti- 
cles, it is rarely true, and never in any case can it be a reliable 

The false notion, that protective duties are a tax, in the sense 
of a burden, has led to all the hostility which the protective policy 
has encountered. To arrive at the truth, the proposition should 
be reversed, and read thus : Free trade, on one side, leads to a 
systejn of taxation by foreign powers and foreign factors, and the 
protective policy operates as a rescue from and a shield against 
such ivrongs. 

On account of the importance of this proposition, it may be 
well to spend a few words in illustrating it. In the first place, 
when a manufacturing nation, like Great Britain, has gained an 
exclusive market for any of its products in a foreign country, the 
factors are able to command their own prices. The home govern- 
ment, aware of this, imposes exorbitant excise and other duties 
on these articles, all of which, in such a case — there being no com- 
petition — enter into the prices, and are paid by the consumers. 
Suppose the consumers are citizens of the United States. It will 
follow, that these taxes, amounting to not less than 50 per cent, 
of the cost, are paid by American citizens, for all that they con- 
sume of such articles, to support the British government, estab- 
lished church, aristocracy, and all other institutions of that em- 
pire. It is a TAX — and an enormous one — without disguise or 
]ualification. Such was the actual condition of the American col- 
onies previous to 1776. Though the evil has been relieved since 
the establishment of American independence, it has never been 
entirely abated. The United States have always been one of the 
best customers of Great Britain, on such terms as to pay all the 
British imposts and excises on the articles consumed. 

To show how the people of the United States have been taxed 
as customers of Great Britain, in the consumption of her manu- 
factures, it is only necessary to exhibit, as nearly as practicable, 
the average amount of her imposts on the raw material of her 
manufactured products, and of her excises on the implements and 
business of manufacture, through all stages to the final act of ex- 
port. The following extracts from a congressional document of 
the house of representatives, No. 296, -Sd session, 27th Congress, 
pp. 500-501, may serve as a basis of this calculation : — 


"Ent^land levies no direct taxes upon ht? colonies, or rarely is 
it done. But by indirect taxes they give four JiftJis of their pro- 
ductive wealth to the support of the mother-country. It was thai 
support which she derived from the thirteen [North American] 
colonies, and it was for that alone she resisted their independence. 
She desired to produce, and that they should be forced to consume ; 
and of all that they consumed, at least J m/r Jiff hs went into the na- 
tional treasury at home, after supporting her farmers and mechan- 
ics. ... It is generally alleged, that a man pays 15 shillings for 
the use of government, out of every 20 shillings he spends in 
England. Some have stated the public tax at 17 shillings in the 
pound. Let us take one instance in the article of beer. The 
land pays a tax ; the barley, when malted, pays an excise of six- 
pence a bushel ; hops pay one penny a pound ; the beer, when 
brewed, pays an excise greater, in some cases, than the original 
value ; all the persons who labor in the premises contribute to the 
national revenue, by their sundry consumptions, to the amount of 
three fourths of the whole price of their labor. It follows, then, 
that the people of this country contribute in like proportion to the 
support of foreign governments, upon all that they purchase. In 
1836, we imported more than $70,000,000 worth of foreign arti- 
clesyree of duty. The effect was, that they who purchased these 
articles, paid not one cent to the support of our own government, 
while at least foitr fifths of that amount went into the treasuries 
of foreign governments, to support kings on their thrones, parlia- 
ments that make laws prohibiting our productions, and foreign ar- 
mies and navies." 

It is supposed by the writer of these pages, that the above esti- 
mates of indirect taxes paid by British colonies, and of the public 
domestic tax of Great Britain, may be too large. It is at any rate 
large enough for the purpose now in view, to reduce it to an av- 
erage of fifty per cent., which could doubtless be maintained. It 
will be seen, that all these taxes must necessarily enter into the 
prices of the articles to the consumers in foreign countries, beside 
the profits of the manufacturer, the costs of transportation, and 
tlie charges of jobbers and retailers. 

The following rhetorical sketch of British domestic taxation, 
ascribed to the pen of Henry Brougham, now Lord Brougham, 
could not have been without foundation, considering the quarter 
from which it comes, and though it furnishes but few specific facts, 
is not less instructive, than eloquent : — 

" Taxes on every article that enters the mouth, or covers the 
back, or is placed under the feet; taxes upon everything that is 


pleasant to see, hear, feel, smell, or taste; taxes upon warmth, 
light, and locomotion ; taxes on everything on the earth and the 
waters under the earth — on everything that comes from abroad, or 
is grown at home ; taxes on the raw material, and on every new 
value that is added by the labor and art of man; taxes on the 
spices that pamper man's appetite, and on the drug that is admin- 
istered to his disease ; taxes on the ermine that decorates the 
judge, and on the rope that hangs the criminal ; taxes on tiie poor 
man's salt, and on the rich man's dainties; taxes on the ribands of 
the bride, and the brass nails of her coffin ; — at bed or at board, 
couchant ou levant, we must pay. The schoolboy spins his taxed 
top ; the beardless youth manages his taxed horse, on a taxed sad- 
dle, with a taxed bridle, on a taxed road ; and the dying English- 
man, pouring his medicine which has paid seven per cent., into a 
spoon that has paid fifteen per cent., flings himself back on his 
chintz bed which has paid twenty-two per cent., makes his will on 
a stamp that has paid eight pounds, and expires in the arms of an 
apothecary who has paid one hundred pounds for the privilege of 
putting him to death. His whole property is then taxed from two 
to ten per cent, in probate, and large fees are demanded for bury- 
ing him in a church. His virtues are handed down to posterity on 
taxed marble, and he is gathered to his fathers to be taxed no 

The last is a questionable statement, judged by the preceding 
one. If his marble monument is taxed, he is taxed till the morn- 
ing of the resurrection, if marble can last so long. It would 
seem, according to this, that the Englishman is taxed for the priv- 
ilege of coming into the world, taxed all the way through the 
world, and not only taxed on his passage out of the world, but 
EVER after! But according to the table exhibited by Mr. Clay, 
cited in a former chapter, he can afford it. His industry is pro- 
tected by his government, and all the world, foreign to Great Brit- 
ain, with which she trades, bears the chief burden of her taxes, as 
the result of her policy. 

The taxes paid to Great Britain, in countries foreign to herself, 
by the consumers of the products of her manufactories, amounting 
to not less than fifty per cent, of the cost, will exhibit the range 
open for reduction of prices in the protected articles of American 
manufactures, and for other items of saving to the people and gov- 
ernment of the United States, under adequate protection. It may 
be assumed as an average of fifty per cent, under the system of 
commercial intercourse now and of late existing between the two 
countries. Of course, though the American tariff were much 
higher than it is, so long as it is not prohibitory, and so long as any 


fraction of this fifty per cent, remains for the British exchequer, 
the trade is beneficial to that government and country, and will be 
desired. It will be seen by this view, that the protective policy of 
the United States, encouraging and fostering domestic manufac- 
tures, so that they can come into competition with British products, 
and rival them, not only in the home market, but abroad, there 
ought to be and must be a reduction of prices in the articles pro- 
tected. Accordingly it has been found, that such is the result. 
Mr. Clay proved it in 1S32 and '33; and the Hon. Charles Hud- 
son, in a report from the committee on manufactures, in the house 
of representatives, document 420, 1st session, 28th Congress, has 
proved the same thing. The following are some of the facts: 
The depression in the price of 23 different kinds of manufactured 
iron, from 1S40 to 1844, ranges from 10 to 46 per cent. — average 
23 per cent. — a result effected under the increase of protective 
duties. In a list of twenly-two different and chief materials for 
ship-building, such as are imported, the fall of prices from ] 842 
to 1844, ranges from 2 to 35 percent. — average 17^ per cent. — 
all under the tariff of 1842. In a list of 7iinc articles of Ameri- 
can hardware protected by increased duties of the present tariff, 
the fall of prices from 1841 to 1844, ranges from 13 to 30 per 
cent. — average 15 per cent. The tables appended to Mr. Hud- 
son's report go on with quotations of prices current, before and 
after the present tariff, in regard to numerous articles of domestic 
manufacture enjoying increased protection against foreign produ- 
cers, and showing an almost universal depression of prices as a 
consequence of protection, in a measure corresponding with the 
above-cited instances. But the experience of the people in sup- 
plying their wants, will have been to them the most conclusive ar- 
jjument. The free-trade orator will in vain cry out, that the poor 
man has to pay six cents more a yard for his shirt, in consequence 
of the tariff, when the poor man himself is able to look him in the 
face, and say, "Why, sir, how can that be? — I gave only y? re 
cents a yard for the shirt I have on. Do you mean to say that, 
v/ithout the tariff, I could have got it for one cent a yard less fhcni 
nothing ?" 

The prices on cotton fabrics, since the system of protection 
commenced in 1816, though it has been imperfect and fluctuating, 
have fallen, for shirts, from 25 cents a yard to 5 cents ; for sheets, 
from 32 cents to 7 cents a yard ; checks, from 32 to 8 cents a 
yard; striped and plain ginghams, from 26 to 8 cents a yard 



printed calicoes, from 20 cents a yard in 1S26 to 9 cents in 1844; 
and so on. Doubtless improvements in machinery, and reduced 
prices of the raw material, have had something to do with it; but 
these facts would only account for a fraction of the difference. 

The following statement, made with great care and accuracy by 
a commission merchant of Boston, trading in the goods enumer- 
ated, exhibits the wholesale prices at Boston, of the principal arti- 
cles manufactured at Lowell, &c., for eleven successive years, on 
the first of May : — 















Light sheetings.. . • 
Heavy sheetings.. . 
Light shirtings .... 


























si 7. 

11 !lli 














A comparison of the average of the above prices before the 
tariff of 1842, with the average afterward, is probably a fair ex- 
hibit of the effect of that measure. 

The following is an extract from a letter, written in 1845, by a 
gentleman, allowed by high authority to be "one of the most saga- 
cious merchants in this or any other country," speaking from his 
knowledge and observation, in answer to inquiries on this subject: — 

"The prices, however [of cotton goods], will be reduced within 
a year by the introduction of the product of a portion of the three 
hundred thousand spindles now in a course of construction. You 
may safely maintain that every article that can be exported by our 
own manufacturers, and compete with British merchandise, must 
be sold to the consumer at home cheaper than it can he imported. 
This is the case with every description of coarse cottons. The 
iron of Pennsylvania requires, and now enjoys the highest protec- 
tion, and we shall have iron low enough, if the duty on it stands 
for seven years. There is no doubt in my mind that the country 
will derive immense advantages from such protective duties as will 
invite capital to develop the natural resources that exist around us. 
Iron, coal, wool, cotton, hemp, &c., we can produce in abun 
dance, and use them too in every shape and form that they can in 
England. Supply and demand always did and always will regulate 

It is supposed by some, that it will not take more than three 
years, under the tariff of 1842, to accomplish the object regarding 
iron, for which the writer of this letter allows seven years. 


Mr. Clav has shown in the citations already made from him, 
HOW the protective pohcy operates to reduce the prices of manu- 
factured articles, and it is seen that the facts correspond with the 
doctrine. There are occasional and transiently existing excep- 
tions, arising from accidental causes, as for example the high price 
of the raw material. When that is wool, the American farmer has 
the benefit ; or if the raw material be any other American prod- 
uct, it is all saved to the country, and in various ways distrib- 
uted among all classes. 

It is manifest, therefore, that duties imposed to bring American 
manufactures into existence, and to sustain them, are so far from 
being a tax, on consumers of the articles thus protected, that they 
actually reduce the prices. A man who chooses to drink London 
porter, pays twice as much as for American porter equally good ; 
and a nightcap of British manufacture costs three times the price 
of the American fabric of the same description. In these little 
things the prices of foreign products are still kept up, and the im- 
positions still practised ; though in most things prices have been 
brought down by competition. 

But the saving to the country is of vastly greater importance 
than this difference in prices to consumers. It is the saving of 
the whole 50 per cent, of the cost that goes into the British ex- 
chequer, or some other foreign exchequer, not to speak of the 
profits of foreign factors, and costs of importation. This 50 per 
cent, remains in the country, instead of going out of it, and is dis- 
tributed, one fraction among consumers by reduction of prices ; 
another fraction among the operatives in the manufactories and me- 
chanic shops, to afford them subsistence and sustain the price of 
American labor, which are three to one of wages for the same 
kind of labor in Europe ; another fraction goes to pay interest on 
investments ; another to farmers, gardeners, fishermen, wood and 
coalmen, and all the varieties of other American labor and indus- 
try which are employed to supply the wants of these establish- 
ments ; another to the various branches of transportation and traf- 
fic, to commissioners, storage, and agencies, which they put and 
keep in operation ; and another goes into the public treasury from 
imposts, which afford this protection, and thus saves the people 
from being taxed to support their own government. In these and 
other ways, which people rarely, almost never, think of, the entire 
50 per cent., or one half of the costs of manufactured products, 
which would otherwise go into foreign exchequers, to support 


Jiings, princes, aristocrats, nobility, and all the various extrava- 
gances of monarchical governments and institutions, with their ar- 
mies and navies, is saved to the country, and distributed among 
all branches of American labor and industry. Thus does the pro- 
tective policy, by rearing and maintaining domestic manufactures 
and mechanic arts, rescue the country from an enormous and op- 
pressive system of taxation by foreign powers and foreign factors, 
and retain the funds for the increase of national wealth and private 
prosperity. Is it not then a gross misnomer to call protective du- 
ties a TAX, when, in fact, they are a deliverance from being taxed 
by foreign powers, and when they cheapen the articles protected, 
in exact proportion as the home products are encouraged and sus- 
tained ? 

It is sometimes said, that the protective policy takes more care 
of manufactures and mechanic arts, than of agriculture. That 
may be true, while the former are in the infancy of their existence, 
or when the object is to call them into existence. A man does 
not require the same nurture as a child. Agriculture is the natu- 
ral vocation of man, and may perhaps be said never to be in any 
other state than that of manhood. It has at least been claimed to 
be the natural calling of the American people by the advocates 
of free trade, and is generally asserted by them to need no pro- 
tection. But for thirty years past, during the general peace of the 
world, since the cheaper labor of Europe and other foreign parts, 
began to send its surplus agricultural products to the United States, 
thereby showing that they required little or no supply from this 
quarter, it has been found necessary to throw the shield of the pro- 
tective policy over the interests of agriculture in the United States, 
as well as over those of navigation, manufactures, and the me- 
chanic arts ; and the average amount of protection given to the 
following agricultural products, by the tariff of 1S42, is 50 per 
cent. — which is higher than the average protection given to man- 
ufactures — to wit : on cotton, wool, beef, pork, bacon, lard, 
cheese, butter, potatoes, flour, wheat, oats, and hemp, in all thir- 
teen articles, besides which adequate protection — or that which 
was intended to be adequate — is extended to the remaining list of 
the products of husbandry. The annual average aggregate of 
imports into the United States, for the five years preceding 1842, 
of cotton, wool, hemp, beef and pork, hams and bacon, cheese, 
butter, lard, potatoes, flour, and wheat, thirteen articles, was 
$2,341,600 — of which the potatoes imported into Boston in one 


year amounted to 841,000 ! And the annual average of exports 
of agricultural products, other than cotton, from the Unhed States 
to England, Scotland, and Ireland, including animal food and an- 
imal products, for the abovenamed five years, was only SI, 474.- 
719 ! Hence the necessity of a more effective protection to the 
interests of agriculture, which was given in the tariff of 1S42 
It will be seen, therefore, that the statement, that agricultural in- 
terests are not cared for in the protective policy, is incorrect. 

But the indirect protection extended to the interests of agricul- 
ture by the tariff, is more important and more effective, than that 
which is direct, because it is much greater in amount. It has 
been ascertained, and well certified, that the Glenham woollen fac- 
tory, at Fishkill, New York, with a capital of $140,000, gives 
profitable employment to SI, 422, 000 worth of other American 
capital, chiefly agricultural, in items as follows : 66,000 sheep, 
$2 a head, $132,000 ; 22,000 acres of pasture-land to feed the 
sheep, in Dutchess county, supposed to be worth $50 an acre, 
$1,100,000; farms employed to the extent of 2,600, worth $70 
an acre, $182,000 ; other capital to furnish teazles, firewood, coal, 
provender, &c., &c., $8,000. Total $1,422,000. Consequently, 
if $140,000 of a manufacturing capital employs $1,422,000 of 
other capital, then the $300,000,000 of manufacturing capital of 
the United States, at the same rate, would employ other capital of 
the country to the amount of $3,047,142,857, or about three 
thousand millions of dollars. This is doubtless an unexpected, it 
is even an astonishing result. It may be, that other manufacto- 
ries, different in kind, do not employ an equal proportion of other 
capital ; there are doubtless some which do not ; but some may 
employ a greater proportion, enough even to swell the aggregate. 
The vastness of the amount, at the lowest possible estimate, is 
sufficient to show the importance of manufactories to the various 
occupations and interests of the country, more especially to agri- 
culture. There is no occupation, however humble, no man, how- 
ever poor, that is not materially affected and essentially benefited 
by them. The wool-growing interests of the country, which 
are chiefly connected with manufactories, and sustained by them, 
are estimated at two hundrtd miUions of dollars, and the farmers 
of the country receive annually from the manufactories, for all 
their various supplies, an aggregate of sixty-six millions of dollars, 
which is nearly 7iine times as much as the avails of all exports of 
flour, beef, and pork, to all parts of the world. Massachusetts, a 


oreat manufacturing state, alone consumes annually more ihdinforty 
millions of dollars of the products — chiefly agricultural — of other 
states, which is nearly a moiety of all exports of every descrip- 
tion to foreign countries. 

It is estimated, that the manufactories of the United States con- 
sume annually twenty millions of dollars' worth of flour, corn, 
pork, beef, rye, buckwheat, oats, barley, rice, fish, potatoes, butter, 
cheese, fowls, and other esculents ; and the countless variety of the 
mechanic arts and handicraft pursuits, doubtless consume as much 

But the most important function of the protective policy on the 
interests of agriculture — so silent in its operation as scarcely to be 
noticed by common observers, but which, when mentioned, must 
strike every one with great force — is its effect in steadily sustain- 
ing a demand for, and the prices of, agricultural products. Foreign 
markets for the agricultural products of the United States, other 
than cotton, are always uncertain, continually fluctuating, and in a 
time of general peace the whole foreign world does not consume 
so much of them as the state of Massachusetts alone demands from 
other states, over and above the products of her own soil — and 
that solely in consequence of the existence of her manufactories 
and mechanic arts. It has indeed been found necessary to impose 
protective duties to prevent the influx of foreign agricultural prod- 
ucts to cheapen those of the United States — a fact which shows 
that American farmers can not depend on foreign markets, and 
would be essentially injured by free trade in the products of their 

The prices of agricultural products are subject to more fluctu- 
ation than the products of manufacture, on account of excess or 
deficiency of supply by more or less favorable seasons. But the 
tables of Mr. Hudson's report, before cited, show that they have 
generally and considerably improved under the operation of the 
tariff of 1842. The average fall in the prices of some products, 
from 1S42 to 1844, has been 9^ per cent., while the average rise 
in the majority has been 25 per cent. But the saving to agricul- 
turists in the prices of the products of manufacture, by reason of 
a protective tariff, should be added to this account for the true 
economical result, which, as will be seen, would very much en- 
hance the benefit. The practical operation of a protective tariff, 
for the increase of prices of agricultural products, is very simple, 
and may be thus explained : All agricultural products are com- 


paratively gross and heavy, and consequently more expensive in 
beino- carried to a remote market. Suppose the cost of transpor- 
tation from the remote west to the eastern market be 100 per cent. 
In other words, that the products are only worth half as much in 
the place where they are grown, as in the place where they are 
consumed. Add as much more for the expense of delivery in a 
foreign market, and the price to the producer is reduced to 07ie 
third of the price at the place of destination. But bring the mar- 
ket half way toward the producer, and the price is raised une third. 
Bring it to his door, and his price is trebled. This is precisely the 
principle of the theory of protection, and its practical effect on 
ao-ricultural interests. By encouraging and protecting domestic 
manufactures, the market is brought home, and the expense of 
transportation is saved. Further : All who work at manufactures 
and trades established by a protective policy, are withdrawn from 
agricultural pursuits, and give to the residue employed in agricul- 
ture better chances for a ready market and high prices. The mul- 
tiplication of useful crafts and avocations contributes to the profit 
of each, as well as to national wealth. A home market is more 
steady and more secure. The money paid for products of do- 
mestic manufacture, instead of going abroad, and thus impoverish- 
ing the nation, stays at home and enriches it. All know how the 
country has prospered under the tariff of 1842. The farmer, who 
sold his wool in 1843 for S12o, sells the same quantity in 1844 
for $175. The protection extended by the tariff to the products 
of agriculture, also contributes to the general result. 

But for protection to manufactures and the mechanic arts, the 
numerous classes employed in them and by them, would naturally, 
at least a large portion of them, be devoted to agriculture, and thus 
produce a surplus to glut the market, and reduce the prices to 
almost nothing. Indeed, it needs but little reflection to see, that a 
purely agricultural community, might soon find themselves in the 
condition of the aboriginal tribes of the American continent, whose 
squaws could raise corn enough for the wigwams. 

Mr. Everett, American minister to England, stated, in a speech 
at an agricultural meeting, at Derby, in July, 1843, Earl Spencer 
in the chair, that, although the commerce between Great Britain 
and the United States was twice as great as between England and 
any other country, yet the whole of the products, passing to and 
fro, was not worth so much as the oats and beans raised in Great 
Britain, as proved by their agricultural statistics, and that the en- 



tire value of the products employing British navigation all the 
world over, was not equal to the grass grown in Great Britain. 
Such is the importance of agriculture to every nation, and if its 
government is not wise and patriotic enough to take care of it, this 
vast interest will be sacrificed. 

Notwithstanding that attempts have been made to impair the 
force of the rule, commonly called the balance of trade, by 
stigmatizing it as a " detected fallacy," for the sake of annihilating 
the arithmetical certainty which it affords as a species of evidence 
in determining the gains and losses of a nation in its foreign trade, 
it is a means of information on this subject which, on account of 
its importance and the unerring result to which it leads, can not be 
surrendered. All the uncertainty arising from the application of 
this rule, results from failing to collect and put forward the facts 
which constitute the rule. It certainly would not be infallible to 
say, that a nation which has sold the value of one hundred mil- 
lions, and bought the value of one hundred and twenty millions, is 
therefore twenty millions minus, without considering the place 
where and rule by which the values were ascertained, to what party 
or parties the profits of the trade belonged. But there can be no 
possibility of mistake when the commercial exchanges against a 
nation are making perpetual drafts on its money, instead of paying 
its debts by exports of other commodities, and when it finds itself 
growing poorer and poorer in pocket, till, like an unwnse spend- 
thrift, it has parted with all its cash ; or is obliged to turn bankrupt 
or repudiate, because it can not pay. It is well known there have 
been times of commercial distress in the United States — want of 
money, loss of credit, and general embarrassment in all kinds of 
business — and it is found, that these times have always followed 
immediately after large balances of trade have fallen against the 
nation bv its having bought more than it had sold. It is also found, 

.'DO ' 

that this excess of buying over the amount of selling, has always 
prevailed most when the protective policy was least stringent, and 
that the nation has uniformly been most prosperous when the tariff 
has been strongest, or highest. The balance of trade, in favor of 
a nation, is its income ; the balance against it, is its loss, and will 
be its ruin, if continued ; the same as it is with a private individ- 
ual. The man that trades with a profit, grows rich ; and it is only 
another truism to say, that he who trades with loss, grows poor. 
The " detected fallacy" is the doctrine that questions these self- 


evident truths — not le^s true in application to a nation, than to a 
private man. 

From the peace of 1783 to the adoption of the federal consti- 
tution in 17S9, there were no powers under the confederation of 
the states to establish a protective policy, and the consequence 
was, that Great Britain reaped nearly the same advantages on the 
basis of free trade with the states after they had acquired their in- 
dependence, as before when they were subject colonies, and the 
country was involved in the greatest commercial distress and em- 
barrassment. All its money was drawn off to pay for British and 
other foreign products, and the constitution was formed to confer 
powers of protection against these evils. 

It is stated in Pitkin's Statistical View, that the imports of this 
country from Great Britain, for the first year after the peace of 
17S3, were six to one of its exports to that empire; and that the 
annual average proportion of imports to exports, from 17S3 to 
1790, was as three of the former to one of the latter. It is true, 
indeed, that these facts do not determine the balance of trade be- 
tween the United States and all the foreign world ; but they are a 
very instructive element in the calculation. 

Though the protection at first afforded to manufactures in the 
United States was but slender, the period from 1790 to 1807, was 
one of comparative prosperity, resulting chiefly from the neutral 
position of the country as a commercial nation, during the wars 
which agitated Europe, and opened a rich harvest of trade with 
the belligerents. From 1807 to 1815, the successive events of 
non-importation, non-intercourse, embargo, and war, were in them- 
selves measures of protection to manufactures, though occasions 
of great commercial distress and sacrifice. From the peace of 
Ghent till the operation of the tariff of 1816, the country was 
brought greatly in debt by the flood of importations from Great 
Britain and other parts, which exceeded the exports for this short 
period, about a year and a half, sixty-one millions of dollars ! 
The inadequate protection of the tariff of 1816 was limited to 
tnree years, and without experiencing any very essential relief, the 
country was again plunged into the greatest distress by excessive 
importations, and the accumulation of balances of trade against it, 
till the tariff of 1824 came in to change the scene, at which time, 
and from which as a cause, commenced, as noticed by INIr. Clay 
in an extract from one of his speeches before given, a protracted 
period of great commercial prosperity, during which the entire 


national debt was extinguished, and a corresponding private thrift 
was realized. The great commercial revulsion of 1836-37, 
which finally resulted in the great political revolution of 1S40, was 
the effect of two causes : first, the reduction of duties by the com- 
promise act, which was stripped of the land bill, and administered 
in bad faith. But next, and more especially, a series of fitful and 
fatal experiments, made by General Jackson during his adminis- 
tration, on the commercial habits of the nation, by revolutionizing 
the currency system, discouraging at one time and tempting at 
another the enterprises of the people and of the states, nothing 
fixed, everything changing. The order to loan the public deposites 
had no sooner seduced the people into extravagant speculations, 
and the merchants into excessive and ruinous importations, than 
the specie circular called the money from the east where it was 
wanted to meet those engagements, to the west where it was not 
wanted, and nothing was left behind to pay a balance of sixty mill- 
ions of dollars of an excess of imports in one year over the ex- 
ports for the same period ! Hence the revulsion and general ruin 
of 1837. 

The following extract from a report on the commercial inter- 
course of the United States and Great Britain, published by the 
American Institute, New York, 1844, is not less instructive than 
pertinent in this place : — 

" Without entering into a discussion of the question of the bal- 
ance of trade, we deem it important to notice the operation of the 
system pursued by the British government, in fostering industry 
and trade, on their own commerce, compared with the policy of 
the United States. The total value of exports and imports of 
Great Britain and Ireland for three successive years was as fol- 
lows : — 

Year. Exports. Imports. 

1839 i;ii0,198,716. £62,004,000 

1840 116,479,679 67,432,964 

1841 116,903,668 64,377,962 

£343,582,061 £193,814,926 

Balance in favor of Great Britain, ^149,767,136, or an annual 
average of ^49,822,378, equal to $237,227,414. It is her com- 
mercial policy, producing these yearly balances of two hundred 
and thirty-seven millions of dollars in her favor, which sustains her 
currency, enables her to do as she wishes, to spend as she pleases, 
to endure our defalcations, and, from her surplus, she is ready to 
lend us, and permit us to increase our indebtedness a few million? 


more. ' Money to let' is the fortune of those only who so man 
ao-e their business as to have yearly balances in their favor. 

" In contrast, the amount of imports into the United States from 
foreio-n countries, for the nine years from 1S31 to 1839, inclusive, 
exceeded the tjtal amount of exports therefrom by the sum of 
$235,278,605 as shown by the following statement : — 

Year. Imports. Exports. 

1831 $103,191,124 $81,310,583 

1832 101,029.266 87,176.913 

1833 108,118,311 90,140.433 

1834 126,521,332 104,336,973 

1835 140.895.742 121,693,577 

1836 180.980,034 128,663.040 

1837 140.989.217 117,419,376 

1838 113,717,404 108,486,616 

1839 163.092,132 121,028,476 

Total $1,195,534,562 $960,255,957 


Balance against U. S $235,278,605 

" It is not deemed necessary to search further than a knowledge 
of these facts, to account for the loss of currency ; for the large 
amount of indebtedness by states, corporations, and individuals of 
the United States, to the capitalists of Great Britain ; nor beyond 
this, to seek for a principal cause for the insolvency and ruin of 
our banks and other corporations, as well as of individuals, the 
depreciation in the value of property, the decline of trade, and 
ending in the modern doctrine of repudiation." 

The following is from the same authority : — 
*' To show which nation has practised the system of free trade, 
it is only necessary to mention, that while Great Britain admits no 
article, except specie, from the United States free of duty, we 
have, by our former tariff regulations, received, duty free, many 
British manufactures. In 1840, the amount of articles imported 
into the United States from Great Britain, free of duty, exclusive 
of specie, was 89,875,496 ; of which value more than seven mill- 
ions of dollars were the manufactures of the united kingdom 
Our total exports to them, the same year, exclusive of cotton and 
tobacco, amounted only to $3,875,551 ; on which the British gov- 
ernment levied a duty of 44.6 per cent. 

" The British tariff fixes so high a rate of duty on many arti- 
cles of x'Vmerican growth and produce, as to operate in excluding 
them from the list of our exports to Great Britain and Ireland. 
Cotton, being indispensable to Great Britain for the supply of her 
extensive manufactories, and the employment of a large portion of 
her population, is admitted at a low rate of duty. Omit cotton, 
and the average duty on all other articles is 330 per cent. A 
careful examination of the rate of duties payable by the American 


tariff of 1842, on the different articles of British manufacture, 
forming the bulk of our imports from Great Britain and Ireland, 
results in an average rate of duty of 32 per cent. Under the pro- 
hibition imposed on American produce, it will be observed that 
our annual average exports to Great Britain, exclusive of cotton 
and tobacco, amount to $3,875,3-51. 

"It is worthy of remark, that on the two great staples of cotton 
and tobacco, which she receives from the United States, Great 
Britain levies an amount of duties much exceeding the total 
amount of customs collected on all articles imported into the Uni- 
ted States from all foreign countries ; and also exceeding the total 
annual expenditures of our government. Thus, the receipts into 
the United States treasury from customs, for the years 1838, 1839, 
and 1840, were $52,796,227, while in the same years, the British 
government collected on cotton and tobacco from the United 
States, duties to the amount of $73,638,828." 

The honorable P. Triplett, of Kentucky, made a communica- 
tion to the committee on manufactures, in the 27th Congress, from 
which are deduced the following facts : that American products 
consumed in Europe, pay duties on entering there, equal to half 
of their entire value ; whereas, European products consumed in 
the United States, pay duties here equal only to one Jifth of their 

In 1841, imports into the United States were $127,945,000, 
and exports $91,000,000, The duties raised from these imports 
amounted to $14,487,000, being about 11^ per cent.; whereas, 
the duties which foreign countries obtained from exports from the 
United States of that year, amounted to $113,500,000, or 124 
per cent. ! The average of exports of tobacco from the United 
States to Europe for 1839 and 1840, was $9,225,000 for each 
year ; and the average duties imposed for each year by European 
governments, was $32,463,000, or 350 per cent. ! The duties 
on American tobacco in Europe have been as high as $35,000,000 
a year. 

In ]750, Joshua Gee, a British writer of great clearness and 
power, published a work entitled, " The Trade and Navigation of 
Great Britain considered," based upon and illustrating the propo- 
sitions : — 

" That the surest way for a nation to increase in riches, is to 
'prevent the imj)ortatio7i of such foreign commodities as may be raised 
at home : 

" That this kingdom is capable of raising, withiJi itself a?id its 
colonies, materials for employing all our poo ^ i?i those manufactures 

Vol. II.— 21 


which we now import from such of our neighbors who reftise the ad- 
mission of our own.'*'' 

The practical policy of Great Britain, from that day to this, in 
regulating her foreign commerce, has been shaped according to the 
doctrines and precepts of Joshua Gee, while her most eminent 
modern writers on political economy, (who are strongly suspected to 
have been pensioned, by the British government, to give lessons 
to other nations), have shown great zeal for free trade. Certain it 
is, that the British government has followed Joshua Gee as an 
oracle, and have never paid the slightest regard to their own 
later authorities that are opposed to him. The following extract 
from Gee, contains the gist of his creed, which, having been 
adopted and maintained, has made Great Britain the wealthiest 
and most powerful nation on earth : — 

" To take the right way of judging of the increase or decrease 
of the riches of the nation by the trade we drive with foreigners, 
is to examine lohether we receive money from them, or send them 
ours ; for if ive export more goods than we receive, it is most cer- 
tain that we shall have a balance brought to us in gold and silver, 
and the mint will be at work to coin that gold and silver. But if 
we import more than we export, then it is as certain that the balance 
imist be jjaid by gold and silver sent to them to discharge that debt. 
A nation may gain vast riches by trade and commerce, or, for ivant 
of a due regard and attention, be drained of them. I am afraid 
the present commerce of ours carries out more riches than it brings 
home. Whereas formerly great quantities of bullion were brought 
into this country by the balance of trade, and coined into money ; 
the tables are turned, and as fast as we import bullion it is sent 
away to pay our debts. So many places endeavor to keep out our 
manufactures, and still continue to export their linen, hemp, flax, 
iron, potash, timber, &c., to us, which draws a very great treasure 
annually out of this kingdom. We send our money to foreign na- 
tions, and by employing their poor instead of our own, enable them 
to thrust us out of our foreign trade ; and by imposing high duties 
on our manufactures, so to clog the importation of them, that it 
amounts to a prohibition." 

From that day, and according to this rule of Joshua Gee, it 
seems always to have been the policy of Great Britain so to adjust 
her tariff, as to secure a large excess of exports over imports ; in 
other words, a large balance of trade in her favor. In the years 
above cited, the difference is nearly half. No nation can escape 
commercial revulsions that does not base its foreign commercial 
policy on this principle. Every season of commercial distress in 


the United States — they have been frequent and calamitous — has 
been occasioned by neglecting this duty ; in other words, by fail- 
ing to establish and maintain an adequate and uniform protective 
policy. The aggregate of balances of trade against the United 
States, as shown by public documents, beginning with 1790, and 
ending with 1S40, is $900,000,000 ! 

From the establishment of American independence {iiolitical — 
there has been little other) to the tariff of 1342, there lias been a 
balance of trade in favor of the United States of only six years, 
in trilling amounts, except in 1840, it was twenty-four millions, 
simply because the country had not credit enough to buy — in one 
respect a fortunate necessity, as the half of this balance went to 
pay debts, and the other half to pay interest. 

Some deductions ought no doubt to be made from the above 
nine hundred millions, in consideration of the facts, that the valu 
ations of exports and imports have not been made by the same 
rule, and that there is no allowance for the profits of the trade. 
But after this account shall have been fairly adjusted, the balance 
must still be amazing! Can it, then, be a subject of wonder, that 
the people of the United States have had to stru^ijle throuo-h so 
many, and such protracted periods of commercial disaster, in- 
volving the whole country in distress, and countless individuals in 
private ruin ? Nothing but the inexhaustible wealth of the coun- 
try's physical resources, and the indomitable enterprise of its pop- 
ulation, could have carried the nation through such trials, and en- 
abled it to surmount such difficulties. 

By the tariff of 1S42, the balance of trade is getting to be on 
the right side, though not much to boast of. It appears from offi- 
cial documents, that the balance in favor of the United States for 
the year ending June 30, 1S43, was 819,592,681 ; and that for 
the year ending June 30th, 1844, was 82.765,011. 

The restoration of confidence consequent upon the passage of 
the tariff of 1842, brought out capital that had lain dormant; 
it was diffused into all branches of trade. manufacturin<r, &c : its 
stimulating effect was felt in every direction : but, above all, it had 
the tendency to bring into the country a large amount of foreign 
coin — "a consummation devoutly to be wished." The secretarv 
of the treasury reported, on the 28th April, 1844, that for nine 
months ending 30th June, 1843, the importof coin was 822,320,335 
Export, in the same time, - - - _ 127,429 



Showing a gain to tliis country, in the short period of nine mouths, 
of upward of twenty milUons of dollars. At first its genial effect 
was to replenish the vaults of the banks on the seaboard ; but ulti- 
mately the coin reached all parts of the country. 

If it be asked, how, then, has the nation grown so wealthy, 
under the weight of such former balances against it, the answer is, 
that the wealth consists in improvements, which, but for those un- 
favorable balances would have been indefinitely, no one can tell how 
much, greater. The United States are a well-stocked estate, but 
always in a state of commercial embarrassment, for going abroad 
to buy, in other words, to borrow, that which might and should be 
made at home. The annual income of England, in the shape of 
balance of trade, is rarely if ever less, under her present system of 
policy, than two hundred millions of dollars. The American 
tariff of 1842 seems to promise a bare rescue from former ruinous 

A variety of facts and considerations belonging to this argument, 
can only be succinctly stated here. The importance of the home 
trade of the country is seldom considered. It appears by a report 
to the senate of the United States, document 340, second session, 
twenty-seventh Congress, that the aggregate value of the annual 
products of the United States is $2,000,000,000, which is annu- 
ally increasing. Deducting the exports of foreign products from 
the average exports of the country, much less than one hundred 
millions of these two thousand millions goes into foreign trade. A 
very large portion of the remainder is constantly going the active 
rounds of the home trade. One can hardly conceive of the mag- 
nitude and importance of this business. It has been estimated, 
that the annual exchanges negotiated in the settlement of accounts 
in the home trade of the United States, amount to four hundred 
millions of dollars. 

The importance of counteracting that overwhelming one or two 
hundred million man-power of British machinery, requiring only 
five hundred thousand operatives, sufficient to supply the whole 
world with manufactures, which aims at this monopoly, and which 
has had such a prodigious influence in checking the growth of 
manufactures in the United States, can not fail to strike the mind 
of every American statesman and patriot. 

The effects of domestic manufactures on the capital of labor, 
are very striking. 

T« ;« nroved in ^^ Facts for a T^aborinp; Man,^^ published in 


1840, that a family of seven persons, whose entire wages in 181G, 
in a cotton factory, were only S180 a year, could get in 1836, in 
consequence of the increase of wages, $65S a year, while the 
prices of their products had fallen about two thirds. 

The town of Lowell, in Massachusetts, which has risen from 
nothing in twenty years, to a population of more than twenty thou- 
sand, has between eleveii and twelve millio7is of dollars vested in 
her manufactories, employs upward of jmie thousand laborers, male 
and female, pays for their work annually SI, 800, 000, about fifty 
per cent, of which, on the average, or $900,000, they can save, 
or lay by, after paying their board and necessary expenses. Their 
savings support a savings bank in the place, where deposiies are 
constantly being made. Some of them, after having laid up a sat- 
isfactory sum, go home with means to settle down for life, while 
others vest their savings in the manufactories, and become stock- 
holders and corporators — managers of their own stock, and pre- 
siding over themselves as laborers, gradually accumulating their 
interest in these companies. In one manufactory alone, $100,000 
of stock is owned by those who work in the factories for wages ; 
in another $60,000 ; and so on. Factory girls, and women who 
live by their needles, are often stockholders in these and other in- 
stitutions. It will be observed, that in all these cases, the capital 
of labor creates the moneyed capital thus or otherwise vested, and 
that in the case of a laborer at Lowell, who receives in wages 
S200 a year — that is the average — and lays up one hundred dol- 
lars, the profits of labor are ten to one of the income of moneyed 
capital at five per cent. In other words, the profits of labor in 
these cases arejifty per cent, on the investment of a labor capital 
of $200, in the case of each laborer. This, of course, must neces- 
sarily wield its sustaining and elevating influence on the prices of 
labor throughout the country, which is dotted with establishments 
of this kind. 

Fas est ah hostibus doceri. It is right to gain instruction from 
enemies. For example: Captain Marryat states, in his work on 
America, that the supply of British goods of all kinds, is more 
abundant in the remotest frontier towns of the United States, 
where the stumps of the primitive forests are yet standing in the 
streets and cellars, than in the market-towns ot* England. 

By a recent report of a committee of the British house of com- 
mons, it appears, that Prussia consumes annually of British man- 
ufactures to the amount of 7 cents for each individual of her pop- 


ulation; Russia to the amount of 16 cents for each individual; 
Norway 17 cents; France 20 cents; and the United States to the 
amount of 402 cents for each individual of their population; and 
yet there is scarcely one of these articles which could not be pro- 
duced at home at a lower price and of a better quality. 

A farmer in Illinois wrote a letter to his friend in the east, in 
1842, complaining that he could get only 31 cents a bushel for his 
wheat, 2-5 cents for beans, 10 cents for corn, 1^ cents a pound for 
beef and pork, 2^ cents a pound for tobacco, &c., stating that he had 
to pay7?fe dollars, or which is the same thing, 16 bushels of wheat, 
or 20 bushels of beans, or 26 bushels of corn, or 300 lbs. of pork 
or beef, or 200 lbs. of tobacco, i>er yard of British broadcloth to 
make him a coat ! The cost of this yard of cloth at the manu- 
factories in England, was probably about three dollars, three bush- 
els of wheat, as sold in the market there. That is, the producer 
in England received for the cloth one eighth of what was charged 
to the farmer in Illinois. Who got the difference? If the man- 
ufacturer had been in Illinois, or anywhere in this country, the 
farmer might have got his yard of cloth by three bushels of wheat, 
instead of sixteen, and the manufacturer would have made a mar- 
ket for the farmer's beans, corn, pork, beef, &c., at a good price. 

It appears from a report of the Hon. J. P. Kennedy, of the 
twenty-seventh Congress, from the committee on commerce, that, 
from 1820 to 1830, the aggregate imports of the United States 
amounted to S79S,500,000, and the amount retained for domestic 
consumption to $568,900,000 ; and that, from 1830 to 1840, the 
imports were $1,302,500,000, and the amount retained for domestic 
consumption, was $1,103,100,000. Herein is revealed a great se- 
cret: As the effect of the protective policy established in 1824, 
and continued for a number of years, the nation paid off a debt of 
one hundred millions. Chiefly in the last half of the period from 
1830 to 1840, a foreign debt of two hundred millions was con- 
tracted. It is accounted for in the abovecited imports for that 
period. About one hundred millions of the state debts were made 
in 1835 and 1836, and nearly all of them got into the foreign 
market about this time to settle balances for excessive importations. 
But the NECESSITY of a protective policy in the United States 
against the European world, arises chiefly from the different 
values of capital and labor in these two quarters of the globe ; and 
it will be found, that this necesshy can never cease, while freedom 
is maintained against despotism. 


The value of capital (money) is determined by the interest it 
can obtain in the market ; and by this rule the average value of 
capital in Europe is at least one third less than the average value 
of American capital, as settled by experience. The average price 
of European labor, as determined by the best authorities, is at least 
two thirds, and might perhaps be put down at three fourths less, 
than the average price of American labor. Say, two thirds. In 
other words, the value of American capital is as 3 to 2, and of 
American labor as 3 to 1, of European capital and labor. This 
may be assumed as settled. 

This is a difference between a free country and countries not 
free. Tt is not an accident — a transient result — but the ]}ermaneyit 
effect of a permanent and immutahlc cause. In the United States, 
the value of capital and the price of labor are not forced and ficti- 
tious, hut they ore the -prerogatite of freedom. In the case of Eu- 
rope, the laborers are not a party in arrangino; the price of their 
task. They have no choice. It x^ forced. Consequently, the 
capital that is thus wrung from involuntary service, at such a price, 
can be afforded at less interest ; and considering how it is acquired, 
the price of European capital is in fact higher than American cap 
ital, as compared with the price of labor there. 

It will be seen, therefore, other thiiigs being equal, that the ad- 
vantage which European capital and labor, as producing powers, 
have over American capital and labor, acting in the same capacity, 
in open and free trade, is equal to the difference in their relative 
values, which may be assumed as two to one, if labor be regarded 
an equal power with the capital that employs it. But other things 
are not equal, and the difference is in favor of Europeans. For 
example, laborers in Europe work from 12 to IS hours a day, av- 
eraging say 15 hours, and American laborers never over 10 hours, 
making a difference in this particular of one third. There are 
other points of difference, all on the same side ; but this is enough 
to show that the difference is not rated too high, in allowing Euro- 
pean capital and labor to be 100 per cent more powerful, as pro- 
ducers, in opposition to American capital and labor. The poin 
is this : That American capital and labor, each at a cost of 100 
can not compete in the same market and on the same terms with 
European capital, costing only 67, and European labor, costing 
only 33. 

The question, then — the great, practical, momentous question — 
is, shall European capital and labor, in a field of open and free 


trade, be permitted to bring American capital and labor, that is 
American society, down to the same level? Or shall American 
society, by the American government, protect American capital and 
labor, and maintain the position to which the cost of American free- 
dom has elevated them ? 

The great battle of the world is between freedom and despotism ; 
and more than in anj^hing, or all things else, iheform under which 
that contest is now carried on, is between European capital and 
labor on one side, and American capital and labor on the other. 
On this pivot turns the destiny of nations. Sustain the position 
of American capital and labor, that every man may be secure of 
the fair reward of his exertions, however humble his birth and call- 
ing, and freedom will prevail all the world over. The American 
people, linked and resolved in this great emprise, can beat the world 
— the whole world — and crumble into dust the bulwarks of despotic 
sway. But, let European capital and labor prevail against Amer- 
ican capital and labor, for want of protection to the latter, and there 
is an end of freedom, till another cycle of ages, with its sad round 
of experience, shall burst the chains again, and they who succeed 
shall better appreciate their duty and their chances. 

The battle for American freedom was only begun in the estab- 
Hshment of American independence. The commercial systems 
of Europe are more to be feared than all the power of European 
arms. A perpetual war would be less expensive and less perilous 
than the effects of this occult, silent, insinuating, all-pervading 
power, if unresisted. 

The htissez-faire, or let-alone principle, which lies at the bottom 
and is the soul of free-trade philosophy, may be romantic to dream 
on ; but to act on and live by, it is quite another thing. Though 
one nation adopts it, another will not. The latter, of course, can 
and will prey on the former. One throws away its shield, and 
the other takes advantage of it. An opponent is free to strike, 
and SURE to hit. Reduced to its naked form., it is, laivs for 
the hencjit of one party, and that party make them ! It is pre- 
cisely the same principle in common society, as in the society 
of nations. Its most undisguised form, in which it stands forth 
in its true light, is, let every second man do as he pleases. It will 
then be found, that all men are not equal, and that one is able to 
knock down another, and rob him. This is free trade ! On 
the ground of free trade, European capital and labor, which cost 
fifty cents, as seen above, will knock down and rob American cap- 


ital and labor, which cost one hundred cents. It is as certain to 
follow, as that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west to- 

Some are deceived in supposing, that, wherein the British par- 
liament have reduced the scale of duties, they are departing from 
the protective policy. It was found, that the growth of American 
cotton manufactures had not only enabled them to rival, but to un- 
dersell the British manufacturers, in the markets of the world. The 
British parliament, therefore, was compelled to extend protection 
to their own manufactures, by taking the duties off from cotton, 
to enable them to compete with Americans. The ink of the 
" Southern Planter," quoted in chapter x., was scarcely dry, after 
writino-, " the half-pemiy-a-'pound duty [on cotton] now levied in 
Eno-land, uill have to give way to insure her success," before it 
was done I So it is in all other cases : The British parHament 
never reduces the rate of duties, but to secure a greater amount of 
protection. The very principle on which free trade is advocated 
in England, is to increase protection ; and if she had been willing 
to sacrifice the great interests protected by her corn laws, an unre- 
stricted trade with all the world, begun in season, would probably 
have been her best policy. In that case, her position, in the 
perfection of her manufacturing arts, in her vast machinery, and 
in her cheap capital and labor, would have put her far ahead of the 
rest of the world, and would probably have enabled her for ever 
to maintain it. But this policy would have been based on the 
principle of protection, and only proves that all other nations would 
have been crippled by this so-called free trade of Great Britain 
It would be equally true to say, that a weak man can contend with 
a strong man, with hope of success. 

It is imagined by some, that the protective policy diminishes 
foreign commerce. Experience, however, does not justify this 
apprehension. But, suppose it does. It augments in an equal or 
greater proportion a far more profitable home trade. The things 
wanted, being manufactured at home, the three, sometimes four, 
not unfrequently five and more values added to the raw material, 
in the process of manufacture, are retained, instead of going abroad, 
besides that it gives a more profitable employment and a better 
subsistence to a portion of the American people, enhancing the 
wealth of all in a general distribution of benefits. But all experi- 
ence teaches, that the more a nation produces, and the greater the 
variety of its products, so much the more extended, and so much 


the more active, will be its foreign trade. Rich at home, it can 
afford to buy abroad, and will make corresponding exchanges. 

Of all reasons that can be urged in favor of a protective policy 
no one perhaps can be named of greater cogency, than its necessi- 
ty for a good and adequate currency. The currency of the coun- 
try — a sound currency — does not depend on banking, or the modes 
of banking, or whether banking be done by a national institution, 
or by state corporations, or by both, or by neither, though doubt- 
less there is a choice in modes — a better way. There can be 
no sound currency, where there is no money ; and there never 
can be money enough for the currency of a country which is con- 
stantly sending off more than it brings back — unless one of its 
products be money, as has been the case with Mexico, and some 
of the South American states. In that case, money is not the 
medium, but an article, of trade. But the United States do not 
produce money in any quantity sufficient to rely upon, either as an 
article, or basis, or inedium of trade. They are obliged, therefore, 
to depend on getting and keeping money enough hy tradt, to an- 
swer the purposes of a currency. 

A man may have a very large estate, well stocked, well worked, 
and be making extensive improvements ; but if he buys more than 
he sells, his money, or active capital, is all the while growing less ; 
and unless he has a great deal of it, he will soon find himself em- 
barrassed. When this state of things arrives, he is precisely in 
the condition of a nation that has been guilty of the same improvi- 
dence. Without money, neither he, nor a nation, can do business 
to advantage. An income is as necessary to a nation, as to a 
private individual ; and the income of a nation is the money it gets 
by selling more than it buys. While this is the case, it is impos- 
sible that the currency of a nation should be bad or inadequate. A 
bank here, and a bank there, may fail, as private individuals do, 
and for like reasons of mismanagement, or misfortune ; but there 
can be no such thing as a general bank suspension, where the pub- 
lic policy is such as to secure the coming in of more money than 
goes out ; or, when there is enough in, to prevent more going out 
than comes in. These results, in one case or the other, are al- 
ways contingent on the sufficiency or insufficiency of the protective 

The intimate and indissoluble relation of the protective policy 
to the currency of a country, commends it, therefore, as a point 
for consideration too important to be overlooked. No man can 


trade safely, and with a warrant of prosperity, except on the basis 
of a credit which soHd capital affords, and with such means as that 
credit will constantly supply him. The moment his means, and 
with his means, his credit, fail, he is stopped. There is no use in 
his trying to go on ; it is impossible, except by a transient career 
of fraud, which only makes it worse when he is found out. 

It is precisely the same with a nation in its trade with the rest 
of the world. When, for the lack of an adequate protective policy 
— which is the same thing as the improvidence of a spendthrift — it 
is habitually buying more than it sells, and its money goes off to 
settle balances, its means of trade, domestic as well as foreign, are 
all the while growing less and less, and without a change, a reform, 
that nation must fail. Its insolvency is as inevitable, as that of an 
improvident individual, who conducts business on the same prin- 
ciple. The way in which the insolvency of a commercial nation 
shows itself, is, first, by a scarcity of money, which everybody 
feels ; as a consequence, a general contraction in all monetary op- 
erations, by which business is carried on, necessarily drawing along 
with it commercial inactivity, dulness ; diffidence in all credit 
transactions ; and at last, if no relief comes, the banks suspend. 
This last act is the consummation of a nation's commercial insol- 
vency. The banks, at the moment, and during the whole time of 
(suspension, may be sound, as the specie in their vaults is not the 
exponent of their capital. Being allowed by their charters to issue 
more paper than they have specie, the heavy commercial exchanges 
against the country operate directly on their vaults, to draw off the 
specie into foreign parts, and they are compelled to suspend, or 
part with the last cent. Even then they must suspend, so long as 
they have more paper out, than specie in. It is the unfavorable 
state of foreign exchanges, the large commercial balances against 
the country, which occasion a general bank suspension. It is be- 
cause there is not money enough in the country to pay its debts ; 
and like a merchant, who finds himself in a like condition, to avoid 
complete and irretrievable ruin, that would incapacitate the coun- 
try for all trade, the banks stop payment, to the injury of their own 
credit, and the credit of the country. They can not help it. They 
are forced into it by the effect of the policy of the government, 
which tempts the people to buy more than they sell, and the'nation 
to do the same, till, after repeated and long-continued drafts on the 
money of the country, the pressure begins to be felt, and before 
the remedy can be applied — for it is too late when the effects of 


such improvidence have aheady come — the whole community is 
involved in the general calamity. It is only for the want of an 
adequate protective policy. So long as an industrious and pro- 
ducing nation does not buy more than it sells, it is impossible it 
should be involved in general commercial distress — absolutely im- 
possible in the nature of things. A nation of such resources and 
wealth as the United States, with such an enterprising population, 
can bear a great deal of loss in its foreign trade, and yet prosper. 
Think of nine hundred millions of loss in fifty year^, as appears 
from public documents — or reduce it even to five hundred millions, 
for the reasons before suggested — this has been more than the 
nation could bear ; and hence its frequent calamitous vicissitudes. 
Under an adequate and uniform protective policy, such disasters 
could never come. There can not be an effect without a cause. 
Such a country as the United States — which is a world in itself 
— physically capable — and much more capable in the genius, arts 
and moral energy of its tenants — of producing everything essen- 
tial to the complete and perfect independence of a nation, in arti- 
cles of luxury as well as of necessity — a nation capable of an equal 
pace in science, and in all improvements of art, as any other peo- 
ple, not to say more so — ought never, by the improvidence of legis- 
lation, to be in debt to other nations. There is no apology foi 
such a nation to be in the habit of buying more than it sells, which 
is the only cause of debt and embarrassment. There can be no 

It has heretofore been set up in defence of the government, that 
such a state of things comes from the fault of the people. But this 
will not answer, so long as the government permits the foreign factor 
— who is not a citizen, and who has no other interest than to make 
his fortune, and then carry the money away — to bring his goods 
and merchandise, without paying for the privilege — or, if he pays, 
pays nothing adequate to protect American ciuzens in the same 
business — and thus tempt jobbers, and jobbers tempt retailers, and 
retailers tempt the people, till the latter are in debt, which can only 
be discharged by a remittance through the same channels backward i 
— and the foreign factor departs with the money of the people in j 
his pocket ! The parties concerned in all the stages of the trade, ! 
have doubtless profited by it ; but the people are ruined, because 
their money has gone out of the country, and they have litde or 
nothing left to pay other debts, and do business with.. 

MK. clay's eastern TOUR OF 1633. 333 


MK. clay's eastern TOUR IN 1833. 

Private Letter and Project of this Tour. — Public Gratitude. — Reception at Balti- 
more. — At Philadelphia. — At New York. — At Providence. — At Boston. — At 
Charlestown. — At Bunker's Hill. — InFaneuil Hall. — At Lowell. — At Danvers. 
— At Salem. — Sundry interesting Occurrences in Boston and Vicinity. — Cor- 
respondence, Addresses, and Answers. — Reception at Worcester. — At Hartford. 
— At Springfield. — At Troy. — At Albany. — At Newark. — His Return to Wash- 
ington, through New York, Philadelphia, and Wilmington. — Recognition of 
this Tour in a Private Letter. 

In a private letter from Mr. Clay to Judge Brooke, dated Ash- 
laiKl, May 30, 1833, he says : — 

" I shall leave home early in July, to make a journey, which I 
have long desired to perform. I shall go through Ohio to Lake 
Erie ; thence to Buffalo, Niagara, Montreal, Quebec, Saratoga, and 
toward September, to Boston, where I have a young son of six 
teen. The papers have attributed to me an intention of visiting 
New England, as if it were the principal object of my excursion. 
It is the least important one, and I should not go there, but for the 
sake of my son. I intend travelling with as much privacy as prac- 
ticable, and absolutely to decline every species of public enter- 
tainment. I had wished to be accompanied by Mrs. Clay, my 
son, and son-in-law, and their respective wives; but neither of the 
young ladies can go, and my wife hesitates about going without 

" You perceive that the journey I have sketched will not admit 
of my having the pleasure of meeting )T)u at the White Sulphur 
springs. I visit no place in the summer with more grati6cation 
than that finest of all our mineral springs ; — but I have never seen 
the falls of Niagara, and unless I avail myself of this summer to 
go there, I shall probably never have another oj'portunity." 

Unexpected events prevented Mr. Clay from executing the first 
part of this project of a summer's tour ; but he went to Boston. 
It can not be denied that the arduous labors of the XXII Con- 
gress had given Mr. Clay some title to relaxation ; and its event- 
ful enactments, in which he bore so important a part — though 

334 MR. clay's eastern tour of 1833. 

some of them were strangled in the birth by executive vetoes, and 
by unconstitutional usurpations of regal power — had inspired the 
jtublic mind, throughout the country, with a lively sense of its 
obligations to the patriot who stood in the breach, and dared to 
protest against the aims of despotic pretensions. The great meas- 
ure of the compromise tariff had just been consunmiateu, and the 
people breathed freely again from the apprehensions they had suf- 
fered of civil disturbances. Though Mr. Clay succeeded in 
reaching Baltimore, without any remarkable demonstrations from 
the public, it was impossible after that to repress the outbursts of 
popular gratitude. 

Mr. Clay arrived in Baltimore early in October, and was so- 
licited to accept a public dinner there by the following note : — 

" Baltimore, October 8, 1833. 

*' Dear Sir: We have great pleasure in tendering to you, on 
the part of many of your fellow-citizens in Baltimore, an invitation 
to a public dinner, to be given at the City Hotel, on any day which 
may suit your convenience. 

" The sensitive and honorable delicacy by which your conduct 
has ever been distinguished, seems, while you were a candidate 
for the highest office of this country, to have denied to us the op- 
portunity of illustrating to you the hospitality of Baltimore, and 
of affording the manifestation of that cordial respect and friendship, 
which are, at once, the fruit and the ornament of your conduct and 
fame. While we claim a connexion with you by the common ties 
which bind the patriot to his country, we ask to be honored with 
the more intimate relation that springs from that deep, personal 
esteem of your character, which has known no change, but that 
of increased confidence in your virtues and talents. 

" Under the influence of these feelings, we request, that you 
will name some day, when we may have the honor of your com- 
pany. We are, dear sir, your friends and servants, 

" John M'Kim, Jr., and 21 others. 

" To the Hon. Henry Clay." 

(mr. clay's reply.) 

" Baltimore, October 9, 1833. 
"Gentlemen: I receive, with deep sensibility and the most 
grateful feelings, the testimony of confidence and attachment, con- 
veyed by your note of yesterday. It is true, as intimated by you, 
that the restraint which I recently felt bound to impose on myself, 
in respect to public entertainments, no longer exists ; and I should 
be extremely happy to meet you and other of my fellow-citizens 
of Baltimore, in the mauner most agreeable to you and them 


But, gentlemen, on my present journey, undertaken in reference 
to duties growing out of private relations exclusively, I am accom- 
panied by my family, and I could not accept a public dinner, 
without violating a rule, prompted in some measure by their con- 
venience, which I had prescribed to myself at its commencement. 
I hope that, in this determination, there will be a ready acquies- 
cence, since Baltimore requires no fresh proof of its well-estab- 
lished hospitality, nor I of the cordial respect and friendship which 
I have always experienced from its citizens. 

' While I feel, however, constrained to decline the honor of a 
public dinner, which has been so obligingly tendered, it will afford 
to me the highest satisfaction, at all times, to cultivate, in any other 
less formal mode of social intercourse, the esteem and friendship 
of yourselves and other inhabitants of this enterprising city. I 
am, gentlemen, with sentiments of the highest regard, your friend 
and obedient servant, 

"H. Clay." 

At a meeting of the citizens of Wilmington, Delaware, the 4th 
of October, announced as "friends of Henry Clay, of the con- 
stitution, and of American industry," the Hon. Arnold Naudain 
in the chair, the following preamble and resolution were adopted : — 

" Understanding that Henry Clay, the illustrious statesman 
and patriot, whose public services entitle him to the gratitude of 
his country, while his talents will for ever adorn its annals, is 
expected at New Casde on this evening, and being desirous of 
testifying to him in person the sentiments of respect and admira- 
tion we entertain for him — 

'■'■Resolved, That a committee be appointed to wait on Mr. Clay 
at New Castle, and tender to him the respectful and heartfelt salu- 
tations of this meeting, and in its name invite him to favor his fel- 
low-citizens of Wilmington with his presence in this place, and 
partake of a dinner at such time as his convenience will permit." 

A committee, consisting of the chairman and thirteen other gen- 
tlemen, was appointed on this mission of hospitality, and performed 
their duties, as the following correspondence will show : — 

"Wilmington, October 11, 1833. 
" Sir : At a public meeting, held at this place to-day, the 
undersigned were appointed a committee to wait on you at New 
Castle, and tender you the respectful and heartfelt salutations of 
our fellow-citizens, and in their name invite you to favor our city 
with your presence, and partake of a dinner at such time as your 
convenience will permit. We should, however, sir, but in part 
fulfil the purpose of our appointment, if we stopped with tendering 
you their hospitality. By far the more agreeable portion of our 
office, is to inform you of the motives whence their wishes 


spring. They arise from the deep conviction they entertain of 
vour merits as a public servant — from their admiration of your 
sterlino- integrity — your enlightened patriotism — your manly vir- 
tues — and though last, not least, your unshaken courage in resist- 
ing the cruel and unjust persecution by which faction has pursued 
you for many years — qualities which shine in brighter relief, from 
a contrast with the character of those who have originated and 
fostered it. Permit us to add, that, as citizens of a state which 
has, we are proud to say, in all the persecutions to which you 
have been subjected, borne constant testimony to the integrity and 
patriotism of your life, we have a right to indulge the hope, that 
the invitation of which we have the honor to be the medium, will 
receive your favorable consideration. We are, sir, with great 
respect, your friends and fellow-citizens, 

" A. Naudain, and others. 
" Hon. Henry Clay." 

(mr. clay's reply.) 

" Philadelphia, October 14, 1833. 

" Gentlemen : The letter of the 11th instant, which, at the 
instance of a public meeting held in Wilmington, you have done 
me the honor to address to me, inviting me to visit and partake of 
a public dinner at that place, has been received, with sentiments 
of the liveliest gratitude. I thank them and you, most heartily, for 
their and your friendly salutations, and for the approbation be- 
stowed on ray public exertions, and especially for the generous 
testimony uniformly borne by the state of Delaware, in my behalf. 
Penetrated by grateful feelings, I accept with pleasure your 
friendly invitation to visit Wilmington, although I can not, con- 
sistently with the rule which I have marked out for myself, have 
the honor of accepting that which has been given me to a public 

" On my return from the eastern excursion which I am now 
making, I will give you previous notice of the day when I will 
have the pleasure of presenting my respects in person to you, and 
such other of my fellow-citizens of Delaware, as may choose to 
honor me with their society. I am, gentlemen, with high respect, 
your friend and obedient servant, ,, -rj r< 

•' xl. ULAY. 

" Messrs. A. Naudain, and others." 

Mr. Clay was met at Frenchtown, Delaware, by a committee 
from Philadelphia, to wait upon him to his lodgings provided in 
that city. Sometime before the expected arrival, by steamboat, 
the wharves at the foot of Chestnut street were crowded with a 
concourse of citizens, and Mr. Clay was received and escorted to 
the United States hotel, with every demonstration of popular re 

MR. clay's eastern TOUR OF 1833. 337 

gard, and in the midst of the huzzas of the muhitudes ; after 
which the following correspondence took place : — 

" Philadelphia, October 14, 1833. 
" Dear Sir : It is highly gratifying to us, that we have been 
deputed by a large and respectable meeting of the citizens of 
Philadelphia, to congratulate you on your arrival here, and to ex- 
press to you their most cordial approbation of your public and 
private character — of your honorable career, distinguished by zeal 
and ardor in the cause of liberty, not only in our own beloved 
country, but in distant climes, when she maintained a long, a 
perilous, and a dubious struggle with grinding despotism — a career, 
moreover, which displayed the most profound views of the only 
true and solid interests of a nation — protection of its industry in 
every shape — agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial — which 
you have at all times supported in the full exercise of those splen- 
did powers with which Heaven has endowed you — and manifested 
a consistency of conduct as a statesman, which, unfortunately for 
the happiness and best interests of mankind, has been at all times 
too rare among that class — a class which so powerfully operates 
upon the destiny of nations. 

" After this expression of our feelings toward you, we respect- 
fully beg leave to be gratified by your acceptance of an invitation 
to a pubhc dinner, on such day as may best suit your convenience. 
We are, sir, very respectfully your obedient humble servants, 

" Mathew Carey, 
"John Sergeant, 
"J. R. Ingersoll, 
" W. Fitler, 
"G. Scull. 
" Hon. Henry Clay." 

(mr. clay's reply.) 

" Philadelphia, October 14, 1833. 
" Gentlemen : 1 hasten to present my cordial and respectful 
thanks for the friendly congratulations, communicated in your note 
of to-day, just received. I have never visited your fine city with- 
out high gratification, but on no other occasion with greater than 
the present. I feel, with deep sensibility, the approbation of my 
character and conduct, which you have so kindly expressed. If 
gentlemen, as I am quite sure, you estimate too highly my exer 
tions in the cause of human liberty, and that of promoting the 
general prosperity of our country, your partiality does not exag- 
gerate the zeal and ardor with which I have honestly strived to 
maintain its freedom and secure its interests. I regret that I have 
been able to do so little ; but the time has arrived, which I long 
ago apprehended, when our greatest exertions are necessary tn 
Vol. II.— 22 

338 MR. clay's eastern tour of 1833. 

maintain the free institutions inherited from our ancestors. Yes, 
gentlemen, disguise is useless. The time is come, when we 
must decide, whether the constitution, the laws, and the checks 
which they have respectively provided, shall prevail ; or the will 
of ONE MAX shall have uncontrolled sway '? In the settlement of 
that question, I shall be found where I have ever been. 
" I pray you to convey to the citizens of Philadelphia, whom 
you represent, my grateful acknowledgments of their friendly re- 
ception of me, and to express to them my regret that circumstances 
will not allow me to accept the honor of a public dinner, which 
they have been pleased to offer. I add, gentlemen, for yourselves, 
assurances of the high respect and regard of your friend and hum 

ble servant, __ ^ 

" H. Clay. 

" Messrs. M. Carey, &c." 

The pointed character of some parts of the above reply of Mr 
Clay, will be appreciated, when it is considered, that the decisive 
and momentous event ol the removal of the public deposites had, 
within a few days, taken place, the detail of which, and the conse- 
quences thereof, are given at large in another part of this work. 

While the guest of Philadelphia, Mr. Clay was visited by 
many thousand persons, but with as little ceremony as possible, in 
conformity with his known wishes ; and when he left for New 
York, a vast concourse of citizens assembled to take leave of him. 
He was accompanied by a committee of Philadelphians as far as 
Amboy, where he was met and received by a committee from the 
city of New Y'ork, at which place, on landing, he was welcomed 
by an immense throng of citizens, and escorted by a procession to 
his lodgings at the American hotel. 

On Wednesday, the 16th of October, Mr. Clay received his 
fellow-citizens publicly at the governor's room, city-hall, which 
had been politely tendered by the municipal authorities, the mayor 
of the city doing the honors of the occasion. He was there waited 
upon by numerous merchants, members of the chamber of com- 
merce, and others, in a body ; by the grand jury ; and by crowds 
of citizens and strangers. Having dined with the committee, he 
visited the mercantile and mechanics' libraries, where he was hon- 
ored with more formal notices than he desired, and was forced to 
make some brief replies. On the 17th he visited the fair of the 
American Institute ; went to the theatre in the evening, where 
strong demonstrations were made in recognition of his presence ; 
and concluded the day at a supper, in the city saloon, with the 
committee of the American Institute, where, being honored with a 

MR. clay's EASTERX TOUR OF 1833. 339 

sentiment, he made a brief address. Constant calls were of course 
made upon Mr. Clay at the American hotel, and various compli- 
ments were tendered to draw him into parties, and before the pub 
lie — which, for the most part he was constrained by a general rule 
he had adopted for his journey, to decline. Among the rest, the 
following note was addressed to Mrs. Clay : — 

" New York, October 16, 1833. 
" Madam : The young men of the city of New York, through 
us, as their committee, beg leave to tender to you an invitation to 
a ball, to be given on your return from the east, in honor of the 
arrival among us of yourself and your illustrious husband. In 
performing this office, we are confidently assured, that we represent 
the wishes of a large and distinguished portion of our citizens, 
and indulge the hope, that, by the acceptance on your part, they 
may be gratified in thus furnishing you an additional evidence of 
their respect and esteem. We have the honor to be, madam, youi 
obedient servants, " David Graham, 

" Samuel D. Jackson, 
"Simeon Draper, Jr. 
" Mrs. Clay." 

To which a reply was made by Mr. Clay, in behalf of his lady, 
as follows : — 

" New York, llth October, 1833. 

" Gentlemen ' Mrs. Clay has received the invitation with 
which the young men of the city of New York, through you, have 
honored her, to a ball, on her return from the east ; and she 
charges me to communicate her respectful acknowledgments for 
it. If she had not ceased to participate in that description of en- 
tertainment, she would accept with pleasure, the offer of one from 
a source so highly respectable, and made with a motive so gratify- 
ing to her feelings. In declining it, she requests the young men, 
at whose instance it is tendered, to be assured, that she will long 
retain a grateful sense of their friendly purpose. I also pray the 
acceptance of my acknowledgments, and assurance of the high 
respect with which I am their and your friend and obedient ser- 

''^"^' "H. Clay. 

"Messrs. Graham, Jackson, and Draper." 

The following note from Mr. Clay, is a recognition of the 
politeness of the steamboat company between New York and 
Boston : — 

" New York, 16?A October, 1S33. 

" Sir : I received your obliging note, tendering the use of one 
of the steamboats of the New York and Boston steamboat com- 

340 MR. clay's eastern tour of 1833. 

pany, by their direction, for the conveyance of myself and family 
to Rhode Island. I request, that you will communicate to the 
company my respectful acknowledgments for tlieir friendly offer, 
and to say to them, that I will so far avail myself of it, as to take 
a passage for myself in the boat of Friday next, at the customary 
hour of her departure. I beg, however, that we may be considered 
as ordinary passengers, and that no exclusive arrangements may oe 
made for us. I am with great respect, your obedient servant, 

"H. Clay. 
" To the President of the New York and Boston Steamboat 

The following extract from the New York " Evening Star," 
a political opponent of Mr. Clay, is a grateful record of good 
feeling, indited at this time : — 

" We opposed his election [in 1832], and rejoiced at his defeat. 
But, we can not forget the steady uniform efforts he made in the 
great struggle of 1812, to sustain the country at a period of dark- 
ness and peril, when many, very many, of those who now claim to 
be influential leading democrats, were in the ranks of our bitterest 
opponents. We can not forget the voice of the man who elo- 
quently pleaded the cause of South American independence. We 
can not forget the man who assisted to negotiate an honorable peace 
at Ghent ; nor, at a more recent period, when, by an honorable 
compromise, he arrested the uplifted sabre on our own soil, as he 
did on the celebrated Missouri question." 

Mr. Clay embarked on the 18th, for Boston, in the steamer 
President, decorated with flags, and was honored on his departure 
with the attendance of a numerous concourse of citizens, whose 
cheers, as the boat left the wharf, expressed the good feeling that 
followed him. About 11 o'clock in the evening, the President 
met the steamer Franklin, from Providence, on the bosom of Long 
Island sound, where a brilliant display of fireworks was made 
from both vessels, as they passed each other, gorgeously illumina- 
ting the scene, and creating a rare spectacle for the entertainment 
of both parties, but especially the numerous company on board the 
President, for whose guest the compliment was intended. 

After a short stop at Newport in the morning, the citizens as- 
sembled to honor the distinguished visiter, were reluctantly forced 
to acquiesce in his departure for Providence; but a committee 
from Newport joined the company. A committee from Providence 
was also on board, who had been appointed at a public meeting on 
the 12th of October, from the doings of which the following is ac 
extract : — 

MR. clay's eastern TOUR OF 1333. 341 

"This meeting having been informed, that the Hon. Heivrt 
Clay, of Kentucky, will visit \ew England in the course of a 
few days, and desiring that so eminent a statesman, orator, and 
patriot, may receive ip this state appropriate testimonials of respect 
and gratitude for his public services — 

^^ Resolved unanimously, That a committee be appointed to in- 
vite Mr. Clay to visit this state and city, and to receive him here 
on his arrival — to invite him to a public dinner, and to offer him 
such other tokens of public regard, as they may deem expedient. 
"Joseph L. Tillinghast, Chairman^ 

This committee, consisting of twenty citizens, acting in obe- 
dience to their instructions, addressed a letter to Mr. Clay, and 
received an answer on his arrival, of which the following is an 
extract: — 

" Nor can I suppress the gratification which I have derived, from 
a survey, in this prosperous place, of the rich and abundant proofs 
of that true policy of our government, which inculcates reliance 
upon our own ample resources and undoubted skill, rather than 
dependence upon foreign supplies. If I had ever doubted the 
wisdom of that policy, heretofore, the many proofs which I have 
seen of its effects, during my present journey, would have ban- 
ished my doubts." 

Mr. Clay was compelled, by the rule he had adopted, to decline 
the dinner. His reception in Providence was enthusiastic. He 
visited the university, the various manufacturing establishments, 
and after resting on Sunday, and attending divine worship at the 
first Baptist church, he proceeded on Monday, escorted by the 
committee from Providence, to the great manufacturing village of 
Pawtucket, where he met the committee of reception from Boston. 
Having surveyed the manufacturing establishments, Mr. Clay left 
for Boston, and arrived there the same day, in company with the 
committee, having been met at Roxbury by a numerous cavalcade 
of young men, who escorted him to the Tremont house, receiving 
a federal salute as he passed the common. Notwithstanding the 
inclemency of the weather, the streets were thronged, and he was 
cheered through the whole line of march, after his reception by a 
committee of forty as he entered Boston. At the Tremont, he 
was addressed by Mr. Winthrop, in behalf of the young men of 
Boston, to which Mr. Clay briefly responded: — 

" That he begged the young men of Boston to believe, that he 
was not ungrateful for this mark of their respect and friendship ; 
that he had hoped to pass along as a private citizen ; that, since he 

342 MR. clay's eastern tour of 1833. 

cro.?sed the mountains, he had been deprived of his liberty, taken 
captive — was in custody — but found his bondage so pleasant, that 
he had as little desire, as ability, to gain his freedom. Mr. Clay 
said, he was happy to agree with his fellow-citizens of Boston on 
almost all public questions ; but politics apart, there were associa- 
tions, historical, revolutionary, and local, connected with that soil 
of the pilgrims, that awakened a strong and thrilling interest in his 

Mr. Clay bowed, and retired ; but instead of finding repose, 
through the folding-doors that opened to receive him, he was ush- 
ered into the presence of the senior citizens of Boston, and was 
again eloquently addressed by Mr. William Sullivan, in be- 
half of his compeers ; and was again tasked with a brief recognition 
of the honors bestowed. 

It is unnecessary to say, that the characteristic hospitality of the 
city of Boston did not evince a falling off in the entertainments 
proffered to their distinguished guest. The day after Mr. Clay's 
arrival, he visited ex-president Adams at Quincy, and on his return 
in the afternoon, he was waited upon by the mayor and aldermen 
of the city in a body. Committees from Portsmouth, N. H., and 
from Portland, Maine, were deputed to invite Mr. Clay to visit 
those places — which, however, he was compelled respectfully to 
decline. Numerous other towns in that quarter of New England 
sent deputations on similar errands. The following correspon- 
dence is a part of the history of this occasion : — 

" Boston, October 18, 1833. 

"Sir: At a public meeting of citizens of Boston, assembled 
to consider in what manner they should express the high grat- 
ification which they feel in learning your intention to visit this city, 
and to make known the sentiments entertained of your public life 
and individual character, a committee of forty persons was selected 
to communicate these sentiments. 

"This committee has now the honor to assure you, in behalf 
of their numerous constitutents, that they rejoice in the opportu- 
nity of testifying the respect and esteem in which you are held by 
them, for your eloquent exertions in both halls of Congress, for 
the wisdom by which you were guided in a dignified and most 
important diplomatic mission, and for your labors in the depart- 
ment of state. They are pleased to see among them an eminent 
citizen from the western region of our extensive republic, con- 
nected with the citizens of the east, by commercial, social, and 
kindred relations, as well as by the national bond, which you have 
ever held to be indissoluble and sacred. 

MR. clay's eastern TOUR OF 1833. 343 

" Our constituents have directed us, as one mode of expressing 
their sentiments, to ask of you the honor and favor of your pres- 
ence at a pubHc dinner in Faneuil hall, where the eloquent, the wise, 
and the patriotic, have been often heard, on such day as may best 
suit your own convenience. We are aware that similar invitations 
have been offered and declined in other cities. But we venture to 
assume, that the reasons for declining may be referred to the haste 
in which you passed through those cities, and that your sojourn 
here will be sufficiently prolonged to permit the gratification most 
earnestly desired, of meeting you at the festive board. 

" We have the honor to be, sir, for our constituents and our- 
selves, most respectfully your friends and fellow-citizens, 

"Thomas H. Perkins, 
And thirty-nine other citizens of Boston. 

"Hon. Henry Clay." 


"Boston, October 22, 1S33. 

"Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, 
at Providence, of your note of the ISth instant, addressed to me 
at the instance of a public meeting of the citizens of Boston, wel- 
coming my arrival here, and tendering me the compliment of a 
public dinner at Faneuil hall. If anything could induce me to 
depart from a rule adopted at the commencement of my journey, 
and which I verbally communicated to your chairman, it would be 
the distinguished manner in which that compliment is offered, the 
place at which it is proposed, and the eloquent and patriotic asso- 
ciations, ancient and modern, in the midst of which I should there 
find myself placed. But I have thought it best to adhere to a 
rule, the convenience of which I have tested by experience ; espe- 
cially as I have been unable to discover any reasons for an excep- 
tion, the force of which is felt by myself, or would be admitted 
by others. 

"I would limit myself, therefore, gentlemen, to an expression 
of my respectful and grateful acknowledgments for the honor de- 
signed me, for the approbation of my public services, which has 
been so flatteringly conveyed, and for the cordial greetings and 
salutations with which I have been favored. 

"The necessity which obliges me to decline the honor of the 
proposed festive meeting, is regretted less because as my sojourn 
here will be extended to a week or two, I shall, I trust, have many 
and various opportunities of mixing with my fellow-citizens of 
Boston in an unreserved and social manner, which best comports 
with my feelings and disposition. 

"I pray you, gentlemen, to accept my thanks for the very obli- 
ging mode which you were pleased to adopt for the delivery of 
your communication ; and also assurances of my best wishes for 

344 MR. clay's eastern tour of 1833. 

the continued prosperity of your renowned city, and for your indi- 
vidual welfare. 

"I am, with high respect, faithfully your friend and fellow- 
citizen, "H. Clay. 

" Thomas H. Perkins, and others." 

On the 23d of October, in compliance with an engagement with 
a deputation of the citizens of Charlestown, Mr. Clay visited that 
town and Bunker Hill. On this hallowed eminence, a platform 
having been erected for the occasion, Mr. Clay was addressed by 
the Hon. Edward Everett, chairman of the committee, as follows : — 

"Sir: I take great pleasure, on behalf of my colleagues of 
the committee, and of our fellow-citizens present, in bidding you 
welcome to this celebrated spot — the scene of the first general ac- 
tion of the revolutionary war. Feeling that the career of civil ser- 
vice is as arduous, as important, and as meritorious, as that of the 
warrior and the hero, we take a pride, sir — on this theatre of mil- 
itary renown — in paying our humble respects to one, whose life 
has been devoted to the untiring and successful discharge — and 
often in difficult times — of the duties of the legislator and the 

" We feel a peculiar satisfaction in a visit to this part of the 
country, of a distinguished citizen of the west. When the battle 
was fought, which has immortalized the heights of Charlestown, 
the great and prosperous state, sir, of which you are a citizen, was 
the unshared domain of the savage. None but a few daring hunt- 
ers had burst the gates of the Allegany mountains, and a party of 
them gave to their encampment in the woods — now the place of 
your residence, the city of Lexington — the name of the beautiful 
village in this neighborhood, where the first blood of the revolution- 
ary war had, a few weeks before, been shed. Fifty years only 
have elapsed since the close of that war ; and we behold the 
mighty west — then untenanted, unexplored — teeming with a greater 
population than that with which the thirteen colonies plunged into 
the contest. 

'• That vast and flourishing region justly boasts of you, sir, as 
one of the most distinguished of her sons ; but we also claim a 
share in your reputation, as one of the treasures of our common 
country. And as your talents and efforts have been employed to 
augment the blessings of our independence, we feel that we do no 
more than justice in thus bidding you a public and cordial wel- 
come to the spot, where our fathers laid down their lives for its 

The following is an imperfect sketch of Mr. Clay's reply: — 

" I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and you, gentlemen of the com- 
mittee, and fellow-citizens, for this cord 'al and flattering welcome. 

MR. clay's eastern TOUR OF 1833. 34-6 

[ can not express to you the feelings of satisfaction with which I 
receive these assurances of your friendly feeling, on a spot so 
justly celebrated. I ascribe it to your partiality, rather than to 
any merit of my own, that you have been pleased to connect my 
name in so honorable an association, with the gallant and patriotic 
men, who, upon this distinguished spot, sealed their devotion to 
their country with their blood. 

" They laid down their lives for the independence of their 
country, and when that great object was attained, they deemed it 
equally important, and still more incumbent upon them, to secure 
that independence on the basis of knowledge and virtue. They 
were as anxious to build up those institutions, which were neces- 
sary to make our liberty the source of blessings to the people, as 
they were to triumph in the field of battle. 

" You have been pleased, sir, to allude with kindness to my ef- 
forts in the public service. If I may flatter myself, that I have in 
any degree cooperated in the great work which our fathers had at 
heart, as the final object of their toils ; if I have done anything 
worthy the acceptance of my fellow-citizens, in laboring to aug- 
ment the blessings of our independence, I shall feel myself more 
than compensated for the discouragements, which, according to the 
common estimate of things, have attended my public career. 

•' Permit me again, sir, to thank you for this kind reception, and 
to renew to my fellow-citizens the assurance of the gratitude which 
warms my heart at these proofs of their hospitality and good will." 

After this ceremony on Bunker Hill, Mr. Clay, under the guid- 
ance of Commodore Elliott, visited the navy-yard, and was there 
presented with an imitation volume, by the hand of the daughter 
of the commodore, wrought from the timber of the frigate Con- 
stitution, and labelled " Old Iron Sides." 

An interesting incident occurred on the 24th — next day — at 
Mount Auburn, where three revolutionary soldiers, brothers, of a 
family of seven then living, two of the three being twins, were in- 
troduced to Mr. Clay, each of whom served through the war, and 
the twins were in the engagement at Concord. These old sol- 
diers, the twins 86, and the other 76, were yet fat and stout, each 
of them weighing over 200 pounds. 

Notwithstanding Mr. Clay had dechned the dinner at Faneuil 
hall, advantage was taken of the occasion of his visit there, to 
make it somewhat formal, and to let it generally be known. He 
was conducted from an adjoining room, by the honorable T. H. 
Perkins, to the platform at the west end of the hall, when Mr. 
Sullivan embraced the opportunity to address him as follows : — 

Mr. Sulhvan said, " he had been requested by his fellow-citizena 

346 MR. clay's eastern tour of 1833. 

to welcome Mr. Clay, on their behalf, to Faxeuil hall, which 
they were accustomed to speak of as the Cradle of Liberty." 
He said, that "here, in occasional meetings, in the performance 
of the duties of citizenship, were commemorated the sterling pa- 
triotism and undaunted eloquence, which roused our country to 
gain the freedom now enjoyed. It was here," said Mr. iSullivan, 
"that the first act was done, which decided what the charac- 
ter of the contest must be, betweer. the colonies and the mother- 
country. In December, 1773, it was resolved here, that no du- 
ties should be paid on teas imported from England, and that no 
teas should be landed on our shores. 

" Among other names often mentioned as of those times," he 
said, " were those of Quincy, Otis. Hancock, and Adams, hon- 
orably associated with the revolution ; and that, in short, almost 
every important measure of those days, was in some way associa- 
ted with Faneuil hall. 

" That, since the adoption of the national constitution, many 
interesting and eloquent discussions had occurred in this place ; 
and that the names of Quincy and Otis, but in another generation, 
again appear, and that the eloquence of these, as well as of Dex- 
ter and Ames, had often been heard here by applauding multi- 
tudes ; that, at a more modern date, other men had been heard in 
this hall, the voices of some of whom had been heard by himself 
[Mr. Clay] in other halls ; and that no one could better judge than 
himself, of the justice of the respect in which they were held, for 
the manly truths which they had expressed. 

" That this hall was also a place of assembly on some festive 
occasions, and that it had been earnestly desired to have met him 
[Mr. Clay] here, at a festival to be given in honor of his visit : 
that, if this had been so, be would have seen all classes mingling 
here, on the true principles of republican equality, orderly and 
decorous, and deeply impressed with a proper sense of the uses to 
which freedom may be applied in social enjoyment. 

" That, although they were not to have the honor and pleasure 
of so meeting him, they were bound to respect his reasons for de- 
clining, and would not trespass on the ground which he had re- 
served to himself. 

" It was, however, a gratification to the citizens of Boston to 
see him in this hall, as all of them knew his public life and char- 
acter, and the part which he had taken in establishing the national 
welfare and independence ; and especially as they could readily 
associate him with the grateful recollections, which fill the heart 
of every Bostonian when he comes within these walls." 

Mr. Clay, thus taken by surprise, made a few remarks, as fol- 
lows : — 

" That, on leaving home to perform the journey which termin 

MR. clay's eastern TOUR OF 1833. Si"?" 

ates here, it had been his wish to pass on quietly, without attract- 
ino- any notice on his own account, or coming into contact with 
large portions of his fellow-citizens. It was especially his desire 
to avoid all public entertainments, with which it might be proposed 
to honor him. But no self-imposed restraints, no considerations 
of expediency, could induce him to remain silent, after the address 
which he had just heard, or to withhold the expression of his 
heartfelt gratitude, for the warm greeting, the cordial welcome, 
and the enthusiastic demonstrations, with which he had been re- 
ceived ; and especially this day, in this venerable hall. Among 
his earliest recollections — recollections which served deeply to im- 
press upon his mind an attachment to civil liberty — were revolu- 
tionary events and incidents, of which this hall, this city, and this 
state, were the patriotic theatre. And if, as history assures us, in 
the progress of human affairs, human liberty shall be once more 
exposed to danger in this favored land, he trusted that this hall 
will again resound with inspired eloquence, and that a spirit will 
here go forth to sustain its interests, and vindicate its rights." 

Mr. Clay said, that " he had everywhere, since he passed the 
mountains, received testimonies of respect and attachment, far 
transcending the value of any public services he had ever per- 
formed. They were gratifying rewards of the past, and powerful 
incentives to fresh exertions in future, if it should ever become his 
duty to make them, in behalf of our common country. At all 
events, he should carry to the retirement, which he most anxiously 
desired, a cherished recollection of them. 

Mr. Clay said, " he should have been pleased to have found 
himself able to accept the public hospitality, so cordially offered 
him by the citizens of Boston, and to have met them in another 
manner in this hall. But, having declined all similar invitations 
in other cities, he could not make an exception, without an invidi- 
ous discrimination. It was some compensation for this privation, 
that, as his sojourn here would be longer than in any other places, 
he hoped to find opportunities of meeting all who might be dis- 
posed to honor him with a friendly intercourse. And he embraced 
the occasion to tender to them collectively, as he hoped he might 
do individually, his respectful salutations, and his best and earnest 

Some five to six thousand persons, it was supposed, were indi- 
vidually presented to Mr. Clay, on this occasion. On the 25th 
of October, he visited Lowell, passed through