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MR. WEBSTER'S SPEECH
I N A N S W E R TO Ma. CALHOUN,

MARCH 82, 183S.

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SPEECH.
On Thursday, the 22d of March, Mr. CALHOUN spoke at length in
answer to Mr. WEBSTER'S speech of March 12.
When he had concluded, Mr. WEBSTER immediately rose, and
addressed the Senate as follows:
Mr. PRESIDENT :

I came rather late to the Senate this morning,
and happening to meet a friend on the avenue, I was admonished by
him to hasten my steps, as " the war was to be carried into Africa,"
and I was expected to be annihilated. I lost no time in following
the advice, sir, since it would be awkward for one to be annihilated
without knowing any thing about it.
Well, sir, the war has been brought into Africa. The honorable
member has made an expedition into regions as remote from the
subject of this debate as the orb of Jupiterfromthat of our earth.
He has spoken of the tariff, of slavery, and of the late war. Of all
this I do not complain. On the contrary, if it be his pleasure to allude to all, or any of these topics, for any purpose whatever, I am
Teady at all times to hear him.
Sir, this carrying the war into Africa, which has become so common a phrase among us, is, indeed, imitating a great example; but it
is an example which is not always followed by success. In the first
place, sir, every man, though he be a man of talent and genius, is
not a Scipio; and in the next place, as I recollect this part of Roman
and Carthaginian history—the gentleman may be more accurate—
but as I recollect it, when Scipio resolved upon carrying the war into
Africa, Hannibal was not at home. Now, sir, I am very little like
Hannibal, but I am at home ; and when Scipio Africanus South Carolinaensis brings the war into my territories, I shall not leave their
defence to Asdrubal, nor Syphax, nor any body else. I meet him on
the shore, on his landing, and propose but one contest.
" Concurritar;
" Aut cita ipora, aut victoria beta."

Mr. President, I had made up my mind that if the honorable gentleman should confine himself to a reply, in the ordinary way, I
would not say another syllable. But he has not done so. He has
gone off into subjects quite remotefromall connexion with revenue,

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commerce, finance, or sub-treasuries, and invites to a discussion
which, however uninteresting to the public at the present moment, is
too personal to be declined by me.
He says, sir, that I had undertaken to compare my political character and conduct with his. Far from it. I attempted no such thing. I
compared the gentleman's political opinions at different times, with
one another, and expressed decided opposition to those which he now
holds. And I did, certainly, advert to the general tone and drift of the
gentleman's sentiments and expressions, for some years past, in their
bearing on the Union, with such remarks as I thought they deserved;
but I instituted no comparison between him and myself. He may institute one, if he pleases, and when he pleases. Seeking nothing of
this kind, I avoid nothing. Let it be remembered, that the gentleman
began the debate, by attempting to exhibit a contrast between the
present opinions and conduct of my friends and myself, and our recent opinions and conduct. Here is the first charge of inconsistency;
let the public judge, whether he has made it good. He says, sir, that
on several questions I have taken different sides, at different times :
let him show it. If he shows any change of opinion, I shall be
called on to give a reason, and to account for it. I leave it to the
country to say whether, as yet, he has shown any such thing.
But, sir, before attempting that, he has something else to say. He
had prepared, it seems, to draw comparisons himself. He had intended to say something, if time had allowed, upon our respective opinions
and conduct in regard to the war. If time had allowed! Sir,time does
allow—time must allow. A general remark of that kind ought not to
be, cannot be, left to produce its effect, when that effect is obviously
intended to be unfavorable. Why did the gentleman allude to my
votes, or my opinions, respecting the war, at all, unless he had something to say ? Does he wish to leave an undefined impression that
something was done, or something said, by me, not now capable of
defence or justification ? something not reconcileable with true patriotism ? He means that, or nothing. And now, sir, let him bring the
matter forth: let him take the responsibility of the accusation:
let him state his facts. I am here to answer : I am here, this day,
to answer. Now is the time, and now the hour. I think we read,
sir, that one of the good spirits would not bring against the arch
enemy of mankind a railing accusation; and what is railing, but
general reproach—an imputation, without fact, time, or circumstance ?
Sir, I call for particulars. The gentleman knows my whole conduct
well: indeed, the journals show it all, from the moment I came into
Congress till the peace. If I have done, then, sir, any thing unpatriotic—any thing which, as far as love to country goes, will not bear
comparison with his, or any man's conduct—let it now be stated.
Give me the fact, the time, the manner. He speaks of the war; that
which we call the late war, though it is now twenry*fire years since
it terminated. He would leave an impression that I opposed it.
How ? I was not in Congress when war was declared, nor in pnbhc
life, anywhere^ I was pursuing my profession, and 'keeping 00&-

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pany with judges, sheriffs, and jurors, and plaintiffs and defendants.
If I had been in Congress, and had enjoyed the benefit of hearing
the honorable gentleman's speeches, for all I can say, I might have
concurred with him. But I was not in public life. I never had
been, for a single hour; and was in no situation, therefore, to oppose
or to support the declaration of war. I am speaking to the fact, sir;
and if the gentleman has any fact, let us know it.
Well, sir, I came into Congress during the war. I found it waged,
and raging. And what did I do here to oppose it? Look to the
journals. Let the honorable gentleman tax his memory. Bring up
any thing, if there be any thing to bring up—not showing erroT of
opinion, but showing want of loyalty or fidelity to the country. I
did not agree to all that was proposed, nor did the honorable member. I did not approve of every measure, nor did he.
The war had been preceded by the restrictive system, and the embargo. As a private individual, I certainly did not think well of these
measures. It appeared to me the embargo annoyed us as much as
our enemies, while it destroyed the business and cramped the spirits
of the people.
In this opinion I may have been right or wrong, but the gentleman
was himself of the same opinion. He told us, the other day, as a
proof of his independence of party, on great questions, that'he differed
with his friends on the subject of the embargo. He was decidedly
and unalterably opposed to it. It furnishes, in his judgment, therefore, no imputation either on my patriotism, or the soundness of my
political opinions, that I was opposed to it also. I mean opposed in
opinion : for I was not in Congress, and had nothing to do with the
act creating the embargo. And as to opposition to measures for carrying on the war, after I came into Congress, I again say, let the
gentleman specify—let him lay his finger on any thing, calling for an
answer, and he shall have an answer.
Mr. President, you were yourself in the House during a considerable
part of this time. The honorable gentleman may make a witness of you.
He may make a witness of any body else. He may be his own witness.
Give us but some fact, some charge, something capable in itself either
of being proved or disproved. Prove any thing, state any thing, not
consistent with honorable and patriotic conduct, and I am ready
to answer it. Sir, I am glad this subject has been alluded to, in
a manner which justifies me in taking public notice of it; because I
am well aware that, for ten years past, infinite pains have been taken
to find something, in the range of these topics, which might create
prejudice against me in the country. The journals have all been
poured over, and the reports ransacked, and scraps of paragraphs,
and half sentences have been collected, put together in the falsest
manner, and then made to flare out, as if there had been some discovery. But all this failed. The next resort was to supposed correspondence. My letters were sought for, to learn if in the confidence
of private friendship I had never said, any thing which an onemy
could make use of. With this view, the vicinity of my former resi-

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dence has been searched, as with a lighted candle. New Hampshirehas been explored, from the mouth of the Merrimack to the White
Hills. In one instance, a gentleman had left the State, gone five
hundred miles off, and died. His papers were examined—a letter
was found, and I have understood it was brought to Washington—
a conclave was held to consider it, and the result was, that if there
was nothing else against Mr. Webster, the matter had better be let
alone. Sir, I hope to make every body of that opinion who brings
against me a charge of want of patriotism. Errors of opinion can
be found, doubtless, on many subjects; but as conduct flows from the
feelings which animate the heart, I know that no act of my life has
had its origin in the want of ardent love of country.
Sir, when I came to Congress, I found the honorable gentleman a
leading member of the House of Representatives. Well, sir, in what
did we differ ? One of the first measures of magnitude, after I came
here, was Mr. Dallas's proposition for a bank. It was a war measure. It was urged as being absolutely necessary to enable Government to carry on the war. Government wanted revenue—such
a bank it was hoped would furnish it; and on that account it was
most warmly pressed and urged on Congress. You remember all
this, Mr. President. You remember how much some persons supposed the success of the war and the salvation of the country depended on carrying that measure. Yet, the honorable member from
South Carolina opposed this bill. He now takes to himself a good
deal of merit—none too much, but still a good deal of merit, for having defeated it. Well, sir, I agreed with him. It was a mere paper
bank—a mere machine for fabricating irredeemable paper. It was
a new form for paper money; and instead of benefiting the country,
I thought it would plunge it deeper and deeper in difficulty. I made
a speech on the subject: It has often been quoted. There it is; let
whoever pleases, read and examine it. I am not proud of it, for any
ability it exhibits; on the other hand, I am not ashamed of it, for
the spirit which it manifests. But, sir, I say again, that the gentleman himself took the lead, against this measure—this darling measure of the Administration. I followed him; if I was seduced into
error, or into unjustifiable opposition, there sits my seducer.
What, sir, were other leading sentiments, or leading measures of
that day ? On what other subjects did men differ ? The gentleman
has adverted to one, and that a most important one: I mean the
navy. He says, and says truly, that at the commencement of the
war, the navy was unpopular. It was unpopular with his friends,.
who then controlled the politics of the country. But he says he differed with his friends; in this respect,he resisted party influence,and
party connexion, and was the friend and advocate of the navy. Sir, I
commend him for it. He showed his wisdom. That gallant little
navy soon fought itself into favor, and showed that no man, who had
placed reliance on it, had been disappointed.
Well, sir, in all this, I was exactly of the same opinion as the honorable gentleman.

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Sir, I do not know when my opinion of the importance of a naval
force to the United States had its origin. * I can give no date to myv
sentiments on this subject, because I never entertained different sentiments. I remember, sir, that immediately after coming into my
profession, at a period when the navy was most unpopular, when it
was called by all sorts of hard names, and designated by many coarse
epithets, on one of those occasions, on which young men address their
neighbors, I ventured to put forth a boy's hand in defence of the navy*
I insisted on its importance, its adaptation to our circumstances, and
to our national character; and its indispensable necessity, if we intended to maintain and extend our, commerce. These opinions and
sentiments I brought into Congress; and, so far as I remember, it was
the first, or among the first times, in which I presumed to speak on
the topics of the day, that I attempted to urge on the House a greater
attention to the naval service. There were divers modes of prosecuting the war. On these modes, or on the degree of attention and
expense which should be bestowed on each, different men held different opinions. I confess I looked with most hope to the results of
naval warfare, and therefore I invoked Government to invigorate
and strengthen that arm of the national defence. I invoked it to seek
its enemy upon the seas—to go where every auspicious indicationpointed, and where the whole heart and soul of the country would
go with it.
Sir, we were at war with the greatest maritime Power on earths
England had gained an ascendency on the seas over the whole combined Powers of Europe. She had been at war twenty years. Shehad tried her fortunes on the continent, but generally with no success. At one time the whole continent had closed against her. A
long line of armed exterior, an unbroken hostile array, frowned
upon her from the gulf of Archangel, round the promontory of Spain
and Portugal, to the foot of the boot of Italy. There was not a
port, which an English ship could enter. Every where on the land
the genius of her great enemy had triumphed. He had defeated
armies, crushed coalitions, and overturned thrones; but, like the
fabled giants, he was unconquerable only while he touched the land.
On the ocean, he was powerless. That field of fame was his adversary's, and her meteor flag was streaming in triumph all over i t
To her maritime ascendency, England owed every thing, and we
were now at war with her. One of the most charming of her poets
had said of her, that
" Her march is o'er the mountain wave,
" Her home is on the deep."

Now, sir, since we were at war with her, I was for intercepting
this march; I was for calling upon her, and paying our respects
to her at home; I was for giving her to know that we, too, had
a right of way over the seas, and that our marine officers and
our sailors were not entire strangers on the bosom of the deep ; I

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was for doing something fnote with our nary, than to keefc it on
<m shores, for the protection of our own coasts and own harbors; I
wtts for giving play to its gallant and burning spirit; for allowing it
t& %& forth upon the seas, and to encounter, on an open and anequal field, whatever the proudest or the bravest of the enemy conld
bring against it. I knew the character of its officers, and the spirit of
its seamen; and 1 knew that, in their hands, though the flag of the^
country might go down to the bottom, while they w«nt with it, yet
that it could never be dishonored or disgraced.
Since she was our enemy—and a most powerful enemy—I was for
touching her, if we could, in the very apple of her eye ; for reaching
the highest feather in her cap; for clutching at the very brightest jewel
in her crown. There seemed to me to be a peculiar propriety in all
this, as the war was undertaken for the redress of maritime injuries alone. It was a war declared for free trade and sailors' rights.
The ocean, therefore, was the proper theatre for deciding this controversy with our enemy, and on that theatre my ardent wish was, that
our own power should be concentrated to the utmost.
So much, sir, for the war, and for my conduct and opinions as connected with it. And, as I do not mean to recur to this subject often,
nor ever, unless indispensably necessary, I repeat the demand for any
charge, any accusation, any allegation whatever, that throws me behind the honorable gentleman, or behind any other man, in honor, in
fidelity, in devoted love to that country in which I was bom, which
has honored me, and which I serve. I, who seldom deal in defiance,
now, here, in my place, boldly defy the honorable member to put his
insinuation in the form of a charge, and to support that charge by
aiiy proof whatever.
The gentleman has adverted to the subject of slavery. On this
subject, he says J have not proved myself a friend to the South.
Why, sir, the only proof is, that I did not vote for his resolutions.
Sir, this is a very grave matter, it is a subject, very exciting and
inflammable. I take, of course, all the responsibility belonging to my
opinions; but I desire these opinions to be understood, and fairly
stated. If I am to be regarded as an enemy to the South, because I
could not support the gentleman's resolutions, be it so. I cannot
purchase favor, from any quarter, by the sacrifice of clear and conscientious convictions. The principal resolution declared that Congtess had plighted its faith, not to interfere, either with slavery or the.
slave trade, in the District of Columbia.
Now, sir, this is quite a new idea. I never heard it advanced
until this session. I have heard gentlemen contend, that no such
power was in the constitution; but the notion, that though the constitution contained no prohibition, yet that Congress had plighted its faith, not to exercise such a power, is an entire novelty, so far
as I know. I must say, sir, it appeared to me little else than an
attempt to put a prohibition into the constitution, because there was
none there already. For this supposed plighting of the public faiths
or the faith of Congress, I saw no ground, either in the history of the

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Government, or in any one fact, or in ariy argument. I therefore
could not vote for the proposition.
Sir, it is now several years, since I took care to make my opinion
known, that this Government has, constitutionally, nothing to do
with slavery, as it exists in the States. That opinion is entirely
unchanged. I stand steadily by the resolution of the House of Representatives, adopted, after much consideration, at the commencement
of the Government—which was, that Congress have no authority to
interfere in the emancipation of slaves, or in the treatment of them,
within any of the States ; it remaining with the several States alone
to provide any regulations therein, which humanity and true policy
may require. This, in my opinion, is the constitution, and the law.
I feel bound by it. I have quoted the resolution often. It expresses
the judgment of men of all parts of the country, deliberately formed,
in a cool time; and it expresses my judgment, and I shall adhere to
it. But this has nothing to do with the other constitutional question;
that is to say, the mere constitutional question, whether Congress has
the power to regulate slavery and the slave trade, in the District of
Columbia.
On such a question, sir, when I am asked what the constitution is, or whether any power granted by it, has been compromised
away ; or, indeed, could be compromised away—I must express my
honest opinion, and always shall express it, if I say any thing, notWithstanding it may not meet concurrence either in the South, or the
North, or the East, or the West. I cannot express, by my vote, what
I do not believe.
He has chosen to bring that subject into this debate, with which
it has no concern, but he may make the most of it, if he thinks he
can produce unfavorable impressions on the South, from my negative
to his fifth resolution. As to the rest of them, they were commonplaces, generally, «r abstractions; in regard to which, one may well
not feel himself called on to vote at all.
And now, sir, in regard to the tariff. That is a long chapter, but
I am quite ready to go over it with the honorable member.
He charges me with inconsistency. That may depend on deciding
what inconsistency is, in respect to Such subjects, and how it is to be
piroved. I will state the facts, for I have them in my mind somewhat
more fully than the honorable member has himself presented them.
Let us begin at the beginning. In 1816,1 voted against the tariff
law, which then passed. In 1824,1 again voted against the tariff
few, which was then proposed,and which passed. A majority of New
England votes, in 1824, was against the tariff system. The bill received but one vote from Massachusetts; but it passed. The policy
was established; New England acquiesced in it, conformed her
business and pursuits to it; embarked her capital, and employed her
labor, in manufactures; and I certainly admit that, from that time, I
have felt bound to support interests thus called into being, and into
importance, by the settled policy of the Government. I have stated

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this often here, and often elsewhere. The ground is defensible, and
I maintain it.
As to the resolutions adopted in Boston, in 1820, and which resolutions he has caused to be read, and which he says he presumes I
prepared, I have no recollection of having drawn the resolutions,
and do not believe I did. But I was at the meeting, and addressed
the meeting, and what I said on that occasion has been produced
here, and read in the Senate years ago.
The resolutions,sir, were opposed to the commencing of a high tariff
policy. I was opposed to it, and spoke against it—the city of Boston was opposed to it—the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was
opposed to it. Remember, sir, that this was in 1820. This opposition continued till 1824. The votes all show this. But in 1824,
the question was decided; the Government entered upon the policy ;
it invited men to embark their property and their means of living in
it. Individuals have done this to a great extent; and, therefore, 1
say, so long as the manufactures shall need reasonable and just protection from Government, I shall be disposed to give it to them.
What is there, sir, in all this, for the gentleman to complain of ?
Would he have us always oppose the policy, adopted by the country, on a great question ? Would he have minorities never submit
to the will of majorities?
I remember to have said, sir, at the meeting in Faneuil hall, that
protection appeared to be regarded as incidental to revenue, and that
the incident could not be carried fairly above the principal: in other
words, that duties ought not to be laid for the mere object of protection. I believe that was substantially correct. I believe that if the
power of protection be inferred only from the revenue power, the
protection could only be incidental.
But, I have said in this place before, and I repeat now, that Mr.
Madison's publication, after that period, and his declaration that the
convention did intend to grant the power of protection, under the commercial clause, placed the subject in a new and a clear light. I will
add, sir, that a paper drawn up by Dr. Franklin, and read by him to
a circle of friends in Philadelphia, on the eve of the assembling of
the convention, respecting the powers which the proposed new Government ought to possess, shows, perfectly plainly, that, in regulating
commerce, it was expected Congress would adopt a course, which
should, to some degree, protect the manufactures of the North. He
certainly went into the convention himself under that conviction.
Well, sir, and now what does the gentleman make out against me
in relation to the tariff ? What laurels does he gather in this part of
Africa ? I opposed the policy of the tariff, until it had become the
settled and established policy of the country. I have never questioned the constitutional power of Congress to grant protection, except so far as the remark goes, made in Faneuil hall, which remark
respects only the length to which protection might properly be carried, so far as the power is derived from the authority to lay duties
on imports. But the policy being established, and a great part of

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the country having placed vast interests at stake in it, I have not
disturbed it; but, on the contrary, I have insisted that it ought not
to be disturbed. If there be inconsistency in all this the gentleman
is at liberty to blazen it forth; let him see what he can make of it
Here, sir, I cease to speak of myself; and respectfully ask pardon
of the Senate for having so long detained it, upon any thing so unimportant as what relates merely to my own public conduct and
opinions.
Sir, the honorable member is pleased to suppose .that our spleen is
excited, because he has interfered to snatch from us a victory over
the Administration. If he means by this any personal disappointment, I shall not think it worth while to make a remark upon it. If
he means a disappointment at his quitting us while we were endeavoring ta arrest the present policy of the Administration, why, then,.
I admit, sir, that I, for one, felt that disappointment deeply. It is
the policy of the Administration, its principles, and its measures,.
which I oppose. It is not persons, but things; not men, but measures. I do wish most fervently to put an end to this anti-commercial
policy; and if the overthrow of the policy shall be followed by the
political defeat of its authors, why, sir, it is a result which I shall
endeavor to meet with equanimity.
Sir, as to the honorable member's rescuing the victory from us, or
as to his ability to sustain the Administration in this policy, there
may be a drachm of a scruple about that I trust the citadel will
yet be stormed, and carried, by the force of public opinion, and that
no Hector will be able to defend its walls.
But now, sir, I must advert to a declaration of the honorable member, which, I confess did surprise me. The honorable member says,
that, personally, he and myself have been on friendly terms, but that
we always differed on great constitutional questions! Sir, this is
astounding. And yet I was partly prepared for it; for I sat here the
other day, and held my breath, while the honorable gentleman declared and repeated, that he always belonged to the State-rights
party ! And he means, by what he has declared to-day, that he has
always given to the Constitution a construction more limited, better
guarded, less favorable to the extension of the powers of this Government, than that which I have given to it. He has always interpreted it according to the strict doctrine of the school of State rights i
Sir, if the honorable member ever belonged, until very lately, to the
State-rights party, the connexion was very much like a secret marriage. And never was secret better kept. Not only were the espousals not acknowledged, but all suspicion was avoided. There was
no known familiarity, or even kindness between them. On the con*
trary, they acted like parties who were not at all fond of each other's
company.
Sir, is there a man, in my hearing, among all the gentlemen now
surrounding us, many of whom of both Houses, have been here many
years, and know the gentleman and myself, perfectly; is there one,
who ever heard, supposed, or dreamed, that .the honorable member

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belonged to the State-rights party before the year 182&? Can any
such connexion be proved upon hint—can he prove it upon himself,
before that time?
Sir, I will show you, before I resume my seat, that it was not until
after the gentleman took his seat, in the chair which you now occupy,
that any public manifestation, or intimation, was ever given by him,
of his having embraced the peculiar doctrines of the State-rights
party.
The truth is, sir, the honorable gentleman had acted a very important and useful part during the war. But the war terminated. Toward the close of the session of 1814-'15, we received the news of
peace. This closed the 13th Congress. In the fall of 1815, the 14th
Congress assembled. It was full of ability, and the honorable gentleman stood high among its distinguished members. He remained
in the House, sir, through the whole of that Congress; and now, sir,
it is easy to be shown, that during those two years, the honorable
gentleman took a decided lead, in all those great measures, which he
has since so often denounced, as unconstitutional and oppressive—the
bank, the tariff, and internal improvements. The war being terminated, the gentleman's mind turned itself toward internal administration and improvement. He surveyed the whole country, contemplated all its resources, saw what it was capable of becoming, and
held a political faith, not so narrow and contracted as to restrain him
from useful and efficient action. He was, therefore, at once, a full
length ahead of all others, in measures, which were national, and
which required a broad and liberal construction of the constitution.
This is historic truth. Of his agency in the bank, and other measures
connected with the currency, I have already spoken, and I do not understand him to deny any thing I have said, in that particular. Indeed, I have said nothing capable of denial.
Now allow me a few words upon the tariff. The tariff of 1816
was distinctly a South Carolina measure. Look at the votes, and you
will see it. It was a tariff, for the benefit of South Carolina interests,
and carried through Congress by South Carolina votes, and South
Carolina influence. Even the minimum, sir, the so-much-reproach*
ed, the abominable minimum, that subject of so much angry indignation and wrathful rhetoric, is of Southern origin, and has a South
Carolina parentage.
Sir, the contest on that occasion was, chiefly, between the cottongrowers at home, and the importers of cotton fabrics from India.
These India fabrics were made from the cotton of that country. The
people of this country were using cotton fabrics, not made of American cotton, and, so far, they were diminishing the demand for such
cotton. The importation of India cottons was then very large, and
this bill was designed to put an end to it, and, with the help of the
minimum, it did put an end to it. The cotton manufactures of the
North were then in their infancy. They had some friends in Congress, but if I recollect, the majority of Massachusetts members, and
«f New England members were against this cotton tariff of 1816. I

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remember well, that the main debate was, between the importers ef
. India cottons, in the North, and the cotton-growers of the South. The
gentleman caraiot deny the truth of this or any part of it. Boston
opposed this tariff, and Salem opposed it, warmly and vigorously.
But the honorable member supported it, and the law passed. And
now be it always remembered, sir, that that act passed on the professed ground of protection; that it had in it the minimum principle, and that the honorable member and other leading gentlemen
from his own State, supported it, voted for it, and carried it through
Congress.
And now, sir, we come to the doctrine of internal improvement—that other usurpation, that other oppression, which has come
so near to justifying violent abruption of the Government, and scattering the fragments of the Union to the four winds. Have the
?
gentleman's State-rights opinions always kept him aloof from such
unhallowed infringements of the constitution ? He says he always
differed with me on constitutional questions. How was it in this,
most important, particular ? Has he here stood on the ramparts,
brandishing his glittering sword against assailants, and holding out a
banner of defiance ? Sir—sir—sir-*-it is an indisputable truth, that he
is himself the man—the ipse that first brought forward, in Congress, a scheme of general internal improvement, at the expense, and
under the authority of this Government He, sir, is the very man,
the ipsissimus ipse, who, considerately, and on a settled system, began these unconstitutional measures, if they be unconstitutional. And
now for the proof.
The act incorporating the Bank of the United States was passed in
April, 1816. For the privileges of the charter, the proprietors of the
bank were to pay to Government a bonus, as it was called, of one
million five hundred thousand dollars, in certain instalments. Gov^ emment also took seven millions in the stock of the bank. Early in
the n^zt session of Congress—that is, in December, 1816—the honorable member moved, in the House of Representatives, that a committee be appointed to consider the propriety of setting apart this bonus,
and also the dividends on the stock belonging to the United States, as
a permanent fund for internal improvement The committee was
appointed, and the honorable member was made its chairman. He
thus originated the plan, and took the lead in its execution. Shortly
afterwards, he reported a bill carrying out the objects for which the
committee had been appointed. This bill provided that the dividends
en the seven millions of bank stock belonging to Government, and
also die whole of the bonus, should be permanently pledged, as a fund
for constructing roads and canals; and that this fund should be subject to such specific appropriations as Congress might thereafter
make.
This was the bill; and this was the firet project erer brought foriffasd, in Congress, for a system of internal improvements. The
faifl goes the whole doctrine, at a single jump. The Cumberland road,
it is true, was already in progiess; and for that the gentleman had

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also voted. But there were, and are now, peculiarities about that particular expenditure, which sometimes satisfy scrupulous consciences;
but this bill of the gentleman's, without equivocation or saving
clause—without if, or and, or but—occupied the whole ground at
once, and announced internal improvement as one of the objects of
this Government, on a grand and systematic plan. The bill, sir,
seemed, indeed, too strong. It was thought, by persons not esteemed
extremely jealous of State rights, to evince, nevertheless, too little
regard to the will of the States. Several gentlemen opposed the
measure, in that shape, on that account; and among them Colonel
Pickering, then one of the representatives from Massachusetts. Even
Timothy Pickering could not quite sanction, nor concur in, the honorable gentleman's doctrines, to their full extent, although he favored
the measure in its general character. He, therefore, prepared an
amendment, as a substitute; and his substitute provided for two very d
important things, not embraced in the original bill:
First, that the proportion of the fund to be expended in each State,
respectively, should be in proportion to the number of its inhabitants.
Second, that the money should be applied in constructing such
roads, canals, &c, in the several States, as Congress might direct,
with the assent of the State.
This, sir, was Timothy Pickering's amendment of the honorable
gentleman's bill. And now, sir, how did the honorable gentleman,
who has always belonged to the State-rights party, how did he treat
this amendment, or this substitute? Which way, do you think, his
State-rights doctrine led him ? Why, sir, I will tell you. He immediately rose, and moved to strike out the words "with the assent of
the State ! Here is the journal under my hand, sir; and here is the
gentleman's motion. And certainly, sir, it will be admitted, that
this motion was not of a nature to intimate that he had become wed- *
ded to State rights. But the words were not stricken out. The
motion did not prevail. Mr. Pickering's substitute was adopted, and
the bill passed the House in that form.
In Committee of the Whole on this bill, sir, the honorable member made a very able speech, both on the policy of internal improvements, and the power of Congress over the subject. These points
were fully argued by him. He spoke of the importance of the system ; the vast good it would produce, and its favorable effect on the
union of the States. " Let us, then," said he, " bind the republic
together, with a perfect system of roads and canals. Let us conquer
space. It is thus the most distant parts of the republic will be
brought within a few days' travel of the centre ; it is thus that a
citizen of the West will read the news of Boston still moist from the
press."
But on the power of Congress to make internal improvements ;
ay, sir, on the power of Congress, hear him ! What were then his
rules of construction and interpretation ? How did he at that time *
lead iind understand the constitution ? Why, sir, he said that" he

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r*

was no advocate for refined arguments on the constitution. The
instrument was not intended as a thesis for the logician to exercise
his ingenuity on. It ought to be construed with plain good sense.''
This is all very just, I think, sir; and he said much more. He
quoted many instances of laws, passed, as he contended, on similar
principles, and then added, that " he introduced these instances to
prove the uniform sense of Congress, and of the country, (for they
had not been objected to,) as to our powers; and surely," said he,
a
they furnish better evidence of the true interpretation of the constitution, than the most refined and subtile arguments."
Here you see, Mr. President, how little original I am. You have
heard me,' again and again, contending in my place here for the
stability of that which has been long settled; you have heard me, till I
dare say you have been tired, insisting that the sense of Congress, so
often expressed, and the sense of the country, so fully known, and so
firmly established, ought to be regarded as having decided,finally,certain constitutional questions. You see now, sir, what authority I have
for this mode of argument. But while the scholar is learning, the
teacher renounces. Will he apply his old doctrine, now—I sincerely
wish he would—to the question of the bank, to the question of the
receiving of bank notes by Government, to the power of Congress
over the paper currency ? Will he, sir, will he admit that these ought
to be regarded as decided, by the settled sense of Congress and of the
country? Oh! HO. Far otherwise. From these rules of judgment,
and from the influence of all considerations of this practical nature,
the honorable member now takes these questions with him into the
upper heights of metaphysics, into the regions of those refinements,
and subtile arguments, which he rejected, with so much decision in
1817, as appears by this speech. He quits his old ground of common sense, experience, and the general understanding of the country,
. for a flight among theories and abstractions.
And now, sir, let me ask, when did the honorable member relinquish these early opinions and principles of his ? When did he make
known his adhesion to the doctrines of the State-rights party ? We
have been speaking of transactions in 1816 and 1817. What the
gentleman's opinions then were, we have seen. But when did he
announce himself a State-rights man ? I have already said, sir, that
nobody knew of his claiming that character until after the commencement of 1825; and I have said so, because I have before me
an address of his to his neighbors at Abbeville, in May of that year,
in which he recounts, very properly, the principal incidents in his
career, as a member of Congress, and as head of a Department;
and in which he says that, as a member of Congress,, he had given
his zealous efforts in favor of a restoration of specie currency; of a
due protection of those manufactures which had taken root during
(he war, and, finally, of a system for connecting the various parts of
the country by a judicious system of internal improvement.
And he adds, that it afterwards became his duty, as a member of
the Administration, to aid in sustaining, against the boldest assaults,

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those very measures, which, as a member of Congress, he had contributed to establish.
And now, sir, since the honorable gentleman says he differed from
me on constitutional questions, will he be pleased to say what constitutional opinion I have ever expressed, for which I have not his
express authority ? Is it on the bank power ? the tariff power ? the
power of internal improvement? I have shown his votes, his
speeches, and his conduct, on all these subjects, up to the time when
General Jackson became a candidate for the Presidency. From that
time, sir, I know we have differed; but if there was any difference
before that time, I call upon him to point it out—what was the occasion, what the question, and what the difference ? And if, before
that period, sir, by any speech, any vote, any public proceeding, or
by any other mode of announcement whatever, he gave the world
to know that he belonged to the States-right party, I hope he will
now be kind enough to produce it, or to refer to it, or to tell us where
we may look for it.
Sir, I will pursue this topic no farther. I would not have pursued
it so far—I would not have entered upon it at all—had it not been
for the astonishment I felt, mingled, I confess, with something of
warmer feeling, when the honorable gentleman declared that he had
always differed from me on constitutional questions.
Sir, the honorable member read a quotation or two from a speech
of mine in 1816, on the currency or bank question. , With what intent, or to what end? What inconsistency does he show? Speaking of the legal currency of the country, that is, the coin, I then said
it was in a good state. Was not that true ? I was speaking of the
legal currency; of that which the law made a tender. And how is
that inconsistent with any thing said by me now, or ever said by me?
I declared then, he says, that the framers of this Government were
hard-money men. Certainly they were. But, are not the friends of
a convertible paper hard-money men, in every practical and sensible meaning of the term? Did I, in that speech, or any other, insist
on excluding all convertible paper from the uses of society ? Most
assuredly I did not. I never quite so far lost my wits, I think. There
is but a single sentence in that speech which I should qualify if I were
to deliver it again—and that the honorable member has not noticed. It
is a paragraph respecting the power of Congress over the circulation
of State banks, which might perhaps need explanation or correction.
Understanding it as applicable to the case then before Congress, all
the rest is perfectly accordant with my present opinions. It is well
known that I never doubted the power of Congress to create a bank;
that I was always in favor of a bank, constituted on proper principles; that I voted for the bank bill of 1815, and opposed that of
1816 only on account of one or two of its provisions, which I and
others hoped to be able to strike out. I am a hard-money man^a^l
always have been, and always shall be. But I know the great uae
of such bank paper as is convertible into hajd money, on demand;

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which may be called specie paper, and which is equivalent to specie
in value, and much more convenient and useful.
On the other hand, I abhor all irredeemable paper; all old-fashioned paper money; all deceptive promises; every thing, indeed, in
the shape of paper issued for circulation, whether by Government
or individuals, which may not be turned into specie at trfe will of
the holder.
But, sir, 1 have insisted that Government is bound to protect and
regulate the means of commerce, to see that there is a sound currency,
for the use of the people.
The honorable gentleman asks, what then is the limit? Must Congress also furnish all means of commerce ? Must it furnish weights
and scales, and steelyards ? Most undoubtedly, sir, it must regulate
weights and measures, and it does so. But the answer to the general
question is very obvious. Government must furnish all that whichnone
but Government can furnish. Government must do that for individuals
which individuals cannot do for themselves. That is the very end of
Government. Why, else, have we a Government? And can individuals make a currency ? Can individuals regulate money? The
distinction is as broad and plain as the Pennsylvania ayenue. No
man can mistake it, or well blunder out of it. The gentleman asks
if Government must furnish for the people ships, and boats, and
wagons. Certainly not. The gentleman here only recites the President's message of September. These things, and all such things, the
people can furnish for themselves; but they cannot make a currency;
they cannot, individually, decide what shall be the money of the
country. That, every body knows, is one of the prerogatives and
one of the duties of Government; and a duty which I think we are
most unwisely neglecting. We may as well leave the people to make
war and to make peace, each man for himself, as to leave to individ-"
uals the regulation of commerce and currency.
Mr. President, there are other remarks of the gentleman of which
I might take notice. But, should I do so, I could only repeat what I
have already said, either now or heretofore. 1 shall, therefore, not
now allude to them.
My principal purpose, in what I have said, has been :first,to defend myself—-that was my first object; and next, as the honorable
member has attempted to take to himself the character of a strict constructionist, and a State-rights man, and on that basis to show a difference, not favorable to me, between his constitutional opinions and
my own, heretofore, it has been my intention to show that the power
to create a bank, the power to regulate the currency by other and direct means, the power to lay a protecting tariff, and the power of
internal improvement, in its broadest sense, are all powers which the
honorable gentleman himself has supported, has acted on, and in
the exercise of which, indeed, he has taken an active and distinguished lead in the councils of Congress.
If this has been done, my purpose is answered. I do not wish to
prolong the discussion, nor to spin it out into a colloquy. If the hon2

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orable member fyas anything new to bring forward; if he has any
charge to make—any proof, or any specification; if he has any thing to
advance against my opinions or my conduct, my honor or patriotism,
I am still at home. I am here. If not, then, so far as I am concerned, this discussion will here terminate.
I.will «ay a few words, before I resume my seat, on the motion
now pending. That motion is, to strike out the specie-paying part
of the bill. I have a suspicion, sir, that the motion will prevail. If
it should, it will leave a great vacuum; and how shall that vacuum
be filled?
The part proposed to be struck out, is that which "requires all debts
to Government to be paid in specie. It makes a good provision for
Government, and for public men, through all-classes. The Secretary
of the Treasury, in his letter, at the last session, was still more watchful of the interests of the holders of office. He assured us, bad as the
times were, and notwithstanding the floods of bad paper which delu-.
ged the country, members of Congress should get specie.
In my opinion, sir, this is beginning the use of good money, in
payments, at the wrong end of the list. If there be bad money in
the country, I think that Secretaries aud other executive officers, and
especially members of Congress, should be the last to receive any good
money; because they have the power, if they will do their duty, and
exercise the power, of making the money of the country good for all.
I think, sir, it was a leading feature in Mr. Burke's famous bill for
economical reform, that he provided, first of all, for those who are
least able to secure themselves. Every body else was to be well
paid all they were entitled to, before the ministers of the Crown, and
other political characters, should have any thing. This seems to me
very right. But we have a precedent, sir, iu our own country, more
directly to the purpose; and as that which we now hope to strike
out is the part of the bill furnished, or penned, by the honorable
member from South Carolina, it will naturally devolve on him to
supply its place. I wish therefore to draw his particular attention to
this precedent, which I am now about to produce.
Most members of the Senate will remember, that, before the establishment of this Government, and before, or about the time, that the
territory which now constitutes the State of Tennessee was ceded to
Congress, the inhabitants of the eastern part of that territory established a government for themselves, and called it the State of Franklin.
They adopted a very good constitution, divided into the usual
branches of legislative, executive, and judicial power. They laid and
collected taxes, and performed other usual acts of legislation. They
had, for the present, it is true, no maritime possessions, yet they followed the common forms in constituting high officers; and their
governor was not only captain-general and commander-in-chief, but
admiral also, so that the navy might have a commander when there
should be a navy.
Well, sir, the currency in this Slate of Franklin became very much
deranged. Specie was scarce, and equally scarce were the notes of

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specie-paying banks. But the legislature did not propose any divorce
of government and people; they did not seek to establish two currencies, one for men in office, and one for the rest of the community.
They were content with neighbor's fare. It became necessary to pass
what we should call, now-a-days, the civil-list appropriation-bill.
They passed such a bill; and when we shall have made a void in
the bill now before us, by striking out specie payments, for Government, I recommend to its friends tofillthe gap, by inserting, if not the
same provisions as were in the law of the State of Franklin, at least
something in the same spirit.
The preamble of that law, sir, begins by reciting, that the collection
of taxes, in specie, had become very oppressive to the good people
of the commonwealth, for the want of a circulating medium. A
parallel case to ours, sir, exactly. It recites further, sir, that it is the
duty of the legislature to hear, at all times, the prayer of their constituents, and apply as speedy a remedy as lies in their power. The#e
sentiments are very just, sir, and I sincerely wish there was a thorough
disposition here, to adopt the like.
Acting under the influence of these sound opinions, sir, the legislature of Franklin passed a law, for the support of the civil list, which,
as it is short, I will beg permission to read:
'•' Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Franklin,
and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That, from the
first day of January, A. D. 178&, the salaries of the civil officers of
this commonwealth be as follow, to wit:
" His excellency the governor,per annum, one thousand deer skins;
his honor, the chief justice, five hundred do. do ; the attorney general, five hundred do. do.; secretary to his excellency the governor,
five hundred racoon do.; the treasurer of the State, four hundred
and fifty otter do.; each county clerk, three hundred beaver do. ;
clerk of the house of commons, two hundred racoon do.; members
of assembly, per diem,three do. do.; justice's fee for signing a warrant, one muskrat do. ; to the constable, for serving a warrant, one
mink do.
" Enacted into a law this 18th day of October, 1788, under the great
seal of the State.
" Witness his excellency, &c.
" Governor, captain-general, commander-in-chief,
u
and admiral in and over said Slate."
This, sir, is the law, the spirit of which I commend to gentlemen.
I will not speak of the appropriateness of these several allowances
for the civil list But the example is good, and I am of opinion,
that until Congress shall perform its duty, by seeing that the country
enjoys a good currency, the same medium which the people are
obliged to use, whether it be skins or rags, is good enough for its
own members.

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