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they had never entertained it before. Down to that period, the constitutionality of these laws had been no more doubted in South Carolina, than elsewhere. And I suspect it is true, sir, and I deem it a great misfortune, that, to the present moment, a great portion of the people of the state have never yet seen more than one side of the argument. I believe that thousands of honest men are involved in scenes now passing, led away by one-sided views of the question, and following their leaders by the impulses of an unlimited confidence. Depend upon it, sir, if we can avoid the shock of arms, a day for reconsideration and reflection will come; truth and reason will act with their accustomed force; and the public opinion of South Carolina will be restored to its usual constitutional and patriotic tone.
But, sir, I hold South Carolina to her ancient, her cool, her uninfluenced, her deliberate opinions. I hold her to her own admissions, nay, to her own claims and pretensions, in 1789, in the first congress, and to her acknowledgments and avowed sentiments through a long series of succeeding years. I hold her to the principles on which she led congress to act in 1816; or, if she has changed her own opinions, I claim some respect for those who still retain the same opinions. I say she is precluded from asserting, that doctrines which she has herself so long and so ably sustained, are plain, palpable, and dangerous violations of the constitution.
Mr. President, if the friends of nullification should be able to propagate their opinions, and give them practical effect, they would, in my judgment, prove themselves the most skilful "architects of ruin," the most effectual extinguishers of high raised expectation-the greatest blasters of human hopes, which any age has produced. They would stand up to proclaim, in tones which would pierce the ears of half the human race, that the last great experiment of representative government had failed. They would send forth sounds, at the hearing of which, the doctrine of the divine right of kings would feel, even in its grave, a returning sensation of vitality and resuscitation. Millions of eyes, of those who now feed their inherent love of liberty on the success of the American example, would turn away from beholding our dismemberment, and find no place on earth whereon to rest their gratified sight. Amidst the incantations and orgies of nullification, secession, disunion, and revolution, would be celebrated the funeral rites of constitutional and republican liberty.
But, sir, if the government do its duty; if it act with firmness and with moderation, these opinions cannot prevail. Be assured, sir, be assured, that among the political sentiments of this people, the love of union is still uppermost. They will stand fast by the constitution, and by those who defend it. I rely on no temporary expedients-on no political combination; but I rely
casion may call me, and to take my chance among those upon whom blows may fall first, and fall thickest. I shall exert every faculty I possess, in aiding to prevent the constitution from being nullified, destroyed, or impaired; and even should I see it fall, I will still, with a voice, feeble perhaps, but earnest as ever issued from human lips, and with fidelity and zeal, which nothing shall extinguish, call on the people to come to its rescue,
on the true American feeling, the genuine patriotism of the people, and the imperative decision of the public voice. Disorder and confusion, indeed, may arise; scenes of commotion and contest are threatened, and perhaps may come. With my whole heart, I pray for the continuance of the domestic peace and quiet of the country. I desire most ardently the restoration of affection and harmony to all its parts. I desire that every citizen of the whole country may look to this The senate, upon the conclugovernment with no other senti- sion of this eloquent and arguments but those of grateful respect mentative speech. adjourned to and attachment. But I cannot Monday, the 18th Feb. On that yield, even to kind feelings, the day, an unsuccessful attempt was cause of the constitution, and the made to postpone the considera, true glory of the country, and tion of the subject. Mr. Forsyth the great trust which we hold then moved to amend the bill, in our hands for succeeding by adding certain words to the ages. If the constitution can last section of the bill, and strinot be maintained without meet- king out the words "first and ing these scenes of commotion fifth sections" therefrom. The and contest, however unwel- object and effect of this amendcome, they must come. We ment was to limit the existence cannot, we must not, we dare of the entire act to the end of not, omit to do that which, in the next session of congress, our judgment, the safety of the instead of limiting the existence Union requires. Not regardless of the first and fifth sections only. of consequences, we must yet He said, he regarded the meameet consequences; seeing the sure merely as one intended to hazards which surround the dis- meet a certain exigency which charge of public duty, it must he hoped would soon pass away. yet be discharged. For myself, Mr. Wilkins said, the comsir, I shun no responsibility just-mittee were of the opinion that ly devolving on me, here or all the provisions, except the elsewhere, in attempting to first and fifth sections, ought to maintain the cause. I am tied be engrafted on our judiciary to it by indissoluble bands of system. The case of the refuaffection and duty, and I shall sal of a clerk of a state court to cheerfully partake in its fortunes furnish a copy of the record, had and its fate. I am ready to per- twice occurred, and had not form my own appropriate part, been provided for except by this whenever and wherever the oc- bill
Mr. Kane suggested a modification of the amendment, so as to extend it to the limitation of all suits arising under the act which shall be pending at its expiration.
Mr. Forsyth accepted the modification. He did not look at the propriety or impropriety of other provisions of the bill, as a permanent and general measure. He viewed them only as applicable to a particular state of things. He did not like the judicial provisions. They were more objectionable than the military provisions, in his opinion.
Mr. Webster briefly noticed the effects of this amendment. The provisions of the bill which it was now proposed to limit, were the judicial processes intended to counteract those of the state of South Carolina. The provisions of that state were permanent in their character; and if the provisions of this bill were to be limited, after the expiration of that limit, there would be no remedy in existence against the measures of the state. He was quite willing that the sections, placing in the hands of the executive the military force, should be limited to the termination of the next session; but the proceedings of the courts, intended to countervail those of the courts of South Carolina, ought not to be limited, as the provisions of S. Carolina were unlimited. To limit these provisions to a single year, would be to defeat the object altogether, as there are certain proceedings to which they refer, which cannot arise within the year. The bill
would always be within the reach of congress to amend or repeal, whenever it might be deemed proper so to do. If any limitation were to be fixed, he would prefer to make it for a longer period. He desired to see these judicial provisions established as a part of our permanent system; and he believed, that had such been the case bcfore, this contingency would never have occurred. He hoped the amendment would not prevail.
Mr. Calhoun asked if he had understood the senator from Georgia, as stating that his colleague had acquiesced in the judicial provisions of the bill? He said that he should vote for this amendment; but he believed that every part of the bill was a violation of the constitution, and that it was all throughout, liable to the strongest objections.
Mr. Forsyth said, that what he understood was, that the senator from South Carolina had principally objected to the provisions of the bill which were most directly warlike in their character; and had regarded the provisions providing for countervailing civil process as less odious. He regarded the objections of the senator from Massachusetts as applicable as well to the other provisions of the bill, as those now under consideration. For himself, he did not wish to view the bill, in any of its provisions, as a permanent measure. He had no desire to blend it into the permanent judicial system of the country. If it should ever be the desire of
congress so to blend it, he wished that it might be done at a time when no such topics should present themselves as were now so prominent in every senator's mind, and then the subject could be calmly and deliberately discussed.
The question was then taken on the amendment, and decided as follows:
Yeas, Messrs. Benton, Bibb, Black, Calhoun, Dickerson, Forsyth, Hill, Kane, King, Mangum, Miller, Moore, Rives, Smith, Tyler, Waggaman, White, Wright, 18.
Nays, Messrs. Bell, Chambers, Clay, Clayton, Dallas, Dudley, Ewing, Foot, Frelinghuysen, Grundy, Hendricks, Holmes, Johnston, Knight, Naudain, Prentiss, Poindexter, Robbins, Robinson, Seymour, Silsbee, Sprague, Tipton, Tomlinson, Webster, Wilkins, 26.
Mr. Poindexter then rose and stated, that it must be evident that to carry into effect the provisions of the bill, some appropriation was necessary, the bill authorizing the calling into operation the military force of the country, but providing no means for defraying the expenses. The constitution had prohibited the withdrawal of any money from the treasury, unless under an appropriation by law. The senate was now about to employ the army and navy to carry into effect the provisions of the bill, and the president ought to be limited in the expenditures for this purpose.
He concluded with moving to amend the bill by inserting a
new section, providing that for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this bill, the sum of dollars shall be and is hereby appropriated. Mr. Grundy expressed a hope that the gentleman from Mississippi would fill up the blank with some sum.
Mr. Poindexter said, he would leave that to the committee on the judiciary.
Mr. Grundy said, the judiciary committee wanted money. But, if the gentleman from Mississippi was disposed to grant an appropriation, it would be agrecable to the committee to know what amount he was willing to give.
Mr. Calhoun expressed his surprise at the course of the gentleman from Tennessee. Did that gentleman mean to say, that no money would be required for the purposes of the bill? The fact must be apparent, that no appropriation is a universal appropriation. The president would be able to take from the treasury what he pleased, and the congress and the people would be pledged to replace it in the treasury. He was surprised at this course. It belonged to those who had introduced, and who advocated this bill, to say what amount of money would be required. It did not belong to the senator from Mississippi. If the senate intended to give the sword to the president, they ought not to give him the purse also. He looked upon this as one of the most arbitrary of all the provisions of this most arbitrary bill.
he would also have the power
Mr. Grundy stated, that the senator from South Carolina to close the courts, and to close was more competent than any the hall of legislation. He might other person to determine wheth- treat the legislature as a lawless er or not there would be any assemblage, and what course, necessity for the employment then, could be left to the state of force. If the authorities of but resistance? She would be the state of South Carolina should forced into resistance. Yes, offer resistance to the laws, then she would be thus compelled to would arise the necessity for resist. But the question of time the employment of force. But was a far different question. He he was of opinion, that unless it thanked God that this question was produced by the act of was in other hands to decide. South Carolina, there would be South Carolina, in deciding this no collision; and no expendi- question, would make the issue ture would be necessary, unless with a deliberate judgment, but there should be collision. The with irresistible firmness. committee hoped that no such was amazed at the course which collision would arise; but if it had been taken. The provisions should, provision could be made of this bill went beyond any for the expenditure by the next thing he could have conceived. He would reverse the argument of the senator from Tennessee, and say there could be no collision, unless it proceeded from the conduct of the general government.
Mr. Calhoun said that the whole of this business indicated an unsoundness of legislation. The bare possibility of a collision ought to be deemed sufficient to induce the committee to
make the appropriation. Unsound legislation ! He had never seen any instance of a nation hurrying so rapidly towards a state of despotism. The gentleman had said that there would be no expenditure unless resistance should be commenced by South Carolina. What did the senator mean by resistance? It would be seen that in this bill, the president had the power to interrupt the civil process in the state courts. Did the senator suppose that the state of South Carolina would acquiesce in this interruption? No! If the president had the power to interrupt the process,
Mr. Smith referred to the course which had been pursued, in reference to the dispute with Pennsylvania, when similar powers were vested in the president, and the military force was called out. An appropriation was made at the following session to defray the expenditures caused by that disturbance. He did not apprehend the occurrence of any war. He believed that the very first section of the bill put it out of the power of South Carolina to go to war.
There could be no fighting, as a sufficient guard was provided against the state of South Carolina getting hold of any property which could produce such an evil.