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voted for it, but it would have been with reluctance, because of the consequences which may result from the measure. He stated that, with some exceptions, as to the high-toned doctrines which were to be found in the documents, he approved of the general tone of the proclamation of the president, and of his message to the senate on the subject of South Carolina.
The opponents of this bill rely on force; its friends cry out force and affection. One side cries out-power! power! power! The other side cries out power, but desires to see it restrained and tempered by discretion and mercy, and not to create a conflagration from one end of the Union to the other. He believed the gentlemen who opposed the bill did not wish for civil war, but the defeat of the bill would lead to consequences to be deplored. And he would not wish to see sacked cities, desolated fields, and streams of American blood shed by American citizens.
He had been accused of ambition in introducing this measure. He despised the grovelling spirits from which the charge came, and dismissed the accusation to the winds. If congress would pass this bill, he would willingly retire to his home, to the groves of Ashland, where he could find a fidelity and an affection which he had not always found in public life.
The debate was further continued, until a late hour in the evening, by Messrs. Bell, Sprague, and Holmes, in support
of, and Mr. Dickerson in opposition to the bill, when Mr. Clay arose and stated, that inasmuch as it had been represented that a bill identical in its provisions to the one before the senate, had just been passed in the house, and would probably be presented the next day to the senate for approval, he would move an adjournment. This motion was carried, and the senate adjourned.
We must now go back to the proceedings in the house of representatives, which we left engaged in the discussion of the tariff reported from the committee of ways and means.
This discussion, which was commenced on the 8th of January, continued without any decision indicating a probability of its passage, until the passing of the enforcement act in the senate. Upon the coming of that bill into the house, Feb, 21st, it excited a warm feeling among the southern members, and an animated debate was caused on a motion to print the bill for the use of the members.
The next day, and the day following, all business was suspended in consequence of the death of Mr. Lent, a member from NewYork, and the 24th being Sunday, it was not until the 25th, that the enforcing bill had its first reading.
Mr. Whittlesey then moved that it be read a second time, which, after an ineffectual attempt to postpone it, was ordered.
Mr. Carson then moved its reference to a committee of the whole, on the state of the Union.
As this motion would necessarily at this late period of the session have prevented the passage of the bill, it was resisted, and was negatived, ayes 84, nays 99. A motion to postpone its consideration to the 28th, shared the same fate, ayes 77, nays 108.
It was then made the special order for the next day, and the tariff was again taken up for discussion. By the vote in the senate on the 23d of February, it was apparent that the bill introduced by Mr. Clay, would pass that body, and that it would be accepted by the south as a compromise of the long agitated question.
Mr. Letcher accordingly, when the discussion was resumed, moved to strike out the bill before the house, and to substitute the bill proposed by Mr. Clay in its place.
This being objected to as out of order, he moved the recommitment of the bill with instructions to report Mr. Clay's bill to the house. This motion was agreed to, ayes 96, nays 54, and the bill being referred to the committee, the substitute was agreed to and forthwith reported to the house. Mr. Davis of Massachusetts, opposed the passage of the bill, asdid Mr. H. Everett, but the question on the third reading was carried, ayes 105, nays 71. The next day (26th) the discussion was renewed on the passage of the bill, which was carried in the affirmative, ayes 119, nays 85. The house then took up the enforcing bill, when
Mr. Arnold said that he had hitherto been in favour of its passage, but since the passing of the tariff, he thought it an empty form, and he should vote against it. A motion made by Mr. Daniel to lay the bill on the table was negatived, ayes 58, nays 132, and Mr. Dearborn moved the previous question, but this motion producing much excitement and confusion, he afterwards withdrew his motion, and the house, on the 27th, after an ineffectual attempt by Mr. Verplanck to obtain a preference for the appropriation bills, proceeded to an examination of the bill. Mr. Carson, Mr. Clayton, Mr. Root, Mr M'Duffie, Mr. Foster, and Mr. Daniel, opposed its passage, and denounced the bill as tyrannical, and as substituting a military despotism in the place of a government of laws. Mr. Daniel said that the principles of nullification as avowed by Mr. Hayne in the debate on Mr. Foot's resolutions, were sanctioned and warmly approved by the president himself, in a letter written by him to Mr. Hayne. That in that letter he said that the speech contained an exposition of the true principles of republicanism.
Upon Mr. Bell's inquiring whether Mr. Daniel had personally a knowledge that the president approved of those principles: Mr. Carson rose and said that the president expressed his appropriation of that speech to him. Mr. Wayne, Mr. Isaacs and Mr. Blair, supported the bill and urged its passage as in
dispensable to the existence of that the bill introduced by him the government.
The debate continued until a late hour of the evening of the 28th, when the previous question, on motion of Mr. Craig, was ordered, ayes 110, nays 44.
The bill was then ordered to a third reading, ayes 126, nays 34. A motion was then made for its final passage, and the previous question being ordered, the bill was passed, ayes 111, nays 40. The question being on its title, Mr. M.Duffie rose and said, he wished to perform a solemn duty. The house was about to destroy the rights of the Stateswas about to bury the constitution: he asked the poor privilege of writing its epitaph. He then offered an amendment to the title of the bill, by striking out its present title, and inserting the following in lieu thereof: "An act to subvert the sovereignty of the states of this union, to establish a consolidated government, without limitation of powers, and to make the civil subordinate to the military power."
Mr. Speight demanded the previous question, and the yeas and nays being taken, stood, yeas 150, nays 35. The title was then agreed to, Mr M'Duffie's amendment being cut off, and the house adjourned at half past one in the morning. The senate, which had been waiting for the final passage of the enforcing bill, now took up the tariff as it came from the house, with the view of passing it.
When it came into that body, on the 26th, Mr. Clay moved
should lie on the table, and the bill from the house was taken up in its stead the next day, and, having been found to be word for word like the bill already before the senate, was reported without amendment, and ordered to a third reading. The senate then proceeded to other business, and on the 1st of March, after the passage of the enforcing bill in the house, the tariff was read a third time, and the question put on its passage. This question elicited some discussion, but the subject was exhausted, and the bill was passed; ayes 29, nays 16.
The passage of this bill was regarded by all as a concession to South Carolina, and many considered it as sanctioning the ultimate triumph of the principles advanced by that state.
The supporters of the bill who were friendly to the system of protection, insisted, on the contrary, that this was the only mode of preventing an entire and immediate destruction of the manufacturing interests. That the administration had a decided majority in the next congress; and if the question was not settled now, the manufacturers would be entirely at the mercy of their enemies.
The moment for obtaining favourable terms was passing away with the session, and they thought it better to agree to such a gradual reduction of the tariff, as should give time to the manufacturers to prepare for a general duty of 20 per cent. or to
reconcile the south to a higher duty if necessary, by the experience of the beneficial effects of a protecting tariff, rather than to intrust the manufacturing interests to those who merely sought to destroy them.
This reasoning did not satisfy those who looked to the ultimate results of this compromise, and who were not willing to purchase a temporary advantage by a permanent surrender of the power of the government over this subject to a state, which demanded it upon principles, and in a tone inconsistent with the continuance of the Union.
They preferred to test, rather than to surrender the powers of the government, and they strongly reprobated the idea of abandoning the policy of the government upon the demand of a single state.
The leaders of the nullifying party, on their part, affected to regard the compromise as an unqualified triumph.
Previous to the passage of the tariff, Gov. Hamilton issued a proclamation, calling the convention to meet on the 11th of March, on which day it accordingly assembled at Columbia, the capitol of the state. The ostensible reason of this call was the mission of Mr. Leigh, but the governor also called the attention of the convention to the laws just passed by congress modifying the tariff, and for the more effectually providing for the collection of the
It was deemed expedient by
the convention to regard the tariff just passed, as a sufficient accomplishing of the objects of nullification, and an ordinance was reported, repealing the ordinance of November, and all the acts, except the militia law, passed in pursuance thereof, by the legislature-a different body, having no connexion with the convention, except that the majority belonged to the same party. The ordinance then went on to nullify the enforcing law, but content with this empty bravado, did not enjoin on the legislature to pass laws to carry their decree into effect. An attempt was also made to declare an oath of allegiance to the state, but as the friends of the Union had resolved that they would not take such an oath, it was deemed the wisest course to refer the matter to the legislature.
In these legislative enactments the controversy ended. The final adjustment of the tariff question was merely postponed, and time was afforded to the country either to prepare for the change from a high protecting tariff, to one reduced to the wants of the revenue, or to adopt such modifications as the interests of the country shall then require.
One permanent good, however, was gained. The arm of the judiciary was strenghtened by the enforcing act, and states seeking to carry into effect their own views, at the expense of the Union, and in defiance of the constitution, cannot hence
forth prevent a judicial decision upon their acts, by inhibiting the state courts from furnishing the federal courts with a copy of their records.
The right of appeal to the courts of the United States, in
questions properly appertaining to them, is recognised and maintained, and a precedent is established for enforcing their decisions by the power of the Union.