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Her claim to the disputed territory was thus practically enforced, and was acquiring validity from the acquiescence of the United States.
Similar inattention, on the part of the American government, was strengthening her claim to the exclusive navigation of the lower part of the St. Law
The relations of business between the American producers and the Canadian merchants began to be established, and interests in opposition to a free navigation were growing up, without attention or remonstrance on our part.
In the mean time, the claim of England was acquiring force, and it was easy to foresee that a longer perseverance in this policy, would place in her hands the control of all internal commerce between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and those extensive countries bordering on the great American lakes.
The relations of the United States with other European powers, continued upon their accustomed footing.
With Russia a treaty of commerce was concluded in the month of December, 1832, upon the principles of reciprocity, and securing to the merchants of
both countries, the same privi leges granted to the merchants of other nations.
Provision was also made to secure to the citizens of both countries the power of disposing of their personal estate, within the jurisdiction of either, by will or otherwise. It will be found in the Appendix.
A similar treaty was made with Belgium, but the ratifications were not exchanged.
Some claims of American merchants against Portugal for illegal captures, were prosecuted to a successful result, and an earnest and persevering effort was made by the administration to procure satisfaction from Spain, for illegal detentions and captures of American property, subsequent to the treaty of 1819, and an acknowledgment of their justice was finally extorted from that government.
No alterations worthy of notice occurred in the relations between this country and the neighbouring powers on this continent.
A treaty of commerce was concluded with Chili, and the time limited in the treaty for designating the boundary between the United States and Mexico, was suffered to expire through the neglect of Mexico, without adjusting that question.
South Carolina Legislature meet.-Nullifying Acts.-Union Convention.-Crisis.-Course of Federal Government.-Military Preparations.-Meeting of Congress.-Proclamation of President.--Of Gov. Hayne.-Resignation of Vice President.— New Tariff Reported in House.-President's Message, asking new Powers. Mr. Calhoun's Speech.-Enforcing Bill Reported.-Mr. Calhoun's Resolutions as to Federal Powers.—Mr. Grundy's. Mr. Clayton's.-Resolutions of State Legislatures.
THE headlong course of South Carolina, during the year 1832, had placed the state government in such a hostile attitude towards the federal government, that a general expectation prevailed, that a violent collision would take place; and there was too much reason to apprehend a dissolution of the Union,--followed by civil war.
The convention which met in that state on the 19th of November, having passed the ordinance declaring the revenue laws of the Union void, adjourned-and enjoined the legislature to carry its decrees into effect. That body met directly after its adjournment, and with a promptitude and spirit which would have been beyond praise in a better cause, passed the laws necessary for that purpose.
The first act authorized the sheriff to replevy any goods
seized or detained under the U. States revenue laws, and to deliver them to the owner and consignee, and in case of a refusal to deliver them, or of their removal, to seize double the amount of the personal estate of the offender.
It also provided, that any person arrested under any judgment in the United States courts for duties, might bring an action for damages; that any sale of real estate under such judgment, should be held void; that any person paying duties might recover them back with interest; and for the punishment of all persons disobeying or resisting officers in the execution of the act. As it was not supposed that the federal government would quietly acquiesce in the destruction of its revenue system; the next act authorized the governor to resist the federal
government in any attempt to enforce the revenue laws, with the whole force of the state; and further provided for organizing the militia, and the purchase of munitions and ordnance. An act was also passed requiring all civil and military officers in the state to take an oath to execute and enforce the ordinance, and the laws passed in obedience thereto, and the state was thus placed in an attitude of opposition to the federal government; and striving to destroy the union. The gravity of history is somewhat disturbed, when we contemplate the small means that were relied upon to accomplish the overthrow of a government, based upon the general interest, and sustained by the affections of a nation consisting of thirteen millions.
Still, enough of strength was to be found on the side of the nullifying party, to render it the duty of the federal government to make timely preparations to enforce the laws which had been declared void.
The constitutional authorities of a state, were arrayed in opposition to the federal authorities; the legislature had enacted laws to arm and discipline the militia, and to impose oaths which compelled those taking them to act in violation of their allegiance to the United States.
The governor had manifested his earnest disposition to carry the designs of the legislature into effect; and while at home, he took steps to put the military force of the state in an efficient condition; he caused cannons
and other warlike munitions, to be imported from the northern states, for the more effectual nullification of the tariff.
On the other hand, the union party in South Carolina, showed equal determination to sustain the laws of the Union.
A convention of the union party, was held at Columbia, in December, where resolutions were passed protesting against the ordinance as unconstitutional and oppressive-disfranchising nearly one half of the citizens of the state, for a difference of opinion-violating the right of trial by jury,-subverting the independence of the judiciary,-and virtually destroying the Union.
The convention, in which were assembled many of the most distinguished sons of South Carolina, then declared, that while they disclaimed all intention of lawless or insurrectionary violence, they were determined to protect their rights, by all legal and constitutional means, and, "that in doing so, they would continue to maintain their character of peaceable citizens, unless compelled to throw it aside by intolerable oppression."
This resolution not to submit to the measures of the dominant party, was still more plainly expressed in the primary assemblies.
In Charleston, where they were as numerous, and in some of the mountainous districts, where they were more numerous than their opponents, meetings were held, in which it was resolved to sustain the federal government in its efforts to enforce
the revenue laws, and also to resist, by force if necessary, every attempt to carry into effect the laws passed by the state legislature, imposing unconstitutional oaths upon all civil and military oflicers.
An issue was now formed, which threatened an immediate resort to arms. A crisis had arrived, which could not be safely neglected.
The leading nullifiers were in possession of the state govern.ment, and acted under the imposing sanction of a state law, which, although unconstitutional, still carried a sort of authority with it. By their activity and talents, they had excited great enthusiasm among their followers, and were thus enabled to execute their measures with the cordial co-operation of a party, formidable both for its numbers and determination.
There was also no small degree of danger that should force be resorted to, the nullifiers would find supporters in some of the adjacent states.
The doctrines asserted by the nullifiers were not materially different from those of the celebrated resolutions prepared by Mr. Jefferson in 1798-9, for the Kentucky legislature: they had been directly asserted by the legislature of Virginia in 1829, and the state of Georgia had practically enforced them in relation to the Cherokee treaties, and the laws of congress passed to carry those treaties into effect.
How the citizens of those states would be disposed to act
in supporting those doctrines could not be foreseen.
There was a strong bond of sympathy between all the southern states: and although North Carolina and Alabama united in condemning nullification; there was too much reason to apprehend that any collision growing out of an attempt to enforce the tariff laws, would array a large portion of the population of the southern states on the side of South Carolina. The progress of events in that state, was consequently watched with much anxiety by the rest of the Union. With a strong conviction of the necessity of maintaining the supremacy of the federal government, there was joined a manifest reluctance to resort to force for that purpose.
The Union was, in the general opinion, too dear to be endangered, even by an adherence to a policy, which, although expedient, was not necessary. Still, those who, in defiance of the denunciations and violence of the dominant party in South Carolina, stood up for the constitution and the laws, could not be left without support in their hazardous position.
With the view of affording them the requisite aid, as well as to put down any open attempt to resist the execution of the revenue laws, a competent force was assembled at Charleston,— that being the port where the commerce of the state is chiefly carried on.
'The commander-in-chief of the military castern department
(General Scott) was directed to repair to that place, to aid the civil officers of the government in the execution of the laws; and two vessels of war were ordered there for the same purpose.
Orders were also given to the commanders of the forts in the harbour, to defend them against any assault to the last extremity, and to be vigilant against all attempts to surprise them.
The forts were immediately put in a state of defence, and all the disposable force of the government was concentrated in that quarter, but in such a manner as not to render those movements obnoxious and offensive to the community.
Moderation and forbearance were inculcated on the part of the commanding officers, and they were directed to act entirely on the defensive. Equal activity was evinced by the state authorities, in making preparations to execute their designs. Depots were established for provisions and military munitions, and the volunteers who were organized in different parts of the state, to the number of 12,000, for the purpose of sustaining the system of nullification, were disciplined, as far as citizens could be, in the duties of soldiers; and orders were issued, directing them "to hold themselves in readiness to take the field at a moment's warning."
The blow seemed to be impending, which was to dissolve the Union, and to array the citizens of a state in deadly hostility against the federal government.
In this aspect of affairs con
gress assembled, and the nullifiers evinced a willingness to suspend their action against the tariff, until the termination of the session.
In the annual message, the state of affairs in South Carolina was alluded to, and an opinion was expressed that the laws were fully adequate to the suppression of all attempts which might be made to prevent the execution of the laws. If, however, any difficulty should occur, notice would be given to congress, with a suggestion of the the measures proper to remedy the evil.
A revision of the tariff laws was urged upon congress, and a reduction of duties to the standard of expenditure, was earnestly recommended. The public debt, the message stated, was about to be extinguished, and this event presented a proper occasion of reducing the duties. The system of affording a perpetual protection in the shape of high duties, never entered into the minds of but few of our statesmen, and the only protection anticipated, was that growing out of duties imposed for temporary purposes.
After stating that the protection afforded should not exceed what may be necessary to counteract the regulations of other nations, and to secure a supply of articles essential to the country in war it was recommended that the protection afforded by duties higher than the ordinary revenue standard, should not be extended longer than was neces