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sary for the extinguishment of the public debt.
Shortly after the assembling of congress, the president issued his proclamation, written, as is generally believed, by Mr. Livingston, the secretary of state, announcing his determination to enforce the revenue laws, and exhorting the citizens of South Carolina, as they valued the Union, or the fame of their ancestors, not to persist in their disorganizing designs.
In this proclamation, which is dated Dec. 10, 1832, he maintained that the government of the United States was a political association of one people, and not the confederation of distinct states-that it acted upon the people individually, and not upon the states--that the states had surrendered many of the essential rights of sovereignty, and that the constitution of the United States and the treaties and laws made under it, are the supreme law of the land, which no state is at liberty to disregard or to annul that if oppressive or unconstitutional laws are passed, the agrieved party may appeal to the people, who, in exercising the elective franchise, can afford a remedy to the former-or to the Supreme Court of the United States, which will declare the latter to be invalid. There is also a remedy afforded in the power reserved to the people, of altering the constitution, with the assent of three fourths of the
All other interference with the laws of the United States, he declared to be unauthorized, and
if persisted in, as leading directly to a dissolution of the Union. It was virtually a revolution, and must end in breaking up the country into hostile sectional parties, in a state of continual war with each other.
Such were the grounds assumed by the president in his proclamation, and they were so diametrically opposite to those upon which his southern partisans had urged his election, that their publication produced great sensation throughout the country. the northern states, they were received with universal approbation, the principles being the same advocated by those, who had led the opposition to his administration; and his partisans fearing, in this crisis, to express their dissent to doctrines which every administration had felt itself obliged to act upon.
In the southern states, a different feeling was manifested.
The principles of the proclamation were so hostile to the political creed of that part of the Union, that those who revered the sage of Monticello as the founder of their faith, and had deemed it the greatest praise to call the president a second Jefferson, paused in their adoration, and were obliged to confess that there was some difference in their views of the federal constitution.
The few dissenting voices, however, were lost in the general approbation of the country, which held itself ready to sustain those principles, as essentially necessary to the existence of the Union.
Upon South Carolina, this re
monstrance apparently produced no effect.
Pursuant to a resolution of the legislature, Gov. Hayne, on the 20th December, 1832, issued a counter proclamation, warning the citizens of that state against the attempt of the president to seduce them from their allegiance, and exhorting them, in disregard of his threats, to be prepared to sustain the state against the arbitrary measures of the president.
The state was now formally arrayed against the federal government, and it was with too much reason apprehended, that an unhappy accident might, at any moment, precipitate the country into the horrors of a civil war.
The nullifiers, however, hesitated to take any decisive step which should compel the federal government to exert its power, and without disclaiming their right to annul the laws of congress, they now professed a willingness to wait until the end of the session for relief from that body.
The vice president (John C. Calhoun) resigned his office on the 28th of December, and was elected a senator of the United States senate, in the place of Gov. Hayne, obviously with the view of enforcing and maintaining the principles promulgated by South Carolina, with his powerful talents; and the deliberations of congress upon the important questions before it, were expected with the most anxious solicitude by the whole country.
The opinions expressed by
the persident in his message, were reiterated more at length in the annual report of the secretary of the treasury. That officer again urged upon congress a reduction of duties to the revenue standard, and declared that "there was not the same necessity for high protecting duties, as that which was consulted in our past legislation."
It was now distinctly forseen that the final contest, relating to a protecting tariff, was about to be decided. The administration had, in various ways, manifested its hostility to the system, and the late triumph at the elections, it was supposed, would embolden the president to take still stronger measures to overthrow a policy which was originated in a great measure, by an obnoxious rival.
The country believed that the question would now be finally adjusted, and all parties prepared to act upon it, as the great question of the session.
Upon distributing the various subjects recommended to the consideration of congress, this was referred to the committee of ways and means.
Here the whole protecting tariff was remodelled, and on the 27th of December, a bill was reported, which was understood to embody the views of the administration.
In the senate, the tariff was made an object of attention, at the very commencement of the session. On the 13th of December, Mr. Smith, the chairman of the committee of finance, presented a resolution, calling on the
secretary of the treasury for a projet of a bill, in conformity with his suggestions. After some debate as to the propriety of calling on a branch of the executive department for an opinion, instead of facts or information, the resolution was adopted: ayes 16, nays 11.
The bill reported in the house, proposed a diminution of the duties on all the protected articles, to take effect immediately, and a further diminution on the 2d of March, 1834.
The permanent duties, after that day, were to be as follows:On woollen goods, an average duty of 15 per cent., except on cloths, kerseymeres, flannels,
baizes, carpets &c., on which 20 per cent. was proposed.
On cotton goods, 20 per cent.
When made by rolling $24 per ton.
Scrap, and old iron, $12,50 per ton.
Pig iron, 40 cents per cwt. Iron castings, 1 cent per lb. Steel, $1 per cwt. Hemp, $30 per ton. Tarred cordage, 2 cts. per lb. Untarred cordage, yarn twine, pack thread, 3 cts. per lb. Cotton bagging and nankins, 15 per cent.
Manufactures from hemp or flax, 15 per cent.
Spirits, 1st proof, from grain, 20 cts. per gall. from other materials,
18 cts. per gall.
Salt, 5 cents per bushel. Olive oil, 10 cents per gall. Brown sugar, 2 cents per lb. White clayed do. 2 cts. per lb. Refined do., 10 cents per lb. Molasses, 4 cents per gall. Coffee, 1 cent per lb. Teas, gunpowder, hyson, and young do., 10 cents per lb.
Hyson skin, and black tea, 3 cents per lb.
Bohea, 3 cents per lb.
Silk goods from beyond the Cape of Good Hope, 20 per ct. From other places, 12 per ct. Engh b'd books, 25 cts.perlb. Unbound do. 20 cents per lb. Latin and Greek, bound, 12 cents per lb.
side, it was contended that the diminution was too great; that in renewing the duties on tea and coffee, to supply the deficiency in the revenue, occasioned by the reduction of the duties on woollens, cottons, and iron, an additional injury was inflicted upon the manufacturer, without any corresponding benefit conferred upon the consuming classes; and that by suddenly bringing down the duties to the minimum point, the government would violate its faith with those who had been induced to embark in manufacturing, by the adoption of what was declared to be the settled policy of the country, and who would be ruined by a sudden and unexpected withdrawal of the protection of high duties.
The bill of last session, which was framed with the view of settling the question, had not yet been fairly tested, and it was insisted, that such a vacillating course on the part of the government, was positive injustice to those who had vested their capital under the existing laws.
This discussion, which commenced on the 8th of January, was continued in the ordinary manner, the advocates and opponents delivering prepared speeches, each occupying a day, until the 16th of January, when new interest was imparted to the subject by a message to congress from the president, communicating the South Carolina ordinance and nullifying laws, together with his own views as to what should be done under the existing state of affairs. After
stating the character of the South Carolina proceedings, and the necessary result of a conflict between the state and the federal officers, the message informed congress, that instructions had been given to the collector at Charleston to remove, if expedient, the custom house to castle Pinckney, in that harbour, and to take all the steps necessary to secure the duties on all goods imported into that port. All measures tending to create excitement were prohibited, but the enforcement of the laws was strongly enjoined. Orders had also been issued to the military and naval officers at that post, to protect the public property, and to defend the posts in that quarter; but in all other matters, to act in obedience to the legal requisitions of the civil officers.
The president thought, however, that the laws just passed by the state government, rendered some steps necessary on the part of congress.
The state courts were not permitted to administer the laws according to their oath under the constitution, but were sworn to disregard the laws of the Union, and to enforce only those of S. Carolina.
It was, therefore, necessary to make provision to secure a fair decision before a tribunal not previously bound to decide in a particular manner.
The authority conferred on the sheriff to call upon the posse comitatus to execute the writ of replevin, would also prevent the decisions of the federal courts from being carried into effect
against those of the state courts. He, therefore, recommended that laws should be passed, providing that whenever, by any unlawful combination, it should become impracticable faithfully to collect the duties in any port, the president should be authorized to abolish such ports of entry as should be necessary, and to establish the custom house at some secure place within the state, where the collector should detain all vessels and cargoes, until the duties were properly secured or paid. That in such cases, it should be unlawful to take the vessel or cargo from the custody of the custom house officer, except by process from the federal courts, and that in case of an attempt to take the property by a force too great to be overcome by the revenue officers, it should be lawful to protect their possession by the naval and military forces of the United States, and by the militia. In order to protect those acting in the line of their duty from unconstitutional prosecutions in the state courts, it was further recommended, that an act should be adopted, providing for the removal into the federal courts of all suits brought against any persons for acts done under the laws of the United States, and that this removal might be made upon petition, without any return of the record. Provision was also recommended to be made for redress in the federal courts, of any injuries committed under the ordinance, and where the execution of the laws of the United States were prevented
by the actual employment of military force, to empower the president to take the proper steps to carry them into effect.
This message now presented the whole subject to the consider. ation of congress. Upon its being read in the senate, Mr. Calhoun rose, and repelled, in the most earnest manner, the imputation of any hostile feeling or intentions against the Union, on the part of South Carolina. The state authorities, he asserted, had looked only to a judicial decision upon the question, until the concentration of the U. States troops at Charleston and Augusta had compelled them to make provision to defend themselves against aggression.
Being apprized of these facts and the military preparation to coerce her, she resorted to the measures to which the message refers;-not with a view, on her part, to change the issue from the civil process, but simply to repel any unconstitutional or lawless attempt by force, on the part of the executive.
The president also assigns, he continued, as another reason for his inference that force was meditated, that no attempt had been made at redress before the courts of the United States. Here, again Mr. Calhoun said, he must express his regret that the president has not stated all the facts. He could not be ignorant that the question, whether the laws annulled by the state were constitutional or not, could not be decided by the court. The laws, upon their face, purport to be revenue laws; and it was